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//

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.
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