Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019: A Year in Review

I have to admit it's a little depressing to write this. My year was in no way especially interesting or exciting. In fact, after spending time in Europe for the last SEVEN YEARS STRAIGHT, this was the first year since 2011 that I didn't leave the country at all. I know I'm spoiled, but I'm allowed to be nostalgic, ok?

January and February of 2019 were mostly spent working and in hibernation. Wisconsin decided to throw the coldest winter in 30 years at us. We had record-low temperatures and record amounts of snow.

I actually loved it because I was pretty stressed out by my job. I don't know if I would have gotten through the school year without those 6 blessed days of cancelled school. The school district where I worked had not cancelled school in 10 years, so you can see how miraculous that was.

We started to thaw out March and April and I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel for summer break. One of my highlights of the year was babysitting Buttercup's sister Hattie. She helped me convince David to get a westie someday, which I am very thankful for- that's one of my life goals!

May is our birthday month. I was definitely not thrilled to enter a new decade but I did have fun celebrating with good Italian food and shopping at Zara in downtown Chicago. David lived his best life when his birthday fell on Memorial Day and he got to be even more patriotic than usual.

June meant FREEDOM from work. It also meant my first trip to the West Coast for a family reunion in Washington. I enjoyed sightseeing in Seattle and spending time with family that I hadn't seen in years.

July brought us two visitors from France. David was reunited with his parents after not seeing them for a year and a half. They stayed with us until mid-August. Besides showing them around Milwaukee, Chicago, Cedarburg, and Madison, we went on a week-long road trip circling Lake Michigan. Highlights were definitely Mackinac Island and the sand dunes.

I started a new job in August that makes me a lot happier than my employment situation last year. I'm working full-time as an aide in a 4th grade class at an Orthodox Jewish school. I really enjoy not being stressed out and having no work to take home, learning interesting things and keeping up with my Hebrew, and just the atmosphere of a small private school in general.

Because I can't say no to fun opportunities, I added 2 other part-time jobs to my plate this month. On Tuesdays, I teach ballet to kids between 3-12. On Wednesdays, I coach a 1st and 2nd grade poms team and help out with some other age groups as well. On Thursdays, I am tired.

Our last road trips of the year were in September and October- thanks to all of the days I have off for Jewish holidays. David loves nothing more than checking new states off of his bucket list.

We visited Notre Dame's campus in Indiana on our way to Kirtland, Ohio and Abraham Lincoln's birthplace in Kentucky on our way back from Nashville, Tennessee. I always love reuniting with my buddy Stephanie and seeing her family!

After our lovely white Halloween, the rest of the year flew by with the holidays, fun shows (Swan Lake, Hamilton, and Harry Potter 4 accompanied by the Milwaukee Symphony), and family time.

This year I am proud that I made it through a full year of teaching, achieved my goal of reading 100 books, and that we made a lot of progress on our house (created a guest room, got a new roof, and more!).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Rubinos!

Read about past (more interesting) years here:

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Highlights of the 2010s

What a decade! I learned how to adult (ok, I'm still learning...), got an education,
fell in love, got married, and traveled the world!

Not a bad decade if you ask me.

-Study abroad in Paris (one of the greatest experiences of my life)
-Also traveled to Loire Valley, Nice, Barcelona, and Monaco
-Junior year at BYU

-Last year of classes at BYU
-Lived in French House and met some of my best friends!
-Family trips to Florida, NYC, Tennessee, and the Poconos in Pennsylvania

-Student teaching
-Lived in Hebrew House
-Left Utah for good!
-Very memorable family trip to Germany + Austria

-Officially graduated college!
-Study abroad in Jerusalem: fell in love with Israel and traveled throughout the country
-Moved to Strasbourg, France to be an assistant English teacher
-Also traveled to Turkey, Jordan, Luxembourg, and Italy

-Finished up English assistant job
-Met my husband, had our first kiss at Eiffel Tower :)
-Moved to Haifa, Israel for grad school
-Also traveled to Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic

-Spent most of the year in school in Israel
-2 trips to France to visit David
-Fell in love <3

-Finished classes in Haifa, moved back to Wisconsin
-Hired for first real teaching job
-Got engaged and got married!
-Moved to the French Riviera
-Also traveled to London, Paris, and Strasbourg

-Living in France and doing immigration paperwork
-Travel galore throughout France and Italy
-Also traveled to Switzerland, Monaco, England

-David’s green card was approved!
-Moved out of Cannes and back to Wisconsin
-Traveled in Poland and Sicily, Hawaii and NYC
-Bought a house
-Got 2nd real teaching job

-Finished first full year of teaching
-Trips to Seattle, Mackinac Island + more
-New job at a Jewish school and back to teaching dance 

I'm cautiously optimistic for the 2020s and looking forward to seeing what they'll bring.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Lake Michigan Summer

About 1.5 years since saying au revoir in France, David's parents were able to come visit us for the first time! 

Besides showing them around where we live, we wanted to explore a bit more of America together.

We decided on a trip around Lake Michigan (and I mean alllllll the way around). That fit our criteria of not being too far from home but still being something new. David had never been to Michigan, so he is now one state closer to his goal of seeing all 50.

The first leg of our trip involved driving north and crossing the U.P. The most exciting part was crossing Mackinac Bridge, which connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. The bridge is about 5 miles long. I was happy to not be the one driving!

We stayed in Cheboygan, Michigan- a tiny town about 15 minutes away from the bridge. I planned the trip pretty last minute, so this was the closest I could get to our intended destination of Mackinac Island. 

After a 6 hour drive, we walked to the lighthouse on Lake Huron and enjoyed stretching our legs. It would have been a more relaxing experience sans mosquitoes, but what can you do?

The next day, we rode the ferry to Mackinac Island. The morning’s rain cleared up just as we boarded the boat and we had sun all day.

We decided to start our day with a carriage tour. There are no cars allowed on the island- only horse-drawn carriages and bikes. 

Thanks to our hard-working horses, we saw most corners of the island, from Main Street to Arch Rock, and through a lot of wooded walking trails.

The tour ended at Fort Mackinac, a Revolutionary War-era fortress. We learned some more about the history of the island- it saw some action during the War of 1812- but were most impressed by the views.

After a late lunch and some fudge-purchasing, we spend the rest of the afternoon browsing shops, admiring cute houses and churches, and walking along the water. 

Our last stop was the famous Grand Hotel. If we ever come back to Mackinac, it will be to stay there! They keep things old school and requite a dress code after 6p.m.

We retuned to the mainland sunburned (ok that was just me) tired, and happy.

Our Michigan adventures were not over- the next day we drove 4 hours south to experience Lake Michigan’s sand dunes. We took a dune buggy ride, which was fun and definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Later that afternoon, the brave among us (David and his mom) swam in the lake at the beach next to the dunes. The water was 58 degrees, and I was quite content to stay on the sand and read.

For the next few nights, we stayed in a small beach town called Grand Haven. Highlights included walking along the pier, touring Coast Guard ships, and seeing the sunset. 

Our last stop before heading home was to Holland. True to its name, Holland is home to a fully-operational Dutch windmill. They are extremely proud of this (maybe too proud?) and talked about it AT LENGTH on the tour. I learned more than I ever cared to know about how to mill flour the old-fashioned way.

I did enjoy the cute garden. We stopped at the beach in Holland to say our goodbyes to Lake Michigan before making the drive back to good old Menomonee Falls.

It was such a great week- who knew that all of these beautiful places were right next door?

Recent posts:
Washington Reunion
Best month of my life?
Notre Dame after the fire