Getting Gutsy

Wanderlust is defined as: a strong desire to travel. I have always felt that wanderlust was a part of me, woven into my very soul. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to travel somewhere and see something new, and I think I always will.

I studied abroad in Mulhouse, France in college and had an amazing time. When I got back, I starting looking for my next opportunity to return to France. I finally graduated in May 2013, my diploma in hand, and was terrified of what came next. I spent the summer looking for jobs everywhere I could. I had a sudden realization that I was looking for jobs that I didn’t actually want to find. I wasn’t ready to grow up. I simply wanted to travel because I was consumed by wanderlust.  After a suggestion from a friend, I started looking into being an au pair (a live-in nanny). I skyped several families but when I found my family in France, I thought that it could happen.

That was the moment I got gutsy. I stepped out of my comfort zone and will never forget sending the email to my host family confirming that I was going to go to Lyon, France for a year. I somehow decided to live with a family I only knew through a few skype calls. Lyon was a city I had barely heard of and I knew little about it before agreeing to go. I spoke French and studied it in college, but my host family spoke very little English. Realizing I was going to be speaking another language and not seeing my family and friends for a year was daunting and honestly terrifying. I knew I still had to go.

I distinctly remember standing in the airport with all my bags and turning around to my dad. I said, ” I can’t do this. I can’t go.” He told me it was a little too late, but it was something I really wanted to do so I had to try. It was the experience of a lifetime. I traveled all over Europe and did things that most people can only dream of doing. I met people that I will be friends with forever. My host family took me to the Alps, Paris, Rome and invited me into their lives to spend holidays and special moments with them.

I didn’t know the term “get gutsy” until recently, but it perfectly describes my experience. I have always had a determination to make myself happy and go after my dreams. My decision to be an au pair was not an easy one but I knew that I needed to go in order to be truly happy.  Coming back was extremely difficult but I was determined to still be happy. There were many times that I wasn’t, but I got an internship with Visit Bucks County that I learned so much from. I step into 2015 doing marketing and bartending at a brewery called Free Will. I am working in the beer industry, something completely new to me, but I am having so much fun learning. I actually look forward to Mondays now.  I feel pretty confident that someone can say, “She chased after her dreams. That girl is so gutsy.”


While on my adventures, I took pictures with signs in so many different places. In French they say: “Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me the world.”

Pérouges, France (Thank you)

Pérouges, France (Thank you)

Barcelona, Spain (Mom)

Barcelona, Spain (Mom)

Ceyzariat  Wine Festival (And)

Ceyzariat Wine Festival (And)

Coupe de la Ligue game Paris, France (Dad)

Coupe de la Ligue game Paris, France (Dad)

Dublin, Ireland (for)

Dublin, Ireland (for)

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (giving)

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (giving)

Lyon, France

Lyon, France (the world)

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.



As I Say Goodbye

As I write this it is a little more than a week to go before I hop on a plane back to where I am from, good old Perkasie, Pennsylvania. To be honest I am a bit conflicted about leaving so I wanted to write this to kind of sum up my experience and all that has happened.

I graduated university and had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I loved both my majors (PR and French) and I knew I wanted to go back and live in Europe and really improve my french. So I did. As I said in my last post, I feel like we all lose passion in our lives and I didn’t want to do that. Someone told me about au pairing and after Skyping with my host family, I made the fantastic albeit scary decision to get on a plane to a country I only barely knew to a family I didn’t know at all. It wasn’t easy and I hear people always saying “I wish I could do that”, and you can achieve anything if you work hard enough. I have always been so determined to do what I want to do. I am not sure where my path leads after this (and that is terrifying) but I am trying to just go along with it.

I have struggled a lot as well. I haves struggled a lot with my body issues because everyone here is so perfectly thin. Here is the thing though, I have curves and I may not be the skinniest like girl in a teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini, but I have become comfortable with my self this year and that is a really big thing for me. As far as struggling in love, well sorry to disappoint but I am still single and ready to mingle (although my best friend is happy I am not coming home engaged haha). I found someone I like but that whole thing is messy and complicated and as they say in Frozen, I need to “let it go” after next week. However, I am strong and independent and spent a year in Europe seeing the world so I need someone who can keep up with all that anyway. For the ladies out there remember that you deserve the same and you should never settle for someone who doesn’t put you at the top of their list.

I have met some incredible people here who have shown me what I can be and have shown me when to see the best and worst in other people. I have people I can depend on and people I can have fun with. So thank you to everyone who has supported me through all this. Whether I have met you along my European journey or whether you were at home looking at all my pictures and reading my blog posts, you all have helped me and inspired me to continue to see the world in any way that I can. I love knowing that there are people all around me who I can turn to.

