walk and walk and walk

Bonjour tout le monde!

I hope everyone is safe! It’s so strange being across the ocean and reading about how your home country is simultaneously burning and drowning. I’m sending lots of love to you!

My routine hasn’t changed much since my last update. I’m slowly taking steps to have all of the necessary things to function, like a bank account, phone and metro pass. It’s a slow process but I’ve been doing fine managing without them! Thankfully, because I’m taking language classes, I’m a student, which means I can get a discounted rate riding the metro and get into museums for free! However, I don’t get my I.D. until the beginning of October when classes start.

Because I’m still forming a routine/flying solo, when I go on adventures, I usually end up walking for hours stopping to people watch, read or try to draw something. On Monday morning, I took a free walking tour of Montmartre and learned so much! My tour guide showed us some of the filming locations of Amelie, one of my FAV movies, and pointed out some areas where painters like Picasso and Van Gogh spent their time. She also showed us an alternative way up the top to avoid the many many tourists and hecklers. *Praise hands*

HIGHLIGHTS

I’ve been trying to take note of things happening that might normally go unnoticed. Here are some of my favorites:

I walked through the Jardin du Luxembourg and could smell the Lavender from 30 feet away. Heaven.

One afternoon, I was walking towards a cafe, very focused on the podcast I was listening to and I looked to my right and saw the BIGGEST, FLUFFIEST dog I may have ever seen, looking completely majestic (and hilarious), staring at me from the window of  a tiny car.

One particularly windy day, A woman’s scarf was blown off her neck and her husband dutifully chased it down. They laughed and walked away arm’s linked.

While meandering last Saturday, I came across a group of musicians probably about my age, playing jazz-ish music (I’m really bad at genre naming). If I’m being honest, the music wasn’t amazing, but their carefree and joyful attitude was very contagious. Just some musicians living their best lives playing along the Seine :)

They were playing close to a bridge called Pont Alexandre III, it’s one of the more famous bridges in Paris. It’s got the characteristic large black street lamps and a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. That being said, people watching here is PRIME. I saw four bridal photoshoots! There was also a woman dressed like a 1950’s model channelling some Audrey Hepburn vibes. It was very entertaining.

This is the bridge!

This is the bridge!

SOME PHOTOS

I honestly tried to intentionally take photos this week, but when I set out to use Madison's DSLR (which she gracious let me borrow) it died literally after I took the first picture. What luck. So, for now I present my attempts to take nice photos with my iPhone. 

Montmartre streets are just magical.

Montmartre streets are just magical.

Flower shops everywhere and all of them are DREAMY.

Flower shops everywhere and all of them are DREAMY.

sacre-coeur-au-pair-adventures

Recently my sister and I have become obsessed with French Bulldogs because CUTE. They also look like Stitch from Lilo and Stitch, haha. So, here is a very creepy photo I took while trying to be sneaky. Judge all you want. 

frenchie-lol
Place de la Republique

Place de la Republique

IMG_1144.JPG
The Canal St. Martin (I think...) It's quite lovely at the moment! I also realized that this might be the place where Amelie skips rocks? 

The Canal St. Martin (I think...) It's quite lovely at the moment! I also realized that this might be the place where Amelie skips rocks? 

A dreamy sunny afternoon!

A dreamy sunny afternoon!

C'est tout pour maintenant!

Bisous, 

Mallory

FRANCE WEEK 1

Hello everyone!

I’ve been in France for a week! I can hardly believe it. I’m hoping to write weekly updates of my adventures in France, but no promises. ;)

My host family lives in Malakoff, which is considered a suburb of Paris, but it’s literally one metro stop outside of the perimeter. My host parents explained that Paris is growing more and more expensive, so living in the “suburbs” is a more viable option. A larger house and an almost small town feel to the neighborhood are more appealing. (Sounds like Nashville, amirite?)

Even though Malakoff is technically out of the city, it doesn’t take long to get the city center via the metro. I am STOKED about not having to drive for at least 9 months. I love how public transit can be meditative. I’ve downloaded books on my iPad and listen to podcasts. It’s the dream.

So far, my everyday routine has been varied. My kids, Louise (12) and Samuel (8) just started school on Monday and the first week is a little irregular. When they are home, I hang out and play (although playing usually means, me watching and trying to keep up with what they are saying, haha). My main job is picking up Sam from school, which is about a four minute walk from the house and cooking dinner for the kids. Their parents get home around 8:00 most evenings, so it’s my responsibility to prepare les enfants for bed.

The family has been so kind and accommodating. The parents names are Sarah and Nathanael and both speak English very well. The kids are learning, but Louise is very good as well. Samuel is just beginning to learn so our communication can be quite entertaining. It’s a mix of my broken french and a lot of help from google translate on my phone. 

I haven’t done a lot of sightseeing yet, but I should be able to next week when the kids have a more regular class schedule.

A few highlights:

Saturday was my first day to adventure by myself and I ventured all over town. My favorite was La Canal St. Martin, which I hadn’t been to before. There is a little cafe called the Pavillion de Canaux that is set up like a house! You can even sit in a tub that has been converted into a little table with a perfect view of the canal! I was swooning. It’s worth a google search :)

Malakoff has a market every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. We went all together on Sunday to the market, it was very sweet. That night we drove into town and walked along the Seine.

