Friday, December 17, 2010

1st Semester: done

As I write this, I'm home in Cleveland, sitting with my dad while he polishes off a second bowl of ice cream, watching Office re-runs. It's good to be home.

This time of year is always filled with nostalgia. There's the 'year's end' reflecting (and what year it's been!), but since my life still allows me to live in semesters, it also means remembering everything that's happened in the past four months, watching students grow as they discovered Europe.

I was sitting in the Dean's office as classes were finishing, and as we shared our favorite memories of the semester, he paused for a moment, and said "You know. I love this job. But I hate that we have to say goodbye so often."

This semester was so wonderful for so many reasons. I learned so much: about myself, about loving others, about patience, about trust. And it went by in a flash.

One of my favorite afternoons this semester: coffee, muffins, vintage shops, and Scotland

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Snow Day!

In Luxembourg, snow day, translated, means:

....building snow forts in the Chateau courtyard/parking lot...

...exploring the grounds, discovering unknown buildings, covered in vines (this time I stumbled upon the old stables)...

...and lots of sledding on old, antique sleds, found in a forgotten closet. 

Last night, a blizzard literally blew through this tiny country, paralyzing highways and canceling evening plans. I braved the snow and ice to visit the local Christmas market, drinking hot wine under the quiet snow fall.
Schools around the country were closed for the day, including our little campus, so we made the most of our impromptu day off. And in addition to our snow fort, a ten foot snow man is watching over our castle, ready to welcome the staff and faculty tomorrow morning. 

My crazy realization of the day? In one week I'll be home. Home sweet home.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Expat Book Club

As I was packing my bags to return to Luxembourg this past August, I reviewed my bookshelf at home to see if there were any unread books I could take back with me.

And that is how I re-connected with Still Life by A.S. Byatt. I bought this book six years ago at Mac's, a used bookshop next to one of my favorite Cleveland restaurants. It was a mere $5 and quoted Toni Morrison's review on the back cover, so I figured it was a no-brainer.

I tried reading it, but for whatever reason, I never finished. As I was reading it this past month, I was glad I had waited a few years to really delve into this story. When I was 18 years old, I could have never imagined relating so profoundly to the main character from this book moving to France, being confused and turned around by a new culture, only to come out on the other side lovingly appreciating all its quirks.

This book is actually much more than just a little jaunt to France (she only spends the first quarter of the book there), but about figuring out life and all it's twists and turns.

It's great really.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


How to describe this trip to Turkey and Istanbul?

 Hagia Sophia

I would say wonderful, but really, it was so much more than that. A myriad of emotions went into this trip - nervousness (traveling alone, landing in Istanbul at 1:40 am), excitement (hugging my girl for the first time in ages), awe (Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque), and wonderment.

 This man's rabbits and rooster will tell your fortune. Honest.

I realized, in so many ways, that Istanbul is the place of beginnings - empires, movements of faith, culture, continents.  Its grandeur was pleasantly overwhelming for this small-country girl as I realized that there is something so refreshing about feeling like a speck in the middle of something much bigger than yourself.
Blue Mosque, at dusk.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

paris, je t'aime

Beautiful Paris, on a chilly September day in 2009, from the top of the Centre Pompidou.

How I love this city...