samedi 4 mars 2017

2017, new goals, new year

It's about a year since I blogged gets in the way and I have neglected my poor blog for far too long. In the time that I've been neglecting to write, many many travels have taken place and lots of new (mis) adventures. But then again, I've missed the power and music of words. Maybe it's time to revitalize my blog.

I know that many shitty things have happened in 2016. There was the good and bad, those breath-taking moments and the moments of "Holy Shit! What just happened?!" For those who were aware, I completely switched career paths and now I'm working in a completely different field than what I've studied. Then again, I'm young enough to do so and see what else I like.

Last year was also a year of many firsts as well, such as my first time in Russia, to Ukraine, taking karate for the first time, driving to Italy for the first time, etc. I'm sure this year will be filled with firsts too.

So, goals for this year (yes, it's March, but hey, who's judging?):

1. Run another half marathon
2. Go to karate class at least 3 times a week and get to green belt at the end of the year
3. Read, Read, Read (at least 26 books this year)
4. Buy a second-hand piano (because my fingers are itching to play it)
5. VISIT THE BALKANS (which was a goal from 2015/6 that still needs to happen)
6. Reduce the amount of bullshit I have to deal with everyday
7. More laughter and more joy, more dancing in the rain
8. See the Northern lights and go dog-sledding
9. Improve skills in Python
10. Learn some tango, ballroom dancing, etc

One thing I'm sure anyone who knows me is the fact that my age ≠ my looks. While this is all amusing and fun, it's a blessing and curse at the same time. Especially in the professional world where looking young is totally a curse. Because at least in my professional world, it means that I look like I have no credibility, of course, until I start talking to you. Yes, the assumptions and judgement are very much present anywhere, but especially in international organisations. So for those who just assumes, f--k off - I know what I'm doing and I've got a sound mind. 

On the brighter note, spring is coming, which means my wings are flapping its dust off and ready to fly to other adventures. 

jeudi 28 janvier 2016

Hello 2016!

Sur la coté de Saône

It's been MONTHS since I last updated.

Hello 2016! I must say, 2015 started out quite nicely and ended up pretty bad at the end. That being said, I had some serious adventures and misadventures, some non-stop laughters and days filled with caffeine and running. I've also had my fair share of stressful times and moments where I thought I was so busy I could hardly squeeze another activity in.

Anything can happen, which is why I try to make everyday worth it. I think that in the past year, I've had my share of stepping outside my comfort zone. That being said, I have some serious plans on doing more of said activity. One of the most important goals I set last year was to train and run a half marathon. I am pleased to say that this goal was fulfilled and that I can't wait to do another one this year.

To have more (mis)adventures, here are my goals of 2016:

1. Run a 10k and a half marathon
2. Read 26 books
3. Balkans trip (it needs to happen)
4. Speak up and get out of my comfort zone
5. Learn to cook a few favorite foods 
6. Travel more
7. More laughter, less stress
8. Be Kind and have more gratitude
9. Never take "no" for an answer until I've exhausted all possibilities
10. Read the bible more because God says that those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.  Isiah 40:31

Because I know I will walk and not grow weary, I will run and not grow weak and God will lift me up on wings like eagles and soar

Goodbye 2015 and here's to a brighter 2016!

samedi 13 juin 2015

happiness comes in the form of wine and traveling

This past month has been filled with vacation days because the French love their vacation. I've been having 3 or 4 day weekends practically all month! The weather has been off and on bipolar so my motivation is kind of low for running in the morning. If you know how early I get up to go running, I think you'll know why. Weekends are still reserved for my long runs. But this month I get to start training for my half marathon!

The NPT Review Conference is over, after a month of long debate and meetings. To say that I haven't paid attention this year to this would be an understatement of the year. Unlike last year, I followed a lot of the sessions via live broadcast, this year, I frankly haven't cared. So because I haven't thought about disarmament in the nuke world, I guess I haven't shot off into outer space, as the good Russian representative said in the UNGA 2013. For now, the Bio world has been treating me fairly well.

I've been toying with the idea of getting properly fitted shoes, for running that is. The ones that I have are doing ok so far and I haven't felt any discomfort. But as I increase in mileage, I may have to get some good socks and shoes. What can I say? Socks are awesome. Sales are coming up (24 June!) so I think I may have to take advantage of that when time comes.

