My blogging identity is best described as an ex-expat: After four years in France, I moved back to California to pursue a new career in localization. In my free time, I wander around looking for tacos.
Hi there! The end of the year is catching up with me. Will there ever be a point where time doesn’t fly by in a blur?
I started off November in a whirlwind. I spent four days volunteering at a major localization industry conference in Santa Clara. It was fantastic – there were speakers from major language service providers like Lionbridge and Moravia and tech companies like Slack, Pinterest, GoPro, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Adobe, Uber, Salesforce, and more. It was also a fun time to bond with some of my friends from school who were also volunteering. I learned a ton and met so many interesting people, but I was absolutely destroyed by the end. I love talking to people, but being in networking mode for 10 hours a day, several days on end is exhausting!
Lyon is full of beautiful little shops with handmade things. Walk around Ainay (near metro stop Ampère), Les Pentes (the hill just north of Place des Terreaux), or Croix-Rousse, and you’ll find artisan shops and concept boutiques in droves. These are a few of my personal favorites.
I have bought many a gift from this pretty little store in Ainay. Mathûvû has quirky cards, pretty jewelry, lovely home decor items and notebooks, even clothes, dishes, and games for children. I can’t go in without wanting to buy everything.
Hi everyone! Recently, I discovered something cool that I thought would be great for American expats abroad. It’s Blow Birthday Cards, an online greeting card company which lets you select a card, add a handwritten message, and mail it to anywhere in the U.S. without leaving the house or putting on pants.
As much as I want to be that person who buys a cute card in a boutique, writes a message, and mails it at the post office, I just am not. (My mother is. She sends handmade cards with beautiful messages and addresses them in calligraphy.) I buy cards and never mail them. It’s terrible. When I was living in France, I might have actually sent cards to my family if I could have done it online like this. (Sorry, family.) Here’s a little peek at how it works and some of my favorite cards.
Hi! How was your September? Mine was unseasonably warm and has left me buried in schoolwork, so I’ll keep it short (software localization awaits!)
I’m currently working on an interesting project in a class on internationalization and culture – we have to come up with a product that would not fly in our home country (or, for Americans, the foreign country we know best – France in my case). It’s funny, because a lot of things that people think wouldn’t work in France have actually already been adopted, like fast food, fashion sneakers, and to-go containers (well, they’re on their way in…)
Did you know that Lyon was voted “Europe’s Leading City Break Destination” last year? It’s not hard to see why. Lyon is perfect for a little getaway – there’s lots going on, but not to the point that it’s overwhelming. You can make a weekend out of it, or stay awhile, if you’re not in a hurry. The city has evolved so much in the last few years, with loads of hip cafés and new restaurants setting up shop. It’s a city close to my heart, and if you ask me, it’s ze place to be in France. (I should know – I stayed for three years.)
Whenever I spend a few months in a new city, I make a list of all the things I want to do and systematically check them off (boy, do I know how to have fun.) Otherwise, I get lulled into the stupor of “we can go anytime,” and “anytime” turns into “never.”
August marked the end of my time in San Francisco, so I checked a few last things off my list…
I moved about eight times in four years in France. You’d think it wouldn’t phase me anymore, but no. I hate moving. I dread moving. I hang onto stuff I should throw out and I throw out stuff I later regret. And I have no upper body strength, so I suck at the actual moving things part too.
(Remind me to tell you about that one time Hugo and I moved a convertible sofa, just the two of us. Actually, I’ll tell you now. It was really, really, really heavy, and there was no parking in front of our building. We had to park several blocks away and carry the damn couch. I literally howled all the way down the street. Hugo was super embarrassed.)
I am writing this post from grey Monterey – it’s the first time in weeks that I’ve been able to get cozy in my sweatpants and spend some quality time with my own MacBook, not at work.
If you are at all in sync with the Gregorian calendar, you may have noticed that July ended a few weeks ago, and yet here I am still writing about it, because I stubbornly refuse to stop writing these monthly posts until I have a collection of twelve. I may have to rethink them next year though – my blogging time is limited and I would rather write more useful posts.
July was awesome because Hugo’s parents came to visit from France! It was their first time on the west coast and they loved California. We showed them around San Francisco, spent a sweltering weekend in wine country, and took them down to foggy Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove. They were surprised by the Bay Area microclimates – drive twenty minutes east and the weather is completely different, for better or worse!
I love Lyon all year round, but there’s something about summer. (For one thing, it’s the only time of year I actually want to leave my apartment after 9 pm.) Summer means rosé-drenched picnics, sunny afternoons with a cone of melon sorbet, and finally being able to wear that sundress that sits untouched in my closet nine months a year.
I admit that last summer, there was a period when it was so hot that I spent three days prone on the couch in front of the fan watching Orange is the New Black and drinking grapefruit Pulco like it was my job.
But when you’re not hiding from the scorching heat, Lyon is pretty great in the summer. Here are a few things I love to do during the estival months in Lyon.