The Power of Friendship Abroad

The best days always end up being the times when we have no set plans, no time limit and no care in the world, am i right?

Today was one of those days.

In fact, it seems that every time I meet up with Julie (my beautiful Danish friend for all of you who aren’t aware) we end up discovering something new and exciting, or at the very least enjoy the time we spend together.

I traveled abroad alone; was I scared?

To be honest not really.. Which really assured me that I was making the right choice in making the big leap across the ocean. I mean of course the fear of jumping on a plane alone and coming to a foreign country to live with a family who I didn’t have a clue would even be at the airport to pick me up is normal…. Instead of allowing that fear to change my outlook on the adventure I chose to be optimistic and to trust that everything would work out.

and you know what, it did.  

8 months ago, after only being in Paris for a week, I wrote on the “Au pair in Paris” Facebook group looking for someone to explore the city with, so I wouldn’t be alone. I received a reply from a Danish girl, and we decided to meet up on Pont de Alexandre III, which is probably one of the prettiest in Paris I must say.

Truth be told that day must have ended pretty well because here we are 8 months later and she’s become my best friend.

Did we know what we we doing today?

Nope.

Did we have a great day?

Probably one of the best since I’ve been here.

Julie and I are the queens of wandering aimlessly around Paris and finding the most interesting things to do. We came across a chocolate museum so we paid the hefty 8.50 to get in and come to find out, even for to see how chocolate was made. Better yet, there were samples, which let’s be honest, would make any girl happy.

The beans were used as currency and 10 would buy you a rabbit!  

Mustache cup!  

Selfies were needed      

 we were in need of coffee which didn’t actually happen for another two hours after as we made our way towards the seine. Oh! We even found a street with prostitutes in broad daylight. Don’t think we’ll be going back down that street anytime soon.

We grabbed some peanut butter danish bread and coffee and made our way to the Tuileries Gardens for some much needed relaxation, sun tanning, and some much needed girl talk. I mean we’re girls would you expect anything else?

Our day ended at the very same bridge that we met for the first time 8 months ago.

Little did I know the great friendships that would come from choosing to come to Paris. Honestly I had no expectations on what this year would bring but what I’ve been able to experience and take in already has been beyond anything that money could ever buy.

One thing that I’ve realized is that when you’re more flexible and allow life to work itself out for itself, incredible things happen.

I’ve evolved.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

My smile is once again real.

We often take for granted the things that most deserve our gratitude

We as humans complain, its natural.

Au pairs, myself included complain a lot. Once again natural, especially in our circumstances. It could be the smallest thing but yet we still have to let the world know that it’s bothering us. I don’t know if it’s the cold weather bringing me down but lately I’ve noticed a higher level of negativity towards not only my job but life in general. When I sit down and actually lay out exactly what I do have in my life, not only physically but emotionally as well, i’m beyond blessed.

I’ve decided to create a list of the things I take for granted to really show how fortunate I am to be in the situation I am in currently.

1. I have a safe roof over my head which I actually look forward to coming home to.

2. There is always more than enough food to eat and a variety at that.

3. A job that may not be what I want to be doing for the rest of my life but for now this is what I have chosen.

4. A beyond kind and caring host family. I may be 21 but it’s still nice to come home to a family that considers you their daughter and treats you as one of their own.

5. I get paid always on time or in advance which is something that the majority of my fellow Au pairs are having issues with.

6. I wake up in the morning and I’m alive and breathing.

7. Technology. t’s crazy how much I rely on it for the majority of the things I do throughout the day. I can call my family in Canada in the matter of a minute, or message my friends with a few swipes of my finger.

8. I have an abundance of clothes to wear and to keep myself warm. If you’re friends with me you’ll constantly hear me complain that I have too many clothes and I’m not going to be able to take them all back with me to Canada or I will have to take another suitcase. I’ve decided that the clothes that I don’t absolutely need I will donate before I leave instead of creating more stress than I need.

9. I’m not cheap, I’m just frugal. I’m fortunate that this was something that I acquired from my grandmother Cress, who can make a dollar last longer than anyone I know.

10. I have a voice. If you know me well enough I’m not the type that let’s things pass me by and always speak up when I am not happy with something. I know for a fact that my other grandmother Chute gave me this attribute and couldn’t be prouder.

