Coucou! It’s summer!

Coucou! What’s up? I’m back in Lyon, chillin’. I loved Italy but it was nice to come home. I wish I had eaten more pasta.

I’ve had to go into work a few times (“work” at this point consists of watching students take exams. Exciting stuff!) but other than that, this is basically summer vacation. I’m not ready for it. The constant scramble of the school year has been replaced with an abyss of time, and I think that most people will tell you that an abyss of time is not all it’s cracked up to be.

It sounds nice, and you make a lot of lists, but it’s hard to get much done, and that pushes you into an American-style guilt trip on productivity, even though there’s not really anything you’re supposed to be doing. So it’s more of a general guilt trip since you haven’t failed on any specific counts, except maybe vacuuming.

I asked for advice on how to prepare for fall semester and the answer I got was “enjoy your free time while you can.” If that’s not license to binge-watch, I don’t know what is.

Sometimes I do those ab exercises that have replaced sit-ups while binge-watching Orange is the New Black to assuage my guilt. It doesn’t last long because that’s not a fun way to watch TV.

Do you watch Orange is the New Black? The new season was really intense and I just want to talk about it with someone! I have more feelings to unpack than I did after the How I Met Your Mother finale.

Side note: The linguist in me really wants to know how the show handles things like all the different dialects in Spanish (since the characters have diverse Latin-American roots), how they decide which scenes between Latina characters are written in Spanish or English or a mix, and what it’s like for the actresses to work in Spanish, since most of them are American-born and grew up in the States. (Is Spanish their second language, or did they grow up bilingual? What if they’re not fluent in Spanish but their character is? Why aren’t journalists asking these important linguistic questions in interviews?)

Netflix isn’t all I’m watching these days; The Eurocup has invaded France! I’m not normally a sportsfan but I like watching the matches with a glass of wine. (Except when they tie 0-0, that’s boring.) There are tons of Irish supporters in town, and everyone loves them. There have been posts in English and French on the antics and qualities that have so endeared them to the French (like singing lullabies to babies on the train, changing a tire for the elderly, and generally being jovial good citizens). I really want to go to Ireland now.

A few other things I’m loving besides Irish accents…


Pulco fruit concentrate (Pulco concentré à diluer) with sparkling water. I cannot live without a bottle of this in the fridge during the summer. My favorite flavors are blood orange, grapefruit, strawberry lemon, and mint lime. Also good for cocktails!

This potato salad recipe. Sometimes when I cook I don’t have a bunch of ingredients, so I just leave them out. It’s almost always fine.

Chia seeds. My overnight oats do not look anything like the rainbow ones on Pinterest but they still keep me full until lunchtime, no easy feat. I made Jill try my chia pudding and she said it was “very California.” Haha.

Yoga with Adriene. I’ve been doing yoga at home with her videos since January, and some of those stretches were really helpful when my back and legs were killing me from walking all over Italy in Converse! My go-to video is this morning sequence because it is quick and I am impatient (an excellent yogi quality), and her bedtime yoga helped me fall asleep when I was super jetlagged in January.

Probiotics…?? My mother is insisting that I experience the miracles of probiotics because she is nice and cares about my health. I’m not sure what to think so far. Has anyone tried them?

My new glasses! After 15+ years of wearing contacts every day, my eyes can’t take it anymore. But I hate wearing my glasses. So I finally got some new frames from Jimmy Fairly. I got presciption sunglasses too and they are a summer dreeeaaam. I can finally see in the sun! I figured I’d make my mutuelle (supplementary health insurance) cough up some dough before I leave, but my interactions with them so far will definitely be turned into a rant post at a later date. (Something to look forward to!)

None of these are my new sunglasses. I had to try on every pair in the store, obviously.

Hugo: Are you putting that on the internet?

Yogurt cake. I’m forever greatful to Diane from Oui In France for reviving my love for yogurt cake. I’m making one right now (lemon). I follow the recipe and then add in apples, lemon, berries, whatever. If I’m bringing it somewhere and I want to make it pretty, I sprinkle powdered sugar on top and maybe arrange some fruit or something. Bam, done.



