All the feels

Of course, I’m back.

Honestly- apologies to anyone who would like to faithfully follow this blog and my adventures because I am THE WORST at updating this thing. BUT, I have come to the conclusion that that is just how it’s got to be. So I’m proud of myself for sitting down and typing this all out here right now! Some things never change.

So! My last update was from Canada (had to check). From there I went to Paris for a week vacation before starting work as a camp counselor and English teacher for French children in the south of France for two weeks, back to Paris for a work meeting, and then to the northwest of France to work for another month after that. It was hard work, 16 hour days, little to no wifi… but I had a fun summer with the kids, went on some crazy adventures, and most of all- met some super amazing people (ya’ll know who you are).

The original plan was to apply for my Chinese visa while I was working in France and try to get it all set up and ready for me to move to China straight from France. That didn’t work out. I am currently writing you from my bed in Phoenix, Arizona. As my time in France was coming to an end and I still did not have any of paperwork finished and was becoming exhausted with the internet access situation in France, I decided to just book a ticket home as soon as my contract ended so I could go back to the states and visit my parents one last time in Seattle (thank you so much for having me and Erick!!!), catch up with some friends here, spend time with my partner, and do all of the paperwork myself.

So I said goodbye to my new friends and to France and flew home for what I thought would be two weeks. That was a month ago. Hahah. The paperwork has taken longer than I anticipated (many steps) but I am so grateful to have had this time at home before leaving. It is exactly what I needed.

Concerning paperwork: let me just dedicate this entire post (and my life) to Nick Cherng. Boy how I love you and need you in my life. Since he lives in Los Angeles, Nick has been receiving all of my paperwork and submitting my documents to the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles for me and saving me all of my time and money so thank you x infinity and when we organize your trip out to visit me I am getting you drunk and full of food. In all seriousness.. it is really nice to know that I can still count on our friendship after all of these years. Love you.

So I’ve shipped my final visa application and paperwork and my partner’s to Nick in Los Angeles to be submitted for the visa tomorrow. We did express service for another $20 each so they should be finished processing in 2-3 business days after tomorrow and Nick will mail them back to us and Erick and I will get on a flight to Shenzhen, China on September 13th, one week from tomorrow!

Apparently someone from the university will meet us at the airport and take us to my apartment but our flight gets in around midnight (their time) so we’ll see! I was meant to be at the Southern University of Science and Technology (where I’ll be working) sometime this week to participate in the training and meetings which I was nervous about missing but I’m not the only first-year teacher who is missing it because of visa paperwork (actually most of us are so I’m not sure why they’re having it to be honest) and I printed out all of the materials they will be covering in the meetings and will read up before I arrive.

I am very excited to have adult students. I will of course (obviously – no promises) update this when I find out more about the teaching, the content of the courses, and my students but for now I am excited for a new challenge, motivated students, and interesting coursework (teaching colors and numbers this summer got old very fast).

Erick will be flying out with me and spending my first week out there with me helping me set up my apartment and explore the city a bit and then he’s headed back to Arizona to his job. I Am nervous about spending a year apart but we both agree that this is what I’ve always wanted and I’ve never been the kind of girl to give up on that for a guy (even though he’s so much more than that to me). Anyway, we’re ready to see what this year brings for us and how much it will allow us to grow individually and as a couple.  More updates to come on long-distance relationships and that aspect of my trip to come (again, no promises).

So a big shoutout to all of my new friends I made this summer, all of my old friends that still have my back, my parents, Erick, and all of you lovely humans who read this thing.

I am so excited!!!!!!!

Well since they never make it anywhere else on the internet, here’s some photos from this summer…





Bonjour from Montreal!

It has been a much-needed week in Canada with friends. So first and foremost, thank you x1000000 to Alex and Margot for letting us take over your lives for this week!

We walked to the top of Mount Royal, shopped boutiques and vintage clothing shops, went on several picnics, met new friends, ate poutine, walked around the port, ate Saint Viateur and Fairmont bagels (of course we had to try both to make a clear decision about which one was better- just kidding I haven’t met a carb I didn’t like), bought food for our picnic at Marche Jean-Talon, and finally understood the rules of Mölkk (just enough to come in 3rd place – sorry Alex).

Anyway, I had such an amazing week here in Montreal and it really is such a beautiful city with really really kind people. I am going to miss the potted plants, spiral staircases outside of each home, and sidewalks lined with bicycles. And, of course, Alex and Margot. Who are obviously welcome to stay with me wherever I end up. ❤

Alright, photos.




And we back

To whom it may concern:

I realize it has been a year since I’ve updated this blog. And that this entry is way overdue.

