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Thanks for visiting Joy42. Follow along on my adventures as an American Expat. I hope to encourage you to seek out the little joys in your life.

Friday Five 11.24

Friday Five 11.24

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o n e | Gratitude | Yesterday was Thanksgiving. It's that time of year when all of us Americans stop to consider what we're thankful for (before digging into a mound of food). I'll do a post next week about our Thanksgiving, but I do want to talk about gratitude for a minute. I try to keep up with a prayer journal every day--though sometimes I fall behind--and one of the things I write in there is something I'm grateful for that day. Somedays, I have a really hard time coming up with something. Other days, I have a really hard time narrowing it down to one. But it's really important to me to stop once a day and think of something, big or small. So this year on Thanksgiving, even though I'm really sad to not be at the table with my family in Colorado, I have a lot to be thankful for: Luke, my family, my friends, the adventure of moving abroad, the opportunities I have here, among so much more. 

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t w o | Autumn Bucket List | Back on the first day of autumn in September, I posted my "bucket list" for the season. Even though we technically have about another four weeks of autumn left, Thanksgiving is over, so it's officially Christmastime. That being said, I wanted to look back on what I did from the list. (1) We didn't find an apple orchard to go apple picking, but we were also pretty busy most of October and didn't have the time during the weekends. (Though I think prime apple picking time is in September?) (2) We did, however, spend some time in the "mountains" when we went to Wales mid-September. (It counts!) (3) Again, we were so busy in October that we didn't have time to carve pumpkins before Halloween. But that's alright, it meant we could keep them on the front porch longer. (4) We saw plenty of foliage, both in Wales and Ireland. It was beautiful! (5) I made apple cider at home twice and we even made apple cider donuts one morning. (6) I made pumpkin bread for our neighbors at the beginning of the month. It was nice to deliver it and get to know the people who live next door after spending a few months chatting to the older couple who lives to our left when we're outside at the same time and spending a few weeks accepting packages for the girls who live to our right. (7) We haven't hosted Thanksgiving yet, actually, but we will on Sunday. I'm both nervous and excited. It's a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it when our home is full of friends and our table is set with (hopefully) good food. (8) The last few years I've made an apple pie for Thanksgiving, so I'm making one this weekend for our dinner on Sunday. My mom brought over my favorite caramel sauce from Trader Joe's when she came in October so I can make it a caramel apple pie, which is obviously the best. And don't worry, we're having pumpkin cheesecake for dessert, so it's not so strange. (9) While I didn't really have any intention of dressing up for Halloween, I always like to consider what I could be. I didn't put too much thought into it, but a few days before someone on Instagram suggested Dwight and Angela. I almost put something together with what we have at home, but we were both too tired on Halloween to bother. (10) I did find a cozy new sweater, but what I'm most obsessed with is my cozy new scarf. It's the softest thing ever and I wear it any chance I can get.

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t h r e e | Y Review | Luke and I have a Y shaped book that his parents gave us that we use to review all of the movies we see at the cinema. We've done it for every single movie we've ever gone out to see, except for Rogue One because we didn't get it until after we had seen a few movies and I forgot about that one. We have a 5 star rating system (no half stars), in addition to providing a quote about the film. I like to think of them as movie poster quotes, though I'm not always so succinct. It's the perfect way to record one of our favorite hobbies both as individuals and as a couple. This week we saw Justice League ("Not as bad as I thought it would be!") and A Bad Moms Christmas. The latter is the first film we've ever differed by more than 1 star. I gave it 4, but Luke only gave it 2. I thought it was absolutely hysterical and I maintain that Luke didn't find it as funny because he left the theater during the two funniest sequences. 

For those interested, we've seen War Dogs, Bad Moms, Rogue One, Office Christmas Party, Passengers, La La Land (in Swedish!), The Lego Batman Movie, The Fate of the Furious (or Fast & Furious 8 as it was called in England), Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, Spiderman: Homecoming, Dunkirk, Atomic Blonde, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Logan Lucky, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Thor: Ragnarok, Murder on the Orient Express, Justice League, and A Bad Moms Christmas.

f o u r | Donald Trump & Kevin Spacey | I started to write this as a separate post earlier this month, but I just never hit publish. I'm not even sure why.