Hearing the stories of my friends and their current situations within their families really makes me appreciate what I have. I’ll admit, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t want to pack my bags and head home but what I’ve learned in the past is that running away from a problem never solves anything. I’m fortunate enough to have a close enough bond with my family here where we can openly discuss issues that come about no matter what problems arise. I’ve come to the conclusion that living a life of perfect happiness may be acquirable but unrealistic, for me anyways.

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I’m in France, essentially living the dream and how many people can say they’ve done that?

Wine Tasting in France – Check!

When your family offers you tickets to a wine testing expo, take them! Apparently yore suppose to just “taste” the wine than spit it out but what fun would that be? Julie and I left around 3 and were feeling a great sense of intoxication by 4:30, but thankfully there was not only free samples of alcohol but food too!

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It was a little bigger than I had imagined 

So the real question did I buy anything , me being so fugal with everything?

Yep! I caved and no not because I was intoxicated either. We ended up coming across a stand that wasn’t on my list of “must taste” wine , generously given to me by my host dad. A63 was the number , and it’s probably one j won’t forget. The man selling the wine was an older gentleman but took a different approach when trying to pawn off his wine. He proactively asked us to try t for one which didn’t happen at any other places . This being said we were two young girls who many people would assume weren’t going to pay money for a good bottle of wine; we sure showed them. Anyways after we explained our life stories, or quite frankly why two Canadian and Danish girls were at a wine expo, he started pouring wine into our glasses. After a quick swish he dumped them out. Here I was thinking , what a waste but he wanted to make sure we tasted only his wine. Then he started with his cheapest wine and so forth until he got to the one named Louis.. Which we found out was named after his son. IMG_7140

oh aren’t we just the cutest!

His wine may not have been the so called “best” wine there, but the way he chose to make his sale to us was enough for me. I really don’t know how anyone can say one wine is better than another anyways considering we all have our own preferences with taste.

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I’m having a hard time deciding if i’m now a red wine lover, because the white there was amazing!

After we felt like we had enough wine and champagne we headed to the food area where of course there were free samples. Julie and I are pretty much champions when it comes to snagging free things or so it seems. If you liked foe gras you would have been in heaven, for us not so much.

I give Julie credit for carrying around 5 bottles of wine, when I only had 2 because they are not the lightest accessories that’s for sure. We than headed to my first Danish Christmas market and tried typical danish Christmas cookies and boy were they ever good! They reminded me of our gingerbread men that we have at home, but smaller and even spicier! 

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My favorite Dane 

We ended our Saturday a lot earlier than we normally were, but that being said we had a very busy day full of lots of laughs and A LOT of wine. Finally after three weeks I’ve been at the camps d’elysses at night time to see the amazing lights that everyone has been boasting about! They are AMAZING and really prove the fact that Paris is known as the city of lights. I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight. IMG_7164

Vanilla Beetroot Pancakes – winning the way to a childs heart

If you’re an au pair in France more than likely, like me you dread Wednesdays. Why the children need half (or sometimes the whole) day off from school is beyond me but it doesn’t look like its changing anytime soon.

On these days I usually plan on relaxing after I taking her to school for her whole 3 hours of learning, instead of attempting to go in Paris. For me, relaxing means baking, and that’s exactly what this morning consisted of. I received my protein powder order within 3 days of placing the order from My Protein France so I figured protein pancakes were on the menu for this morning.
You might ask why I’m filling myself with protein powder when i’m far from a bodybuilder or even exercising enough to need it, but my family here doesn’t eat a lot of meat which is typically how I get the majority of my protein. Nevertheless, I love baking with this powder so it gives me a chance to incorporate it into my diet of unlimited baguettes and cheese. When I say unlimited, I truly mean that we’ve NEVER run out in the past 3 months since I’ve been here.
Since it’s almost Christmas I figured that it was essential to bring out the holiday cheer in my breakfast, mainly because pretty food tastes better (agreed?) There was absolutely no food colouring in this house so I opted for beets, yes the vegetable, to add some colour to my stack. Being in France has been tough baking and cooking wise and have had to substitute ingredients in essentially everyone of my recipes.
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Vanilla Beetroot Pancakes
Serves: 1
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup fromage blanc (greek yogurt works as well)
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini (optional)
Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat with olive oil (Thankfully we also never run out of this either here). Whip you egg until fluffy and then incorporate the dry ingredients into the batter. If you find that it is too thick add milk or water to a thinner consistency.
Seperate the batter into two bowls and add 1/4 cup of minced beet to one of them. Pour the batter onto the pan into your desired size. I wanted a taller stack, therefore my pancakes were smaller than normal. BE PATIENT. This step is probably the hardest for me to be honest. Flip once you see bubbles and cook on the opposite side.
Once all of your cakes are done, layer them and top with more greek yogurt and of course don’t forget the chocolate shavings! Apparently these little chocolate pieces are consider “hot chocolate” here, who knew!
Voila! Enjoy those pancakes!