I learned Hogwarts Houses have French names. Gryffindor = Gryffondor, Slytherin = Serpentard, Ravenclaw = Serdaigle, Hufflepuff = Poufsouffle. (I still amazed and goggled all the other languages.)

One day when I was walking home with Sam from school, we jaywalked (a tiny street) and Sam turns around, looks at me and says, in a very heavy accent, “we are gangsters.” I lol’d.

I have seen several French Bulldogs in Paris and it was the BEST. I’m hoping to document the next encounter.

That’s all for now! No pictures yet, but I’ll try to be better about taking photos during my day-to-day.

A tout à l'heure!

<3 Mallory

 

PortuGALS: Part Two

After spending the afternoon at Rod's house, we met up with some of Emily's other pals in the beautiful mountain town of Sintra. This little town has cobbled streets lined with charming store fronts, cafes, churches and lots of painted tile. We spent most of the morning walking the streets and swooning at the effortless beauty of the area. 

I mean, swoon city, amirite!?

I mean, swoon city, amirite!?

DSC_0051.jpg
ellie-schmidly-portugal
LOOK AT THAT TILE. I DIED.

LOOK AT THAT TILE. I DIED.

WHAT A CUTIE.

WHAT A CUTIE.

<3

<3

We didn't get to explore any up close, but there are amazing old castles all on the mountains! This one is perched at the very top. One day I would love to go back and see it up close!

Casual Views

Casual Views

OBSESSED with this one. 

OBSESSED with this one. 

PortuGALS: Part One

I've started a blog! For right now, this space will be mostly used for sharing my adventures with my roomies, but who knows what it will turn into! I would like to mention that I am not a photographer. My skills lie in design and illustration, so I know these are not amazing by any means, but I had fun taking them and that's all that really matters :) Also, these pics were brought to you by my sister's camera, which she kindly let me borrow. I just brought a Prime lens, so my views (? I don't know camera lingo) were a little limited.

Thanks for stopping by! Without further ado I present, PortuGALS: Part One.

My roommates and I recently went to Portugal for about 10 days with a stop to France for a couple of days and it was D R E A M Y. My roommate, Emily, grew up in Portugal because her parents moved there when she was a wee lass to become missionaries. She hasn’t been back to visit since her family moved back Stateside when she started school at Belmont, which was about five years ago.

One day last fall, on a whim, Emily was looking at flights to Lisbon and found a ridiculously cheap flight and bought it -- all within about 30 minutes. It was a whirlwind of spontaneity! My other roommate, Ellie and I quickly started figuring out how we could go too and not long after we all had our flights booked!

I booked mine a little after Emily and Ellie, and ended up booking a different flight to Lisbon (whoops.) but we all had the same connecting layover in Boston! Ellie spent a summer there and knew her way around pretty well, so we walked around taking in the different sights, half hoping we’d tire ourselves out enough to sleep on our red eye flight across the ocean.

Emily and Ellie’s flight to Lisbon left two hours before mine, so I bid them farewell and wandered around my gate. I booked my flight through the Azores airline, so I had another layover on a teeny tiny island before landing in Lisbon. A four hour flight, an hour layover and then another two and half hour flight to Lisbon later, I was reunited with my pals! It was dramatic and perfect.

This trip was quite different from when I went to Europe with my sister about three years ago. During my previous travels we were adventuring around on our own. This time we had Emily’s Portuguese friends as our personal guides! A family friend named picked us up at the airport, another couple let us stay in their apartment (the top floor with an amazing view!!!) and her high school pals showed us some of the best spots in town! We were able to get a much more of a personal perspective of what it looks like to live in Portugal.

portugals2.gif
A kitty greeted us at the apartment building we were staying at, so you know I was getting good vibes.

A kitty greeted us at the apartment building we were staying at, so you know I was getting good vibes.

lisbon-portugal
View from the apartment balcony. It was casual.

View from the apartment balcony. It was casual.

lisbon-portugal-3
lisbon-portugal-4
lisbon-potugal-6

Our second day, Emily's friend Rod took us to his house. It was one of the most beautiful, picturesque home's I've ever seen. Everything you'd imagine a rustic European home to look like. The living room was full of visual delights including a tapestry hanging on the wall, contemporary illustrations, fresh flowers on every surface and even a baby grand sitting in the corner. In his backyard was a giant orange tree and beautiful flowers at every turn. His mom sent us away with Orange Jam made from oranges from their yard! What a sweet afternoon.

More casual balcony views.

More casual balcony views.

Ellie

Ellie

DSC_0017.jpg
emily-in-portugal2
emily-in-portugal-3
Emily-in-portugal4
emily-in-portugal-5
I realize this is very out of focus but it's the only picture I got of the lemon tree in the back yard!

I realize this is very out of focus but it's the only picture I got of the lemon tree in the back yard!

portugal-house
portugal-house-2
Rod's house!

Rod's house!