A special shout out to my parents who have really helped make this possible. I started my travel journey at the age of 16. I remember BEGGING my parents every day for weeks to go on a trip to France. The first words I said when I landed back in the U.S. after that trip was “I’m going back” and I am nothing if not determined. So thank you for letting me travel the U.S. from Tennessee to Chicago to France and beyond. I don’t think either of you will ever realize how thankful I am that you let me chase the dreams that I have. A bit mushy I know, and I promise you can put your tissues away soon. Just look below please at the video and the pictures as a shout out to my parents and to all of you who have helped me along this journey. Thank you.


Pérouges, France (Thank you)

Pérouges, France 

Barcelona, Spain (Mom)

Barcelona, Spain 

Ceyzariat (And)


Coupe de la Ligue game Paris, France (Dad)

Coupe de la Ligue game Paris, France 

Dublin, Ireland (for)

Dublin, Ireland 

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland (giving)

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland 

Lyon, France

Lyon, France

I have taken these pictures in several cities. All together, the signs say “Thank you mom and dad for giving me the world” !

Thank you again to everyone! Take a look at the video below 🙂

Where has all our passion gone?

So bear with a bit as this might be a tad bit long but I think it is something worth saying. I have been through a lot this last year and seen a lot of things and right now I am looking at an uncertain future and leaving Europe.For those of you who do not know, I am an aupair in France and in three weeks I will be back on American soil. I am afraid of failing in my career or getting stuck doing something I don’t want to. I am afraid of never coming back to Europe but I have realized in the last few days that I can control a lot of these things if I am passionate enough about them. One thing that has been made clear while I was here is that I think we all lose passion for things in life and that is so sad. So here are my thoughts on it all. 

Our passion for our dreams

I have spoken to so many people who say “I wish I could do that”  or “it would be amazing if I could do that”….um you can. Newsflash: we can change our lives and follow our dreams. It is within our power. Please don’t think it was easy for me to get on a plane to a country I didn’t know and live with a family I didn’t know either. That is not easy but I am nothing if not determined. I wanted to live in Europe and I wanted to see the world. It was a dream of mine and so I made it happen. It wasn’t easy and there have been ups and downs but I am a different and better person because of it. We lose passion for our dreams by getting caught up in our daily lives and that dream vacation or dream career or dream person is completely pushed to the side and we settle for something less than we want….less than we deserve really. So take a little time to put that passion back. Save up for a vacation you have always wanted or take a weekend with your girls doing something you have always wanted to do because saying “I wish I could do that” won’t ever make something happen, you have to do that all on your own. 

Passion in love

Alright now I will be the first to admit that love is not a game I do well. I can’t flirt or dance or be super charming and I somehow attract people that are either butt faces or clingy. Not all the time mind you, but if it’s not one of those then it is timing. I met someone lovely last year….a month before I left. Seriously. This is my life. Regardless of that though I still want to believe that maybe true love is out there and it exists. I don’t want a Disney fairy tale, to be fair have you seen or read those stories? Um Snow White was fourteen and Cinderella’s guy had a major foot fetish and couldn’t remember what she looked like. No thanks. I have a fear or being alone my whole life and becoming a dog lady ( which is okay too because I love dogs). Maybe that will happen and maybe it won’t. I met someone this weekend though while out at a bar and the way he talked about his wife made me have hope that maybe someone will love me that way. 

Either way I have so many friends who are in relationships they don’t want to be in or are in them because they don’t want to put in the effort to get out. So we lose our passion in love to. Lackluster should never be something we should settle for. We shouldn’t settle at all really. What if while you are dragging your feet to end this stupid thing and make your life change, life is already doing it for you? The love of your life could be at the next bus stop, your favorite bar or coffee shop, stranger things have happened. Don’t lose your passion for love because I have seen it be great, and if it isn’t great then that person isn’t worth your time. I don’t know if I will ever find “the one” but I know that I want someone like the guy I met this weekend whose face lit up as he talked about his wife and someone who makes me laugh. Not you? Next. I don’t want to lose my passion for love and for believing in it. You shouldn’t either. 

Passion for our lives

I feel like so many of us tend to go through life and let it become mundane and boring. If you don’t like something then change it. We may not have control over everything but shouldn’t we also have the passion for life in general? We should wake up almost every morning (because some days just are terrible let’s be real) and be happy with your life. I am a but worried about going home and being in my little town and the drama there that can occur and then I realized I have the power to change that all. I may get negative sometimes and down in the dumps but the thing is that no one wants to come to a pity party. Sure your friends will bring ice cream and cake and listen to you but pity parties can’t last long because we can change most things. So have a passion for your daily life. Do the things you want to do with the people you want to do them with. Someone doesn’t like you? Too bad. Who ever gave them the power to make you change the way you feel about yourself? 

