Adventures in the Alps….

Last weekend I wore a pair of running shoes and went for a hike in the French Alps with a fellow Au Pair from Germany. We decided to get out and explore a bit, and since the cold weather has been fast approaching, we decided it was probably one of the last chances we’d have to comfortably hike up a mountain. (But let’s be real…there has never really been a time when I have been able to comfortably hike up a mountain. But as they say…when in France.)

She brought a map/book on various hiking trails in the area and we started driving. The GPS couldn’t find our cross streets, so we decided to wing it. After a while we finally stumbled upon signs for Mount Veyrier, and after asking a couple pedestrians for directions in broken French, we ended up driving straight ahead. There were a couple of Private Property signs, but of course, we ignored them and kept driving up until we reached a barrier positioned at what felt like a 90 degree angle. We looked up, and I tried not to look down, because as steep as the street was it felt even more narrow. All I could think about was that if I had been driving my van, we wold probably still be stuck there. Luckily, after a 20 point turn in a small manual Honda model, we made it out. We took a deep breath and I looked over to her and said simply how the fuck do people live here?

We both shrugged our shoulders laughed and came to the obvious conclusion that, well, it’s France- what can you do.

She knew of another spot toward the top of a mountain that overlooked the lake, because she had visited it with her family several weeks prior. Somehow we managed to stumble upon a map on the side of the road as well as another helpful bystander, and we made it to Col de Forclaz by noon.

The lake was hidden under a cloud of fog, but the weather was perfect and we found a small path to hike up. Tennis shoes might not have been the best choice, but when you are living abroad on a dime, basically broke and relying on what you could fit into a couple suitcases, you gotta use what you got.

All in all, it was a great day exploring the Alps, strolling around Annecy and dipping our feet in the lake- I don’t think this place can get old.

Some photos:

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some thoughts on love.

People say many things about love.

They say it’s hard work, they say it’s easy. They say it comes when you least expect it. They say you must be open to it for it to arrive on your doorstep. They say you can’t fully love someone until you learn to love yourself. They say it means loving someone even more than you love yourself. They say opposites attract, they say it’s important to share common characteristics. They say it’s real when you can finish someone’s sentences. They say it means something special when it challenges you to see the world differently.

They say it’s the most complicated, inexplicable, insane, and intoxicating notion ever known to man. They say it’s overrated. They also say it’s the only thing that ever really matters.

This month is Justin and mine’s 6th anniversary. I honestly can’t wrap my head around the fact that the time has passed so quickly. It all seems like it happened in a flash. We were 18 and 19, (skinny), clueless, vulnerable, restless, naive and completely enamored by each other. It hasn’t always been easy. It hasn’t always been hard. Over the years we went from two clueless underclassman college kids to roommates, to partners-in-crime traveling and exploring new places, to two kids in their mid-twenties searching for themselves and for what it means to be two separate healthy, independent, successful people bonded together by this thing we call love. We have grown up together- we are still growing up together, and I couldn’t have pictured the past six years any other way, with any other person, anywhere else in this crazy world.

Raymond Carver wrote the following:

It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.”

Even though I’m trying to explain it in some small way here, I think he is touching on an important part of the truth- that there isn’t any way to describe love except to say that it is a combination of all of the above mentioned ironies from the beginning of this post, yet also none of them at all, wrapped up in one messy but beautiful package.

To Justin: There is really no way to describe how you make me feel. I love you in your crazy moments, I love you when you are quiet and sweet and vulnerable. I love you when all you have to say is a word like “Pepper” and we both fall into uncontrollable laughter. I loved living in a box with you in New York City, and I love loving you even when I’m a million miles away around the globe. Love is far too complicated for me to pretend like I can explain it fully. Even though there aren’t enough words in all of the languages of the world put together to adequately describe it, I know you mean more to me than you will probably ever understand. I know that I love you. I know that saying it is ‘hard’ to be apart doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface, but it is. I hope that in the end we can look back and say that we learned from all this, and grew stronger because of it. I miss you everyday, and I will continue to do so until I’m back home with you this summer.

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Happy anniversary, and cheers to everything we have shared together, and also to everything we can look forward to for the future.

BISOUS! XOXO

je t’aime toujours.

If I have to miss a good ‘ol American Halloween, I guess this will do. ;)

It’s no secret that the French know how to live-it up with their cuisine. Today was no exception.

It was Maya’s eighth birthday, which meant we started the afternoon off with champagne and appetizers: salmon- cheese crêpe rolls, mozarella-ham sticks from the Italian shop around the corner, and an avacodo-fish-orange parfait. We then went straight into authentic Mexican fajitas, wine, chocolate, and rainbow cake with white-chocolate icing (I didn’t know this existed until today, and quite frankly, I don’t think I will ever be satisfied by anything else again.) We polished it all off with espresso and homemade dark chocolate bites made with hazelnuts from their grandparents from yard.

Ummm…can life get any better than this? I am starting to think that all this food deserves its own blog, but for now I’ll leave it here. Here are some photos from the day:

Sidenote: I’m lucky enough to be here in France, but I feel like I won the lottery with this bunch. I can’t imagine being here with any other family.

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(my gift to Maya- I knitted a pillow 🙂 )

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Le Retour Des Alpages

Yesterday the cows came home.  Aka- Le Retour Des Alpages.  From what I can gather this is an event that takes place when the cows (who spend some time during the warmer months in the mountains) return back to ground level.  It includes a parade, handmade crafts like wood carvings, and lots of Tartiflette (a specialty dish of the region that is made up of potatoes, bacon, onions and lots and lots of Reblochon cheese).  It is pretty much the best thing I have ever tasted.

Speaking of food, I ate everything I could get my hands on yesterday- a hot dog in a baguette, homemade gingerbread, an espresso, and half of a beignet with nutella inside. I’m starting to realize running 3 miles a day isn’t helping me loose weight as much as maintain.  But whatever. Screw it.  I’m in France and I’m not here to eat lettuce.  Unless it’s with Maille Vinaigrette dressing, and then I’ll eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Here are some photos from the day:

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