2015: A Countdown

As 2016 rings in with a POP and then santé over Champagne, I realize that I’ve accomplished a lot in this past year. And on top of my accomplishments, I have a lot to be thankful for. There’s no better way to show my accomplishments and gratitudes than through numbers, so, here’s my 2015 countdown:

15 primaire classes taught (via the TAPIF program) at primaire schools in Marseille. Who would have thought I’d be teaching English overseas?

One of my students made this for me during a leçon about how Américains children celebrate Valentine’s Day.

14 Juillet in Aix-en-Provence. This was my third time celebrating Bastille Day in France; yet each time I celebrate it, it comes with new memories and a better appreciation for French culture (and not to mention the feu d’artifice in Paris).

13 [yummy] desserts Provençal nicely settled in my tummy (see this post for a more detailed account of the 13 desserts).

La pompe à l’huile (in the centre), une mandarine, une figue séchéeun nougat blanc, une datte, une noix, une amande, une noisetteun calisson, un morceau de chocolat, une pomme (apple), une poire (pear), un nougat noir (it’s behind the pompe).

12 hours a week of helping ELL/ESL students acquire English (I started out in primaire and now I’m in secondaire).

11 after school English classes successfully taught (over a period of 2 months) at The English Bubble.

10 friends and family who gave Rachel clothes at my Baby Shower…(I won’t even begin to count the number of clothes she has in addition to those from the Shower – Thanks to my brother and my sister-in-law as well as several friends who gave us two suitcases and two cardboard boxes full of clothes…as I mentioned above, I have a lot to be thankful for – baby clothes aren’t cheap & aren’t put to use for very long, either).

9 months of pregnancy survécu (survived). I’ve even documented my experiences during each trimester here, here, and here!

8 airline flights successfully taken. Being cupped up inside an airline cabin isn’t my ideal way of spending 9 hours…But, the destination(s) is are worth it.

7 nouveaux restaurants essayés (Aix-en-Provence and Illinois):

  • Burger Bar (la Maison du HanDBurger) (Aix-en-Provence)

This place sells handmade burgers & offers three types of burger meat: beef, combination beef & lamb, and chicken. I opted for the beef and it was amazingly delicious. There’s one downside to this restaurant: They gave us a jug of water that had dust and hair in it (it must’ve been sitting out). Aside from the water, it’s a great place for an Américain who’s missing a nice, juicy handmade burger.

Les Ravioli Japonais (aka Fried pork dumplings).

This is one of the most friendly Asian restaurants in Aix – the server even gave us a free house cocktail (I was pregnant, of course, so, the server gave me juice instead)!

Le porc au gingembre.

This restaurant offers huge, savoureux plats Asiatique – I was barely able to finish mine!

  • Ô Zen (Aix-en-Provence) *****

This restaurant is an Asian buffet! It’s expensive, but the food is delicious and plentiful (even the sushi is up to par!). We chose this restaurant on Halloween – it was a fantastic idée!

Tucked inside the Morton Arboretum, this restaurant offers healthy and delicious lunches, though, they come with a price! Most of the food is organic, locally grown, and free-range.

The highlight of this restaurant wasn’t the juicy, tender BBQ, it was the truffe mac ‘n cheese (ok, they were both beyond delicious!)! It’s also situated across from a frozen custard restaurant called Lickity Split Frozen Custard and Sweets. What better way to settle BBQ than having frozen custard for dessert?!

Nestled between Pulaski and Roscoe, this restaurant équatorien offers huge, delicious plates! Plus, there’s often musique on Saturday’s.

6 successful English leçons on how Américains celebrate holiday’s (Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Noël).

5 months of waiting…and then I finally received my titre de séjour (residency card)!

4th of July in the U.S. I introduced mon chéri to a typical Chicagoan Independence Américain Day Party (see this post for more on my trip to the U.S.). 

3 cities in 3 countries visited for the first time: Stockholm, Suede; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2 games of Belote won (let’s not get into how many I’ve lost)! Finalement, I’m starting to “master” the game…

1 newborn bébé. (Yep, I’ve survécu giving birth!)

So, I know it’s the time of year to make résolutions, but I’ve decided to look back on what I’ve accomplished (a lot has to do with teaching, and that’s ok because it’s what I love!) and what I have to be thankful for instead. Sure, I hope to have a wonderful year with my new famille, but I wouldn’t consider that a résolution…it’s a Given! ♦


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