Anyways. This may have been a tad bit rant-like but I feel it is important that we embrace our lives and our dreams and everything else. this year I have seen the Colosseum, wiped out on a mountain in the Alps, drank champagne and eaten foie gras and met the most amazing people I could ask for. Thank you to the bartenders who listen to me drunk or just sit and have a drink with me to make me smile. Thank you to my host family and their friends who have given me a year I couldn’t have imagined. Thank you to my friends and family who have changed my life and supported me. You gave me the passion to follow my dreams. Whether for a season, a reason or a lifetime, everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Make excuses if you want to but I want to look back and say “I never lost my passion for life and I did some stupid things and some amazing things”. Sorry this may have been a bit sappy but I needed to rant it out either way. 

Awesome April

So I know that it is June and I am way behind on my blog posts. In the beginning of April I went to Barcelona for a weekend, which was dramatic and tiring and fun to say the least. Barcelona is such a beautiful city.

Most of you are probably reading to find out how my mom’s trip was. It was fantastic. We got to see so much and really loved it. It was so nice to get to spend some time with my momma. To start of my friend Micayla came to the airport with me and waiting for mom was really hard. Every person that came through the little opening doors I was jumping up and down. When she finally came through I squeaked “that’s her!” No I mean I actually squeaked-like a mouse. But she got to taste quenelles that night–a Lyon specialty (you can see a picture of them in my first post) and champagne of course and macaroons.

We left Saturday morning for Tours. It is about five hours away from Lyon and the region around Tours is called the Loire Valley and it is known mostly for the castles there–there are a lot. We visited one on Saturday with my host family called “Chenonceau”. It is the “woman’s castle” because mostly woman have built and ruled it. It is my favorite it is just so pretty, I actually visited it on my first trip to France in high school.

My host dad likes to photobomb just like me

My host dad likes to photobomb just like me

We actually stayed in an apartment that belonged to friends of the family, so we met them for drinks and dinner later (and had the best mimosas ever). So we spent the next two days in Tours and visited Chambord and while there took a horse carriage ride around the property, and it proceeded to pour down rain. It was insane but the castle was beautiful. The city of Tours is actually pretty cool as well. And Saturday night it rained so we ate pizza and drank champagne and watched The Last Song, which was the only thing on my computer we could watch. I love being all snuggled up while it rains.

Vouvray is white wine from that region and mom likes white wine so we tried to go find some on our way to La Rochelle, a little fishing village on the edge of France. Funny thing is, there are two La Rochelle’s in France. We stopped at a winery in the pouring rain and the guy was super nice and went “you aren’t twenty minutes away, you are two and a half hours away”. Well that cut into our time a bit but we backtracked and headed out. The city was so cool it was this old fort on the edge of the ocean. The fort is still there and the city itself was so old.

Ile de Ré was so cool. We went there the next day and it is this little tiny island that is famous for bike riding around….but little did we know about the donkeys. It was a bit cold to go bike riding anyways! We stayed in one of the little towns on the island and we were going for a stroll into town when we saw this place that has biscuits called “l’ane en culottes” and I started laughing “donkeys in underwear”. Mom loves donkeys so naturally we tracked the place down. While talking to owner we realized the DONKEYS WERE REAL. Like they wore pants. Awesome. So much awesome.

The story goes that the donkeys used to bring salt from the sea and other goods from St. Martin (on the island) to other towns. The mosquitoes were so annoying and they put these little pants on the donkeys to protect them, much to the donkey’s–and our–benefit. We checked out the donkey town that night for dinner and found donkeys sans pants and also walked onto the grounds of the prison. Anyways we found that the donkeys were going to put their party pants on the next day. So we changed our reservations and canceled our wine toursl'Ane en Culotte and buckled down for the night. We visited a little market the next day beforehand and then we got to see them. So seeing the donkeys was incredible…but they didn’t like us much. Well my donkey, Opus, refused to move and mom had to drag him the whole way because he refused to move. At the end, she went to climb on the same donkey and the guy goes “no no you get BIG donkey” and gives her Galopin. He was quite hungry and frequently tried to snack on the five minute stroll. I was laughing so hard he was successful once and bent all the way down, almost causing mom to fall off. I have a stuffed one in my room now that I may or may not (hint: I totally do) sleep with at night.

After we sadly parted way with the donkeys we headed to Bordeaux and drank champagne and ate cheese and went to a pub in the city center to dinner. May 1st here is a work holiday, so the whole city was shut down the next day pretty much, but it was still a nice city. But the after visiting the city we went to a cool winery for a tasting (three full glasses of wine, cheese, and coffee). Red wine is my thing, but mom was a good sport anyway. May 1st is also the day that all the wineries are open for tours. It was awesome and on the way out we got to drive through all the vineyards.

We then headed to a bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere–and I mean that in a good way. It was so relaxing there and all these little towns were around it. It was not touristy at all which was a bit refreshing. Le Cartounier is the name. They make all their bread and dinner homemade and from local ingredients. Seriously, that chestnut soup though. One of the owners is a masseuse too, so that is always cool. If you get a chance I totally recommend it for a girls weekend or a romantic one. There was this little town near it that is the hazelnut capital of Europe, and Nutella gets all their hazelnuts from there. It was so awesome mostly because I am fanatical about hazelnuts.

