A couple weeks ago one of my best friends from grad school visited with her husband, and she said she wanted to see somewhere fancy. Pas de problème—France has so much history that sometimes it seems like every large building used to be a palace of some sort. When she asked about Versailles, though, I told … Continue reading If you thought Versailles was fancy…
Halloween isn't really a thing in France, so Colin and I decided to celebrate on our own in the most spook-tacular way: by going ghost-hunting in the catacombs. The Paris catacombs, created in the late 1700s to address problems with overflowing cemeteries, are hidden deep underground and are full of artfully arranged human bones, mostly … Continue reading I ain’t afraid of no ghost
Time for another language lesson update! I debated for ages whether to share this story, but since I promised you the good, the bad, and the horribly awkward, I feel like I can't hold back on the embarrassing stories front. Anyway, I was at discussion group shortly after my trip to Switzerland with friends Beth … Continue reading Not that kind of friend!
You may remember, from about a month ago, the Great Macaron Showdown. During Round One, Colin and I bought macarons from the super-traditional Ladurée; we thought they were great. During Round Two, Colin’s brother treated us to macarons from Ladurée’s more experimental rival Pierre Hermé; they were great, too. That left things at a bit … Continue reading The Great Macaron Showdown, Round Three
Over the last few weeks, between visitors, I started exploring some new programs and tools that seem like they might be useful professionally. It's been a lot of fun to learn something that's not French! Since I didn't have an actual project to work on, I tasked myself with using Esri's Story Maps tool to … Continue reading A Day Without Cars
Hey fellow Americans, I’m dropping in today with a quick reminder to vote! First, register. If you’re an American abroad, you can do so by filling out a short form available here: https://www.fvap.gov/citizen-voter. (Fun fact: as a citizen abroad, you generally vote in the state where you lived last, so Colin and I are still … Continue reading Time to register to vote!
I’ve been to my French discussion group three times since the day I accidentally assumed the role of (amateur) photographer, and I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: my secret identity as an economist-turned-heiress-photographer is still intact. The bad news: the instructor Laurine seems to think that having a photographer … Continue reading The current state of my secret identity
The success of every spy (so I’m told…) depends on the strength of their cover – their “legend.” Without a good one, a spy’s going to get found out before they even make it to Chapter Two. That’s probably not news to you if you’ve read any spy book ever. But here’s what you might … Continue reading Five truths about being a spy and learning French
While Colin's brother was visiting, he mentioned that he wanted to try some macarons. So although Colin and I had to leave him to meet our landlady for a glass of wine (she was passing through Paris, and we'd never met her in person), we gave Ross directions to the nearest Pierre Hermé and told … Continue reading More macarons!
I may have mentioned a time or two before that Paris is very easy to love. Beyond the list of things written about in every guidebook, the city reveals its character in small ways, in the otherwise understated gaps between the glitz and glam. One of the most powerful of these glimpses is the plaza across … Continue reading Responsibility and overcoming indifference