Sunday, January 31, 2016

Resolutions Checkpoint 2016: January

Resolutions Checkpoint - January 2016

January Progress

At the start of the month, I started this checklist in my notebook on a whim. The days of the month are numbered vertically along the lefthand side, with each day on one line. Then across the top I wrote different categories to track: go outside, stretch, calligraphy, read, read in French, drink water, eat fruits/veggies and journal. 

I put a checkmark in the corresponding box when I did the thing for at least 5 minutes, wrote tallies under "water" for number of cups drank, and words in fruits/veggies writing which fruits/veggies I'd eaten that day. 

The low 5-min minimum for a checkmark made it easier to start things like stretching, reading in French, and calligraphy. And even though some columns are quite bare, I would have done way less of these things had I not been keeping track.

On the right-hand page I'd write things I did that corresponded to the values from my third resolution.

You'll see it gets pretty empty after the 15th, which is when I first got sick with the flu. (Although I was drinking tons of fluids, I just kind of stopped keeping track of everything). I ended up being sick for over a quarter of the month (from the 15th until this last week of the month here), which put a damper on progress towards my resolutions—among other things I would have liked to get done.
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 2016 creative challenge via The Postman's Knock

Over the past year I've come to really admire Lindsey Bugbee, the lovely designer/illustrator/calligrapher/entrepreneur behind The Postman's Knock. Not only is she a big reason why I've decided to learn calligraphy this year, but every post she writes is filled with kindness, dedication and encouragement.

Needless to say, I was really excited when she proposed a Creative Challenge for the month of January, with some awesome prizes to boot! It would be the perfect way to stay focused on creating, and was an extra challenge because of my limited paper/art supplies that I have with me here in France.

Here are the four challenges, and what I ended up creating for each. (Side note: I apologize for the poor image quality—you can thank my iPhone 4.)

Creative Challenge 1: Make a Goal List

Main guidelines: "Either print off the TPK botanical border goal list template, or make your own list with illustrated elements or pretty calligraphy—or both!"

I printed off the goal list template that Lindsey had made, and wrote out my main three resolutions of 2016 in faux calligraphy. To decorate, I used the only colors I currently have on-hand: some thin markers that I've lugged around with me back and forth to Spain, Korea and now France.

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More advisaventures: French titre de séjour

This past September I received my long-stay visitor's visa, which would allow me to stay in France for a year, from October 1, 2015 - October 1, 2016.

Well, sort of.

You see, even though the visa states those dates, it was only valid (alone) for the first three months. In order for the visa to be valid for the full year, I had to register with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) during my first three months of arrival.

Once I went to an appointment at the OFII and received a sticker from them in my passport, that sticker + my visa would be the equivalence of a titre de séjour (residence permit), allowing me to remain in France for the full year.

Here's how that went down:

One of my required documents from my original visa appointment at the French Consulate in Chicago was a residency form. At the appointment it was stamped, signed, and then returned to me. I had to bring that piece of paper with me to France, fill out the bottom half and mail it to the OFII office upon arrival along with:

  • photocopy of my passport's identity pages
  • photocopy of my visa
  • photocopy of the entry stamp in my passport (mine was stamped in Spain, as that's where I'd flown in)
• • •

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thankful Thursday 1/28/16: Here's to health

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

Today I'm thankful for my health, which is still not back to its usual state—but is much better than it's been during the past two weeks.

On Friday, January 15 I came down with the flu, and spent the entire next week in bed. (I finally watched season 3 of "Orange Is the New Black," 1.5 seasons of Hilary Duff's latest "Younger," and also whipped through "Making a Murderer.") I developed a lovely cough during this time as well.

The next Friday I felt terrible and had trouble breathing fully, which kind of freaked me out, though Google assured me this was a normal symptom for someone who's had my type of cough for a while. (I'm also very thankful that I don't have asthma; the breathing troubles were very uncomfortable, limiting and kind of scary).

The next day, Saturday the 23rd, I felt well enough to go outside and walked around town with Damien, but then managed to sleep the entire day on Sunday.

After the initial flu was long gone, my lingering cough kept me from sleeping at night, and got violent at times. A doctor's visit on the 26th confirmed my hunch that this was totally normal, and I'd just have to wait it out while continuing to drink lots of fluids.

Anyway, all of this to say I'm almost back to my regular health—just have a bit of a cough left, and now a plugged left ear—and for that I'm thankful.
• • •

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday 1/14/16: Galerie Annotiau

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

Today after work Damien and I went to the Galerie Annotiau (a contemporary art gallery here in Rodez) to see an exposition by Darina Raskova.

Darina Raskova

I'd seen the event on On Va Sortir (a site kind of like Meetup except without groups—just events), and we live pretty close to the gallery, so it seemed like a fun, simple way to mix up the routine and be around some creativity.

The artist was actually there that night, which is why the OVS event had been created, so we got to chat with her for a bit when we got to the back. She's originally from the Czech Republic, and emigrated to France in 1973.

Darina Raskova
To see more of her work, just click "Galeries" at the top of this site, and select a category.

I'm really thankful there are several art galleries (and free expositions!) to explore here in Rodez, and that Madame Raskova was so kind to us!
• • •

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thankful Thursday 1/7/16: New apartment

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

Well, after being cooped up in our Palavisienne apartment for over a week while Damien was super sick (over the holidays and into the new year), we loaded up packed the car full on Sunday morning and headed to Rodez:

It hasn't been a full week yet, and even though it's rained every day so far, I'm loving the new space!

While you could easily find flaws if you wanted to—(cough that's you, cow-print kitchen!)

• • •

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 Resolutions

Happy new year, friends!

There's a lot in here, so let's get right to it.

A look back at 2015

Apart from my trips to DC and Cabo in January and February, respectively, I remember last winter as many other Wisconsin winters before: long and cold and dark, with lots of time spent indoors. A few separate dog sitting stints got me out for walks some days, as did a simple yet memorably good day of hiking and board games with Abby and her friends.

The first couple months of the year I was still trying to create distance from my first love, navigating life post-Korea without my best friend—knowing even when lines were regrettably blurred, that someday we'd figure out how our new relationship would work.

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