The last few days were all about seeing Lyon and its beauty. Mom met my friend Amber and we did a cool boat tour and got to meet my friend Micayla’s family for lunch and a trip to the basilica on top of the hill. All in all I would say it was a successful trip.


Mom is chilling in the O

Mom is chilling in the O

22 Moments

Sorry Taylor Swift, I will soon no longer be “feeling 22” because my birthday is Thursday and I will be turning the ripe old age of twenty-three, but to be fair though I packed a lot of things into this last year. It is weird for me to be celebrating my second birthday far from home. I have done many stupid things and I have cried and laughed and laughed so hard I cried but all those little things make for some interesting stories and add a little spice to life. So for my family and friends who are interested or for anyone curious to see my adventures of the past year, I am writing this list of “22 moments” from my twenty-second year of being on this lovely planet.

1. Chicago


The people I got to hang out with in Chicago. PS I am not enormous, my pockets are just filled with free things from the parade

Last year, I celebrated my birthday in Chicago with some really cool people. I went to Chicago so that I could visit my friend Amanda and it was absolutely fabulous. At the restaurant we waited so long for our reservation that they gave us free Prosecco. I also walked into a bar on my birthday and the bartender and I had a free drink together. Pretty interesting birthday.

2. Karmin

In Chicago I got to meet the band Karmin who I LOVE. Go look them up. I was so excited I couldn’t stop smiling.

3. Easter

Easter was really awesome because I was able to spend it with people who are basically my family:my godparents. Going to my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tommy’s included a very rigorous egg hunt and a ton of food. Fun fact: I won a pair of South Park boxers which were quite comfy.


Me and the lovely Kayla and Prue at bar crawl

4.A Surprising Few Days

About a week before graduation, I was at a bar with some of the alumni from my fraternity and I got a picture. The lovely Prudence was in said picture. She is from Australia and this made no sense. So I ran through the rain to get to Hangar 9. Turns out she surprised everyone, and was able to be there both for my graduation and for bar crawl. It was awesome

5. Bar Crawl

So it wasn’t the drinking that made this so much fun. It was the fact that this is such a huge event and everyone who is anyone goes. You don’t even need to drink, it is just about seeing everyone and the hilarity that ensues from this crazy time.

6. Brantley GilbertImage

I was able to meet Brantley Gilbert at the spring concert of my university which was definitely so cool.


Obviously this was a super highlight. Many tears, papers and summer classes later. My four-year journey was complete and I received my Bachelor of the Arts in Communication (PR and Advertising) and French with a minor in International Studies. I can’t even explain the pride I felt walking across that stage (while concentrating on not tripping and falling onstage).

8. Super Nerd Alert

I love  history, we go to Colonial Williamsburg every year and still love it (it is a fully functioning colonial town). 2013 was the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and of course me and my dad were ALL over that. It was full of reenactments and museums and history and super fun. Right up my alley. Not even kidding. Awesome. I got to spend time with Mary and Brian (shout out to Mom’s Coffeepot if you are in the Gettysburg area. The stuffed pepper soup is to die for.) Even though it was hot as all heck it was so cool to see all the battlefields. My dad also went wine tasting with me…words I never thought I would say.

9. Losing A Friend

Not every moment was a happy one. I lost my grandfather in July. I was able to rush down there and see him for a few days before he passed away. I told him that he needed to brush up on his card playing because I was going to beat him and I did and he laughed and I will never forget his laugh. Anyway, it’s a bit of a sad note but I am so glad I got to see him and I know he would be proud of all I am doing and all my adventures.


10. Pittsburgh

I went to this super awesome music festival with my friends Kayla and Chelsea. It was awesome (partly because I didn’t get lost and make illegal U-Turns this time). Any festival or outdoor celebration I can go to I love.

11. Grant 

I was so lucky to meet Grant, my friends Laura and Joe’s baby. He is so precious and I can’t wait to see him again when I get back.

12. Geneva

While the decision to become and au pair was not an easy one, I am glad all-in-all that I made it. I went to Geneva, Switzerland for the day with my host family and it is such a cool city.

annecy13. Annecy

When I was getting my visa, I met a super awesome girl named Kaitlyn at my appointment. I went to go visit her and we went to the city of Annecy in the south of France. It is an incredibly beautiful city and we peddle-boated on the lake and looked out at the mountains. I don’t think perfect can describe that day.

Throwing my wish into the Trevi Fountain!

Throwing my wish into the Trevi Fountain!

14. When in Rome…

If you haven’t caught on, I really like history. When the family asked if I wanted to go to Rome I completely jumped at the chance. While my host dad kept telling me the ruins were “just a pile of rocks”, I found those rocks fascinating. It was a dream of mine to see the Colosseum and it was just as fantastic in person. The Sistine Chapel and throwing my wish in the Trevi fountain just did not seem real.  Also, the rumors do not lie, pasta in Italy is absolutely delicious and I ate it like three times a day…good thing we walked a lot!

