May 20, 2017

What I Learned This School Year & My Summer Plans

The chairs are stacked, the room is clean, and another successful school year is in the books. For those of you who are new to Fleur de St. Louis, I am an elementary school teacher. From August to May my time is dedicated to my students and my desire to instill in them a total love of learning. In order to do that, I must also be a learner myself. It's no coincidence that learning is part of my mission here. I am on a constant quest to learn - learn French, learn about other cultures, learn about teaching, learn about books, learn about myself. I did a whole lot of the latter this year. Here are a few things I learned:

*Take care of yourself so you can better care for others. This year I got overwhelmed. I got overwhelmed to the point that I knew I had to make a change. I realized the immense value in self care and began putting more time and energy into simply feeling good. I will admit, at first I felt a little selfish. Then I realized that in taking care of myself, I took care of my students, friends, and family in a much better way than I had before. Take care of yourself. :) 

*Be present. In that overwhelmed state, I was always thinking about and worrying about what was coming next. Sometimes the things occupying my mind would be things that were completely out of my control. While I am not a total pro at being here now, I have definitely become more mindful of bringing myself back to the present moment. It has made for more quality time with those I love. It has made for more quality time with myself.

*Dance, dance, dance. This was the year of weddings. We attended five. I was in the bridal party for three. And my boyfriend and I danced. We let go of inhibition, we got lost in the moment, and we danced. We didn't stop dancing. When the last song played at that fifth wedding, we wondered, "What are we going to do now?" It doesn't have to be dance, but I think this idea of dancing is a great reminder to find something that brings you immense joy and throw caution to the wind. 

*Take time to breathe. I got back to yoga this year. I got better at noticing when I physically could not take deep breaths, and I slowed down and focused on calming my nervous system. Breathing is something we do often without thinking. Thinking about your breath has great power. It's that simple. Breathe.

*Rest when you need to. I went and I went and I went. I needed to rest. I needed to grant myself permission to stop - stop working, stop producing, stop creating long enough to rest. I did all of the above better after rest.

*It really is the little things. A Monday morning croissant, a coffee date with a friend, time with a good book... the smallest things often bring me the greatest joy. Take time for those little things. Treat yourself to those little things. 

*Don't be too hard on yourself. Set goals and work toward them, but be OK with the fact that life happens. As one of my favorite quotes reminds, "Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can." You are enough. 

*Don't just dream, do! If your passion is calling, listen! I am currently listening to the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes on audio. I loved when she said, "Dreams do not come true just because you dream them... ditch the dreams and be a doer." To me this doesn't really mean ditch the dream. It means make the dreams real by doing. This year I stopped thinking about continuing my French language learning and I joined a class at the Alliance Française de St. Louis. I stopped wishing I was more of a reader, turned off the TV, and picked up more books. I stopped fantasizing about the possibility of starting a blog of my own and I started writing. I stopped hoping I would make it back to Paris one day and I planned a trip. More opportunities have presented themselves to me than I could have imagined. I no longer feel like a part of me is missing. My passions called, and I listened. I am continuing to listen. 

(End of the year gifts from my students. Do they know me or what?)

And now for my summer plans. I will be the first to agree with you. Being a teacher has its perks, and summers off are definitely up there with the best of them. I am excited to take a rest from my every day teaching responsibilities and recharge for the next school year. I am excited for the time I will have to pour into my other passions. Here's what you'll find me doing this summer:

*Writing, writing, writing. I am looking forward to bringing you more here at Fleur de St. Louis. I absolutely love hearing from you the readers, so please comment and let me know if you like what you are seeing. This blog is just as much a passion project for me as it is meant to be an inspiration for you. Let me know how I can help inspire your passions!

*Reading, reading, reading. You should see the physical stack of books on my nightstand. And on my window sill. And in the box to the right of my bed. And in my nightstand drawer. Not to mention the 214 books on my Goodreads "to-read" list. Of course I won't get through all of this, and as I mentioned above I'm not going to be hard on myself. I just want to take advantage of the gift of time and get lost in as many good books as I can.

*Traveling, traveling, traveling. In June my boyfriend and I are off for our European adventure. We will be visiting Copenhagen, Amsterdam, PARIS!!!, Zermatt, and Carpi, Italy. I cannot wait to experience different languages and cultures. I cannot wait to surround myself with Paris and parler français. Check back here for pictures and stories of our travels. 

*Creating, creating, creating. If you are a regular here, you know how much I love my bullet journal. I also love creating hand made greeting cards. This summer I want to spend more time with these things and toy with some ideas that I've been bouncing around in my mind. It may just be time to take those ideas and do

I share these lessons with you in hopes that one might speak to you at just the moment you need it. I share these summer plans with you in hopes that you will be inspired to channel more energy into those things that bring you the greatest happiness. As always, thank you for stopping by the blog. You are appreciated more than I can express. Have a great rest of your weekend! 

Warmest of wishes from me to you,


  1. Is that...anot Eiffel Tower tea pot and cup!? Adorable!

    1. Kim, it is! I have received many an Eiffel Tower, and never have I seen anything like this! The top portion becomes the mug, the bottom portion the pot. It is so fabulous!

  2. How exciting to be on your summer break. I noticed Switzerland on your list of holiday visits. I'm sure you know, but just in case, because it didn't occur to me. Switzerland have their own currency, the Swiss franc. While they will take Euros, name sure you have Francs with you. It just makes life easier.

    1. Claire,

      Thank you for this helpful reminder and all of your wonderful travel tips!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...