Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Dear readers,

Thank you for your patience with me. Yes, it's been a while without any posts, and they have become sporadic at best. Here's what's been going on:

This summer Michael and I decided we really wanted to stay in Paris longer than his assignment, which ends this December. In time possibility became reality, and we are definitely extending our time in Paris. If you told me how much I would love this city when we initially moved, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But the truth is, as much as I love Paris now, I love the wonderful people in it more. Friends here changed loneliness into lunch dates and late nights out and have transformed our Parisian experience. We are so thankful for the opportunity to live life in Paris alongside such a wonderful community.

Since we've moved here, my focus has been on a few things. I've been trying to learn how to navigate life here, and a big part of that has been trying to learn French. When I am not in a "normal" routine, I've been hosting friends and family and getting to share what I've learned about Paris with them. As I've stepped back to consider what the next year in Paris will be like for me, I've realized that although I still plan to work on learning more French, I feel confident with what I know to get around. Overall I feel ready to take on a new challenge.

What's emerged is something I've been thinking about for a while. I am starting up a new blog, focused on travel to France and beyond in Europe. This blog is a platform to share my love of travel, tips and suggestions, and photography. And the site is up! Please visit it at:

My intention has always been to have this blog as a vehicle to share Michael and my experiences with friends and family, and I want to still keep this site updated. For the time being it may still be sparse as all my writing efforts are being focused on establishing my new site. Much has happened though and we have lots to share! I still have about 9 weeks full of visitors to write about, and trips to St. Malo, Ireland, Bruges, Dordogne, and Provence. That's a lot of ground to cover and I hope to share this with you soon.

In the meantime, please take a look at my new blog and let me know your thoughts and feedback! And thank you for your patience - I do hope to provide more updates soon!


Michael and me in Provence this October

Friday, October 4, 2013

Seeing the Sights with Chelsea

After my brother came to Paris, my cousin Chelsea came to visit.  Here's a look at some of the highlights!

We went up to see Sacré-Coeur, and it became a mini theme of the visit as we saw this landmark from many other angles throughout Paris.

View from the Pompidou Center 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

In Search of a Hairy Coo

"So what are you going to see in Scotland?" he asked.
"Um, we heard there was a castle to see in Edinburgh.  We're planning on going on a day trip to the Highlands," I replied.
"What are you going to see in the Highlands?" He started thumbing through our passports again.
The first thing that came to mind was to ask for recommendations.  Or to tell him that we wanted to see a hairy coo.  But I scrambled to remember where the tour was taking us to: "We're going to go out to Stirling and see the Monty Python castle at some point," I answered.

Silence for a few seconds.  David and Michael were hoping they didn't have to answer any sightseeing questions.

"Ok, you can go.  Have a good holiday."

This was my very bizarre exchange with the border control agent.  Clearly we were a little unprepared for a sightseeing interrogation, but eventually we were allowed to enter Scotland.

We did know there was a castle in Edinburgh to see, the Highlands to roam, and whiskey to be tasted.

On the long list of things we didn't know (but quickly were acquainted with) was haggis.  Inquiring minds can look it up to see what it is, but a hint is it is pictured below next to the beans.

Haggis is apparently popular with the locals and not just reserved for naive tourists.  And it transcends breakfast - it can be on a burger or found as a pizza topping for example.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Iceland in Pictures

What does one go to Iceland for?

This was my question after Michael proposed the idea of a short trip there.  Not that I was opposed to it, but it just hadn't been a destination I had considered.  But with a promotion with Icelandair that allowed a free layover in Iceland from Europe to the US, we were able to get in a small vacation of four days on our way for a visit with our families in May.

Iceland was not on my radar before this trip, but it's a place I would love to explore more.  Let me show you why...

Hello, Iceland!

We landed just outside the capital, Reykjavík, and immediately got in our rental car to drive about four hours east.  The plan was to see some of the country's amazing nature before spending a day in its capital.  

On our way, we stopped to see this stunning beauty.  Meet Seljalandsfoss.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Last year, the firework display for Bastille Day left quite an impression on me.  So much so that when my friend Sammy was looking into booking tickets to visit sometime in the summer, I told her to base her trip around being here on July 14.

Last year we showed up with enough time to get a small patch of grass on the Champ de Mars.  We were a little more savvy this time around.  We arrived much earlier, packed a picnic, brought friends and games, and enjoyed a lovely afternoon together before the show.

Take note of how much grass you can see around 7pm

This is around the time we looked for a spot on the lawn last year.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eating Our Way Through Paris

Sometimes people ask if me if I'm bored of going to all the top tourist sites in Paris when visitors come.  But my answer has always been no.  The reason is each visitor who comes is different and has specific interests.  So while a trip to see the Eiffel Tower seems to be the site where all these varying interests intersect, the rest of any visit is as unique as the loved one we are spending time with.

Take David and Carissa's weekend trip to Paris together.  They had two days in Paris at the end of a whirlwind three-week trip through Europe.  When I asked my brother how he wanted to spend his time here, his answer was a simple one.  Eating.

An easy enough request.

Just a warning, you may not want to continue reading on an empty stomach.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Córdoba, Spain

Our side trip to Cordoba was motivated by a desire to see the La Mezquita.  I've decided this is one of the most intriguing buildings I have visited.


There was a structure on this site since the year 600, when a church was built here.  Then in 784 it was rebuilt as a mosque.  Hence the name the locals refer to it as, La Mezquita.  In 1236, Cordoba was conquered and the mosque was transformed into a church again.  However, the mosque was not torn down but simply altered, leaving intact the original mosque structure.

So when you enter, you are surrounded by a sea of beautiful arches that survived from when it was a mosque.

Then, as you make your way towards the center, suddenly it gets brighter and from the columns emerges a cathedral.   It is known as the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba and mass is still held here.

This was such a neat place to visit and well worth a day trip to see!

We're glad we made Sevilla our home base though...not as charming a city from what we saw on a this picturesque river :-)