Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Facebook-free: Hilal Isler

I'm pleased to introduce you guys to our next Facebook-free interviewee, Hilal Isler. I actually found Hilal through her Medium piece "Why I Quit Facebook (And how it led me to Taylor Swift)." She graciously agreed to participate in this project, so let's get right to her thoughts on the topic.

The basics:

Age: Let's just say my first Hollywood crush was Michael J. Fox.
Location: I am a Midwesterner now. An East Coast-transplant.
Passion: I've been into yoga for about six years. I like to run. I'm kind of a homebody, so the best days are the ones where I can pad around the house, with a cup of tea.
Length of time with FB account: Ten years. I joined in March of 2004.
Amount of time since leaving FB: About a year.

Walk us through your decision to leave. Was it planned? Spur of the moment?

It was planned (a New Year's resolution). Facebook increasingly felt like a bunch of people I barely knew, shouting about things I didn't really care about: people being self-righteous (end animal testing!) or passive aggressive (my haters, I'm not saying who, can kiss my bottom!) or ego-centric (look at how beautiful I am!) or even just inane (here's a picture of a sandwich I'm about to eat). I began to wonder what I was really getting out of it.

Main reason for leaving (in one sentence):

I felt exhausted, trying to keep up with the endless stream of people's opinions.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A letter to the mosquitos in our apartment

Dear Moustique Tigre,

I cringe when I hear your faint buzz get louder and louder, closer and closer.

While you might not be as pesky as the mosquitos in Wisconsin who swarm and have me constantly swatting, you are sure sneaky little devils.

Some nights in our apartment I don't hear you at all, but then I'll wake up with a nice big bite. Or two. Or three. Or more. You don't mind giving them in the most uncomfortable places either—back of the hand, earlobe, my face, my right ring finger near the knuckle (boy did that ever swell up with a little scratching), and, oh right, my eyelid!

I somehow didn't realize how stealthy you were until Friday night.

• • •

Friday, October 23, 2015

Cribs: Living on a postcard in Palavas, France

Yesterday I finally got up my first blog post since arriving to France over two weeks ago (thanks to the wifi at Damien's parents' house), and then today... our internet got installed—finally! Woo hoo!

So I had my very first day working from home in Palavas-les-Flots. We're temporarily living in this southern beach town while Damien looks for a job.

It's a pretty neat town, because it's located on a strip of land (well, dunes) with two different lakes on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other.

Palavas-les-flots map

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thankful Thursday 10/22/15: Good people in France

Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13—read why here
I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!

I'm alive, you guys! And thankful. The reason you haven't heard from me in almost three weeks is that we still don't have internet at our apartment in Palavas, France. Makes it difficult to do any blogging/emailing/etc., but I've quickly slipped into our temporary non-wifi routine. (Sometimes I wonder if I'm adaptable to a fault!)

In order to work (for my virtual job), Damien has been driving me (30 minutes in morning traffic) to his parents' house every weekday, where I use their wifi to work up in his room. When I told my coworkers this was the situation, one had a "gasp - boyfriend's parents' house!" reaction, but I actually feel really comfortable here—they're both so friendly and have been really looking out for me.

• • •

Sunday, October 4, 2015

One day at a time

Tomorrow morning I'm catching a bus to Chicago, and in the evening I'll be on a plane to Toulouse (via Madrid). The long stay visitor's visa I have allows me to stay in France up to 12 months, but I have no plans set in stone.

I'm just going to take it one day at a time, and see what happens.

The previous three times that I've left for yearlong stints (2009-10 Madrid, 2011-12 Madrid, 2013-14 South Korea), I could feel it. I knew I wouldn't be returning home for a year's length, and I knew all of the holidays, birthdays and graduations I'd be missing.

But today was a perfectly normal Sunday at home with the parents—without those thoughts—and tomorrow I'm just going on a bus, then to an airport, then on a plane. That's about as far as my thoughts have gone. Things feel really normal; I'm not feeling anxious, nor the full extent of what tomorrow means.

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