Dear February

Dear February,

You were good to me, like most Februarys. Most people don’t give you the credit you deserve because they are either too cold or too bitter when the 14th comes around. But I appreciate you more and more each year. I spent most of this month traveling around and visiting cities I’ve never seen before, like Amsterdam and Berlin. Cities that I can’t wait to go back to and discover more of. I want to devour the cities until no stone is unturned.

img_0797

As much as I love you, February, knowing that you’re already gone is hurting. In a couple weeks I’ll be 25 and I still feel like I haven’t grown up yet. I still feel like I am 16, awkwardly walking down the hallway in high school wishing my acne would go away—which it still hasn’t nine years later.

I hate that you’re so short. I hate that it’s always a blink and you miss it when it comes to you.

img_0582

I made some new friends as I traveled around this month. I met Sarena in Amsterdam, as we traveled around the canals, eating as much food as we could stuff into our faces, and breathed in a city that has so much strange and fascinating history. I met Christine, Kayla, and Dan in Edinburgh. Christine challenged me as we climbed up Arthur’s Seat and as my very un-fit body huffed and puffed the hill, we made it. And it was the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. I was so proud of myself. Kayla and Dan made me feel so welcome in my Airbnb, giving me tips on places to go in the city that was now their home—at least for a little while.

And then I met up with an old friend in Berlin. One who always gets me thinking about what’s next. Makes me think that maybe I can make it here in Europe and not regret the choices I make on a whim. Not regret spontaneity and this weird internal longing I always have with a country that’s not technically considered home. I’m so proud and jealous of how much she is making the world her oyster (as much as I hate that phrase) and it makes me believe that I can do that too.

img_0670

The last week, though, I’ve felt a little out of place, February. I’ve been out of touch with people from back home and am starting to feel like I don’t quite know who they are or who I am anymore. The world has gone on without me and as I get pictures sent to me from home, more and more things look so different and I can’t quite recognize what home actually is. Is that weird, February?

I received a text message from a friend, someone who I met under strange circumstances, someone who I’ve only hung out with three or four times, someone who feels like I’ve known her my whole life instead of the past couple years, and the text made me miss my friendships more than ever. I love this town. I love my students. But I need something bigger. Something that has people and life and a car or a metro so I can get around. I need people, and as much as I claim to hate people, it’s nice being around them every once in awhile.

img_0788img_0794

February, you made me miss life. You made me miss connections as I traveled around Europe and made some good ones along the way. I appreciate you more than you know.

Advertisements

A Mini Guide to Nice, France

Nice is one of those places that doesn’t quite feel real. Walking through it’s crowded streets, it feels as if you’re in a movie set waiting for someone to call out “action!” and Brad Pitt will walk in front of you chasing after another beautiful woman. With its beautiful beaches, Southern French charm and many gelato stands, Nice is one that I can’t wait to go back to over and over again.

IMG_1081

Where to stay

Couchsurf (free)–This is what I did while in Nice. I stayed at Antoine’s little flat in Vieux Ville, where we watched Hitchcock films and ate our weight in pasta.

Hostel Meyerbeer Beach ($)–Great location, lovely staff and you will meet amazing people from all over the world.

Hyatt Regency ($$)–I love this hotel. It’s beautiful and if you ask nicely (and if they’re not fully booked!), you can upgrade to a room with a spectacular view of the sea.

What to do

Musée Matisse (free)–It’s a gorgeous house that is chock-full of paintings by Henri Matisse. If you’re staying in the old city, I recommend taking the bus to the museum and exploring the area for the afternoon. It’s quite beautiful.

Parc du Château (free)–Hands down the best views in Nice. Get your climbing shoes on because you’re going to be walking a lot to get to the top. I mean, there’s an elevator but what’s the fun in that? I don’t recommend wearing a backpack that weighs 15 pounds though. You’ll regret it. Trust me.

Explore Vieux Ville (free)–Walk around the small streets and explore the markets, the waterfalls, statues, architecture, and all the in-between bits. The Old City is so incredibly breathtaking. Grab a raspberry gelato and get lost.

