December 20, 2013

oh but california

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tomorrow, i'm heading home to cali for christmas!! when i first signed up for this program, i didn't think i would be able to come home at all, which would be so sad because, like 99% of the world, i think christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and i love spending it with my friends and family. but they changed the schedule of the program and now i'll be home for a few weeks. last christmas was one of the best christmas's, and even times, of my life so i'm so excited to come home in the middle of this glorious season. for me, everything about christmas screams LA. weird because most people would think los angeles is as unchristmas-y as it gets but treats at joan's, last minute christmas shopping at the grove, church services at reality, christmas parties with friends, the just-cold-enough-for-a-sweater weather and long car rides listening to christmas music sums up the feeling of this season for me. i love france but let's be honest: nothing will ever beat home during the holidays. i just feel so blessed that i get the opportunity to come home because i know there are so many that have to spend the holidays away from home, friends and family. thanking Jesus for my many blessings and remembering that above all, He is the reason for this season.
//photo of our tree from last year//

December 15, 2013

grateful for...

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1. christmas markets
2. randomly warm days
3. my package from home finally arriving after over a month
4. roasted chestnuts
5. rick steve's european christmas
6. this book i can't put down
7. miraculously getting an appointment for my visa checkup
8. crazy late nights with friends
9. the heater in my room that has become my constant companion
10. home in 5 days, christmas in 10 days!

//photo via pinterest//
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December 13, 2013

all is bright

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this city is so beautiful and magical lit up. there are lights scattered everywhere throughout the city and there is a huge pillar of multicolored lights right outside of the gate to my apartment. the christmas market, which will have its own post soon, takes on a life of its own at night with random disco balls and christmas music (in english!) blasting. but the pièce de résistance is the ferris and tree grove in the center of town. i never get tired of taking pictures of it so i hope you don't get tired of looking at it. it surely is a sight to behold and i'll be so sad when it leaves after the holidays

December 9, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

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nice at Christmas is so lovely. all the shops decorate and the fancy streets put up mini trees with red felt ornaments and there are lights everywhere! in the center of town, there is a Christmas village with ice skating and a ferris wheel and little booths selling sweets and overpriced presents. being here is such a change from being in New Zealand last year because kiwis are sadly not the biggest fans of Christmas or decorating so I'm getting my double fill this year. sometimes, when I have time to kill,  I'll walk around to window shop and take in all the creative ways the city decorates for noel. there is a massive Christmas ornament in place garabaldi, pillars of brightly colored lights on the side streets, a Christmas tree grove in front of one of the state buildings and giant light-up presents suspended above the main street. it's all a sight to see and it makes me wish Christmas was year around

December 7, 2013

november photo a day challenge

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these past few years, i've done a few really fun photo a day challenges but this one i just finished up with for the month of novemeber has been by far my favorite. it has been a great way to get creative and see this pretty city in a different light. even when i'm busy or stressed, it forced me to take out my camera and search for things to shoot. i'm so glad i stuck with it even though i ended a few days late. whenever i end up actually finishing a monthly photo challenge, it is such a great feeling of accomplishment and i love looking back and remembering all the moments captured in the photos. i enjoyed this so much, i think i'm going to do a photo challenge in january like i did in january of last year. it will be fun to contrast home and france and also look back and see the pictures i took on the same day last year. if you want to follow along with me, follow my instagram here

December 1, 2013

liberation farmers market

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it is probably already a well known fact on this blog that i love farmers markets. so when i found out i would be living just blocks from one of the biggest farmers markets in nice, i was over the moon. i walk through the market almost daily to get to class but i only just recently got to properly visit and shop. it's so interesting how different farmers markets are in france than the ones i'm used to back home. in america, they seem like an event. things seem much more staged and more attention is paid to aesthetics and detail. here, they are apart of life. they are much more pedestrian and gritty and feel more natural. i've been told this is probably because the market i shop at is the 'locals market'. the farmers market more geared towards tourists, the famous Cours Saleya, is more organized and visually pleasing but also more expensive. another thing i was surprised at was the lack of variety. it seems like almost every vender sells the same things! and very few booths are organic (or if they are they don't advertise it). i did find a bio (organic) vender who is very kind and has very good prices so when i do shop at the market, thats my first stop. afterwards, i'll pick up flowers or hunt for other things i need or just people watch and enjoy the sights and sounds and colors of the market.

