Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad


Our Cake!

ImageWe made a cake! Awesomely, all of our frosting was delicious even though we had never made it before! We got to make a chocolate frosting and an addicting (don’t worry no nicotine) vanilla one. Unfortunately, it makes me even more sad about the horrible freezers in france. And to add onto it, this cake almost melted and would have if John, the guy who we were giving the cake to, hadn’t done his food surgery. Overall, it was amazing!

No Emails after 6 pm in France? Too Good to be True

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No Emails after 6 pm in France? Too Good to be True

For those who are just tuning in, it was widely reported a few weeks back that the French will be shutting off email at 6pm. The Guardian, Fast Company, and a bunch of people reported it. On Twitter, it seemed like it gave people an opportunity to make fun of the French culture of work.

But the basis of the story is more mundane. As a result of the recent government switch-up, one of the first initiatives to show how the new administration is working hard to achieve their socialist capitalist agenda, was to reinforce the “pacte de responsibilité”, the agreement that holds  between employer and employee. One such addition was to prevent employers from being able to pressure employees to work harder by sending emails after office hours – essentially, the digital equivalent of not receiving a phone call in the middle of dinner from your boss.

But the reality is that it affects about 1% of the people working for the regional city government, and leaves the rest of us to toil on as normal.

Ah, well. While it made for great headlines, the reality is it’ll (still) be up to each of us individually to manage the load and expectations of email.


Save. Ship. Shed.

Cardboard boxes. White Labels. 978 decisions a day. Moving is exhausting. Clarifying too.

Finding the memorabilia was fun. For example, I kept the very first drawing pencils that kiddo used. Silly in some ways — he’ll never need them in the future, and he probably won’t remember them. But I always loved watching him draw with these 20 or so 4-inch pencils that fit into a circle box.

Some things need to be shipped to France, via a small crate that will be shipped over the seas. Champagne glasses. A handmade quilt.  Kiddo chose a really soft blanket. We also packed some art, to help us feel like it is home.

There is the stuff we’ll need when we get home. Beds. Hangers. That goes to storage.

And then we shed the things we no longer need. Lipsticks from 2010. Prada perfume bottle that Curt gave and I said was for ‘his other girlfriend’ since I don’t wear perfume.

In the unearthing of old papers, I found the original design of my desk back, custom created in 2003. One side of the desk has a pull out bread-board — a way for a guest to write. Kiddo used this space to do his first homework, his first drawings.

Desk design

Every time I look at it, I think of him there. Him so little and small compared to this desk which was huge, and heavy. I’ve yet to find a good home for the desk, and I hope it finds a great new owner. Two books have been written on it, and countless interesting conversations had near it. But what I’ll always remember about this desk is kiddo climbing into a chair, and then sitting on his knees while he worked alongside me.


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We go to Paris in just a few short weeks, and I’m planning on dancing in ALL these spots: the Louvre Museum, the spot under the overground metro (near the 15th), the carousel near the Hotel Deville, the Siene, Luxembourg gardens, and so on.

Really. I swear I will.

Cause the darn move will be OVER.

Maybe I’ll have kiddo do it with me and we’ll post that video.

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Saying Goodbye

On Friday the 13th, we threw a party to say goodbye to our neighbors and friends from kiddo’s elementary school.


We got a taco truck, which we thought would make it super easy. And generally speaking it was. Only thing was … they didn’t tell me I need to have my own plates and napkins. Whoopsie.


My friend Marie Cameron (an unbelievable artist who also happens to live near us) made rose mojitos. Other friends bartended. There was some gin-mango drink that was also divine.

We also ordered a jumpy house, which all of kiddos’ friends LOVED.  There was loads of squealing.


There was sliced cold watermelon to eat.


And the reason the kids are all wet is due to the water-balloon fight.

Kiddo was beaming at the end of the night, so I think he had fun. We’re all a little meloncholy. But it’s better to celebrate the passage and this moment in time, than to ignore it and this party gave us the chance to do that.


My Graduation

Image                    Yay! I finally graduated from elementary school! It’s kinda weird thinking that I won’t step in the proximity of my school for at least another year, and that’s if I ever come back to visit in the first place. But I still think that it was cool when I got my certificate. Speaking of that, the picture above is me in line about to receive it! Yay again!