Showing posts from 2011

Tips for a Successful Expat Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Why?  Because it is the true spirit of what a holiday should be - it's not inherently commercial, it's just about spending quality time with the people who are important to you and it provides a time to reflect on what we should be thankful for.  Even on my worst day, I am still a pretty lucky person.  I don't think about that only on Thanksgiving.  But on Thanksgiving somebody makes me say it out loud, at a table full of people, and betray my tough exterior for the mushy gushy Jackie with tears in her eyes. While my favorite holiday, it is also, unfortunately, one of the holidays I've typically had to spend away from home.  This year, I Eurostared my way back to London to reconnect with my American crew.  We rented a house near the English coast and nearly reached 100 strings of back and forth e-mail while planning.  This year also marked my third Thanksgiving on a different continent, and so I think I know a thin

First Impressions

It's been almost four months since I moved to Paris.  I have yet to write a post about my Parisian life.  I've been trying to reflect on why I've been procrastinating with my inaugural Paris post. There is the usual speil -  the whole trying to find an apartment, trying to settle, too much work bit that has become part of my daily routine of excuses for things I have not yet found the time for.  Truth be told, there is a little bit of apprehension that I'm supposed to be an expert now.  I've had a few e-mails come my way asking "what's the best thing to do", which have the odd effect of stressing me out.  I still don't know what time the metro lines really close, where I can get bread on Sundays or even how I can make a doctor's appointment.  How can I possibly know all the hip and cool things to do?!  (Deep breath.)  I know I'm being too hard on myself, but I want to be able to embody the cool Parisian expat to its fullest. I finally fig

Travel Notes: Croatia

I consistently have this problem:  I discover a place I want to travel to and I fixate on it.  Usually the place is largely undiscovered, the likes of which I don't feel there are a lot of on earth that a woman can go to alone.  And travel companions are sparse.  So I go about my days, then word spreads, it catches on and I grow ever increasingly impatient and annoyed that I have not yet been there, though I've been touting its beauty before it became something.   Such is the story of Jackie and Croatia.  Croatia, specifically the Dalmatian coast, made it onto my target travel list about five years ago.  Ok, in all fairness, it's popularity had already begun but, you knew few people who had been there.  Now, everyone and their mother has been (in Europe anyway).  Which in some ways is good and in some ways very bad...why?  Because now everyone and their mother has an opinion on what to do for a week in Croatia.  And for a person who is indecisive, this is a crippling amou

Travel Notes: Israel

I've taken a small break from the crazy travels of the first half of the year.  But in attempt to share my experiences and give some advice to fellow friends traveling abroad, I'm creating posts called "Travel Notes".  The first one is long overdue, but as one of my best friends is currently here - it's time to launch this sucker!  First stop - Tel Aviv, Israel.  Complete album of photos linked  here . Tel Aviv & Jerusalem I was fortunate enough to visit Tel-Aviv for work in June.  It was a quick trip, but I fit a lot in and whet my appetite to go back. Tel-Aviv has an amazing energy.  It's full of good restaurants, nightlife and beautiful people both inside and out.  What struck me about Israel is an amazing sense of history.  Not just ancient history, but a history of a nation and generations that are still tied to creating that nation and fighting for its independence.  These are the chalutzim (pioneers) of Israel, and it seems every modern da

365 Days of London: A Summary

I don't really have time to be writing this.  I'll be honest.  I've just moved, AGAIN.  I haven't slept normal hours for nearly three weeks now.  I have a million things to sort out, I'm a week behind at work, I've missed my cousin's birthday and I've run out of toilet paper.   My writing this post is clear and documented evidence of procrastination.  Don't tell my mom that I confessed to this.  Oh wait, she reads this...busted. But I feel compelled to.  I've started my blog a bit late into my European adventure and have not given proper credit to my host city, London.  So before I settle in, before I eat another croissant, or taste another piece of delicious cheese (sorry Kristen) and do anything else that brings me closer to being Parisian, I need to document some of my thoughts on the place I called home for over the last year. London is an incredibly diverse city.  It's a city where anything goes - it has reminded me a lot of San Fran

Truffle Tales

This weekend, I went to the Taste of London.  Food festivals are always so inspiring.  Some things that I taste, I know I could never make without tons of practice and likely tons of failure.  Other things are deliciously simple but people are so intimidated by the exotic ingredients, they convince themselves that to re-create something so good would be utterly impossible. Such are my thoughts about our delicious friend the truffle .  But then I thought - this is just a mushroom, dammit!  Am I going to let a mushroom defeat me?   I think not.  Jackie vs. Truffle, game on. And so there I sat, contemplating the truffle in front of me, my mouth watering at the thought of what it could taste like if done right.  But nagging little thoughts entered my mind and turned to culinary terror - what if I ruin this truffle? Does this fungus look friendly to you? The skin of the truffle is dark, bumpy and rough.  As a food, it looks quite intimidating.  If it were a person, I'd find it ha