15. Paris je t’aime

Paris is a city all its own. It is beautiful with the Eiffel Tower and l’Arc de Triomphe. I went with my family in the fall to see the window displays and shop and eat delicious food. It will be great to go back again in a few weeks since I have not seen it in the Spring!

16. Yes We Cannes

Me and my friends went to Cannes in the south of France for a long weekend. I was so excited to touch the Mediterranean Sea. I met a lot of interesting people there and the stories are still being told. All-in-all a pretty awesome weekend.

17. Old Habits Die Hard

I first lived in France in the fall of 2011 in Mulhouse, France. I met awesome people and also was able to spend time with some friends I made in the US. I met Maud and Camille in the US before I studied abroad and have kept in touch with these two lovely ladies since then and spent time with them in France as well. For the first time in way too long, I went back and visited them. I am obsessed with Christmas markets. They are these markets famous in Alsace (and in many places in Europe) there is food, hot wine, crafts, and just awesomeness. Seeing my friends was so great and we visited a bunch of different markets. Le Cellier was my favorite restaurant in Mulhouse and we went there so much that when I went back this year, the owner still remembered me (and my accent of course). We met up with my friend Chris to go to dinner. It is still just as good after two years.

18. Fete des Lumieres

Light show at Place des Terreaux

Light show at Place des Terreaux

So this was a super cool celebration that they do in Lyon once a year. Apparently when they dedicated the statue of Mary outside the basilica at Fourviere, the people all descended into the road with lights to celebrate. In the days leading up to the day celebrating the dedication they do these really cool light shows all over the city. My friend Kaitlyn came in for the festival and we toured the city together….or tried because it was really crowded.

19. Holiday Lovin’

While the holidays were difficult being away from my family, it was actually really cool to celebrate them in a completely different culture. Christmas Eve was like a movie, drinking champagne as the brother or my host mom’s wife says she will not be drinking, they are expecting. Everyone hugged and was crying. Christmas Day was great, until I opened the champagne and accidentally poured it all over my host father’s dad. Luckily he has a sense of humor.

While New Year’s Eve was not as crazy as some, I actually had a really good time. They turned off the lights as the clock struck midnight and we all danced together. It was actually a lot of fun. Definitely a good few days.

Me and Cécile in front of Buckingham Palace

Me and Cécile in front of Buckingham Palace

20. From London With Love

My friend Cécile is currently living in London and I totally wanted to go visit her. When my friend said she found cheap flights for a weekend, I was absolutely there. London is one of my favorite cities now. We crashed a movie premiere and celebrated the Chinese New Year and played the lottery to attempt to win tickets to the Book of Mormon. Crazy fun and cool. It is so alive and there is so much to see. Seeing Cécile again and meeting her roommates was so much fun. I really hope I get to go back at some point. It is just as great as they say!

21. Val Cenis Mon Amour

I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Alps skiing with my host family. It was the first time I had gone skiing in the Alps and the first time in two years I was able to ski. It was absolutely amazing and so beautiful. I wish that I could have stayed there forever. The little town next to it was so damn cute. I walked to town as much as I could just to wander around.

22. The People!

I have met some really amazing people since my journey here began. It is hard to imagine what my life would be like without them and without coming here. I am surrounded by a constant support group of family and friends. Thank you to everyone who is looking at my pictures and reading my blog posts and commenting on all my statuses and stories. I miss all my family and friends back home but will miss everyone here once I go back! Well you made it through my twenty-two moments.. it is weird to think that in less than an hour I will be twenty-three….getting old over here.



This girl is my anchor. Love her so much

This girl is my anchor. Love her so much

Ladies night with the North American loves!

Ladies night with the North American loves!etting old over here.


Me, Camille and Maud meeting Santa

To Date or Not to Date a Traveling Girl: That is the question

So I keep seeing all these post about “date a girl who travels” or “don’t date a girl who travels” but this isn’t Jeopardy and you don’t necessarily need to choose a category for $500, Alex. As someone living in Europe right now I get asked a lot of questions about traveling and how I feel about the world. Do you like France or America better? Yeah, what kind of question is that? How do you respond? Oh well I don’t like home you know I only grew up there MY ENTIRE LIFE or no  I don’t like France I just felt like living here to suffer. I just love to travel and I love to see other worlds and other cultures, that doesn’t mean I need to pick a place that is my super favorite.

