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The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Our sense of reality is not black and white. Every single person on this planet sees the world slightly differently, altered by our upbringing, our values, faiths, education, experiences and personalities. There are so many billions of factors that can affect our perception. Oftentimes, those differences go completely unnoticed by others, but they’re always alive and well within us. They don’t just work alone – they can build off of one another.

 

For instance, I grew up as the child of divorced parents, but also as the oldest among my half-siblings whom I lived with (I also have two step siblings and another half sibling, which adds a whole separate layer of complexity). I regularly attended a Christian church as a teen, but then dated a very nice Mormon guy for a while. I had pretty bad acne and used to cake on tons of makeup, and I developed breasts earlier than all my other friends and received unwanted attention because of it.

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When a Place Becomes a Part of You

Do you ever feel that there are certain places in the world that are more important and meaningful to you than others? Places that you think of and immediately feel some kind of emotion?

For me, one of those important places is the central coast of California, from Pismo Beach all the way up to Big Sur. A couple of weeks ago, I finally took another trip up there, after about 4 years, and I was finally able to understand why I feel such a connection to this region.

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Christmas in Paris | French Californian

Paris in December, Here I Come!

Guess what?

I booked a trip to Paris this December!!!

It will have been almost exactly one year since I was last in Europe and I’m very excited to go back. I honestly thought I would be content to stay put for at least a full year after moving across the world, but nope! My wanderlust crept back in almost as soon as we settled in and bought furniture.

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Cathedral Light (& thoughts on religion)

I’ve had the chance to visit lots of Gothic cathedrals in Europe while I lived in France, and one thing that always fascinated me was the light inside of them. It’s elusive and fleeting, but always beautiful because of its rarity, so I thought it was time I dedicate an entire blog post to it.

But before we get into that, I thought this would be a somewhat appropriate time to talk about my views on religion. I haven’t publicly spoken about it before – as far as I can remember – and I don’t often discuss it in-person. But today, I’m putting it all out there! If religious discussion doesn’t interest you, however, just start reading at the line break further down.

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A Fresh Start | French Californian

The Absurdity of the New Year + Resolutions

Even though the calendar is just a construct humans created to try and give themselves a sense of control over passing time, the new year is here, and to many of us, it means something. On one hand, any moment of any day is worthy of starting something new, but on the other hand, it just so happened that our move out of France and into America perfectly coincided with the start of 2017.

I don’t fully believe in New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, Facebook recently reminded me of a “memory” from the start of 2014 when I declared, “My New Year’s Resolution is to not have a New Year’s Resolution.” The contradiction in that statement highlights the ridiculousness of thinking that the start of a new calendar somehow has power. It doesn’t have any power (unless of course you believe that the movements of the solar system makes a difference). What really has the power is you – but that power can theoretically be accessed at any time. If you want to create your own way of organizing time, with 4-day-long weeks, 12-day-long months and 10-month-long years, then you can do that. You can then assume that every 4 days is the start of a fresh new week, it’s like your own personal Monday, a chance to begin new tasks and set new goals for the next 3 remaining days of your week. It’s just a system.

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Au Revoir, France - How Living in France has Changed Me - French Californian

Au Revoir, France

It’s the night before our departure and as I write this I’m sitting in our dark hotel room as Erik watches Netflix on his tablet in bed. Everything feels strangely normal.

Our old apartment is completely empty, our 5 boxes of belongings have been shipped, and our two suitcases, two duffel bags, and two backpacks are almost completely packed and ready for the flight tomorrow. It was a lot of work and stress to narrow down all of our belongings into a handful of boxes, but it feels so good to have a fresh start.

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