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Heat Wave

Happy Friday!

This past week, we’ve been experiencing record heat here in France, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any cooler any time sooner. As someone who has been raised on having air-conditioning readily available in every house and establishment, I’m experiencing a bit of difficulty adjusting to a life where having air-conditioning is a rarity. Apartments don’t have it, and every few homes do. Here in the Haute-Savoie region, only about two months of the year are very hot. The rest are rainy, dry, and cooler. I bought a fan to circulate air in our apartment, and it’s a life-saver. My skin is naturally oily, which is annoying. I put on foundation every day in an effort to reduce having a constantly shiny face, but I also find myself constantly wiping my face with a paper towel. Hopefully I’ll get used to this soon. On the bright side of all of this unbearable heat, it’s not as humid as back in Saint Louis. A dry heat is much preferable.

A few days ago, we went to Amphion to see where mon ange grew up. It’s a lovely little suburb that’s nice, quiet, and peaceful. We visited his father’s old house and left his scooter there to go walking around the neighborhood and beyond. As we walked, he told me little stories about all the trouble he would get into with the neighborhood boys. It appears my fiancé had a bit of a bad boy reputation. Don’t worry, though. He shaped up to be quite a fine citizen.

From his old house, you can actually walk to several beaches at the edge of Lac Léman. It’s absolutely beautiful there! The water is so blue and clear! There were a lot of people sunbathing, reading, swimming, playing, and having fun. It made me want to jump into the water too. Walking along the path and observing everyone was fun. It’s interesting to hear all the French being spoken. Once I even picked up what sounded like British English being spoken by a visiting tourist. It’s strange hearing English here. I’m getting so accustomed to French being the primary language. Sometimes I actually struggle to find English words! Fortunately, C has a few friends that do speak English that I can keep up my mother tongue. I have a strong suspicion that when I return to the U.S. after these three months I will have a bit of an accent. When I spend a lot of time surrounded by a foreign language or dialect, I’m like a chameleon, mimicking the accent. We’ll have to wait and see.

We spent yesterday re-designing the layout of our apartment. Now it’s looking much better. There’s a bit more open space to move around. Our cats felt a bit disoriented having all of their old places to hang out taken away, but they appear to be adjusting well. They’ve found some new places to hide and lay around.

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, also known as U.S.A.’s Independence Day. To celebrate, we’re organizing a little party and BBQ at a park by the lake where we can cook burgers, play music, swim, and have fun. It’s also a good way for me to meet new friends. I’m looking forward to it!

And now it’s time for me to get on with my day and do something productive. It’s already almost 4pm here, so I’m not sure how productive we’ll actually be today. I think it’ll be a lazy day in an effort to stay cool.

Have a good weekend!

Bisous!

La vie est belle

La vie est belle

This is my 300th post on my blog! Yay!

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve written that many over the past few years! Looking back over the years, it’s quite amazing how much I’ve gone through and accomplished. When I first started this blog, I was in university. I’ve gone through a lot of break-ups and dating disasters. Scary things have happened. Traumatic things have happened. Wonderful things have happened. Beautiful things have happened. And life goes on. Where would we all be without these ups and downs in life? Probably in a coma or dead. But anyways! Let’s return to my current adventure!

A few days ago, we went grocery shopping to a picnic lunch at the edge of Lake Léman with a few friends. We made sandwiches with ham, cheese, and butter. But they tasted nothing like a ham and cheese sandwich back in the United States. The cheese was so much more delicious! I love cheese, and I love trying all different types. It’s interesting how different countries have such different concepts on what constitutes good food. Here, there are much less preservatives, hormones, and GMOs. They still have some, but not as much as what they put into American foods. We also packed some pigeon-heart tomatoes, an apple for me for dessert, a bottle of sparkling lemonade, and one of his favorite drinks, Tropical Oasis.