I love being American. I love BBQs and Christmas carols and NFL games on Sundays (Go Redskins!). I am from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and when I am having homesick days I go online and I look at all the covered bridges covered in snow and the community events going on. Also, I don’t necessarily need to see another country to travel, I can see my own country because I have never been to Yellowstone National Park or sat on the beaches of California,and dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean or climbed a mountain in Colorado. All things I really want to do. the Christmas tree lighting in my hometown, Perkasie is the “oldest outdoor community tree lighting” and I think that is pretty awesome. (

Despite loving home, I also love traveling the world. I spent a week in Rome seeing the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain and sipping prosecco at the Piazza Navona. I casually went to Paris for a weekend and am going to London this weekend simply because I can. I love history and spent a week in Berlin, Germany soaking it all in. I went to the Alsace region in France to meet with my good friends and tour the Christmas markets and drink hot wine. I celebrated Christmas and New Year’s with my awesome host family and got to see the way that other countries celebrate a holiday; toasting champagne and eating chestnuts with our entrée. In March I am going skiing in the Alps for a week and I am beyond excited.

The beautiful and famous Colosseum in Rome.

The beautiful and famous Colosseum in Rome.

So I don’t need to pick a favorite, I am proud of where I am from but I will never see enough of the world. However, that does not mean I will never settle down because I want to date someone and start a career and go out with my friends on the weekends. I can still travel and see things in my own country or out of it that doesn’t mean a travel girl will never settle down anywhere. That is just a silly thought.

I see the world differently than I would have if I had never gone anywhere. I see the way other people live and how our countries and our lives connect. I am interested in what goes on in other countries, although I admit I could definitely brush up more on current events. I miss the Lavender Farm back home and the Christmas tree lighting and the covered bridges and even the cheese steaks at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Of course I miss my family and my best friend Shauna and all my other friends. I now have a new appreciation for home and I see the beauty in it and in everything else I see. Home or abroad, I see friendships and love and beautiful scenery and history and stories. No matter where I go I now see all of that.

So as far as dating a traveling girl, well I think first you need to like her, not just because she travels or not…because that seems to be forgotten in a lot of blogs and articles I have read about traveling. If you do take a risk on one of us I can promise you one thing. She probably traveled because she needed to get it out of her system and see the wonders of the world because if you don’t let a traveling girl go for at least a little while, she will resent you for making her stay. Find her and connect with her again when she comes back in six months or a year or however long a time. When she comes back, she will appreciate you more and feel a little more comfortable in her skin being that she took the time to find out who she is. You will also be incredibly special and she will probably make you feel that way because she has traveled the world and met guys or girls from so many countries and cultures but she chose you out of all the people she has met to take a chance on. That in itself is pretty cool. I like going to parks or baseball games or community events on dates because I think you can’t talk in movies and dinners are set up like interviews (and no one likes those). Whether she travels or not, treat her like she is special and take her to do things out of the ordinary and fun. Like I said this isn’t Jeopardy, and every traveling girl doesn’t fit into a category, this is all just from a traveling girl’s point of view.


Referenced articles:

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New Year’s Eve and 2013

I think that we put a lot of pressure on New Year’s Eve and what the New Year will bring us…why? I don’t know about you but I could not even begin to tell you my resolutions for 2013 and I won’t remember ones that I make in 2014, if I make them. I don’t remember if I was supposed to lose weight or be nicer or something, and honestly I can’t even think now what I did last New Year’s Eve. But here is what I do remember about 2013…

                It was a year filled with good things and bad things. My parents got divorced: that sucked. Although because of both my parents’ new independence I am now closer with my father than I have ever been and I appreciate time with my mom more. My wonderful grandfather passed away: that sucked even more. However, I swear he waited until I could see him one last time and I will never forget the smile on his face and his laugh when I beat him in the last game of cards we ever played, because I told him he was losing his edge and didn’t practice 31 enough. I made friends, I lost friends, I got sad and upset but I also had some really good things happen in 2013.

                I had an awesome group of friends that I did stupid and fun things with, I had wine dinners at least once a week with Erika. I spent my Spring Break and 22nd birthday in Chicago, blaring Taylor Swift’s “22” all this a few days after I went to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade there.

                I graduated college with two majors that I truly love, and a minor. I wrote ten pages of French within a week…although that wasn’t entirely fun. I had a great summer working for people who made me laugh and bought me bagels. I met new people and went to my first Phillies game. I went to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. This was two days after I accepted an au pair job in Lyon, France. Finally a week before I left this summer one of my closest friends and her husband had their first baby and I got to hold him for the first time.

                Since I have come here I have seen Geneva, Switzerland. I have eaten the best Italian food and seen the coliseum, a dream of mine when I spent a week in Rome. I went to Paris and drank really expensive wine (thank you to my host dad’s boss who gave him one of the best wines out there). I spent my first Christmas in another country speaking another language. I sprayed champagne all over my host father’s uncle…who thankfully laughed. And I will spend New Year’s Eve tonight in a party hall with my family, who bought me a ticket when I said I had no idea what I was doing for the night anymore.

                My point is not to brag about this year, albeit an awesome year. My point is your year is not defined in resolutions and short term goals. Your year is defined in the things you do for yourself and the strides you make in becoming the person you want to be. So if you make resolutions, stick to them, write a sticky note with your resolution and stick in your calendar, or in your smart phone for April so you have a reminder part way through the year.