A few weekends ago, I spent a warm day in Beaune, just north of Lyon, in the beautiful region of Burgundy, aka wine region. And boy, did I get to try some wine. I went to a big wine cave recommended by a friend where I walked 5km underground and sampled 13 different kinds of wine. If anyone is interested, it's called Patriache. I couldn't resist the wine there so I had to carry back a bottle. And then there was boeuf bourguignon. Glorious, delicious beef stew with potatoes and shallots.
              Inside Patriarche - SO MUCH WINE

         Charms of Beaune

More charms
All in all, Beaune is charming and small town. I would go there again to spend a weekend, rather than just one day. There are more than just one wine cave and plenty to explore in the area. How much do I love wine? Well, I almost grabbed a bottle of wine to go out for a walk rather than a bottle of water from the fridge (cause they were the same size). That's how much I can't differentiate when I'm in a rush. But seriously, what more can a girl ask for?  It's the small things, folks.

The summer weather is finally here and I have planned some semi-last minute vacation. Because every once in awhile, my heart gets wild and I get cabin fever. To satisfy my wild heart, I just got to travel and explore. There's been a trip to Finland planned. I plan on magically popping in saunas and have no plans on leaving other than going to my friend's wedding. If I don't come back to France, it means I have abandoned all sense of responsibility and relaxing in the Finnish saunas. I will also be popping in Vienna sometimes in August in order to nerd out on the 4 hour tour of the Sound of Music once again in Salzburg and eat my way through Mozartkrugels, apple strudels, and drink so much espresso until I bounce off the walls.

Until the next update! Also, I'm taking suggestions for books so if anyone has any recommendations on good books, let me know. Bon weekend!

samedi 25 avril 2015

life on this side of the atlantic lately...

Mont. St Michel
It's been too long since my last blog post. I really should start posting more often!! That is, if my English isn't deteriorating...

Apparently, my written English is on a decline since I write so little in said language. This has got to change. I should have known that being in a foreign country is detrimental to my English language skills. No regrets about living in France though!
In a delightful little village called Quinéville

Chateau de Chenonceau
In the past few weeks, I've been off traveling, strolling on the beaches of Normandy and waltzing down the corridor in a chateau. My friend rented a car to drive around these places. Thank God he did all the driving because I can't drive a manual car for the life of me (lessons on the way!). This has been quite relaxing since I work so much during the week. I spent some time in sunny Avignon and Aix-en-Provence and even managed a quick get-away trip to Annecy. Seeing the D-day beaches was definitely an eye-opener. After studying extensively on WWII, it felt surreal to see the beaches where thousands of soldiers died on that fateful day.

Fun fact about the chateau pictured above: This castle was actually the demarcation line between occupied France and Vichy France. Hence it was used for the resistance and used to smuggle people from and to the free zone of France.

Also, this happened:

Yes, I've just signed up for the half marathon in Lyon on 4 October. I guess I'll be spending three glorious summer months training for this. Who knew that I could get up so early now in the morning? This is definitely not the old me. Past me would have gone to sleep past midnight and on weekends, I'd sleep in until 9 or 10. Now I wake up everyday at 5h30 and the weekends at 6h30. Because I'm crazy enough to be out running before 6am during the weekdays. To whoever thinks that I'm insane for doing this, deal with it. Everyone has their own balance in life and for me, running happens to be a part of that.

More adventures are concocting and slowly brewing to reality. Today actually marks the one year and three months that I've been in France. It's had it's ups and downs and more joys than I can ever count. I have every reason to be grateful and I know that I have caught every curveball that life has thrown at me so far.

To conclude, here's a gem from the '90s:
Pinky: What are we going to do tonight?
Brain: Same thing we do every night! Try and take over the world!! 

Bon weekend et bonne semaine!

lundi 2 mars 2015

february freeze and march madness

Yeah, I'm never leaving Lyon...

It's March! How is it already March?!

Currently, I'm waist deep at work, creating to-do lists big enough to manage a small business. Then again, I love my job so definitely no complaints there! As they (or I) say, the more the work, the merrier (and coffee)! Even though France has its moments sometimes (like the little misadventure I had at the Préfecture the other day and with my bank) I'm so grateful to be in France and working here.

The weather has been so bipolar lately that I've been averaging maybe one running session per week. The rest of the time, I work out at home thanks to a series of videos I found from Fitness Blender. They have workout videos for EVERYTHING. Works wonderfully but I have to say, I do miss my morning running sessions. Speaking of running.....the Color run is finally here!! Already signed up and ready to get splashed with rainbow colors! Come join the fun in Lyon on May 2nd!

Traveling... I just came back from the States after spending about a week across the pond. It was weird to be back and seeing the lifestyle that I'm not used to anymore. What I said before is true, I could definitely stay in Europe for awhile. I did take advantage of the delicious sunny weather to run almost everyday. While I passionately dislike jetlag, it's a small price to pay for the amount of traveling I get to do.

