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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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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Visual Diary – Lonely Autumn Days

The past month has given me lots of alone time to reflect. Recently, two of my closest friends moved out of France, and in September, my husband Erik went to the US to await his Green Card, leaving me with just a single friend to hang out with, and lots of quiet evenings alone. It’s been interesting.

Without an extra person next to me when I sleep, or someone waiting for me when I come back from the grocery store, things have been a little bit strange. Yesterday I realized I had barely used my voice for the entire day, and I wondered jokingly if my vocal chords still worked. Even though I had been wandering around Paris for the entire day, surrounded by people on the street, I still felt isolated, simply because most of the people I love weren’t with me.

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Christmas in Sweden

My 2015 holiday season was wonderful. I was so glad to be able to spend Thanksgiving in the US again, where I spent lots of time just hanging out, sewing pajama pants, making christmassy crafts and eating. After we got back to France, we had just a week’s rest before heading to Sweden for Christmas. I was excited to see how the Swedes do Christmas. We stayed for about 10 days and split our time between Stockholm and “the north,” as Erik calls it, where it’s rural and snowy, with endless trees and lots of quaint farmhouses.

We didn’t do a ton of sightseeing while in Stockholm, but I was totally ok with that. I hadn’t done one ounce of travel research before arriving, simply because I knew we’d mostly be spending quality time with Erik’s sister, with whom we were staying.  I was also traveling with a Swedish native, so I figured there was really no need to do much cultural research!

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New Year, New Me?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the New Year. I’ve also been thinking a lot about self-transformation. I love the idea of putting your old self to sleep and rising out of the ashes like a new being, with new habits, a new body, a new outlook and focus. There are many things about myself that I want to change, things like patterns of behavior and thought that usually function to bring me down. I’ve been living with them my whole life, but they’ve really outdone themselves in the past two years here in France. They’re the source of my insecurities and they prevent me from accomplishing my goals. I am positive that one of those things is called “Fear.” The other ones? I’m not so sure what they’re called, but I know for sure that they’re Fear’s best buddies. These bullies, they hang out together all the time, ganging up on me. It’s really quite hurtful, and the worst part is – I made them. I also continue to let them stay, firmly planted in my brain.

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