Considering I'm a bit short on photos this week, I thought I would recap y'all on those lofty resolutions I made back in January. Almost six months later, I'm happy to report that I'm doing surprisingly well.

Resolution #1: Learn Fluent French

When I arrived in France back in October, I barely spoke a mot of French. Most of my conversations began with “Parlez-vous anglais?” and ended with me feeling a bit embarrassed with myself.

Due to lots and lots of good old-fashioned hard work (and ahem, Harry Potter) I would safely say I'm conversational now and thiiis close to fluent. I often find myself chatting with friends at cafés for hours in French (quoi?) and have been told by my host parents, French friends and language professor that I've improved loads.

Nevertheless, I am still very keen to get better. I think if I keep working hard and stubbornly trying to converse in French I'll be fluent by July.

Resolution #2: Get Back in Shape

Em… while I'm happy that I've been successfully dieting and now weigh the same as I did a year ago, I'm not really in prime physical shape. Yoga and gyms are crazy expensive here so as I am pinching pennies for my Asia trip I'll have to hold off on serious work-outs. (Granted running is free, but um… yeah.)

To prepare for this, I just bought a yoga Groupon for when I'm back in Michigan (10 classes for $25!) and am thinking of doing a yoga retreat in Bali in September. So hopefully I will look good in a bathing suit sometime in the near future, ha.

Resolution #3: Build My Blog

I'm very happy with how I've kept up this blog. Though sometimes I do have trouble striking a balance between blogging and um… living, I think going forward I will strive for quality over quantity.

Speaking of quality, I'm concerned that some (hopefully not all?) of my posts are boring as more than a few friends have told me that they skim through them.

I wanted to ask you guys- which posts are you enjoying and which ones not so much? Anything I should scrap? And I would love, love, love it if you guys could complete this quick 10-question reader survey! I'm still quite new at the charade and it would mean the world to me if you guys told me how I'm doing.

I've also started reaping some small earnings from this blog, and so far this year I have posted 70 times. And in my 9 or so months blogging, I have posted 135 times. Not bad for a newbie!

 

Resolution #4: Freelance

This is a goal I have certainly fallen short on. I wanted to have one freelancing piece published a month and so far I haven't had one thing published. Womp ,womp.

BootsNAll even accepted one of my pieces but I stupidly never followed up with them! Which was probably because I was really intimidated by the whole situation… which is a terrible excuse.

In better news, I have been working as a travel columnist for a local Detroit newspaper, The Metropolitan Detroit. Check out my first two columns! Naturally, they're all about travel. Oops. Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 12.32.55 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 12.33.43 AM

Other goals:

a. Save up for Asia (I have $2500 right now, and need $2500 more to meet my budget)

b. Improve photography (learn HDR, finally!)

c. And just keep living life to the best of my abilities. Take advantage of every opportunity to meet cool people, eat good food and do cool stuff. In a nutshell.

 

Most of all, thank you for reading Ashley Abroad. I don't want to get sentimental, but blogging has really changed my life and opened up a lot of doors for me and it's all thanks to you guys. Reading your comments makes my day, for serious. Thanks for spending time in my humble little corner of the interwebs… I hope you'll stick around!

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Uganda. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Colorado. She's been to forty countries but somehow still gets lost in her home town. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour magazine.
Ashley Fleckenstein
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