However, other than a lot of schoolwork and coffee, there hasn’t been much to report until recently. So here’s the 411:

  • I graduated from Northern Arizona University with my Master’s degree and a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language!
  • I got the same job that I had last summer in France as a language counselor for American Village and got my first session’s placement in Aurabelle in southern France! For the rest of the summer I’ll be working as a Head Language Counselor (not assigned a location yet) and will be teaching ESL as well as managing the other ESL instructors at my location!
  • I am leaving this Sunday to first visit Alex and Margot in Montreal (they just got married!!!) with Natalie for a few days. Neither of us have ever been so it should be a lot of fun to explore the city (I know Alex has been dying to show us). Then we head to Paris and I’ve got a few days staying in an Airbnb near the canal with Natalie. Our French job contracts begin June 15th!
  • After my job contract is finished in France on August 4th, I’ll hopefully be heading to China! I’ve been offered a position as an English for Academic Purposes instructor at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen China, which is southeast, near Hong Kong.
  • The hiring paperwork and visa paperwork are all in the works (slowly…. very very slowly) so it’s all still a but up in the air (as usual). Long story short- I might have to either come home to complete the paperwork or overnight ship my passport to LA from France this summer so I can submit my application… -_-

Other than all that, I’ve been living with my partner in Phoenix, AZ for the last month since graduation, running around trying to get a physical, passport photos taken (for the 900th time), and eat at all of my favorite restaurants with him. I’m really going to miss Arizona, Erick, and Mexican food. So get ready to hear about it in the coming year.

Well, I leave for Canada tonight! Spent a few hours yesterday and will spend a few more today finishing up packing and then the next adventure begins. While I’m sad about having to continue my relationships at a longer distance for the next year, I’m definitely ready to begin the next chapter. My soul needs some maple syrup (that’s all Canadians eat, right?), fromage et pain (this is actually true about the French), and soup dumplings (I’ll keep you posted…).

Btw, thanks to everyone who takes the time to read these posts and even the positive feedback I’ve received (even if you all just really pity me and keep letting me have internet access for my self-esteem). Jokes aside, I really do appreciate every comment about my stories, my writing, my photos, my art, everything. Although we all know that I would keep doing this regardless if anyone ever read it (I like to hear myself talk and my therapist suggests it), I do think you all have a hand in keeping it going (so if you’re reading this now and rolling your eyes you can roll them right over to a mirror and ask yourself why you’re reading things that you hate so much and why don’t you recycle more and what we’re going to do about the alarming death rate of bees, etc. etc.).

Alright, you get the picture. More later.

au revoir (French-Canadian accent), au revoir (french accent), 再见 (I had to google translate this because I know absolutely zero Mandarin or Cantonese. what. am. i. doing.)



p.s. I think Carrie Bradshaw would be offended, confused, but also charmed by this blog. Success.



Man, I’m really bad at keeping a blog…

So clearly time stops for no one. The last month and a half have been insane! 12 hour days at work and then lesson planning at night and trying to fit some travel and sleep in on the weekends.

So my contract ended and I am currently in Milan on vacation and caught up on sleep and have some free time and an espresso maker so I figured it’s time to update the page.
Last time I wrote, I had just arrived at Azé. I spent three weeks there during Spring session and loved it. Where I met Watson, Rebel, and Goldfinger. ❤

Then I was transferred to Tour du Buis, South of Lyon, and spent two weeks there during the pre-summer session. TDB was also fun but a totally different atmosphere. It’s funny how much your job changes depending on who you work with and where you work. I met a bunch of new counselors there- there were 14 of us that session! On our day off, Zenon, Kash, and I hitchhiked into Vienne to take the train to Lyon and ate pizza and watched the football match and as we were hitchhiking back we got picked up by a woman who drove us all the way from Vienne back to camp (a 20 minute drive) – so sweet! So many good times and inside jokes from those two weeks. 🙂

After our two weeks at TDB, Korra, Pineapple, and I did a convayage with 25 kids from Vienne to Paris and it was too stressful. Trying to get 25 kids and their luggage on a train before it pulls away from the platform is pretty close to impossible and will result in your entire body dripping in sweat, yelling in Franglais, and the entire train car of people hating you. Oh well- you can always have the kids teach them a cheer on the ride to Paris 😉

Then finally, I had one week left at the day camp in Paris during the summer session. The day camp isn’t my favorite because the kids don’t really get to know us or visa versa because they leave everyday around 7pm. We don’t eat all three meals together and, in my opinion, the kids that come from Paris aren’t as willing to look like idiots. Which is 100% of why camp is fun. However, I did have a very big classroom and plenty of teaching supplies and my children had very little behavioral issues. 🙂 In my last week in Paris I got super close with Pineapple, Korra, and Goldfinger and it was actually really hard to come to Milan and quit work. I even helped them plan for the next week of work for when I would be gone. 😦 However, in saying this, I’m fairly certain I’ll be back next year!

