Posts in Living

A Love Letter To Zurich

Yo People!

I never was one to be obsessed with my hometown and think it was center of the universe. But MAN have I fallen in love with Zurich again during my last visit in May.

Like really hard.

It’s SUCH a beautiful city, especially on those summery days. WOW! WOW! WOW! (Coffee is hitting me super hard right now, the message is still true though).

No seriously, I enjoyed spending time in the city SO MUCH. And again, seriously, if you live in Zurich, please enjoy it and be aware of the great privilege it is to live there.

What I love about Zurich

It’s the shiny and clear color of the water, the boats on the lake in the distance, the swans on the shore approaching tourists, kids excited, parents worried. Bodies tanning in the badis. It’s the narrow streets in the old city, the cobblestone, the corners and nooks I know by heart and associate with friends, encounters, long nights, laughter, bike rides. It’s the smallness that makes me feel at home and safe. It’s the calming green and the nature close by. It’s the majestic mountains you can see from afar. It’s the bakeries (bread!!!), cafés, bars and restaurants. It’s the hipsters on their bikes and bankers in their suits. It’s the museums, theatres and events. It’s the tranquility, the politeness, the correctness.

It’s the faces of people I love.

Thanks again to my beautiful friends and family for helping me have the most amazing time, I miss them here but enjoy my time even more with them if I get to see them.

Why am I so emotional today? Phew.

If you’ve never visited Zurich before I think you’ll understand now that I would strongly encourage you to do it. And if you’re Swiss, be happy to live in such a beautiful place.

Currently Loving: Zurich, Tears And Jeans

Hi friends,

How have you been? How has your month of May been?

I’ve done something a “good” blogger actually shouldn’t do, which is to leave and peace out without saying a word.

I really didn’t mean to leave you like that I just happened to enjoy myself and my time with friends and family in Zurich so much (I went for a wedding a couple a days ago) that I kind of didn’t feel like blogging. Plus, the weather was super sunny and hot while I was there, which also called for lots of swimming sessions in the lake (more on that to follow soon). Anyways, as I’ve skipped April favorites I thought I’d smush all of the things I’ve been loving lately and still currently am loving with you today.

What have you been loving lately? Do let me know in the comments below. Have a lovely week! Happy to be back!

That Zurich Summer Feeling

I’ll dedicate a full on post about Zurich soon but man have I been enjoying my few days in the good old hometown, with my beautiful friends and family, delicious bread (spent most of my money on food anyway) and sunshine. In the meantime I’ll leave you with this:

zurich

Perfume obsession

I had been eyeing up this one for months. It’s one that I kept smelling on people and that always made me go “wow, what is that smell?”. I found out in the meantime what it is. It’s the Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. What does it smell like? It’s complicated to describe.

escentric molecules

Molecule 01 is unlike ANYTHING you will ever wear. It is simple yet intriguing as it smells a little different on everyone. Why that is? Molecule 01 is an aroma chemical rather than a perfume that smells like sweet sandalwood/cedar-like. Also, it behaves differently than a perfume. You have to wear it to understand (as I am reading this it sounds very cryptic).

I bought it off this site here, which seriously did an amazing and fast job at delivering it within 24 hours (they’re based in Switzerland).

Natural Deodorant Love

I know I know, putting a deodorant as a favorite seems weird. Yet it’s summer soon and you know…that naughty sweat will come around eventually. I’ve been researching natural deodorants without any chemicals in them and found my favorite deodorant EVER. Seriously, have never been such a fan of a deodorant ever before. It’s this one by La Vanila.

I’m SO INTO THEM I actually look forward to using my deodorant.

lavanila_deodorant

Yes, I just wrote that. It’s the truth tho people. I’m gladly taking orders if you want some.

Best Movie I’ve seen in a long time

I sincerely apologize to the girl that was sitting next to me in that flight Boston Zurich, as I seriously was sobbing away in the dark night on the plane when watching this movie. It is the kind of story that slowly unfolds and while you’re watching it it hits you so SO hard, it was an absolute beauty of a movie. So so very sad but so well done. Wow!

Forever Harry Love

Oh dear, what an album! I’ve been listening to his new album “Harry Styles” on repeat (Philipp and our neighbors can attest). Give it a listen too, if you’re into that seventies type of soft rock style. The mix of songs is amazing, it will make you want to cry, dance and smile. My favorites are “Ever since New York”, “Sign of Times”, “Kiwi”, “Two Ghosts”, “Carolina”, “Only Angel” (ok, now I’ve just listed almost all of the songs, see how good it is?). Well done, Harry (if you’re ever reading this).

