Autumn Sentiments

october

Me too, Anne-girl. Me too…

Autumn is my favorite season. Well, that’s what I say during this time of year. But when April rolls around I’m all like, “Springtime is my favorite time!” But the beauties of autumn last longer than the springtime ones, and I would rather wear comfy sweaters, boots, and scarves than shorts and flowery prints.

This is the second autumn I will be spending in France, and I have definitely been feeling homesick for all of my favorite American traditions that I will be missing again this year. While I know that French people love to have get-togethers and dinner parties, Americans love to celebrate everything. We revel in holidays and seasonal goodies, especially during this time of year, when we spend a lot of time with family and close friends.

So what am I missing the most from my homeland right now?

Seeing my favorite colors everywhere: Bring on the neutrals! I love the reds, oranges, yellows, browns, golds, and blacks combined that really make me feel like autumn has arrived. I’m sure in the States right now you can see those colors everywhere you go (and you Americans may already be getting tired of them); not so much here. But, fortunately, the trees are finally changing colors and that is just as beautiful.

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Yeah, we like to stick to character…

Halloween (and candy): France doesn’t celebrate Halloween, and when they do they only focus on the evil and scary side. What I love most about Halloween is costume parties, especially themed ones. And my favorite costumes have been Robin Hood and Thing 2, nothing scary or demented…Also: day-after-Halloween candy sales!

Autumn-scented candles: Ahh. Nothing like those $5 Walmart fall candles to make your home smell amazing. My favorites of course are the pumpkin pie and vanilla scented ones.

e736dfad0696f08c62b39b9963f456f8Autumn-themed movies on TV: My favorite would be the ABC Family Harry Potter marathons, although they do those practically every holiday weekend, and that’s why I adore this tumblr conversation. So hilarious and so true. I also love watching 90s chick flicks and Nicholas Sparks movies during this time of year, my current favorite is Safe Haven, which is also my favorite Sparks novel. Here’s a cool list of some other great films to watch during Autumn.

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My trying to get a picture with my brother on Thanksgiving a few years back…he hates pictures.

Thanksgiving: This is my favorite holiday, and not because of the food, although I love Thanksgiving Day meals. No, my favorite part is just spending time with loved ones–watching the parade, helping each other out in the kitchen, playing games and football, going to the movies after eating entirely too much pie, going on Black Friday scavenger hunts around town together…I love it all, and that’s why it’s so hard for me to be away from family for Thanksgiving. But this year my husband and I are celebrating an authentic American Thanksgiving with our French family!

Starbucks: Yes, they have Starbucks in France, but the closest one is over an hour away in Lyon. We will probably be stopping there on our way to the airport in December!! Since the weather has gotten cooler I’ve been craving Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Apple Chai Infusions (my fav…it’s like apple cider but better).

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My roommates and I at HHN in 2010.

Halloween Horror Nights: This is a tradition I used to do most years when I lived in Florida, but my favorite years were probably the last two times I went, in 2010 and 2011. Theme parks with friends are a blast, but theme parks in the dark with haunted houses are even better! So many fun memories from Universal’s HHN…I would love to be going there again this year!

Bonfires and hayrides: Here’s something that’s very American–sitting in a wagon full of itchy, scratchy hay while you ride around in the dark with friends…bundling up in warm clothes, looking at stars, telling spooky stories before heading back to the bonfire to make s’mores (another very American thing). Mmm, sounds like fun to me!

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A 2009 FSU night game…I miss these days!

Football season: Saved this one for last because this year my desire to watch football in the States is even greater than it usually is, since my Alma Mater Florida State University is having an amazing season and I have to either miss the games or stay up all night watching them, which is what I did last Saturday for that phenomenal Clemson game. Going to bed at 6:30am never felt so worth it! Fortunately I have found several people over here who enjoy American football and who understand my crazy desires to pull football viewing all-nighters :)

What are some of your favorite fall activities?

Thanksgiving Across the Pond

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! I know I’m a little late, but we’ve been pretty occupied over here. On Wednesday we were blessed to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our closest friends in Grenoble (there were 11 of us total: 4 Americans, 6 French, and Matt, who is more Americanized). It was a fun experience to be able to share one of our country’s biggest holidays (and my personal favorite) with our French friends. We ate a delicious lunch! I’ve been missing all of those typical American dishes: green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, and TURKEY! Plus pumpkin pie, which is VERY American.

Besides eating, which we did a lot of, we also talked about the meaning of Thanksgiving courtesy of Charlie Brown, read some thanksgiving scriptures, shared some things we all were thankful for, and PLAYED GAMES! We couldn’t watch the parade or football games because it was Wednesday and 6 hours ahead of EST time, but we did play “paper triangle” football (what is that even called?), which Matt won, a Thanksgiving matching game, and Pictionary which is hilarious when played in 2 different languages. All in all we had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

The hardest part of this past week was not being able to be home. Yesterday my mom threw a surprise 80th birthday party for my grandfather and EVERYONE (except me and one of my cousins) was there. The last time we were all together was for my wedding, but I was so busy before-hand I didn’t get to spend any time with my relatives. I wish I could have teleported to Maryland so badly! But my mom Facetimed me a few times so it was almost like I was there (technology is great, eh?)!

And here’s a crazy French story for you all. Yesterday I went to get a haircut. It was my first time getting a haircut here. The last time my hair was cut was when I was home in May, so I really needed to go get it cut again. I was expecting it to be really nerve-racking because of the language barriers. I know and can comprehend a lot more French now, but I don’t know any hair cutting vocabulary! But Matt came with me and he didn’t even need to translate much. I showed the hair dresser a picture and told her what I wanted and that was that. She did a FANTASTIC job. Here’s a picture:

My new French haircut :)

But the real thing I wanted to share was what happened after the haircut. We went to pay and realized that Matt didn’t have his wallet, or anything for that matter (no permit, no ID, nothing). If only he had realized that at the start of the haircut he could have driven home and back (it’s about a 20-25 minute round trip drive)… We both felt HORRIBLE. But thankfully Matt’s mom has been going to that place for 15 years, and the hair dresser who cut my hair is the one who always cuts Matt’s mom hair. So they said they would put it on her tab and not to worry. It was no problem at all! Too bad they don’t understand the concept of tips here in France, because if that had happened in the U.S. I would have given her a really good one!

So overall I am thankful for grace! And my family and friends, too, of course! Happy Thanksgiving season everyone and Merry Christmas too!