Other trips planned are for traveling in France. There are still a ton of cities and charming towns I haven't been to. So, I plan to take advantage of it asap.

Lately, I've been trying out new places to eat with a fellow friend in tow. I'm completely addicted to the food here and luckily for me, there's plenty of places in Lyon to feed my awesome addiction. This place caught my taste buds. Up on the hills of Croix-Rousse, a quaint little restaurant that's perfect both in winter and summer.
Beautiful colors in the restaurant
Notre amuse-bouche
Entrée: Foie gras 

The flavors were fantastic and the herbs exploded in my mouth. Definitely not a restaurant to miss. You can find it at:

Le Petit Gadin:
17 rue Austlerlitz
69004 Lyon

There's work, good food, laughter, friends, and fun. What else more can I ask for? I'm definitely where I'm supposed to be at the moment. Lyon, je t'aime tellement fort.  

vendredi 2 janvier 2015

2015 goals and other delights

After two years of uncertainties and being in a state of constant stress, I'm going to change that this year. I may still be in a state of uncertainties, but none of that stress will get in the way of opportunities and carving my own path. I am certainly grateful to be working in my field again after a 10 month hiatus (a bit too long for my taste). All the past two years of hard work and persistence paid off and I still can't believe I was crazy enough to finish my Masters in a year and half instead of two years.  And I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to be in Lyon once again (Read my favorite place). 2015 has already begun on a positive note and I plan on rocking the socks off of 2015.

Goals for 2015

1. Train for a half marathon (For Run in Lyon 2015)
2. Read 52 books 
3. Don't play it safe 
4. Learn 5 new piano pieces (Because 3 wasn't enough)
5. "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind" ~ Dr. Seuss
6. Work hard and play hard because nothing is impossible
7. Continue improving on Russian
8. Explore more of France and take a trip to the Balkans
9. Restart kickboxing/Marial arts
10. Laugh hard and smile wide

2015, come at me!
Bonne Année, everyone!

lundi 15 décembre 2014

rushing in this holiday season

I'm back with another post! Apart from being busy and trying to balance a social life, my poor blog is suffering from neglect. Not to mention that time is flying by way too fast. Every year before Christmas, I think I have time to get presents and write/send Christmas cards. But it appears that I never have the time and always wait until the last minute and make a mad dash for it. At least this year, I'm not in the middle of finals and knee-deep in papers. What a refreshing change.

Since I left with the last post, I've been to Paris, Strasbourg, and Colmar. And of course, I stayed in Lyon for the famous Fête des Lumières. I am a lucky girl indeed. 

Paris. As lovely as I left it and much more. It was quite a warm November weekend. My friend and I were able to go to the Catacombs (because I've never been there) and the Picasso Museum, which has been under renovation for the past....5 years, give or take. 
We were lucky enough to wait about 45 mins in line before going inside the tombs. If you're into seeing just...bones, this is the place to go! I have no idea how many people were buried here, but the sheer amount of bones in the Catacombs gives you an idea of the number.
I had a good dose of Chinese food that Saturday, which I appreciated. Including this lovely hotpot, which I haven't had in ages.
Followed by brunch the following morning. It was two days of non-stop eating. From brunch, we made our way to the Picasso Museum. The wait was surprisingly short. But take note all you people under 26: you can enter the museum without going to the ticket stand. Just show them your ID with a birthday and you can waltz in. If you're like me and look young, the cashier will just get really confused and ask you if you're sure you're over 26.
"The Kiss"
I really enjoyed this museum. It was extensive, big, and gives you an in-depth view of Picasso's work. I love his abstract art. Totally worth the 11€. Go if you're in town!

The following weekend, I went to Strasbourg and Colmar. Mostly for their Christmas markets but also to get a taste of Alsatian life. There were literally Christmas markets everywhere scattered in both cities and they were charming to boot.

Lots of canals running through the cities. And the colors on the buildings were just exquisite. I definitely got into the holiday mood while being here and also a slight feeling of not really being in France.
View from the Cathedral

Colmar is just a half hour train ride from Strasbourg. It's smaller than Strasbourg but just as charming. As usual, Christmas markets were scattered over the town. I ate waayyy too many cookies and had way too much mulled wine. It just couldn't be helped. I'll have to go back to these places once it gets warmer.

Finally, the Fête des Lumières. This year's lights were fantastic and cheery. I avoided Saturday night completely because I knew it'd be crowded, so I enjoyed the lights on Friday, Sunday, and Monday.
Parc de la tête d'or
Parc de la tête d'or
By Opera de Lyon
Place de Jacobins (Left)
Rue de la Republique (Right) 
Place Sathony
Hôtel de Ville!
Well, there you have it. All the activities and all the adventures. I look forward to the upcoming Christmas season. Even though I'll be working through the holidays, being in Lyon is already a wonderful gift for me. I've been given such a wonderful opportunity to be back in Lyon and working so I definitely don't plan on wasting it!