The jeans I now live in (forreals)

I present to you the jeans I’ve been wearing for the last days (weeks) without washing them in between (gross yes), because what else would I wear?!. They’re the Levis Wedgie Fit and they’re the most comfortable pair of jeans you’ve ever worn. Swear! Have a look at them here. Again, gladly taking orders if you want me to bring some to Switzerland.

Happy week!

My Favorite Cafés in Boston/Cambridge

Hi people,

It’s Friday soon and some of us need a coffee especially on a Friday morning to get things started, right?

I LOVE cafés, there’s just something about them. They are a place where you can stop and take in a moment of reflection and of course enjoy a great cup of coffee, tea as well as beautifully made and (even more importantly) deliciously tasting pastries. Oh YES.

Whether you’ll be visiting the area soon or are a local looking for inspiration, I’ve got you covered. What follows  are my favorite café spots so far (granted I haven’t seen ALL of them yet, I’m still researching. But those six have definitely won a special place in my heart, yes yes).

Have a great cup of coffee and take on that day, ok? Enjoy the weekend! I’m off to Zurich for the next 10 days and am looking forward to a wedding of a beautiful friend of mine, SO E-X-C-I-T-E-D. Hard to spell a word out when your that excited. Anyways, all the best and will talk to you next week!

Loyal Nine

Oh, I love this place. All about it. It’s concept mainly is that they use ingredients and create dishes that the settler a few (!) years back would have cooked with. I love Loyal Nine at every time of day, in the morning the café annex next to the restaurant is a lovely option with great coffee and tea as well as great and creative café food. If you want to go all out, I’d recommend you try the Brunch on the weekend (go for the bread pancakes, absolutely delicious) or dinner. Loyal Nine will not disappoint, it’s one of those restaurants where you leave with a happy belly, not feeling overeaten. The drinks are amazing, too. Can you tell that I like Loyal Nine?

Tatte Bakery

I couldn’t do a favorites list without including Tatte. It’s just…Fantastic! Friends and family who came to visit can attest, it’s a pastries heaven for anyone looking for a delicious sweet or savory breakfast. Seriously their display in the morning is just, unbelievable. They have grown quite a bit in the last time and now have various branches all over the city, definitely check them out if you ever wanted to try super delicious chocolat croissants, pecan nut roses, lemon tarts, meringue, halvas, kouign-ammans and the list goes on. They really know their stuff.

Thinking Cup

Thinking Cup seriously convinced me with their coffee in the first place. They use Stumptown Coffee (remember, that was the coffee I drank in New York that I loved so much). It’s actually seriously the best coffee I’ve ever drank, no doubt.

Longfellows

A brewery at night, a coffee shop in the daytime. I love Longfellows if I want to get a productive working morning or afternoon in. It’s a place to get good coffee and get on your laptop. There’s just this peaceful atmosphere that I love. Also, the chairs are #goals!

Pavement Coffee

I especially love the Pavement café on Newbury Street, as it is tucked away a little in the underground and you kind of have to know where it is. Nonetheless, quite a few people know about it, as it is ALWAYS full. But hey, I get it, pretty decors, chill atmosphere and good coffee. Yep, it’s a cool place.

Flour Bakery 

Hands-down the best sandwiches. If you ever feel hungry, check Flour Bakery out. The Harvard graduate Joanne Chang has opened a few branches since opening up her first one here in Harvard Square. And yeah, those sandwiches are just, wow.

What are your favorite cafés in the place you live? Have a fantastic weekend!

Going Vegan for One Week: An Experiment

Hi gang,

I’ve come up with yet another food related experiment. After 3 weeks of full on food overload (delicious though) with friends and family and many many outings to restaurants, cafés and bakeries and I thought why not try….and going vegan for one week (meaning, besides no meats to eat no dairy products).

So, what happened, you ask? I failed on day 3 (that was two weeks ago). And I must say it was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really prepared for it and thought I could just wing it.

Well, no.

I decided to give it another try, put a little more thought into it and went for a big shop on Sunday.

A short excursus here: We went to our regular neighborhood supermarket (still big in comparison to Swiss supermarkets) and not to Whole Foods, which I’m sure would have had more vegan options. Still, “armed” with all the salad items, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, fruit, vegan butter, vegan cheese (ewww) I felt like I could take on this week without a problem.

