Glacier3000Someone recently asked me why I didn’t decide to call these job-related posts Work Perks instead of Job Perks. The answer? Of all the terrible dad-jokes and unnecessary rhymes that have ever crossed my mind, somehow this one never did. Also, never a good idea to encourage me to propagate dad jokes — this could easily spiral out of hand.

Anyway, my most recent job perk is the weekend trip I took to Switzerland to film some social media content. Here are a few brief glimpses — I’m saving my longer recaps for the videos/posts I have to put together for work because, you know, that’s the part I’m getting paid for.

IMG_9107Glacier3000Despite the fact that mountains and heights tend to scare me, the whole Glacier3000 experience was my favorite part of the trip. We took a cable car up to the Glacier3000 area, where there is skiing, a peak walk on a suspension bridge, dog sledding, Europe’s highest bobsled coaster (in the summer), two restaurants, and, because it’s Switzerland, a watch shop. I rode a ski lift for the first time (!) and walked across that suspension bridge even though every part of me was screaming NOPE the entire time.

GstaadGstaad was basically a fairytale town. And yes, you are correct: the driver of this horse-drawn carriage ride is, in fact, a dog.

Mount Rigi hotelOn Mount Rigi, which is just outside of Lucerne, we stayed in a hotel on top of the mountain. The hotel is known for its wellness activities and spa, and since the weather was so bad, we got to enjoy the spa for ourselves! (The good weather option for this day had been a hike, so needless to say, I embraced the bad weather wholeheartedly).

GoldenPass Line GoldenPass LineI rode a few trains on this trip, my favorite being the scenic GoldenPass Line. I’ve ridden it twice before, and it never gets old.

Next work trip: Amsterdam to see Keukenhof Garden!

More Job Perks:
A Week in France
15 Trains & 22 Cities in 10 Days


French Lessons: Funny Words

by Jackie D on March 17, 2017

Today’s lesson is brief: I keep a note in my phone of all the little funny French words I’ve come across so far. I see them on signs or hear them in passing, or discover them while Google-translating a coworker’s e-mail. They all make me smile.

La poubelle: trash (I still think it’s so funny that the word for trash is straight-up gorgeous)

Pourboire: a tip (literally translates to: “for drinking,” because I guess in France people are honest about what tips are used for)

Trombone: paperclip (because paperclips look like little trombones)

Avocat: lawyer/avocado (these are the same word! what!)

Coucou: this is a greeting/term of endearment that my coworkers often use in e-mails, and I find it absolutely adorable

Cauchemars: nightmares (I learned this word during a conversation with a coworker, and it came up during an exercise in French class and I was like, “oh! Nightmares!” and my teacher looked at me like, you have the reading level of a six year old but you know what the French word for nightmares is?)

Etoile de mer: starfish (literally: star of the sea)

Guimauve: marshmallow 

Depaysement: describes the feeling of being in another country (full disclosure: I saw this one on Instagram when I was having a bad day and straight up cried on the metro)

Bague (a ring) and vague (a wave): because I always mix them up. Constantly telling girls I like their waves

Rire: to laugh (my favorite word in any language)


Volunteering at the American Library in Paris

by Jackie D on March 14, 2017

American Library of Paris“In my world there would be as many libraries as there are Starbucks.” -Henry Rollins

Whenever I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve gotten a library card within a month of arriving. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I’ve found apartments so quickly – you need an address in order to get a library card, so my apartment searches have always been intense and urgent. Plus, you know, it’s nice to have a place to live.

In Chicago I didn’t visit the library quite as often as I usually do, but I had too many other places I wanted to explore: the Art Institute (I had a yearly membership, and honestly the Art Institute was basically my library for my entire first year in Chicago), new museums, new cafes, new neighborhoods. I also found a used bookstore and a Goodwill where I could get books for very cheap, and I devoured about a book a week during my regular commute.

In New York, the library was one of the only things keeping me sane. I stopped by on my way home from work at least once a week to trade out an old book for a new one, or more often to see how many books I could carry before I broke my back. In retrospect, this may be where all of my back problems began.

I even got a new library card when I moved from one part of Los Angeles to another, because Santa Monica thinks it’s special and it has its own library.* In Santa Monica’s defense: the library‘s audiobook selection is actually not bad.

In Paris, I was momentarily outraged to find out that you have to pay a monthly FEE for your card at the American Library; however if there’s one place I never really mind throwing my money at, it’s the library. They do good things. They deserve money.

Plus, this library offers a volunteer program similar to that of Housing Works in New York. As with Housing Works, I will be helping out mostly with events that the library holds each month (readings, lectures, even a wine tasting later this month).

In Housing Works I was also helping in the cafe, and even though this meant that sometimes my entire shift evolved around washing dishes and cleaning counter tops, it was still often the best part of my entire week: to walk into a shop full of books at the end of a long day at work, to be around other people who love to read as much as I do, to clean and wash and actually use my hands for something other than typing on a keyboard all day.

It’s a fun crew at the library — mostly Americans, and I imagine we all feel a similar sense of relief to spend a little part of our weeks surrounded by other people who are as far away from home as we are.

And when I exit the library at night, it’s such a strange feeling — to go from being inside this place that is so familiar and so comforting to me, with its American accents and silly thrillers and the classics I’ve seen lining so many different library shelves; and then I suddenly step outside and look up and see the Eiffel Tower RIGHT THERE, literally hovering over the library, a sight that is still so surprising and so bizarre to me.

When I was younger I thought that maybe I would never get to see the Eiffel Tower in person even once, let alone once a week. I’d thought that maybe it would only ever be one of those things I read about in a library book.

*I realize that the reason Santa Monica has its own library and city hall and everything is because it’s technically its own city, but I prefer to think of it as a petulant child.