Monday, November 17, 2014

Réunion Islanded De-Mythed

So I continue to get some questions about where I am and what I'm doing. Here's a brief FAQ on La Réunion, which by the way is awesome.

Question 1: Where are you? Family Reunion? Oh you went to the college reunion early?
Anwer: Not a family or school reunion!  I'm in the French overseas department (Departement Outre Mer or DOM) of La Réunion (Réunion Island) in the Indian Ocean, about 120 miles west of Mauritius.

Question 2: Ah ok, what and where is Mauritius? I still don't know where Reunion is?
Answer: Mauritius is an island country in the Indian Ocean. It has one of the highest GDP's in Africa.

Ok still confused? Reunion is east of Madagascar, which is east of the African continent.

Question 3: OHHH Madagascar!  Like the film!?
Answer:  Sure.

Question 4: Wow Africa! Can you drink the water there? Is there ebola??
Answer:  HAHAHA.  Réunion is first world.  I drink from the tap everyday. There is no ebola here.  We're on an island thousands of miles away from the countries in the west of the CONTINENT of Africa.  There's currently more Ebola danger in the US than here.

Question 5: What language do they speak there?
Answer: French.  And French Creole.  This is technically France. No not a territory, an extension of France (it's just an overseas department) and Europe but in the tropics.

Question 6: What side of the road do they drive on?
Answer: Right, like France.

Questions 7: Do people eat a lot of bread, croissants. etc?
Answer: Yes.

Question 8: What's the food like?
Answer: Delicious. A mixture if French, Indian, Chinese, and African cuisine. Rice is a staple, so are beans/lentils. Lots of fish and meat. Delicious vegetables and tropical exotic fruits too!

Question 9: What's the country like?
Answer: Beautiful! Great beaches with both white and black sand beaches. Also lots of mountains, an active volcano, Aliya of green and wTerfalls. There's great hiking as well as water and aviation sports.

Question 10: should I visit?
Answer: YES!

Hope that helps!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Paradise Update

So it's been a while since my last update...

I've been here for almost 7 weeks and can tell you that Réunion has not disappointed. I'm thoroghly enjoying myself here and have adjusted pretty well. There's a few things I miss, like soft towels that were dried in a dryer (especially with dryer sheets or fabric softener- I now appreciate this so much more) and burritos.  There are a few things I have really come to appreciate like screens on my window and automatic cars and a few disappointments like the fact that the toilets spin in the same direction. But overall everything that exists in the States exists here, although it costs a lot more for some of the recognizable brands and I have all the first world comforts I've come to expect on a beautiful tropical island. The people are nice, the food is good, the geography is diverse (as well as the people), the weather is warm, the life is slow and relaxed. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than making you read about how amazing it's here and all the things I've done here's a recap of the last 5 weeks in pictures.

The Grand Raid Start in St Pierre 10/23/14

Banana Trees!!

A Creole Lunch Feast 10/31/14

Bassin des Aigrettes

Dennis' Palm Tree Hat

The Savannah of Réunion, no Simba :(

Coeur du Boeuf (Beef Heart) Fruit- tastes like cheese cake!

The Rain Forest of Réunion- Foret du Bon Accueil

My new friend in St Paul

Paraglider in the Sunset of St Leu (View from our backyard!)

The countryside/mountains!

Le Volcan!!  Piton de la Fournaise 11/4/14 

Two summits in one day!!  Piton de la Fournaise and the older Crater Rivals/Chateau Fort

Someone couldn't make it all the way, so the helicopter arrived

Pahoehoe Flow

Bassin 18 & Manapany 11/11/14

Paratroopers opening up in front of us as we're driving down the highway!

A bientot! 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Week 2/Video 2- Turtles!!!!

Dennis' second video of the trip!! It's from our combined footage of adventures last week 10/8/2014. L'hermitage des bains and Kélonia, the sea turtle conservatory that is in our beautiful town of St Leu!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Intro to Reunion Island- First Video

Here's Dennis' first video of the trip.  To be continued...

First Week in Paradise

So we've now been in Réunion a week after 40 hours of travelling.  The only small set back so far was missing my flight from DC to NYC and when they double booked our seats from Istanbul to Paris but then we got put in Business class so all was forgiven. And the lounge in Turkey was incredible, I could have spent a week there but sadly only had 15 minutes to take some fruit and drinks and whatever I could stuff into my purse.
     Business Class Istanbul to Paris

 Layover in Paris:
Quick jaunt over to la Tour Eiffel during our 12 hours in Paris. Then we had to find a different train back to the airport because the RER station was closed due to a "suspicious package". A nice policeman gave us bad directions but we figured it out.

    Take the picture already!

    Finally a picture Dennis approves of

So far Reunion is  awesome! The water is clear and blue, there's lots of fish and coral in the lagon down the street, people are friendly and the creole food is good!  Lots of rice, fish, vegetables, hot peppers or piments, and lots of fresh fruit I've never heard of.  In a week, I've already been on a boat to see dolphins and whales, although didn't see any whales because the season ended about 2 weeks ago.  I also have been snorkeling a bunch, to the beaches at St Leu and Trou D'Eau, and all over St Leu. 

Dolphins!!! This made up for not seeing any whales. At first we saw 2 and we're happy but then we saw sooooo many. Shout out to Raf and Greg and CatAlizé for the awesome day!

These two followed the boat for a good 15 minutes!


The first week we stay with the super awesome family of my reference teacher who treated us like family. Now we're settling into the home we're sharing for the stay. We're loving our little low key surf town of St Leu where already I run into the  people I know at the super market or weekly Sunday concert and students already recognize me at the beach (ah gotta be careful what I do!).  Here's some pictures because a picture is 1,000 words and I don't feel like writing more.

St Leu lagoon

Don't have to go far for amazing coral and fish! Glad we brought our snorkel gear!

    Fish Cari and a Dodo beer- great, cheap lunch!

   Sunsets in St Leu, always beautiful

A bientôt!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

La Réunion

So after 3 years in California and many great adventures here and around the US and world, I'm actually going to La Réunion!!  Réunion is a French Overseas Department (DOM) in the Indian Ocean.  I'm going to teach English (and maybe some math/science) in a high school and middle school and definitely travel around the area.  It's a big risk leaving my great job here and giving up everything, but it's something I must do.  It'll be a journey to get out there but I think well worth it.

Keep you all posted :)