Still I only passed my vegan experiment by 95%? Read on more about it below!

Breakfast

Breakfast actually was the one meal I found the easiest to do throughout this whole week.

I normally eat porridge for breakfast and even when I’m not doing a vegan experiment, I use almond milk to cook it as I find it delicious and feel like it doesn’t sit too heavy in my stomach either. In short: I had either porridge with almond milk (also bought a chocolate almond milk version to spice things up a little, very delicious), dates and bananas or strawberries. I switched between the porridge and homemade acaï bowl with bananas and granola. Usually accompanied by a herbal lemon or fennel tea. Very delicious.

Lunch

Rich Salads were my go to option for lunch. However, I went to one lunch talk at MIT where I was confronted with their buffet options (grilled meats, cheese platters, … you get the picture. NOT VEGAN.). Let me just say that I was the person eating all the hummus and olives.

Snacks

I mostly ate fruit like grapes, bananas, strawberries, dates or energy and protein bars (I actually kind of developed an obsession for energy bars, more on that topic soon). And dairy-free ice cream by FOMU or Ben & Jerry’s. Other than that, nothing special to report.

Dinner

I discovered a new grain: FARRO (Dinkel for you Swiss and German readers). I love it! So I went for it and made a zucchini risotto. I tried to sprinkle a bit of vegan Mozzarella on it at the end, which I regretted. It just didn’t taste right. Other options were a delicious vegetable curry with rice, lots of chickpeas. I basically must have eaten 5 tins of chickpeas all by myself.

I don’t regret it though. I love me some chickpeas.

Why I Failed

I failed twice to be exact.

AND it was other people’s fault (of course, no but really).

Let me explain. The two times I could actually not keep up the vegan promise (if you want to call it that) was when I was involved in social situations with other people. On Friday for instance, we had a boardgames and pizza evening with our international Harvard friends. I even tried to research vegan pizzas in Cambridge before going out. But a few clicks in, made it clear that the next vegan pizzeria was way too far away, I gave up. I know I know. I just didn’t want to be the special one who had to order a pizza especially made for her.

Second time I gave in was at a baby shower on Sunday. I just wanted to taste some of that beautiful cake, I mean, do you understand what I mean? Weak me. 

Conclusion

I really do admire vegans, as I now understand how much preparation and discipline it must take to really go through with it. Obviously every vegan reading this will shake their heads at my weak (or non existing) discipline.

Could I be a vegan? I consider myself a flexible vegetarian, meaning that I will mostly eat vegetarian 90% of the time, with the odd exceptions of a good and organic piece of meat, cordon bleu or a bit of bacon at breakfast every once in a while. I find that it is way more easy to upkeep a vegetarian lifestyle as you still are allowed to eat honey, eggs, yoghurt and cheese. Foods that I simply love.

The milk and the butter I find rather easy to substitute, while it seems impossible to me to find a good substitute for cheese. I did try a coconutmilk yoghurt but didn’t like it too much. And eggs every once in a while are nice to have for breakfast. This has become more of a ramble than a structured text now.

All to finish off by saying that I find it very important to eat a balanced diet including everything there is (even though I am mostly leaving out meats and fish), while I of course respect everyone’s decision on how to eat the way they want to. I totally understand all of the reasons behind going vegan and again, I admire the determination. Still, I don’t think it’s for me.

Are you vegan or trying to be? Could you picture yourself being one? I’d love to hear your comments below!

The Weekend Notes

People!

Hope you’re doing well. Two announcements.

One: This is my post #101, crazy isn’t it? Would love to hear from you if there’s anything you’d like me to write about! Let me know in the comments below (don’t be shy!).

Two: A good friend of mine once mentioned to me that he saves links from interesting stuff he stumbles across on the internet during the week to then read it on the weekends. I found that interesting and tried to do it myself this week, hope you’ll enjoy my eclectic choice of links that I will read up on this Sunday. Have a fantastic weekend yourself!

America

“U.S. life expectancy varies by more than 20 years from county to county” says the headline of this Washington Post article. I’m like whaaaatt? Bookmarked. I’m going to read that. In case you’re into finding out more too, join me.

Another article, this time by the NYT got my attention. It’s a (much needed) fact check on the G.O.P. Health Bill. And yes, I will have to read that in order to not create any alternative facts when discussing it with people around me (get the pun?, maybe it’s a bit far fetched). Thanks NYT!