It was a sunny day but not too terribly hot. Not many people were at the beaches in the area we set up for our picnic. The beach is made up of little pebbles, not sand, unfortunately. After eating, C, F, and I took off our clothes and headed towards the edge of the lake in our bathing suits. I am very pale, almost blindingly so. Living here and spending more time outside will definitely help me catch some more sun. I need proper skincare products, though. Right now, I’m not being very wise and letting myself tan without sunscreen or bronzer… That will soon have to be rectified. Ever so carefully, we started wading into the water. It was very cold, and the algae on the stones made it quite slippery. We all looked a bit like marionettes, trying our hardest not to slip and fall into the water. My fiancé stayed behind on the beach with my camera, taking pictures and waiting for the precise possible moment that we would end up falling flat on our bums so he could immortalize it in picture form. I am proud to report that we didn’t fall. I kept wading deeper and deeper into the water, refusing to just dive in, although that would have been the easier way to get used to the cold temperature of the lake. Eventually, I reached the point where the water was lapping at my shoulders, and that’s when I finally relented and fully submerged. We ladies had a lot of fun swimming around and finding larger rocks that we could stand on. Swimming is a great form of exercise for the entire body, and I hadn’t gone for years and years. I’m very glad that I went, and I look forward to doing it more often.

After the lake, we went back to our apartment to give me a chance to freshen up a little before going to F’s apartment. There, we poured some drinks and talked and amused ourselves watching the cats chase flies around. I owe F a bottle of vodka because I amused myself with several mixed drinks of orange juice and grenadine… We had made plans to go out that evening for some kind of city-wide celebration that was going on. No one really knew what was being celebrated, but that’s what people in France do: celebrate just because. I helped F pick out a killer outfit, and she looked great! After several drinks (me already quite tipsy), we finally set out. When we finally managed to find a parking space on the edge of the lake around the centre-ville, we noticed that this celebration wasn’t really that much of a celebration at all. There were just a lot of people eating at outdoor restaurants. That’s it. We quickly got bored and decided to go to a popular little local outdoor bar called Bodega. I had a little Sangria, and we amused ourselves with chatting. Later on, C met back up with us to spend more time.

I’ve noticed how time loses significance here in France. People visit for hours, talking about everything and nothing. There’s no rush to be anywhere, just to live in the calm and happy moment. Of course, that might also be because it’s so hot out, but I genuinely feel a difference between the attitudes of the French versus American. I do see people on their smart phones doing who knows what, but it’s much less than when I would go out in the States. The French don’t always have their faces glued to a screen, and I like that. My iPhone is only usable in a place with wifi access, so I’ve been getting in the habit of leaving it at the apartment. I used to feel naked and helpless without having my phone with me, but now I feel less of a need to constantly be checking it. Slowly but suredly, I’m decreasing my amount of time spent on the Internet. That’s a very good thing, considering how much I used to depend on it. And yes, I need it to keep in touch with friends and family back home, but I take more pleasure in real, physical moments now. Having distance between me and the one that I love most has been difficult, especially during our past 7 months apart. It’s strange that a computer screen no longer separates us anymore. I much prefer it this way. Too often, couples don’t realize how much an embrace and kiss are worth in long-distance relationships. We definitely don’t waste time making sure the other person knows how much we appreciate their presence.

There’s so much more to write about, but I think I’ll stop here for now. I need to eat some breakfast and maybe try to sleep some more. It was a rough night’s sleep. I didn’t get much…

Until next time!

Bisous!

62206716

Bienvenue en France!

I am happy to announce that I arrived safely in France two days ago!

It was a long and exhausting trip, that’s for sure. I wasn’t able to fit everything that I wanted to bring in my two suitcases, blue carry-on, and backpack (but boy, were they heavy!). Fortunately, I will be able to bring more things over here when I go back to Missouri in three months as I finish up my visa paperwork.