                And for the love of God can we please stop making tonight a big deal? I was so upset when I found out I couldn’t go to another city for New Year’s Eve, and now I realize that was just dumb, because in reality I am still spending it with people I enjoy being around. It may not be glamorous or exactly what I wanted for tonight but it sure beats the year I ate popcorn in my room and watched Gilmore Girls for five hours. As my friend Jana told me when I was upset about not having an epic party for New Year’s Eve, “everyone makes it be this big thing when in reality it is just another night”. So whether you are sitting drinking wine and watching romantic comedies or spending it with your best friend in Prague. Enjoy ringing in the New Year however you want; because it’s another year and another night, it will be as epic as you want it to be.

                Happy New Year from Lyon, France and may it bring great things and great people into your life!


We Wish You a French-y Christmas

So this was the first time I spent Christmas in another country….speaking another language. As upset as I was to not go home and see my friends and family I must say I am extremely lucky and my host family really made me feel like I am a part of their family. For those who haven’t followed my blog, I am an au pair in Lyon, France and loving it. 

Christmas Eve

Any event I have been to here always involves lots of champagne and wine. Which I am totally okay with, in fact they think it is funny that I love both so much until I explain how ridiculously expensive really good wine or champagne is back home. Either way I feel like I should explain how dinners work here. For Christmas there are traditional meals (at least in this region anyone know about the others?). Here it is salmon, oysters and foie gras. All of which are delicious and all of which I ate.

We always start with a cocktail hour. Always. Usually this is champagne and then little quiches and snacks (for Christmas Eve we had smoked salmon on bread and a few other little things). Basically everyone just sits around and talks for awhile but at Christmas I felt like I was in a movie. The tree was decorated and lit up and everyone was laughing as we started to pour the champagne. The wife of my host mom’s brother said that she wasn’t drinking champagne….they announced they were pregnant and expecting the baby just before I leave in July. Then we sang Christmas carols in English and french. It was a really cool way to see both cultures blended, since I was their first American at Christmas. 

The food  is always absolutely fantastic after an entrée of boudin blanc, we moved onto a chapon (which is a rooster) complete with sauce, roasted chestnuts and green beans. All the while, keep in mind, the wine is flowing. I have a wine book that my friend Nicole gave me for graduation, that everyone loves. I record what wine, the flavors and give it a number on a scale of one to ten. It is always a source of entertainment as people rate the wine we are currently drinking and look back on past ones. 

ImageFor dessert at Christmas, the tradition is a “bouche de Noel” which is a thin cake that you add some sort of filling to and then roll it up with ganache on top. It is decorated to look like a log. I also made three different cookies with American flavors: peanut butter chocolate chip, pumpkin chocolate chip and oatmeal. 

The traditions may be a bit different here but Santa is still just as anticipated by the children, I actually showed the kids something I used on the internet that can track Santa anywhere he is in the world which everyone just loved. 





Christmas Day

Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas. 

Christmas Day we went to my host father’s uncle’s house. Christmas Eve is spent with the mom’s side and Christmas Day is spent with the dad’s. Our appetizers were little puff pastries with various things in the center and something resembling caviar. So fancy. So the first bottle of champagne was opened with success, although not by me. There were several things that I learned about champagne that day, such as “how not to open a bottle of champagne”. One a champagne bottle there is first the foil on the bottle, then this little metal thing that holds the cork in and the cork itself. Apparently also if the champagne is cold, the bottle is not as pressurized. If the bottle is warm, however, the pressure inside the bottle builds up faster so that after you start to open the metal clasp, you have to get the cork out quickly as the pressure inside can pop the top off. 

I wish they had shared this information before I opened the champagne bottle. 

I took too long between taking the metal thing off and taking the cork out. This resulted in the cork being shot to the ceiling as I for some unknown reason turned the spraying bottle towards my host father’s uncle, showering him and soaking him in champagne. Not my best moment, although luckily no one was mad at me for it. 

For the big Christmas lunch, we ordered from a nice restaurant all the things. After fresh oysters and foie gras, we had a lobster salad on a bed of turnips. So delicious. They have “lard” here which is pretty similar to bacon, or the closest I have found here. For my main course I had pheasant with lard/bacon on top on a bed of green veggies with a bacon/lard sauce. It was fantastic. And of course for dessert another delicious bouche de Noel, this one complete with a gnome (I named him Mike) and his hatchet and a polar bear. It was adorable. Also, they think it is like a game to make me finish the bottle of everything. I hadn’t slept muh the night before so when we went to the movie theaters later….I fell asleep for a few minutes. Image


All in all I had a really great Christmas and really felt like I was a part of the family here. My host dad even said to me after “I hope you were too busy and having too much fun to be sad about not being home”. It was hard not being home but Christmas was really great here as well, still a good time with a great family. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly side of being an au pair

So there are both pros and cons in being an au pair abroad. I shall talk about them all here.