France

How relieved are we about the French vote? If you want to read up on a little more about last weeks elections, check out this cool and interactive NYT article

My hood (aka Cambridge)

This one goes out to my local friends: The two main source I turn to when I’m in a weekend planning mood and want to know what’s going on around here is The Boston Magazine and the Scout Cambridge.  If you don’t know them yet, check them out, they’ve got great ideas and articles about what to do and see! If you’re just interested in events and the like, there’s the Boston Calendar, which is also great!

Random

The Huffington Post shares some rather interesting news with us: Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is running for Sheriff?

Don’t roll your eyes at me. I told you this was the random category.

Nonetheless, I want to know more about it, do you? Read about it here.

The noisy and curious person I am, I like this site ‘My Morning Routine’ a lot. People with all different kinds of backgrounds (athletes, business people, creatives etc.) share their morning routines. Always like to read up on some of them, as I find it interesting and inspiring!

Food

The weekend is not only all about the foods you eat but also about thinking ahead what to make for next week. Two inspirational and trusted sources on this matter are Lucky Peach and Bon Appetit.

Photos, photos, photos

Do you know the feeling, when you get sucked into a world of amazing images that almost make you feel like you are part of them? The Time and the National Geographic sure know they stuff.

What will you be reading up on in the internets this weekend? I’d love to know! Byeee!

13 Reasons Why It’s Complicated: A Review

Hello everybody, how are you?

So. This is a Netflix show that literally EVERYONE has been talking about here in the US. Media, people I know, everyone has seen this show or has an opinion about it. Which is a good thing, as the subject itself is very important to talk about, yet there are a few aspects of the show that I find rather complicated. So I thought I’d be original (haha) and share my humble opinion with you.

If you’re currently watching it, I’ll try and not spoil it for you (at least in the plot and twists, as we all know that the outcome of the story is pretty clear from the beginning on, unfortunately). If you’re interested in watching it, this might give you an input or two to think about the show while you’re watching it.

Here goes the trailer:

The Story

The series is based on the bestseller novel with the same title published by Jay Asher in 2007. It all begins a few weeks after the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a junior at a high school. Clay (Dylan Minnette), a classmate (who also had a crush on her), receives a box of cassettes.

They contain Hannah’s descriptions of 13 events that led to her decision to kill herself, each addressed to the schoolmate or adult who caused her distress and pain. Clay, as one of the two leading roles, becomes sort of a detective, who tries to find out what happened to Hannah and confronts other people in the process.

A few reasons why it’s complicated

In the novel, Clay listens to all of the tapes in one night, while he only listens to them one by one (very slowly) in the show (and the show stretches over 13 episodes of 13 hours!). If I were Clay I would totally listen to them ALL AT ONCE. I couldn’t wait for as long as he did. I think every other person would agree with me, right? So this part is rather unrealistic, which sometimes gets borderline annoying.

You want to go and say “Clay, hey, move on a little faster, will ya?”.

But ok. That’s the smallest of all complaints I have.

In terms of dramaturgy the series starts off with you being curious about what happens next. Over the course of the 13 episodes there is definitely a slump in about the middle, where the narrative just gets overly repetitive. However, the final I’d say four episodes increase massively in darkness and gravity. It’s when things get really sad (certain scenes I can’t forget) and you as a viewer feel that the end must be near.

The blame game

We’re meant to see that the things that happen to Hannah (SPOILER ALERT ranging from High School banalities like getting a poem of yours published, over to all different kinds of bullying to very very serious and sad events) lead to her loosing self-confidence and feeling lonely to the point she doesn’t see no way out. While I can follow the narrative, I find that her performance isn’t all that convincing as she seems really strong, at times even very mean and inconsiderate to others too.

One of the most commonly heard criticisms that I actually agree with, is that Hannah turns her suicide into a blame game. She designates all that’s happened to her and the people who caused it – granted all not nice things – as the reason why she kills herself and lets them know too. She even leaves people like Clay behind who were nice and kind to her that now think they were guilty of her death. What I’m trying to say is that of course everyone around you influences you and you should always be considerate of other people’s feelings (as you also never no what they have going on in their lives) and always try to be a good person, still in the end the decision to take your life is yours only and no one else’s.