I ate some Chinese food in the Washington DC airport during my three-hour layover and was able to call my mom and dad one last time before heading overseas. Then it was time to board my flight for Copenhagen, Denmark. I sat by a nice older woman who was one her way to Sweden in the very last row of the plane. During the 8-hour flight, I amused myself with a book, my iPod, and occasional attempts to get some sleep. I wasn’t able to fully sleep, so I’ll call them sporadic naps. We took a slight detour to avoid storms, so by the time my flight landed, I had to run through customs, get my passport stamped, and find the gate for the final flight to Geneva. Thankfully, I made it just in time, and I settled down exhausted next to a friendly man who worked on his laptop during the flight. I was tired but too excited to sleep during the flight. It’s really cool too look out the window at the cities and land below. They’re arranged like little colorful pieces of patchwork! After about two hours, Lake Geneva came into view, and my heart jumped to my chest. The last time I landed in Geneva, it was a dark and cold November early morning, a stark contrast to the late warm morning in June.

It’s a different experience, traveling and flying alone. I’ve done it before when I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in 2014 and then the first time I came to France last year. You’re by yourself with only strangers to talk with, if you decide to engage in conversation at all. There was a time when I would feel nervous being alone, but I’ve gotten a lot braver and stronger on my own. My parents were nervous that something could happen to me, after all, kidnapping does happen. But no one messed with me. I could whack them with my heavy bags anyway.

After 17 long hours, I arrived at the baggage claim around 10:15am local time. I waited and waited for my bags. They were nowhere to be found. I went to the luggage claim office where the woman working there was able to track the location of my suitcases. Apparently, they didn’t make the flight and were still in Copenhagen. They would be sent on the next flight to Geneva, which would arrive at 2:50pm… So, that means we would have to wait nearly 5 hours.

I walked through the doors, searching for the face that I hadn’t seen for 7 months. I had the biggest smile on my face when our eyes met. Our lips joined not long after, and oh, it was so glorious to be once again in his arms, this time to stay! We spent the next several hours of waiting for my bags by wandering around the airport inside and outside. The night before, he had made delicious sandwiches for us to eat for lunch. I was ecstatic, awake, and dead tired, all at once. At one point, I asked for him to get my sandwich from his backpack so I could eat some more. He got off the seat, and when he came back around to face me, he was on one knee with a ring box in his hands. I couldn’t believe it! We have been engaged for the past 6 months, but he didn’t have a ring when he first asked me. The ring is actually both my engagement ring and wedding band all in one. It’s more practical that way. I thought we were going to wait to present each other with our rings on our actual wedding day. He really had me fooled! We will re-exchange them when we get married. I brought out his ring that I had picked out and gotten for him, and it was amazing how they were similar in design! The flight from Geneva arrived a little early, so we were finally able to retrieve my bags and hop on a bus to take another bus that would take us across the border to Thonon-les-Bains, France.

It’s absolutely beautiful here in the Alps region! Sun, mountains, a big lake, and happiness! Missouri pales in comparison! The Midwest is so flat and boring. I’ve been taking so many pictures! I also love how everything is within walking distance. I understand how Europeans can eat such rich foods and be in such great shape. They don’t have to use a car to get to and from stores and their homes. I’ve managed to walk several miles (must learn the metric system and Celsius) already during the past few days! I’ve been trying to get healthy, and moving to France will certainly help me achieve my goal!

Yesterday, we explored the outdoor market that’s held every Monday and Thursday. So many tents of clothes, fresh food, books, jewelry, and trinkets! I visited a delightful little sausage stand and got to sample several types. The people are so friendly here! I walked away with a bag of a lot of different delicious sausages! I also couldn’t resist getting a new book too! I miss all my books! I couldn’t fit very many in my backpack, and I have well over two-hundred waiting for me back home! It’ll be fun transporting the ones that I can’t live without.

Getting accustomed to the time difference is a little bit of a challenge too. I wake up sporadically in the middle of the night and have to take occasional naps during the day. Today I didn’t feel very well in the morning either. Tap water in France isn’t filtered like it is in the United States, so I had a bit of a reaction to it. But the best way to build up a tolerance to the water is to keep drinking it. I’m slowly but suredly getting used to it. It’s also strange thinking about the 7-hour time difference. For instance, it’s 10pm here, but 3pm back in America. My mom doesn’t really get home from work until midnight where I live. That will make skyping a challenge, but I’m a night owl. We’ll manage. I was able to FaceTime with my dad this morning, which was nice.