4 Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins

So I finally found my to the kitchen here in France and I couldn’t be happier. If any of you know me well enough, you would know that the kitchen was where I pretty much lived for the past couple years. I HATE following recipes and always have to change something or even come up with my own which is what I normally do.

Thankfully the girl I look after here has a love for my creations I recently found out. Yesterday I made a chocolate mugcake with nutella of course, and she couldn’t stop talking about it, and it only contained only 4 ingredients! She is very picky but i think because she is able to help me make the recipes she enjoys it that much more. Finally we found something that we both enjoy, I love to bake and she love to eat haha!

So I decided to come up with some banana bread muffins because she claimed that she had never had banana bread before. After confirming with her mother, no one in the family had even heard of it before… Boy are they missing out. I didn’t have any eggs in the house so I kind of just threw some ingredients together and hoped for the best, and they turned our pretty darn good for only 4 ingredients I must say.

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Banana Bread Muffins 

Makes 4

  • 1 small ripe banana mashed
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 – 1/2 tbsp of almond powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini (optional)

Yep folks, that’s it.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Make sure you mash your banana well before mixing it with the egg or it will end up being clumpy which isn’t what we want.

2. Mix the other two ingredients in until you have a frothy mixture. Pour into prepared greased muffin tins.

3. Bake for 20-30 mins (I kind of forgot about them so I don’t know how long they were actually in there but they turned out great) 😀

4. Top with whatever floats your boat. For me I made a mixture of pb2 and fromage blanc (for all of you non-frenchie that would be similar to greek yogurt)

ENJOY!

My ever growing obsession with Questbars

When I bought my first quest bar I had no sweet clue what they were for, the ingredients, when to eat them, etc.. It was in the mist of when I became obsessed with fitness and being “healthy” notice the brackets because looking back, I was no wheres near healthy. My instagram became full of these protein bars so I figured that they must be the best thing out there for fitness junkies. I remember the first one I bought which was White Chocolate Raspberry. Of course I ate it raw because I wasn’t yet informed of the amazing other ways to eat these glorious bars. This moment was the beginning of an expensive yet satisfying addiction. The taste was so good, and because they weer claimed “healthy” they tasted that much better.My paychecks stopped going towards things like clothes and shoes and all for my new found love; questbars! 

The negative side started when I became obsessed with protein and I wouldn’t eat other nutrition bars with less than 10 grams of protein. Yes, our bodies need this macro but it will be harmful if we eat too much! Especially fiber, these bars contain 19 grams of it! If you aren’t drinking enough water than you may experience bloating, gas and stomach issues. I know that personally whenever I consume a large amount of protein I am instantly bloated. 

I’ve tried quite a few of the flavors and definatly can’t say that I enjoy them all. If I had to rank the ones that I’ve tried from best to worst they would be as followed: 

1. White Chocolate Raspberry

2. Vanilla Almond Crunch

3. Cookies & Cream

4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

5. Chocolate Brownie

6. Coconut Cashew

7. Double Chocolate Chunk (I find this one too bitter for my liking)

8. Chocolate Peanut Butter

9. Banana Nut Muffin

10. Strawberry Cheesecake 

I’m still currently in love with them but I’ve realized that realistically it is not responsible for me to spend $35 on 12 bars when I really don’t necessarily need the nutrients in them. I eat them because I love them now, not because I need to get the extra protein in after a workout. I’ve been able to use my love for baking with them as well and have successfully created so many different goodies!