Halley Knigge (Griffin)

Write. Share. Communicate.


So not only is it Thanksgiving, but it’s the three-month mark of when I left Tacoma. It’s surprisingly anticlimactic so far.

When I walked out of my building to run a few errands this morning, I could have sworn I smelled a turkey roasting – but it couldn’t have been. Today is just a regular day in Paris – plus they don’t really eat turkey here. It’s all about the ham on this side of the Atlantic.

I thought I’d feel sadder, but I’m not really. I’m far enough away that it’s not bothering me so much. The more pressing thought on my mind is concerned with the exposé I have to present on Monday. When my group was assigned to the topic “Pourquoi peut-on dire que l’Union européenne est ‘un objet politique non identifié?” (Why could you say that the European Union is an unidentified political object?) Our professor started chuckling and told us we’d need her help for this one.

An OVNI is a French UFO, so the question refers to a play-on-words made by former president of the European Commission Jacques Delors – we’ve figured out that much, but this subject is still a doozy. I’m meeting with Alex from Germany at 14h to get some more work done.

Since my mind is completely stuffed with the Council of Ministers, federalism, OVNIs, the three pillars of the EU and other really confusing facts (to a girl who didn’t grow up as a citizen of the European Union), I haven’t had much time to think about Thanksgiving, or the fact that I’ve been living in France for a quarter of a year.

I guess that means it’s time for my three-month check-up. I’ve got to admit though, I don’t have a lot to report. September was pretty busy, what with arriving in France, apartment hunting, beginning orientation at UW, going to Munich, finding an apartment to sublet for the month and interviewing to become an au pair. October was pretty crazy too, with moving into my new apartment, Rachael finally finding a Russian roommate and a new apartment, beginning real classes at Sciences Po, making more friends and experiencing French Halloween.

This picture is a pretty accurate representation of Thanksgiving with my family. Actually, every holiday.

November though, where did it go? I feel like I was reflecting on my first two months just a few days ago. I guess it started off in Barcelona, then after a weeklong vacation from classes and a few horribly awkward boy situations all my real work started – and now a month has gone by without me realizing it.

You’d think the time would slow down once I got into a steady routine – classes, nannying, running, hip-hop, homework, grocery shopping and taking care of an apartment – but instead it seems to zip by even faster. I don’t mind though – fast or slow, I’ll take the routine.

I love traveling around and having crazy European things happen to me, collecting wild stories to tell – but I’m also loving the day-to-day Parisian life. Now it’ll be December in a week and all I have to report are boring everyday life things. I need a haircut and I’d really like some chocolate right now. I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping (don’t bother being impressed – you’d do it early too if you had to deal with international shipping). I’m finally going to see James Bond this weekend and I’m almost out of milk. Just life – not really grandes choses.

Later today, after I work on homework for a while, grimace at my scraggly hair, buy some milk and locate some chocolate, I’ll eat some pumpkin pie with the nanny kids. There are a few things going on for Americans in Paris today, but I’m not sure I want to bother with them. A student potluck could be fun…but it’s not my Thanksgiving. Instead I think it’ll end up being Rachael and I with a bottle of wine and a corny movie. Maybe we’ll get around to talking about what we’re thankful for, if we feel like it.

In case we don’t get around to it tonight, here are mine: I’m thankful for Paris – thankful that I decided to really do this for a year, and thankful for the way it’s all worked out. I’m most thankful for the family I’ve found here – I’m still technically the hired help, but I’m starting to feel more like the fun American cousin. I’m thankful for my apartment (and the fact that I don’t pay the bills so I can turn up the heat as high as I want!! R’s thankful for that too, because she and Vita try to avoid high heating bills by keeping theirs turned down low).

I’m thankful for everyone I’ve met in France and for the fact that Christina and Amelia are living in the same country as me for a few more weeks. I’m thankful that my aunt is coming to Paris in three weeks and that she’ll be staying in a hotel about five walking minutes from my apartment.

Mostly though, I’m just thankful for my friends and family. Isn’t that what everyone’s thankful for on Thanksgiving? It’s really a holiday to appreciate the people you love – although they deserve to be appreciated every day of the year. If you’re thankful for your family and friends, show them – don’t wait to appreciate them on holidays or whenever it’s particularly convenient for you. If I had a way to see everyone I loved right now, I’d do it in a second.

Happy Thanksgiving!


••• I’m also thankful for nutella banana crêpes. That is all.

Author: Halley (Griffin) Knigge

Storyteller and adventurer with a focus on new and social media. Ten years of award-winning writing and editing experience, eight years working professionally to share compelling stories through brand journalism, three years as an airline spokesperson, two years as a Tacoma Arts Commissioner and 30+ years of learning something new every day.

3 thoughts on “

  1. Please change that family picture, I look creepy and disturbed

  2. Maybe you are creepy and disturbed…

  3. Aww… he finally realized that its not attractive to look grumpy all the time.-Ben

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