This sign. I saw it in a window in the lovely Ainay neighborhood and it cracked me up. I sent it to Hugo because this is so him whenever he goes out for beers with his buddies. (He sent me the same photo back later that night, haha!)

(Translation: “Sweetie, I’m having a drink with some friends, if I’m not back in 30 minutes, read this message again!”)


My friends! A lot of my friends in Lyon are also teachers, which means they are also up for weeknight margaritas! The majority of my close friends in Lyon will be scattering to new cities next year, which I’m really sad about, even though I may be the one scattering the furthest out of everyone. I don’t feel like I’m leaving France, just that I’ll be spending more time in the U.S. than France for a few years instead of the other way around. All the French things I love will still be here when I come visit (wine and bread aren’t going anywhere). It’s my friends that I’m sad to leave – I’ll miss them more than anything. Even wine. (Do you hear that friends?! I’ll miss you more than wine. A compliment of the highest order.)

* * *

I’m off to Lisbon soon! It’s my first time in Portugal and I’m so excited, although I’m sad to miss Dana by just a few days 😦 Any tips are welcome. I feel like five days won’t be nearly enough!

What are you up to this summer? Staying out of trouble?

* * *

P.S. At some point this summer I’ll be selling and giving away books, teaching materials, clothes, furniture, nail polish. If you know anyone in Lyon who might need any of that stuff let me know! Also, have you ever donated clothes in France? I have so many things that I won’t be able to take with me but I’d like to think they could be useful to someone.

6 thoughts on “Coucou! It’s summer!

  1. I think I’ve been in Italy too long – when I watched the Italy v Ireland game last week, all I could think every time the cameras turned to the Irish fans was, “What a lot of very pale people”!

  2. I watch Orange is the New Black! Finished the season very quickly! And interesting thoughts on the Spanish side. I never really gave it much thought. Even if they are American born, they could have grown up speaking Spanish or at least surrounded by it.

    Interesting (and random fact). Alexis Bledel (Rory on Gilmore Girls) was born in the US but grew up speaking Spanish. She didn’t learn English until school.

    When will you be in Portugal? I’m actually (most likely) going to be in Lyon a few days over the next 2 weeks, because… we’re probably moving there in October!

    And I’ve donated clothes many times here. You can look online for Relais boxes (the most well known organization) but you can probably find boxes for others as well. There all over the place in Lille, so I imagine they’d be in Lyon as well. They’re sometimes more widely available in the “poorer” neighborhoods or near public housing.

    1. Thanks for all the info! I have seen those boxes here and there in Lyon, but wasn’t totally sure what the “rules” are – what’s okay to put in, how to package it, etc. I’ll check out their site.

      I’ve read that about Alexis Bledel, such a cool fun fact! I love Gilmore Girls (it’s on French Netflix now!!) Recently I saw a Buzzfeed-type article that used her as an example to point out that not all Latina women look the same. I’m guessing that the actresses who speak a lot of Spanish on OITNB did grow up bilingual, but on the other hand there are definitely Latina-American actresses that don’t speak Spanish at all. The only comment I’ve read about Spanish dialects in the show is that the character of Flaca is supposed to be of Mexican descent (she uses Mexican slang and her mother has a Mexican accent) but the actress is of Dominican descent and apparently her accent doesn’t match with her character. I think it would be interesting to know how the actresses personally relate to the two languages versus their characters, but apparently mainstream media doesn’t share my fascination 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for the shout out and glad I renewed your yogurt cake interest. Speaking of yogurt cakes, I haven’t made one in a while and I have some yogurt in the fridge… 😉

    Also, my eyes just gave up on contacts after about 15 years too and I’ve been a glasses gal ever since. I started getting bumps on the underside of my eyelid (have some special name but I forget) and even dailies irritated my eyes and they always hurt. So yay for glasses!

    1. Ooh I’ve gotten those little eye bumps too! They freak me out. I can’t say I miss scraping contacts out of my eyes at the end of the day… glasses are so much more comfortable.

  4. I’ll miss you more than wine, too!!! I won’t miss chia pudding, however.

    These ARE excellent Orange is the New Black questions I’d like to know the answers to…

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