Promenade des Anglais (free)–With the beach to your right and the Old City to your left, the Promenade des Anglais is the perfect end to your night in Nice. Skateboarders, tourists, and regulars fill the strip with their conversations, laughs, and genuine intrigue. To me, this is the best place for people watching.

Where to eat

Olive et Artichaut ($$)–You’ll need a reservation because this place is busy…always. The food is good, the desserts are delicious, and the drinks are even better.

Fenocchio ($)–Okay, want delicious gelato? You have to go here. Fenocchio has been in business since 1966 and there is a reason for it. My recommendation? Chocolat avec lavande. YUM.

A Weekend in St. James, MO

As much as I love the good ol’ STL, it’s nice to pack up a few things and get away for the weekend. Whether you’re wanting to drive to another city for a different kind of nightlife or escape to the countryside for stargazing and quiet, there are many places to travel for a great weekend outside the ‘Lou. This month I bring you the quiet, small town of St. James, Missouri.

Where To Stay

day

The Painted Lady
Located right off the highway, The Painted Lady is a cute and unique bed and breakfast that accommodates all guests. The house is beautifully decorated with interesting antiques, comfortable beds and deep Jacuzzi tubs (with incredibly strong jets!). Innkeepers Sandy and Wanda Zinn keep the five rooms (Melanie, Little Tara, Scarlett, Prissy and the Guest House) immaculate and you might never want to leave.

Greenstay Hotels and Suites
For those of you who want an easy check-in and a quiet night, Greenstay Hotels is the place for you. Not only is the St. James Winery located right across the road, but it’s conveniently located off the highway and close to all major restaurants. This is the perfect stop for that weekend getaway.

Where To Eat

2

Just a Taste
Recently opened and located right in the heart of town, Just a Taste is the wine and coffee bar of our dreams. The building, originally built in 1907 in the spirit of the St. Louis World’s Fair, accommodates the menu’s range of wine, whiskey, beer and cocktails. The owners, Eric Taylor and Casey Stuck, merged their two talents and passions–Taylor’s love for wine and Stuck’s passion for beer–into one fantastic location. Even though they don’t identify as a wine bar, coffee shop or pub, we can confirm their wine, espresso and beer on tap are pretty excellent.

Sybill’s
Friendly is an understatement when it comes to describing the staff at Sybill’s Restaurant and Gift Shop. Their fresh, flavorful menu–we recommend the Caprese– and large array of wine make this restaurant an oasis in this small town. One of the best parts about Sybill’s? The restaurant is committed to the environment and is a community leader in waste diversion and recycling efforts.

Country Bob’s
You can’t miss Country Bob’s Diner when you pass through St. James. The food is some of the best Southern comfort food you can get your hands on. Get up early for their Saturday and Sunday Breakfast Buffet to try the biscuits, gravy, bacon and pancakes. You won’t regret it.

What To Do

St. James Winery
With more than 160 acres of vineyard growing more than a dozen types of grapes, award-winning St. James Winery is a great place to get away to for the weekend. Start early and sample a wide selection of wines, ranging from very sweet to extremely dry. Our favorite thing at the moment is the Cranberry Sweet Wine–perfect for those family gatherings around the holidays.

3

Public House Brewing Company
This recently opened brewing company has already had a successful run in Rolla and has brought good brews to St. James. Situated next to the winery, this is the perfect spot to grab dinner after spending the day at the winery. And all you have to do is walk on over–no driving needed! Head on over on a Saturday for a night of local (and not-so-local) artists in their taproom and try the award-winning Rod’s Cream Ale. Cheers!

Vacuum Cleaner Museum
Definitely an odd stop along the way, but still very interesting. If you’re not intrigued by their billboard on the side of the highway, you’ll be intrigued by their collection. There are more than 600 vacuum cleaners (all in working condition) including novelty cleaners such as the Hoover Constellation–a vacuum that is built to float like a hovercraft. No, really.

Meramec Caverns
One of our favorite places for a weekend getaway is Meramec Caverns. Whether your thing is camping and canoeing or delving into the depths of an old cave, Meramec is sure to have something for you. Feeling daring? We recommend taking an adventure along the tree tops on a zip line or embarking on a nightly lantern tour of the caverns.

Originally on my weekend guide on ALIVEMag.com. Check them out.