It’s surreal and a bit sad that I’m so far away from my family and friends, but I do feel genuinely at home here. There are many new friends to make and new adventures that await.

Until next time!

Bisous!

Happily Together at Long Last

Happily Together at Long Last

Yes, I get to see this gorgeous view every day!

Yes, I get to see this gorgeous view every day!

Hello all!

Have you missed me?

I am painfully aware that it has been a long time since last I wrote anything on my blog. 14 months, to be precise. And for that I am ashamed…

But! I have good news! I plan to be dusting off these pages (figuratively, of course) and returning to my writing habits! There will be one slight difference to my writing:

I WILL BE LIVING IN FRANCE!!!!!!!!

Yes, you read that correctly! I, an American young woman, will be moving to Thonon-les-Bains, France to live with my French future husband. After all these years of failed relationships and dating, I have finally found my other half and best friend! We’ve been together for a year and a half now, and after an excruciating 7 months apart, we will finally be together again!

My flight leaves tomorrow! I’m freaking out!

At the moment, I’m cleaning, doing laundry, packing, and deciding what I will be taking with me for my three-month stay. I just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that I’m still alive.

To those of you that are still around and excited to see something from me finally resurface on the blogosphere, thank you very much for being patient! I plan on posting frequently about my adventures in France and Europe, recounting the enormous life change about to take place.

Stay tuned for my new posts! The next one I write will be in France!

Love,

Me

Mon ange et moi

Mon ange et moi

Angel Wings

Happy Birthday to my beautiful mother!

 

Ever since childhood her strength has been tested

There must be more to life in the one she’s destined

Yet she gets up each morning, her soul rested

Embracing a new day

 

The world may not see her angel wings

But I see them when she smiles at the sky as her spirit sings

 

She challenges life’s struggles with sheer determination

And plans to conquer mountains piece by piece in deliberation

I look up to her with such proud admiration

As she climbs higher, little by little every day

 

The world may not see her angel wings

But I see them when she smiles at the sky as her spirit sings

 

Her faith and beliefs do not go unnoticed

Our trials can be conquered as she shows us

How to bloom despite adversity like a beautiful lotus

Each step of the way

 

The world may not see her angel wings

But I see them when she smiles at the sky as her spirit sings

angelwings

 

<3 Me

Hiding Away

Wind whistles through the leaves

Whispering condemnations and judgments

Chattering, screeching, confusion

From above and all sides

As she stumbles through the woods

 

Roots of the established earth trip her

Almost as if with purpose

She does not take the time to brush off

The gathering dirt and debris

Increasing her burdens to bear

 

Lost alone afraid

Clutching what is hidden tightly in her hands

Reluctant to release yet knowing the necessity

She must find a place

Free from prying eyes

 

A towering tree proud with age and strength

How she wishes she could be

Is where she finally stops

Breath hitching and gasping for relief

Searching left and right to assure solitude

 

Kneeling down in the soft mossy earth

She digs with her fingers grasping desperately

Once at desired depth she reverently reaches for

Her hidden treasure

 

Taking one last long and pained look

She carefully sets her cloth-wrapped heart in the earth

Burying it beneath the watchful guardian

Where it will be safe and hidden

Until she decides to retrieve it

 

And so she walks away

Empty

darkforest

 

-Me

Dark Waters

Swirling dark waters undulate before me

My bare feet sink into the cool, wet grass

Lightly dusted with dew and memories

 

My toes dig into the blades with slight reluctance

As if wanting to linger on the moments

But my resolve pushes me forward

 

I reach the edge of the river

Looking into its blackness I see ripples of our past

Fading in and out as scenes and seasons

 

Slowly I submerge myself in the depths

Sinking, submitting

And as I drink in the waters willingly

You begin to fade away

Until I am falling into blackness

My mind washed away with the waves

Disappearing into…

 

lethe

 

-Me