Suicide as the only answer

The second major thing that I find complicated with the show is that the main character Hannah only at the very end of her life SPOILER ALERT (actually on her last day) seeks help from a school counselor. She makes no other attempts to try and reach out to someone, not her parents or any other professional. I guess it’s difficult to understand such a situation from an outsider’s perspective, still the show has been critiqued for not showing how you can get help in a difficult situation like this when you’re having suicidal thoughts. And I agree. Also, the counselor really is shown as being weak and not of any help at all.

Be nice to each other

Clay says one thing at the very end, which stuck with me. He says something like “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other”, which is maybe the thing I agree with the most.

Have you watched the show, did you like it? Apparently there will be a season 2 coming our way (those cliffhangers tho). Have a good day everyone!

Why Boston/Cambridge Is a Great Place for Curious People

Hello everyone

I want to talk about curiosity today.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, especially since having moved to Boston/Cambridge. I think that it is a great place to live if you are a curious person and appreciate being surrounded by an innovative and intellectually inspiring environment. Why that is you ask? Find out more below:

The “Athens of America”

Boston got this nickname due to its over 100 educational facilities and its big teaching and student population. Also, many of the universities and colleges (e.g. Harvard University or MIT) are considered amongst the best in the world.

Students EVERYWHERE (making me feel old, thanks)

With over 250,000 college students living within Boston/Cambridge, they account for 1/3rd of the total population. In other words, lots of young people around (making me feel old, not cool. Happy for them of course. But still.)

A City of Book Lovers and Book Stores

Although the Library of Congress contains the most volumes in the whole country (more than 29,550,000), Harvard University’s Library is second with more than 15,000,000 and the Boston Public Library is third with more than 14,000,000. So many books, right? Also, there are SO MANY book stores especially in Cambridge with lots of events going on all the time. Take the Harvard Book Store for example, alone in the month of April it will be holding 27 events, amongst them with world-known authors, professors or personalities such as Sheryl Sandberg, Noam Chomsky to name a few.

The startup scene is going strong

With nearly 2,000 startups in all possible fields ((bio)technology, medical, etc.) the city is considered a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship and rightly so. I’ve already met quite a few people (when I did small talk. Because that’s a way to learn things. Also a great way to “use” your curiosity as it is considered acceptable to ask lots of questions when doing small talk. Ok, long excursus over) telling me about amazing start ups they were working for. One girl (I sadly don’t remember the name of the organization) was working in a startup that was developing a tool that prevents people from dying from internal bleeding that could be used in war but also first aid situations, which I thought was really interesting (I’m sure I’ve done a terrible job at explaining as it was quite medical but the essence is, people do interesting stuff here).

Talks and Presentations to choose from everyday

One of the things that I enjoy the most here is the vast array and choice of presentations, talks and conferences you can attend literally EVERY day. If you wanted you could spend days only visiting MIT and Harvard public lectures (just to name two that I’ve gotten to know a bit better, there are tons of other colleges/institutes with their own stuff too).

It’s seriously a privilege being able to listen to so many intelligent and inspiring people that come to those institutions. So far, I’ve seen the mayor of the City of Boston talk about urban planning and the city’s future development, the mayor of Mexico City (a lot of mayors I know realize) giving a lecture on urban challenges and climate change or attended a conference on everyday feminism at Harvard Law School. I’ve seen Noam Chomsky and former Foreign Secretary of the UK, Mr. Straw talking about Brexit and Trump at MIT. It’s been super interesting and rewarding having the time to actually go to those lectures.

Today’s take away for you

If today’s post has a take away it should be that I’d encourage you to check out if the universities or other institutions in your city offer public talks and presentations that you could attend (if you’re interested in the topic that is).

For all of my Boston located friends who aren’t already familiar with those links, you’ll find the events calendars of Harvard University and MIT below.

Have a lovely day and remember:

A life without curiosity is quite simply a boring life.

My Current Netflix Favorites (When the Bad Weather Strikes)

Hello everyone

Well, the weather around here hasn’t been the best, let’s put it this way (it has actually been really depressing and shitty to say the truth), so Netflix as well as lots of tea and planning ahead for visits of friends and family was in order to lighten up the mood.

I thought I’d share my current Netflix favorites with you in case you’re in need of some entertainment as well. But as far as I have heard, you (Europeans you) have been treated to the most beautiful weather lately, so maybe this one goes out more to my fellow friends here in Boston.

