Yup! That’s life these days.
Learning French, teaching English, weekends in Strasbourg, weekdays further south, day trips to Switzerland, camping trips in Germany.
I have a lot of catching up to do because of my wishes to do things miraculously. While I only work 12 hours a week, I also draft many lesson plans, swim on weekdays, cook all of my meals and aimlessly scroll through the internet. Well, not too aimlessly.
I have been planning a very exciting winter trip with someone awesome. I have also started and now own a self-hosted blog. My very first! I am overjoyed about this. As a result, I have been spending hours on hours preparing posts for this new blog. I will definitely be sharing it here when it is published. I’ll also keep up with posting on this one. You lot are special.
So enough blog talk! What have you been doing Rushell?!
Here are some photos from my first two days in Paris, France.
In the first, I was at my friends’ home where we had an outdoor lunch in ‘pleasant French’ weather. No Trini would even step a toe outside in that weather for an extended period of time but, this is all about immersing myself in new cultures right? Plus, just look at that delicious dessert!
Woke up early one morning in Paris to witness this brilliant sunrise.
Benjamin has been a darling showing me around and translating what I don’t understand. He’s back in Paris now and I’m on the other side of the country but I enjoyed our exploring together. It was a great experience to see his side of the world and to begin to understand his behaviour in the context that it was bred.
Cooking is an everyday part of my life. Alsace is known for its numerous meals based on “apples of the Earth”… potatoes.
The Christmas market in Strasbourg was launched yesterday. I missed the launch (and the rain) but I found this wonderful reflection that I had to shoot! I’m heading back there on Sunday evening. If you see this, let us meet up!
The reality of much of my time: working on my new blog and building English presentations for my students.
A classic Strasbourg photo during one of my afternoon walks.
Ratatouille and curried basmati rice. Sometimes I get very creative, sometimes it is only pasta.
I have been adding new locks to my hair. Seemed fitting to take a photo when my hair was still out and unknotted. Also, my room and shower have three, huge, ceiling length windows. They aren’t awesome for the cold, even though they are double glassed but they let me see the stars from my bed at night. As well as, give wonderful natural lighting!
One of the first things that I did when moving into my new place, was to set up a peaceful, meditation corner. I used to eat here but I no longer do. I just eat in my very empty, but warm communal kitchen. It hurts to even call it a communal kitchen after having lived with the epitome of a communal kitchen last year at Les Échelles in Quebec.
Switzerland has some of the best water in the world no?
I made a day trip to Basel in Switzerland and had some fun around the Rhine river. Knowing how expensive Switzerland is, I packed my own meals and tea. Unfortunately, my tea went cold before I was able to drink it. An interesting phenomenon that has been occuring since my grade school days. Even though it was in a thermos! I have since made it back to Basel once more and I intend to return yet again. Most of the money that I spent there was given to buskers playing the sweetest music at the side of the street.
Perhaps the least bizarre thing but one of the most annoying is my sleep schedule. I remain away until 3-6am when I then fall asleep. Sometimes i have 8 am classes so I have to get right back up. Other times I can sleep until noon. I make use of this time by working on my blog and doing lots of drafts and a business plan. I’m usually quite jolly about this.
So you got a Paris sunrise, now I give to you, an Alsace sunset! This is the view from my room. I fancy it a lot.
Colmar, a small town just North of me, is as beautiful as beautiful can be.
After two weeks of work, I had two weeks of paid vacation. How awesome is that?! Unfortunately, I got a terrible flu that left me flat in bed. I missed the mini-Eurotrip that I had planned and partially paid for. As soon as I felt somewhat healthy, I rid myself of cabin fever and headed out into the wilderness!
Where did I go?
If you guessed Germany’s Black Forest then you guessed correctly! (I am sure that no one did hahaha!) I decided that I was going to do this while laying in bed a few days before. I had never gone camping, I did not own a camp and I had very limited, (like I can only say thank you) German.
So what did I do?
Well, first I did lots of research to find a campground. Then some more to find information about camping. I reached out to friends on Facebook and had them tell me “the most important thing that I should know for camping”. I found a tent, I bought a tent, I bought some more warm clothes and tenting equipment. I let a friend know where I was going. (Emergency support info, conveniently, she was halfway around the world in Japan!) Then I booked a bus ticket and went. Once I got there and was set up, I messaged mom and dad to inform them of my latest adventure. They were thrilled and encouraging!
Destination: Freiburg, Germany
I spent three days there and I had the experience of a lifetime! It is my intention to return. I hiked in the Black Forest, I journaled on breaks. I tried to learn some Germany and I wandered through the picturesque university town of Freiburg. The highlight of my trip was being out amongst natural material.
In Germany, wild camping is prohibited so I had to get a spot in Heizberg Camping Grounds at the foothills of the Black Forest. It was a perfect location for trail exploring, there were clean facilities and the staff was extremely helpful. They even left the keys to the kitchen and common area with me on my second night there. I saw on the forecast that a storm was coming with subzero temperatures so I wanted to have a backup plan in place. Just in case I needed to ditch my tent.
SO there ya go! That’s an update on what I’ve been doing. I also joined one of the swimming communities in my community. I attend CouchSurfing meetups, practice English/French with a new friend and I’ve started painting again. I have been very intentional about building a space and a pattern of activities that will not only keep me occupied (I only work 12 hours/week) but one which encourages self-growth and structure so that I can get through winter healthily and be standing in a vantage point if my old friend depression shows up during these short, grey days.
Cheers! I hope that you enjoyed this peek into my life and adventures as of late.