Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mammoth Cave National Park

Lionel and I decided to take advantage of my three day weekend for Memorial Day last weekend and we headed off to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky to visit the cave and enjoy the great outdoors.  We ended up having an amazing weekend, despite the record high temperatures.  Luckily the caves were cool but our hikes above ground were a little more painful with the humidity and the temperatures that got up to 97 degrees Fahrenheit.  On the way home on Monday we even stopped to visit Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace in Hodgenville, KY, which was interesting and good for a short stop on the way back.

Here are a few photos of our weekend:

inside Mammoth Cave
 
Lionel and I inside Mammoth Cave

the historic entrance to mammoth cave

waiting to drive onto the ferry to cross the Green River in Mammoth Cave National Park...only 3 cars at a time.  Seems like it would be easier to just build a bridge!

hiking in the park

having lunch inside the cave

exploring the cave on a 4.5 hour, 4 mile cave tour!

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Memorial

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace cabin inside the Memorial

view over Mammoth Cave National Park and the Green River on one of our hikes

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ohio fun in photos

 
At Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati watching the Reds!  Lionel's first baseball game! Unfortunately I don't think he's going to be a fan of America's favorite pastime.


 
Hiking at Fort Ancient State Park


 
view of the Cincinnati skyline from the ballpark


 
hiking at Fort Ancient


 
view over the Banks, the Ohio River and Covington, KY from the ballpark


 
Lionel's first baseball game.  Go Reds!


 
waiting to get into Great American Ballpark.  Unfortunately the game was sold out because it was Joey Votto bobblehead night.  But we got bobbleheads!


 
Spring wine tasting with the Bacchanalian Society in the Cincinnati Masonic Center.  The Bacchanalian Society is a non-profit that sponsors 4 wine tastings a year and all proceeds go to a different local charity each time.


 
Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati at night.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Philadelphia

Last weekend Lionel and I headed off to Philadelphia for the wedding of our good friends Chris and Laura.  I met Laura when we were both English assistants in Paris, and we've stayed in touch ever since.  Lionel and I were thrilled to get to go to their wedding, not just to see Laura and Chris, but also because I had a couple of other assistant friends who were going to be there. 

Because of my new job, we didn't get to plan our trip in advance, and as a result plane tickets were far too high by the time we were able to book, so we ended up having to drive out from Ohio for the weekend.  The drive was long, but it was well worth it and we had a wonderful, though regrettably short, weekend in Philly.  We arrived late Friday night and woke up early on Saturday to pick Marybeth up from the airport.  The three of us then headed downtown to spend a few hours visiting downtown Philly and the historic areas, since Lionel had never been before.  Marybeth and I had gone out to visit Laura a few years ago, so we had already seen it, but we thought Lionel would enjoy it, and he did.  He now loves Philadelphia and wants to move there!

After exploring the city we headed back out to the Valley Forge area where the wedding was being held to get ready and then spend a great evening catching up with old friends, eating, drinking and dancing.  A wonderful weekend and we were so happy to be able to be there to celebrate with Laura and Chris.

Here are a few photos form the weekend:

back of Independence Hall

Lionel and Marybeth at Independence Hall

downtown Philly

Independence Hall

The Liberty Bell through the window...the line was too long for us to go in

historic Philly

historic Philly

historic Philly

more of historic Philly...the city has such a nice historic downtown

Philadelphia skyline from the car

Lionel's first trip on a school bus, as a shuttle from the hotel to the wedding location!

the ceremony

enjoying the cocktail hour with some of my old assistant friends!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Des nouvelles

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger and I’m sorry for that. The past few months since our move to the US I’ve wanted to sit down more times than I can count to write all kinds of different posts. Posts about being depressed about my “life” in the US, about regretting the move from France, about all the things I miss about France, about my job search, about once again feeling like a failure here, but here in the US this time, and about countless other, very negative, topics. But each time I held myself back. I didn’t want to complain, I wanted to at the very least make it seem like I was thrilled with the move to the US, and maybe in the process of pretending, I would actually be able to convince myself of it too.

So in the end I just avoided blogging because I had nothing good to say. And then, in February, when my dream job became available, I started to feel more positive. This was my dream job, the exact job I’ve wanted for 7 years, the only job I had in mind when I decided to move back to the US. But still I didn’t want to jinx it, so I said nothing and just hoped. I applied, made it through the first round of the hiring process and onto the second. And then after my phone interview, I hit rock bottom when, at 10:30pm on a Saturday night I received an email while I was out to dinner with a friend informing me that I would not make it on to the final round, the face to face interview. And I cried. Like a little baby. For multiple days.

I started to question even more the decision to move back to the US. I started to feel like a hopeless failure who couldn’t even manage to get the one job I was the most qualified for; the job I really always thought about and dreamt about, the job possibility that made me so incredibly depressed about my “career” and options in France. I started to think that there was no hope for me at all; that a career that made me happy was just not in the cards for me. The entire time I was in France I kept telling myself that it was being in France that was keeping me back from professional satisfaction; that if only we were in the US things would be better and I would actually be able to have a happy professional life. And this rejection just made me feel like even that was just a dream. I felt like even in the US I couldn’t have that happy career that I had always told myself would be possible, just not in France. I even started to think about wanting to move back to France already, without even giving the US a real try like Lionel and I had agreed to do. You know what they say, the grass is always greener…

But I forced myself to stay silent and not post any of my unhappy and unpleasant thoughts on my blog. And I’m proud of myself for not having given in. In the end it has been totally worth it because one month ago exactly I started MY NEW JOB!!!

Yep, that’s right. My new job! I found a job, and in the end I’m pretty impressed by how quickly I found it. Though it felt like ages and I was feeling so depressed about the process, in the end, it only took me 2 months and 3 weeks to find a job. And not just any job, but a job that I actually wanted. They say that on average in the US it takes a person about 9 months to find a job right now, so I think I did pretty well, especially considering the fact that I turned down two other offers before this. And while it isn’t my dream job, I do like it a lot so far. And I’m extremely happy to no longer be teaching! It makes me feel vindicated as well because in the end it did turn out that I was right and I could find professional satisfaction in the US. And pretty quickly too (though I don’t want to jinx myself here…). So, at least professionally speaking, I am quite happy with our decision to move to the US. But more on that and more on the job later…