Finding magic through stories in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Magic. You step into pure magic. The buildings enchant you with their aged, rustic attire, begging you to come dream admiring them. They tell you stories, some of which you’ve never heard before but seem familiar all the same.

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Plenty to keep you occupied as a female solo traveler in Dublin

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A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” a wise person once said, or rather, a wise company. I couldn’t agree with you more Guinness. Stumbling upon this advertisement in the Guinness Storehouse museum was more than fitting at the time because Dublin is the city in which I chose to really embark on a solo female travel adventure: three whole days (including a day of travel) all on my own. This might seem like a piece of cake to many well-versed female solo travelers, but at the time, I hadn’t really fully done it before. I was indeed a newbie to the whole thing.

As I mentioned in my post about traveling solo for my first day in Cork, female solo travel is often seen as a taboo thing, because somehow being women automatically makes us more endangered. Though I do believe there are certain cities and areas that a woman should avoid while traveling alone, I would say the same thing for a man in most cases. Feeling this way didn’t make me any less nervous though, as I was still quite new to the whole idea when I arrived in Dublin (I barely count walking around Cork for an afternoon and a morning by myself). That being said, I discovered that if you were ever to take your first trip as a solo female travel, Dublin is definitely a great city to do it. There is an array of sites, activities, and museums to keep you occupied. This city is full of beautiful history, hidden gems, and little quirks.

Unlike in Cork where I kept exploring some of the historical buildings and museums until my friends arrived, Dublin was all mine. My itinerary was wide open with what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and what I wanted to see. This sort of liberty is a bit unnerving at first. If you usually travel with other people always, then you will have trouble knowing what to do with yourself, feeling like you are waiting to make a plan with other people, feeling like you should be having a friend next to you deciding what the best plan of action is. This kind of freedom of being able to just start exploring is kind of scary but is also immensely rewarding.

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Apparently I love tacos way too much: reverse culture shock and food

 

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Being back in the States is at the simplest, weird. It’s been about a week and a half since I’ve been back, and in general, I don’t focus too much on the fact that I was just in France a week and a half ago, mostly because I’m still trying to figure out my life.

I’m heading to graduate school in the Fall, to another city. That includes moving yet again, with all of my stuff. That includes finding yet another apartment. That includes packing yet again (though thankfully most of my stuff is already packed because I never unpacked it when I came home from France).

I also started working at my old job at the brewery again, so that has also served as a distraction. I’d forgotten how much I love working there and how much I was missed by good friends and regulars alike. It makes me feel kind of terrible for scooting off again at the end of the Summer. Though this time around I’ll only be about 5 hours way, as opposed to across an ocean.

All this to say that I haven’t really had the brain space to think about the fact that I am still facing some mental challenges. I’m still facing reverse culture shock.

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Hindsight is 20/20: Navigating OFII

If you are a future TAPIF assistant, other language assistant, or future expatriate of France, then you’ve probably seen the acronym OFII thrown around quite a few times. OFII stands for Office Française de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration. If you are not an EU citizen, then you will be close friends with this office (or at least become rather close) throughout your expatriation.

All non-EU citizens are required to register with OFII before getting to France, and your visa will not be validated until after you have gone through the entire immigration process through OFII. You’re probably wondering how you do this. Well, my friends, as I mentioned in my post about applying for and receiving your visa , when you apply for your visa, you also have to fill out what is called a residence form, aka an immigration registration form. You can download this form and fill it out from the French consulate website. It should be an option on which you can click when you go to make your visa appointment here. The one that I’ve linked is to the French Consulate in Chicago, but all consulates should have it. Sidenote: be sure to fill out a visa application for ”lecteurs” and ”assistants.” 

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