It's been a while since I've written here, and I miss it. Everything's going beautifully on The Attic on Eighth and I'm extremely proud of the work we've put into it (I hope you've all been following along!) but I also miss sharing the personal side of things with me and A and all that's been happening lately... and a lot has been happening. In case you missed the announcement, we're getting married this summer! It's been extremely exciting to put together so far, though also extremely stressful because I'm also in the midst of finally writing my thesis. I don't have as much riding on my performance as I did, but I can't seem to shake the magnitude of what I feel I need to accomplish with this piece of writing. I keep hearing "I can't imagine planning a wedding while also writing a thesis!" but I'm actually really grateful that the two have fallen at the same time because all the wedding stuff has helped me to put things into perspective and calm down.
In a further attempt to relax this past weekend, A and I took my tote full of books out for brunch to celebrate the arrival of spring. It was a welcome breath of fresh air.
I said I was going to make these lists every week to help myself focus on happy things, but then of course I got caught up in life and then in pouring all of my online energy into The Attic... but I'm back. I miss having my personal space, and I'm all about focusing on the happy these days.
So the little things that have made me happy this week:
Earlier this month, A and I spent a week with his family, visiting more of his family, and staying at the house where his grandmother grew up in France. It was a wonderful, if admittedly overwhelming experience. We were never fewer than twelve people in the house – going up to nineteen at one point, and it was, as A said, much like living in a Mauriac novel. Fascinating characters abounded, and many long and late night conversations were had around the dinner table over cheese and wine.
I’m not one for superhero movies or for action movies in general. I find them boring, shallow and so unnecessarily gendered that they never keep my attention. They cater to the male gaze, they’re full of hyper-masculinity, and the few female characters in them tend to be superficially developed. I never really expected to change my mind on the topic. But then the new Wonder Woman movie came out, and I heard so many great thing about it, that I actually found myself getting excited to see it. Over on The Attic, our Feminism Editor Amy wrote an article on her experience seeing the film, sharing all the great things about it, and I convinced myself that it was going to be great.
It was. Everything I’d heard (and everything Amy said) was true – Diana, Wonder Woman herself, was a nicely developed character: recognizable and relatable as a person; the film catered to the female gaze; the dialogue was mostly intelligent; it had funny moments and sad moments; it gave importance to feeling, etc. etc. Basically, it had everything that I should have liked. Yet, I found myself sitting there stone faced through most of the film. I objectively appreciated most of the things about the film, but emotionally, I wasn’t moved, and subconsciously, I found myself getting angry.
I’ve let myself stew for a couple of hours, and I’ve decided that I’m sad that this supposedly great, feminist, breakthrough film is still at the hands of the cultural trifecta of greatness that defines the West… and well, that the film wasn’t as flawlessly feminist as it could have been (even if that was always going to be the case).
I'm back! I spent this weekend attending family events celebrating a branch of A's family. The main event was yesterday and brought around 150 (out of 250 invitees) together. It was quite possibly the single largest gathering I've ever taken part in and definitely the largest family reunion I've seen. My grandparents threw big family reunions together to celebrate my grandpa's 70th birthday in 1998 and their 50th wedding anniversary in 2002, but even those maybe only brought 20-25 people together. This was something else entirely.
(Keep Reading for pictures of the closest thing you'll get to me frolicking in the countryside. Also me being sentimental.)
Things have been quiet here lately, and that's because for the past six months, I've been developing a new website with seven of my favorite ladies. Open to covering anything by or concerning women, The Attic on Eight is dedicated to Literature, Culture, Food, Drink, Home, Family, Feminism, Politics, Fashion, and Beauty. We have an advice column, a love for cocktails, coffee, political rants, and a tendency to read a lot, so you're sure to find a post that speaks to you. The website means to have one eye on feminism at all times and is a very important outlet for all of us. I'm proud to have helped launch this project and I feel very lucky to have done so with my very dear friends.
The Attic on Eighth has been running for a couple of weeks now, with almost fifty posts in its archive already, and very soon, we will be opening up to contributions. So please keep an eye out for us, as we keep an eye out for you. We want to feature all kinds of different women and cover all kinds of different material, so I hope we can work together in the future.
Though I've been quiet over the past few months, this doesn't mean that I will be giving up this blog. Most of my literature and culture related pieces will now be posted over there, and some of my baking pieces have been moved as well. (You may have noticed my Roxane Gay piece and my coffee-infused chocolate crinkle cookies are already on the Attic.) I hope to continue sharing more personal and travel pieces on here.
Thank you for sticking with me over all these years, here and on tumblr, and I hope to see you come along on this new journey as well!!
This recipe can now be found over at The Attic on Eighth.
I picked up E.M. Delafield's Consequences when I was last in London. The Persephone blurb on the shelf promised a story about a young woman who failed to conform to expectations at the end of the Victorian period, and that alone was enough for me to pick the book off the shelf. Domesticity and femininity are my bread and butter, and there was no way I was passing that up.
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I'm Olivia, a twenty-six year old grad student studying in Switzerland. This is where I share my thoughts on the academic journey, culture, travels, baking, and my daily life abroad. Read More.