Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wherever You Go, There You Are

So here I am. I know it has taken me a while to start this thing (having been in Europe about a month now), so I apologize for my tardiness and hope you all will understand I was a bit distracted these last few weeks ;)

To sum up what you have missed: Swedish McDonald's is still the best in the world, Swedish women are so hot they can't keep there hands off each other (literally), and Swedish men really probably are the best partners due to their "enlightened attitudes toward equality and gender roles" as The Local has reported http://www.thelocal.se/21098/20090804/ (I can't cook, clean, or do laundry the Swedish way--yet! But I want to learn!).

Jonatan and I had a great time doing what we do: eating, relaxing, laughing ;) And I was truly sad to leave when it came time. Goteborg is a beautiful, welcoming city and I enjoyed exploring it a bit more on my own this time (as Jonatan was in school. which was ok, because now I am totally comfortable taking the buses and trams all by myself. and shopping all by myself too, the most important thing).

I even joined a club while I was there: The American Women's Club of Goteborg http://awcgothenburg.com/ and was able to connect with many interesting women living the expat life with their Swedish partners in this coastal city. Good contacts to have!

Jonatan and I also got to share the most exciting weekend together: meeting the twins! Alexandra (Jonatan's sister) and Felipe (her husband) welcomed their first children into the world one month ago: Victoria and Valentina. They were the most beautiful babies and spending time with them and the family was very heart warming (I still need to work on that svenska though...I'm starting up that Rosetta Stone again).

But sadly, I had to eventually say hej då to Sverige and bonjour to France (though I hope to get back to Sweden soon! And not just because I had to be an eno gab on my flight out and leave half of my luggage there because I am an idiot and don't check baggage allowances on flights within Europe until two days before I leave).
So now I am in Lille, my new home for the next 7 months. I admit, yesterday, after travelling from Goteborg to Oslo to Paris and then finally to Lille, I was a bit of a poop. I was nervous, anxious, stressed, lonely and my heart was hurting a lot. But, thanks to the most generous friends, I had a place to stay and a tour guide during my time of transition.

And Lille really is an exquisite city. The past 24 hours I have felt a bit off balance and have been trying to search for that passion and admiration I usually feel for anything French. It is slowly coming back, especially after I devoured a tarte au sucre and a gourmandise from the original Paul (boulangerie), but I am hopeful that once I am settled I will yet again be mesmerized with the certain magic this place holds for me (like the food, shopping, architecture, history, language, culture and art and not the beaurocracy or the pain in the *** it is to do pretty much do anything practical here. but whatever. this is definitely only temporary that I will be here, so I might as well just focus on the good stuff and enjoy it ;).

I have so far set up a French cell phone number for myself, tried unsuccessfully again to contact the teachers at my schools in Valenciennes (for those of you who don't know, I will be teaching English this year in 3 French public primary schools in the city of Valenciennes, about 30km outside of Lille), and met up with about 10 other American teaching assistants in the same boat as me. It really is great to be able to meet with people going through the same thing as you--especially when it can be so frustrating!

Anyways, I enjoyed a tasty steack avec sauce deux poivres et frites this evening at Aux Moules http://www.auxmoules.com/ and a big Belgian beer with my fellow assistants.
Tomorrow it is off to discover Valenciennes, desperately search for a place to live and maybe write and discover more of this new place. And it's not bad. It may be missing a few places and people in particular that I would like to have, but it's alright. I think I will enjoy it just fine. Afterall, how bad can a place be that sells chocolate covered waffles? Not bad at all...


  1. I am so proud of my daughter...she has the world at her fingertips, Sweden in her heart, France on her mind, and her mom's love and admiration enfolding her.

  2. how is valenciennes liana? Better then poop-creek, Oregon?