Hi friends! It’s been awhile! Sorry about that. Summer is coming to a close, with fall weather and cloudy days creeping in and next year’s team arriving this week. This summer has been the much-needed respite we’ve been hoping for since the craziness of decisions, adjustment, language-learning, visa troubles, new/lack of jobs, and a cramped apartment that last year entailed.
I actually wanted to blog and had time that I could have, but chose to spend my time instead culling, editing, backing up, and organizing my photos. I am nowhere close to being done, but it’s been backing up for the past three years since I started grad school, and I knew it was now or never. Do you struggle with the massive task of what to do with your photos? I’m sure I’m not alone!
If you’re curious with the system I came up with, I am deleting all unnecessary photos (or trying as best I can to narrow down duplicates!), editing, and uploading to Google Photos in reduced resolution (to utilize the unlimited free storage). Then I back up the full-size versions from my computer to my external hard drive. I have a long way to go, but I’m making progress!
Relatedly, I finally found my editing style! I thought I had it down for years, but I recently realized that my photos aren’t very saturated. I tried boosting the saturation way up and am very happy with the difference it makes. I strive to edit my photos in a bright, clean way that looks as close to natural as possible. I realized that I had kept the saturation low in the past because of the way it sometimes looks too bold or unrealistic, and discovered I could fix that effect by editing the tone and warmth and decreasing the contrast when needed. In case you were wondering!
The big news of the summer is that we moved! We switched from our 240 square foot apartment on the 2nd story of our building to an updated, bright and airy 400 square foot apartment just two floors above our old apartment! It was the easiest move we’ve ever made and for that I am a million times thankful!!! We got the keys several days earlier than expected, which allowed me (Whit was out of town) to start cleaning and carrying up items. The biggest challenge was lack of furniture and general household goods as we went from a furnished to unfurnished rental. It’s really nice to get all new things that match our style (and not have a ton of old, used stuff laying around!), but it’s so expensive. I feel bad buying new dishes knowing I have a perfectly good set in storage in the US, but it is what it is.
Living in the new apartment feels like a dream. Or a really nice hotel. Or really, a regular nice home! We have never lived in an upgraded apartment/home with nice finishes, and it feels like such a blessing especially after having to put up with so much dirt and dust from our previous place. I never, ever thought 400 square feet would feel so spacious! I will have to do a post about what it was like and what I learned from living in a tiny apartment. I guess we technically still are, but it literally feels miles different from the previous space (I mean, we almost doubled our square footage!).
In June I had the opportunity to attend a week-long summer school for people studying and working in economics and international development. It was a busy week meeting new people and learning a ton. I was so excited to finally build my network a bit and make connections with other people in my field outside the few people I attended grad school with. I was hoping a job would come out of the week, which hasn’t happened so far, but it was still very cool to study at a top economics school in Paris.
July was busy with moving, saying goodbye to the rest of the team, Whit traveling, and two major French celebrations. July 14 is the national independence day, which we celebrated by watching the military parade on the Champs Elysees. (In our ignorance, we stood at the beginning of the parade and missed most of it because they didn’t walk past us. Womp womp.) Then we finagled our way home through the crowds, watched helicopters land in a park in the middle of the city, and gathered up food to take a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. We sat around for awhile until night finally fell (around 11pm!) and watched the most spectacular fireworks display probably in history. It was all out!
The next morning Whit left for the US and VERY SADLY missed out on the World Cup Finals match, which WE WON!! I tried to meet up with a friend but couldn’t make it over to where he was, so wandered around trying to find a tv screen where I could see the game. EVERY bar with a tv had hundreds (thousands?) of people crowded around it. People were so hyped and going crazy celebrating every goal with fire crackers, colored smoke, and climbing on cars and newsstands. As soon as the game ended I headed over to the Arc de Triomphe where, for the entire rest of the night, Parisians flocked to cheer and celebrate and sing the national anthem together. It was absolute chaos and it was amazing to be a part of!!
In early August we celebrated my thirtieth birthday by spending the day at Parc Asterix, a French cartoon-themed amusement park. We had A BLAST. It was so fun! We had a hot, sunny day (my favorite!! It’s fitting for someone born on August 5 to love heat & humidity ;)), and got to spend the whole day riding rides, eating food, and laughing together. The park is themed around Asterix, a classic French comic book, and all the decorations were so adorable and detailed! Asterix travels often in the comic series, so there were different areas of the park based around Egypt, Greece, Rome, and ancient France. I adored it!
Whit took two trips to the US for work conferences, and at the beginning of the summer we both traveled to Virginia to see family. It was interesting to have a slower, more consistent pace of life, and have fewer people to hang out with as the team left for the year, but still be interrupted for travels and moving. Overall I would say it was a rejuvenating and enjoyable summer. We could’ve done more (we could always do more in Paris!), but I think we made the most of living in Paris over the summer! Mostly we had sunset picnics by the river, sat in parks, and walked around, but we visited some new places too. Let’s be real, more than anything, I wanted to spend my time sitting at home on my new couch with a book and the fan on!
How was your summer?? Are you ready for fall?