Bonne semaine, everyone! Enjoy the holiday rush =]

vendredi 21 novembre 2014

chocolate, fries, and all that jazz

The warm weather is now distant memory, but I am loving the cold and I really hope it snows here. Speaking of the cold, I'm already wearing fuzzy socks at home. I love fuzzy socks.

Two weekends ago, I made a brief escape to Belgium with a friend thanks to a cheap flight ticket. This time, I was able to go to Brugge, where it was surprisingly very sunny, despite the cold temperature.

So, our train on Friday night was gloriously delayed by almost an hour. Not sure what happened, but because of the delay, the train didn't stop in Lille and directly went from Paris to Brussels. I guess we made up for lost time during that detour. Either way, by the time we got to our hotel, it was already past midnight. Waking up the next morning around 6h30 was a joy to catch the train around 8am to Brugge. During the entire hour train ride, we had to listen to a bunch of Spanish people talk while we were trying to get some sleep. They spent about 30 mins debating on the finer points of how to say "Brugge."  Half asleep, we heard, " So is it 'Brrrruge?' Brruha?' 'Bruuje?' For 30 MINUTES.

Brugge was beautiful, almost like Annecy but with a North European flavor. Beautiful and quaint little buildings with SO MUCH CHOCOLATE. I'm all chocolated out.
Beautiful little canals

Center square

Cute house
After visiting the chocolate museum and the diamond museum, we made our way back to the train station and headed back to Brussels to enjoy the rest of the time there. Having been there nearly four years ago, I still remember streets and sights and of course, Tintin. We mostly spent the rest of Saturday wandering about old town and visiting a lot of chocolate stores. THERE WERE SAMPLES OF EVERY CHOCOLATE in most of the stores.

We decided to skip going inside the Centre Belge de la Bande Desinée as I've been there before and my friend was content on going into the bookstore in there.

There's a musical instruments museum in Brussels featuring all different kinds of instruments from all over the world. I'd say that was a favorite of mine. Some instruments were pretty trippy though and makes you wonder how sounds could possibly be made from those.

From street musicians to fries to music in Brussels, I'd say it was a pretty good trip. Looking forward to more adventures to come in the next few weeks. The Fete des Lumières is the first weekend of December! I'm definitely looking forward to this as I've missed it for the past 3 years.

Paris tomorrow! Bon weekend, everyone!

lundi 27 octobre 2014

autumn leaves and more traveling

Another birthday came and passed. It was pretty quiet, just what I wanted. The best part of this birthday is getting to celebrate it in France and having my best friend here with me. I had a great time showing her around despite the constant rain. (Then again, Lyon is beautiful under the rain.) Luckily, Tuesday cleared up for us and we were able to take a quick day trip to Annecy.

It's been busy and even though I have decided not to take any classes this time, I find that I am still pressed for time; fitting in my running sessions, errands and trying to balance a social life. Soon, things will be a little more relaxed and I'm looking forward to spending the Christmas holidays in Lyon. I have been studying Russian by myself so it's ok for now. Eventually at some point, I will definitely get back to Russian class, and who knows, maybe spend one month or so in Russia. Nothing beats immersion.

But October is coming to an end, the end of the year slowly approaches. This, for me, is the best time of year. The weather is finally cooling down and I love walking in the crisp, fresh, and sharp air. Occasionally, I'll smell firewood burning while biking or walking along the rivers. The leaves are changing color and some memories of the New England autumn colors comes with it. No Halloween celebration here other than the occasional pumpkin decoration on windows of certain shops.

So what was I up to this weekend? *See below:
YES: Salon de Vins. 
My friend and I spent a couple of hours hanging around trying the wine. I ended up getting a small bottle of wine called Soleil d'Hiver. Even the name sounds romantic. Obviously I tried it and it was awesome.

Holy crap that's a large pumpkin and weirdly shaped

Reindeer on my run in the park. Look at those leaves!

Soon, I will make my way to Brussels for a weekend getaway. I have a trip to Aix planned as well as well as a trip to Strasbourg for its famous Christmas markets. I haven't been to Brussels in almost four years so now is the perfect time to go.  Because, who doesn't want to eat chocolate, Belgian fries, Belgian waffles and see some awesome Belgian comic books?

Looking forward to the rest of Autumn and winter adventures. Oh yeah, I'll be cat sitting in December as well, which should be fun!

Bonne semaine!