• Adventureland!,  Off to See the World

    In France: A World Cup Story

    France, 2006. My sister and I were on a we’re in our early 20’s so why the hell not? adventure, back before either of us had been bitten by too much cynicism and the economy was still friendly enough toward young ladies in college with part-time jobs. It was totally by accident or serendipity that we arrived and exchanged our dollars for euros during one of the most thrilling times to be in the country. We had heard the buzz of the World Cup during our week in Paris, but the excitement didn’t ramp up until the final 16, when we were on the Côte d’Azur. Games were on in every café, crowds stuffed onto the…

  • Adventureland!,  Off to See the World

    Une Serviette and Other Words

    Running out of tissue while in a foreign country is exactly my sort of predicament. I had been walking around the citadel all morning, and now I headed toward the peninsula where the naval memorial stood. I wondered if it would look like the beaches of Normandy, swelling green lumps between craters, beyond the smooth beach. Like others with severe allergies, I carry tissue with me wherever I go, as if it were an EpiPen or, more accurately, a pacemaker, because it’s something I always, always need. As I sniffled my way down Rue Dauphiné, I searched for a drugstore, or at the very least, a café. A burgundy awning poked out up ahead, sheltering…

  • Adventureland!,  Off to See the World

    Good in a Crisis

    With another subtle glance over my shoulder, I nudged my sister. “They’re still there?” she whispered, without moving her lips. I nodded slightly. Walking back to our hotel from the café, we had just finished watching Les Bleus win yet another game in the world cup. The metro had closed for the night, and like typical twenty-somethings we had carelessly missed the last bus by about 20 minutes. “What should we do?” she asked under her breath. She had clearly deferred all judgement to me, the Francophile of the trip. Either that, or she thought my two years on her had prepared me for late-night muggings. “Just keep walking like nothing’s happening. If we…

  • General Lunacy,  Writing

    Welcome to My Brain: Things I Am Thinking About This Week

    Things I’m thinking about: I am a much more sane person when I take regular internet sabbaticals. I took one last week, and emerged a pleasanter creature. Clothes shopping is not nearly as fun when you don’t fit in the same kind of clothing you’re used to wearing: like, say, jeans. I’m doing better with the whole body image insecurity thing on a macro level, but sometimes it’s three steps forward, one step back. Dresses with tights and large sweaters, you will be my friends from now on. This whole Walmart vs. Ashton Kutcher thing. Basically, everything that is wrong with society today. I give this stuff way too much…

  • Bastille Day Fireworks
    Off to See the World

    Happy Bastille Day

    I’m a little late with this one (Bastille Day is on July 14th), but I was kind of busy getting laid off on the day I had planned this post, so cut me some slack. Please and thank you. I have been thinking a lot about Bastille Day in the past few weeks. Yeah, I know I’m an American, so why am I thinking about the day of French Independence? Well, mostly because every year around this time I start reminiscing about the June and July I spent in France. This was the year I celebrated Bastille Day instead of the Fourth of July; the year France almost won the…

  • General Lunacy,  Off to See the World

    An Affair (with Cheese) to Remember

    I hit a turning point in my life when I discovered my love for cheese. This sounds shocking, but I hated cheese growing up unless mom disguised it as something else, like on pizza or a hamburger. No string cheese for me, no little wedges with the cow face on them for snack, nuh-uh, nothankyou. Just give me some Teddy Grahams and I’ll be happy. I had always been a picky eater. My list of no-can-dos would have intimidated even the most easy-going of mothers: broccoli, brussels sprouts, mayonnaise, mushrooms, cantaloupe, apple pie, parsnips, jelly, wild rice, tuna, salad dressing of any kind. I could extend that list, but I’d like to…

  • Off to See the World


    I followed the point-by-point instructions in Let’s Go: France, but wasn’t sure I’d taken the correct bus – much less gotten off at the right stop – until the museum appeared ahead of me. After a half day of vague directions and multiple bus transfers, it wasn’t far now.  Shifting the backpack on my shoulders so it wouldn’t rub the sore patch along my collarbone, I sped up, buoyed by relief that I hadn’t gotten hopelessly lost. Again. Sweat dribbled down my temples. I recalled the Provence of cinema, perpetually sunny and pleasant. Today, I sweated through my clothes, same as yesterday, and every other day I spent walking on solo day trips from town to…


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