Well, I’m sure that I’m forgetting several things since I waited so long to write here but I’ll just hope that all of the photos from the last few weeks can do them justice. Sorry for the late update and thanks so much for reading! Someone asked me why I keep a blog and I really only do it for myself so that I can remember things more clearly when I go back to look at my travels and experiences but I have heard from a few people that they do enjoy my blog updates and it really means a lot to me that others enjoy reading about what I’m up to. So thank you! ❤

Shoutout to all of the counselors I’ve met this year that really made my last month and a half. You know who you are.

P.s. Not sure when I’ll update this next because I’ll be traveling for the next three weeks but I’ve got the next two days in Milan where I’ll see the Duomo, WATCH FRANCE WIN THE EUROCUP TONIGHT,  get a tattoo, fall asleep in the park, and eat all of the pasta I can fit into this body before Tuesday morning when I fly to Bergen to meet up with my mom and start a tour of the Nordic countries! Then I’m off to Boston to see Lindsay for a week. Alright, one more espresso and I’m off to explore Milan! Au Revoir, Ciao, and byeeee.

xx.thatrareygirl / Arizona


So far so good… 

After literally 24 hours of traveling, I made it to my hotel in Paris. That night I ate pizza at a place down the street and people watched, took a shower and slept for 12.5 hours. I’ll attach this week’s sleep schedule as told by my Fitbit. It’s atrocious.
Anywho, on my free day in Paris I slept in, went to a cafe by the canal and got my daily requirement of espresso and croissants, went to Shakespeare and Company (an English bookstore) to get a new book to read on the train, sat and read by the canal for a few chapters, walked all over, people watched outside of the Louvre, and then went back to my hotel with a takeaway kebab because my feet were killing me and takeaway kebabs are my kryptonite. Everyone’s all about the wine and cheese (I am too) but stuff some French fries in a gyro and I’m in heaven. So then I showered and stayed up until 3am because time is a social construct that’s out to get me. In which time I did nothing productive but did, however, FaceTime with some goobers back home.

Welp, I hope I’m on the right train now because we’re leaving… Bye Paris. Hello Mâcon? Hopefully? Please?

Slightly surprised I made this far if we’re being honest.

I just got internet! Camp is beautiful. And my Irish roommate also knows all the words to every drake song. 😂 we don’t start work until Monday so today we walked into Azé to get wine and look around. Lots of sheep and vineyards. I’m in love. It’s currently raining with thunder and lightening and we start planning for next week tomorrow morning. I’ll let you know how my teaching goes! In the mean time, here’s a photo update… Also I got picked up in a taxi by Gino who only speaks French and Italian and we had an entire conversation with him speaking Italian and me speaking Spanish. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back!!! #lifegoalsmet


Location, location, location.

I’ve been assigned my placement: I’ll be at the Chateau d’ Azé. And my camp counselor name is Arizona!

The grades from last semester are in and I made it out of there with all A’s again!

Also, I’m currently dog-sitting for my brother and attempting to pack. Why do I always need at least five pairs of shoes everywhere I go? Yes. I said need.

I’ve booked my hotel stay and my train ticket to Mâcon. See you in three days, Paris!

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xoxo thatrareygirl 😉


Should get this off my chest…

So since my first trip to Europe after high school, I knew that traveling was something that would soon be a large part of my life. I went to college and jumped on the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for a semester. After I finished my bachelor’s degrees, I moved to Madrid to be an au pair for a family for a year.

The thing is… when I came back to the United States all I heard was: “You’re so lucky!”, “How can you complain about anything, you lived in *insert country*?!”, “I wish I could afford to travel”,”It must be nice!”, and the like. I have a few issues with these sort of comments…

  1. While I won’t say that I’m not lucky, my travel is not because of luck. I’m able to travel and live abroad because I work hard to.
  2. My “trips” aren’t vacations. While I may be living in Spain or Italy- I still need to do my laundry and pay rent. Life isn’t some RomCom just because I live in a foreign country.
  3. It’s more than likely that you can afford to travel or live abroad you just don’t make it a priority. Skip the Starbucks. Maybe you can’t go to that music festival this year. From studying to working to teaching – you can get yourself over there. But moving abroad is hard. Or everyone would be doing it.
  4. When you equate my time living and working abroad to a vacation, you’re blatantly disregarding all of the hard work it takes to be able to do it. We’re not talking just  keeping-your-instagram-profile-current-and-counting-passport-stamps-so-you-can-brag-about-it-in-your-tinder-profile kind of work.
  5. …But yeah. You’re right. It IS nice.

Another thing I’ve been seeing frequently on the internet are the “Why Everyone Needs to Drop Everything and Travel the Globe!” articles…

Travel is not for everyone. And making people feel guilty for not doing it is frankly, privileged and annoying as hell. Some people have goals of having a family, some people have career goals that don’t involve leaving the country, some people just don’t like to leave their comfort zone.  You don’t need to travel to be “successful”, “free-spirited”, blablabla. Do you.


Hahah #eyeroll