So the ugly side. Children can be brats sometimes. Not all the time but you cannot expect to walk into sunshine and roses when you are living with a family and two children. Sometimes you have days where you just want to cry.
For example, last week we just had to buy this sticky stuff that makes posters stick to walls. I bought it with the younger girl while the older was at basketball. Cool. They can share I thought. False. Very false. When her sister asked to have some the next day (a wednesday) she literally screamed and cried in the corner saying she would not share because she would run out. If she cries I automatically do no sympathize, mostly because it is a frequent occurrence in this house. I yelled at them and told them that no one got it then. I was so overwhelmed that I almost cried.
Today (another wednesday) they said I cooked the burger too much and before even eating it the older girl told me she would not eat it. I made her try it and she told me it was disgusting. So while they ate french fries to their heart’s content. I made cordon bleu (its comes in a little pack) after sending it back for being cold the first time they finally took a bite the second time. In total they probably took five bites combined and refused to eat the rest. The of course were hungry for candy though, and then they told the cordon bleu tasted gross also. Again I almost cried I was so fed up.
So in summary the ugly side: Wednesdays and school holidays. Twelve lovely hours a day.

The bad. Sometimes they get sick or tired. They are children after all. When they are tired they are eitehr slap happy or like little tiny demons. When someone doesn’t tell the younger one something. She cries until she gets her way. This isn’t an au pair child thing, it is simply a child thing. They are a pain sometimes. If you don’t choose the right family, or ask the right questions. That could be the ugliest part of all though.

The good. You are a part of a family. I have a really good relationship with my family. The first time I wanted to go out in Lyon, they were afraid I would get lost and so the dad drove me to Lyon and picked me up at 12:30 in the pouring rain. They also let me try whatever I want. I ate foie gras the other day because I had never had it. My close friend came to visit last weekend and they invited her over for dinner so they could get to know a good friend of mine. My friend and her boyfriend didn’t leave until 1am because we had such a good time. My friend is coming to visit named Kaitlyn which is a hard name in french. They have repeated her name every night this week so they can say it right.

The kids are also definitely a good when we play all together and dance together. Last week was the older one’s birthday

Birthday time!

and I made a cake a we celebrated and it was a family moment. That’s what makes it worth it I think. There are bad days and good days. Days the kids love me and days we don’t like each other. But I like being a part of this family. I am even invited to dinner parties with their friends. So You have to make a pro and con list to be an au pair. For me the really good outweighs the few bad.


Happy Wednesday fellow au pairs. Bon courage.

I Don’t Like Condoms on My Cheese: and several other things I have said and done

So I actually said that. I said in America we have too many condoms on our cheese and that French cheese is delicious. What I meant to say was that French cheese in America has preservatives in it….but in French “preservatif” means condom I apparently was supposed to say it is pasteurized. Oh well.

Last night I also said that I liked the sound of the sandwich the host dad was eating. Not sound like “that sounds good” sound like I could hear his sandwich. They find it amusing I find it extremely frustrating.

I tried these one of my first days and the family laughs at me because I keep asking if we can eat them again

I tried these one of my first days and the family laughs at me because I keep asking if we can eat them again

Also the traffic rules here are a bit different than they are in America. For instance, a yellow light doesn’t mean you can go through it. A yellow light apparently means that you need to stop immediately. As a result of not understanding this, I have run several red lights (once when Cassandre was in the car with me. Awesome.)

But I have also gotten to try things this first weekend that were crazy. The first day I got here I was so exhausted that I started speaking English in the car (which got me some odd looks since they don’t speak a lot of English). I tried this kind of gel thing in a cake pan that was basically everything left over from the pig….it was interesting. I also had “salad” which was made of pig cheek. It surprisingly was not that bad but since I knew it was pig cheek, it freaked me out a bit. I tried these things that are apparently a specialty here. It is fat. Literally fat in like a chip. It was so gross but I tried it just to see. Last night we had brioche with sausage in it which was super delicious.

The macaroons here are just fabulous and so is the cheese. It is really great because if I want to try something they let me try it so I literally get a taste of everything.

On to the wine. Okay so they own a winery with like thirty five other people. Which is school because only thirty five people in the country get wine from this winery. It is pretty good wine too. We have so far had three bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne. The white wine was from the winery they own. The other two were thirteen and fourteen years old. The one that was fourteen years old was absolutely amazing. I have this wine journal my friend Nicole gave me for my graduation that has really come in handy and I write down all of the wine I taste. They told me they will find me one that is a 10 and also I will probably need another journal.

Champagne from champagne. Checked off my Bucket List

Champagne from champagne. Checked off my Bucket List

The champagne was amazing. I told them a few days ago that I have a “bucket list” of things I want to do. On that list are going to Italy, skiing in the Alps, and drinking real champagne from Champagne (these are things we will be doing). I will post the list later but I actually got to drink said champagne. It was so good and they have a wine cabinet that has like 80 bottles of wine. Its insane.