November 28, 2013

thanksgiving thankfulness

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happy thanksgiving everyone! though i didn't do anything to celebrate today (besides making pumpkin oatmeal for breakfast), saturday i'm having a french/american thanksgiving feast with some people from the church! i'm pretty excited! look forward to lots of pictures coming soon. in the meantime, here are some things i am especially thankful for:
  • my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles… family in general
  • the experience to live in different countries and places {france, new zealand, ohio}
  • my home in california, both literally and figuratively
  • my favorite treats here: lemon macarons at lac, socca, emilie's cookies
  • and my favorites back home: veggie grill and native foods, sprinkles vegan red velvet, portola coffee
  • my cell phone, laptop, internet, etc...
  • wonderful friends: here, home and everywhere
  • travel and adventuring
  • Christmas being right around the corner
  • good books, inspiring movies and beautiful music
  • rituals like morning coffee and devos before bed
  • my health and the health of those closest to me
  • Jesus, the Gospel, the Bible, God's love
    what are you thankful for? 
    //photos of fall around nice//

November 21, 2013

grateful for...

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1. white fir candles
2. meeting (and going to church with) a fellow christian in my french class
3. the magic of christmas music
4. finally finding a great book to snuggle up with
5. the chocolate convention i stumbled into by accident over the weekend (so yum)
6. going home for christmas (t-minus one month)
7. staying warm and dry inside during torrential rain
8. finding yogi tea at a local bio shop (and the free mug with purchase)
9. the dwindling size of my french class
10. what a good mood the lady i live with has been in lately
//photo via pinterest//

November 15, 2013

dusk

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dusk has gotta be the most beautiful time of day in nice. lately, i have found myself out and about closer to this time, mostly because the sun sets around 5:30. i am really learning to enjoy the beauty of this brief time of the day. it is still light enough to see and there are still lots of people out (as you can see from the pictures) but the city is illuminated with signs and shop windows and the final light of the day dances on buildings. nice seems to be most alive at dusk because this is after most people get off from work and right before the shops close. here are a few pictures of my street (the main street in modern part of nice) on my walk home.

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November 12, 2013

c'est un parc

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goodness i love nice! i have never been somewhere that has felt so much like me. it has the perfect mix of everything: cute little shops and big "one stop shop" malls, farmers markets and food superstores, a convenient modern area and a beautiful old town, a beach down the street and hills and mountains a quick trip away, cheap cafes and gourmet restaurants... i could go on and on! but this past week, nice got the one thing i felt it was missing: a park! there are little parks around the city but nothing unified or central and unfortunately none near me. i wondered why there wasn't more green spaces but then i found out that the big eyesore of a construction site in the middle of town was going to be a state of the art park and it would be opening soon! and nice isn't like california so when they say something is opening, it opens on that day. probably the only thing in france that is ever on time... but i digress. it was actually an accident i was in the park on opening day but i'm so glad i was because there was live music and performers and big screens with movies and videos and an opening ceremony with the mayor and city officials. i've learned when something opens in france, it starts with a bang! looking forward to many more outings and visits here.

November 9, 2013

on the town

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my goal for this month was to explore more of nice and find places that are more local and less touristy. while i have been finding some wonderful places, i always find myself back on my street. i live on the main street in the modern section of town and it really is a one stop shop for many things. there is a farmers market a few blocks down from where i live, a really nice market near the turnoff for my school, lots of clothing and book stores and just about everything else you could think of. when i first came to france, i was worried that it would be like new zealand and i wouldn't be able to find many common things i'm accustomed to in the states. but i'm happy to say i've been able to find most things i could ever want and need, with the exception of canned pumpkin and kale but i'll let those slide. i also love walking along the street i live on because there are no cars and only the occasional tram to worry about so its pretty peaceful. believe it or not, all these pictures were taken within 10 minutes of where i live. so many photo ops can be so distracting especially when i'm trying to get to school on time!
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