At the end of October, Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of sexually misconduct 30 years ago when he was 14 years old. When I woke up a few hours later in Ireland, the story was out and Spacey had issued a statement via social media, claiming he didn't remember the incident (he must have been drunk), he apologized, and he came out as a gay man. I wasn't sure what to think. The day before the story came out, if you had asked me who my favorite actor is, I would have said Kevin Spacey. To be honest, I started running through excuses to minimize the situation in my head: He met Rapp in a professional setting, perhaps Rapp presented himself as older or Spacey made a very poor assumption about his age. His account of what happened didn't seem to imply any sexual acts actually occurred. Spacey's apology seemed more sincere than any one else's that has been accused of similar things at that point. He wasn't lawyering up, he wasn't attacking the victim, but apologized for how his actions have affected him. And on top of it all, Spacey has now been outed in the public. People started taking Spacey to task and I kept thinking "no, no, no, you don't understand!" I do get where they're coming from. Drunkenness isn't an excuse for predatory behavior. Spacey addressed allegations of pedophilia in the same breath as coming out. Spacey's language while coming out seemed to imply it is a choice to be gay. I more than understand the issues with his statement. But I continued to downplay it and minimize it to myself. I continued to search for more information on the story for days as it unfolded (and continues to unfold). I lied in bed scrolling through Twitter, looking for op-eds and breaking news. There was a voice in the back of my head saying if more people came forward, then there would be an issue. Of course since then many more men have come forward saying that Spacey assaulted or harassed them when they were in their teens and twenties, including eight current and former employees on House of Cards and The Old Vic theater in London has been contacted by 20 men. All signs are pointing to the fact that Spacey is indeed a sexual predator, preying on young men and teenage boys. There's no denying that. It occurred to me in the days since hearing the story, though, that this must be how Trump's base feel about him and the allegations against him. Somehow, I felt connected to Kevin Spacey, I felt like he could enrich and enhance my life through his acting career, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt while I've whole-heartedly believed the stories of the women coming forward about Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, James Toback, Roy Moore, Louis CK, Ed Westwick, Jeremy Piven, Al Franken, Mark Schwan, Charlie Rose, and many more. Of course those guys were creeps and predators. And of course Donald Trump was a predator. For reasons I don't understand, there are people who believe that Donald Trump will help them and will make their lives better. They somehow feel akin to Trump. He tells them he's an outsider, an underdog, a rags to riches story and they can relate to that. So how could someone they feel connected to sexually harass 16 women? How could someone who understands them be serious about grabbing women by the pussy? I kind of get it. The thing is, Kevin Spacey turned out to be a really shitty person. He charmed us all, and just like in everything he's ever been in, PLOT TWIST, he's a bad guy. But Trump is too. They all are. I believe in the idea of innocent until proven guilty, but I also believe where there's smoke there's fire. The pattern I'm seeing amongst us regular people is that we idolize celebrities. They play a role and we think we know them. They tell anecdotes on talk shows and we think we see into their world. They go to Starbucks just like us(!) and we think we know them. But we don't! Publicists plant stories--and bury others. A 5 minute interview on a late night show or a short article in a magazine doesn't really show who they truly are, even if their hair gets ruffled a bit. And a character they play in a (reality) television show or movie certainly doesn't give us insight into their private lives. It can be difficult to accept that your hero or idol is a creep, but we have to start understanding that we don't really know these people. Sexual harassment and assault is a black and white issue and there is a right side of history to stand on.

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f i v e | Favorite Instagrammer Right Now | I've been following @laly_dis for a while now and everything she posts is pure gold! I believe she hails from Italy originally, but now lives in the UK. Basically everywhere she goes, I add to my list of places to visit. She finds gorgeous, vibrant colors and has a wonderful eye for finding beauty wherever she goes! To top it all off, her captions are full of history! She'll give you the history of the building, the city, or wherever she is and I always wonder how she finds all this incredible information. (She's really a historian in real life, too.) Let's just say, when I grow up, I want to Instagram like Laura!

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Thanksgiving in England

Thanksgiving in England

How I Applied for a UK Further Leave to Remain Visa

How I Applied for a UK Further Leave to Remain Visa