#1 The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone

I got really sucked into this series on American history and had to watch all of the episodes within a few days, it’s really well done. Also, it’s really interesting to look into the American history and learn and discover more about its past presidents and important historical events (and about forgotten figures such as Henry Wallace, OMG, what a legend. Do you know him? If not, the movie will introduce him to you. Unfortunately though, he didn’t make the presidency and lost against Truman).

In short: If you’re into history this is definitely a good one for you. 

#2 Call the Midwife

I don’t know what it is but this series just makes me HAPPY. It’s an oldie but still going strong as they have started their 6th season last week in the UK. And it does go strong for a reason, it’s just an uplifting and thoughtful series that will leave you feeling nostalgic and content. Promise!

#3 Sour Grapes

This one is definitely on the lighter side, if you’re looking for an intriguing story about a man in the crazy wine world.

#4 In Extremis

This is not a movie for when you’re feeling depressed or sad yet it so important for everyone to watch (at least that’s how I feel about it).

#5 Janis: Little Girl Blue

Such A COOL woman. If you’re into music and want to learn more about this icon, then this is your documentary!

What are things that you are currently enjoying on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below! Also, are there any specific series or movies you are looking forward to? I am surely looking forward to the release of “Fruitvale Station” on Netflix, coming up in May 12th as well as the second season of “Master of None” in May as well.

Have a nice day!

7 Ways To (Instantly) Make Your Day Better

Hi friends

How are you today? Having a good day? No? I totally feel you. I had a bad day yesterday. Just feeling really ‘meh’ all day, not my usual self. Maybe it’s the depressing weather here or I don’t know what. Sometimes it’s just like that. It made me think what small things brighten up my day so I came up with the following seven ways. In case you’re having a ‘meh’ day today as well, I’m with you. And maybe some of those ideas might inspire you and make it a little better again.

If you have any other tips, let us know in the comments below! Bye!

#1 Make your bed when you wake up

It sounds SO SO stupid yet just the fact of doing it (and let’s be honest it only takes you less than a minute) will make you start your day on a productive note.

#2 Tackle your most daunting task first

When you prioritze your to do list and place your most dreaded task at the top, its power no longer looms over you all day. Whatever it is, once you check it off your list, you’ll feel so accomplished and ready to take all the other tasks on.

#3 Do something thoughtful for someone else

Doing something nice for someone else is scientifically proven to make your day better. Call or message a friend, send your grandparents a handwritten card, pay for your friend’s coffee at the café, bring your mother a bunch of flowers, the list is endless. Not only will this help take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, but it will also make someone else’s day better.

#4 Listen to your favorite song on repeat

Do you have a favorite song that you like to listen to when you’re in need of positive vibes? If not, it’s time to find one. Scientific American reports that “music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort, and may even promote metabolic efficiency.” So. Today’s to do: Find a go-to power song, or go the extra step and create a playlist so that you’ll never run out of options.

#5 Say “please” and “thank you”—and mean it

Being kind is important, right? Being kind AND sincere is even better. The more genuine kindness you offer to others, the more genuine kindness you’ll see in return. Hold the door for a stranger today, thank people for their efforts at work, say “please” when you order your morning coffee, smile AND MEAN IT.

#6 Have a relaxing bath

Rather than having that quick shower, make some me time (read more on how to practice self-care here) and have a bubble bath. You can also do a face or hair mask or whatever makes you feel good! It is a great treat after a long and hard day.

#7 Sniff something lemon-fragranced 

Yep, you read that right. To improve your day, simply sniff a lemon, light a lemon scented candle or get yourself a citrusy perfume. Scientists at Tel Aviv University suggest that citrus fragrances – particularly lemon – can alleviate depression and boost our mood. Why that is? The smell of a lemon boosts your levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and lowers levels of norepinephrine (a stress hormone).

How To Talk Like An American

Hello friends, how are you today?

A common question I get asked by my Swiss friends is how I get along with the language.

My answer will usually be, I get along well except for the odd moment where I’ll be searching for a very specific word. In Switzerland we get taught British English (if I remember correctly, it’s been a few years) so I wanted to dive into how you can start talking American English (if that is something you are interested in, if you aren’t I TOTALLY understand). Let’s get started, shall we? 

Instead of going through all the (real serious) details I recommend you going over to wikihow to read the article related to this topic here. If you’re interested that is. You’ll find my favorite recommendations according to wikihow down below with my added comments.

