Contemplate death and feel a stronger sense of life: an afternoon spent in Auvers-sur-Oise

 

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I’ve always had a great interest in tortured artists. I’m not entirely sure why, but I feel that it has something to do with the fact that there’s a part of me that feels understood by them, the part of me that feels a little lost and always pondering life’s deepest and darkest questions. I find beauty in the way that they bring light to pain, beauty because it’s a natural part of being human and living life. Tortured artists help us to remember that our pain can be used to create beauty.

I’ve always felt intrigued by the works of Vincent Van Gogh, most notably his Starry Night (Yes, I know. I’m completely cliché) and his works displaying the everyday life, painting those everyday moments the way they actually appear, sometimes dreary and sad, the reality of how life can be. It’s not all sunshine and butterflies all of the time (though I like it equally when it is).

That’s why when I learned not only about the beauty of the small village of Auvers-sur-Oise but also about Vincent Van Gogh’s small stay there before his untimely death, I was immediately intrigued and put it on my list of places to go during my Toussaint break.

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Enchanted by the Medieval wonderments of Provins, France

When we think of Europe, we most often think of glorious and romantic cities like that of Paris, or our minds are brought to charming little villages that leave much wonderment to behold. The everyday living in Paris is not all sunshine and romances my friends. Yes, there are beautiful parts and beautiful things in and about Paris. However, living an everyday life here is just that. It’s an everyday life. I spend more time underground, underneath the streets of the city than I do actually walking the streets of the city.

For my Toussaint break (France’s version of a Fall break), my friend Catherine and I decided to take full advantage of our Navigo Passes, our transportation passes that allow us to get anywhere in the Île-de-France region using buses, metros, trams, and commuter trains. Both of us finding ourselves in a financial bind and not being able to support large and extensive travels, we decided to go on mini day-ventures, trying to still make the most of our time here in France.

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Playing around in Bristol, England, discovering a city forgotten by people outside of the locals

 

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Being ever so slightly ashamed to admit this, the only thing that I had ever known about Bristol, England was that the British TV Series Skins takes place there. That was about it. However, this is not the reason as to why I decided pay Bristol a visit, nor should it be yours either, if you’ve seen the series. Or at least it shouldn’t be your main reason.

It appears to me as though this city is often forgotten by my fellow travelers or not known about at all. The locals definitely agreed when shocked to see Americans traipsing about her streets. She may be forgotten, but she’s worth a visit because she shows you a different side to the country. That image of your mind of what English culture is like does not fit here, my friends.

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J’avais de la chance: blurbs on my soon-to-be new home, Milwaukee

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As I continue to re-discover my home culture and my home city, I’m sure it is quite obvious that it’s been awhile since I’ve last written a blurb or two. This is mainly due to the fact that I’ve been hunting down apartments in the city to which I will be moving at the end of the summer: Milwaukee.

I may have mentioned a time or two about the fact that I will be starting graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying French and Linguistics this Fall. For those whom were not aware, now you know, and unfortunately, that is the main reason as to why my second love of writing has been put on the back-burner.

If you are like I was before this past weekend, you may not really know that much about this wonderful city. It might very well be a mystery to you. My two-day adventure in one of the biggest cities in Wisconsin was primarily to seek out housing for when I move. However, I made sure that it was about discovery as well.

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