American phrases you “should” know*

  • “Awesome” and “cool” -> used to describe something great or used as a positive reaction to something someone tells you.
  • “What’s up?” or “Sup” -> used to ask someone what they’re doing, how they are, and as a general greeting. It’s fine to use casually with friends. It’s most often used by young men (haha, the last part made me lol).
  • “Hanging out” is spending time somewhere or with someone. It’s a phrase often used by teenagers to describe how they pass time and socialize, often without one particular activity or aim (again, major lol moment).
  • “Y’all” is a contraction of “You all”, the second person plural mode of directly addressing a group of people. It is used primarily in the Southern States, but is acceptable in other regions.

Say it loud, say it proud

“Try to speak a ‘little’ louder when you’re talking to someone in America. It’s perfectly acceptable over in the States, and it creates an atmosphere of congeniality.” I really had to giggle a little when I saw that.

Use ‘like’ in (almost) EVERY sentence

I’m like don’t do that, she was like no way am I going to that party. And so on. You get the gist.  It’s called the “quotative like,” and over the last 25 years, it’s become one of the language’s most popular methods of talking about talking. Yes, that’s a thing. 

Are you all ready to speak American English now after this thorough introduction?

Have a great day!

The Expat Tag Follow-up

Hi guys!

Remember, how a few weeks back I had created an expat tag? Well, lots of lovely people did it and I thought it would be nice to feature their blogs and share some of my favorite answers with you. Also, lots of other people reacted so thanks to them too for sharing their stories even though they aren’t featured here (shout out to Christine!).

Check out Sarah’s blog Endless Distances here to read more about her experience as an American yoga teacher living in Plymouth (also, beautiful photos alert).

“Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand? I cannot bear the Plymouth accent. I really cannot. Growing up in the USA we all fell in love with the poshest of British accents (think Colin Firth) and were led to believe all Brits sound the same… this is NOT the case and my ears are now attuned enough that I can spot a Plymouthian accent from a mile away.”

HAHA.

Between England and IowaFollow a British Girl’s life in the Midwest of the States over here.

“What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home? Driving 3 hours to go to an airport.  In the UK, that’d be like me driving to Manchester to get on a flight.  Why would I do that when I have Stansted, Southend, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, all less than 90 minutes away and all flying internationally?!  Now, my nearest major international airport is Chicago O’hare (that’s the nearest airport that flies direct to the UK) and it’s 3 hours away.  Those 3 hours of driving are a killer before and after a long haul flight.”

The Frenchy WayFind out what the frenchy way of living in Santa Cruz is and check out this French girl’s blog here. It’s very interesting, lots of pretty photos too!

I had a hard time choosing an answer I liked most, there were too many, seriously (it might also been the beautiful French language or the Grizou GIF, not sure). 

“Quel type de réactions obtenez-vous lorsque vous rencontrez de nouvelles personnes et leur dites d’où vous venez? Les réactions sont toutes très sympathiques. J’ai été très étonnée au début. Je pensais que les français avaient mauvaise réputation outre-atlantique. En fait, c’est le contraire, on a plutôt la côte !”

This one was funny, too:

“Quel est votre plat préféré, nourriture ou boisson dans votre nouveau pays?
Les ARTICHAUTS ! Vous entendez le cri du cœur là ? En soupe, en crème, en salade, frits… Californie = artichoke. D’ailleurs la capitale de l’artichaut se trouve à Castroville, à 40 minutes de chez nous. Les artichauts californiens, tu peux pas test !”

An Aussie in San FranciscoCheck out this Australian’s adventures in beautiful San Francisco over here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Americans tend to love Australians. I’m not sure why. I get a lot of “crikey”s and questions about deadly animals. Sometimes they just ask me which part of Australia I’m from and let me continue on my merry way. Other times I get a rendition of their best Aussie accents. To this day I get a visit from a colleague once a week to regale me with his awful accent. It’s British. The more I tell him that it’s British, the more he assaults me with it.”

My Theory on BloomingCheck out Claire’s thoughtful blog on her adventures as an American mom in South Africa here.

“Your favorite food or drink item in your new country? Granadilla – It’s a passionfruit which tastes both sour and sweet, and full of flavor.  It’s good with yogurt, mixed in a drink, or made into a sweet dessert.  My daughters even eat them right out of the skin.  I’ve got a vine growing in our back garden.  So, when they are in season…I don’t even have to pay for them!”

Expat The WorldA sweet Spanish girl moves to Germany and tells you what it really is like, check it out here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say. Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.”