vendredi, décembre 21

Hello, goodbye

I am off! Off to a 2 week sejour of wonder and excitement...first stop Paris...then Normandie...then Paris...then Barcelona! Hope you all have a snowy and beautiful holiday with your loved ones, I'll be thinking of you!

mardi, décembre 18

Award winning

Today I had the pleasure (and pain) of looking at photos from the pb's Christmas party...of course the year I leave they finally decide to have one! There was a Secret Santa gift exchange and then a party afterwards at the Varsity theatre where awards were given out, I won the 'Most Missed Employee' award. Yay! And yet, blah. I'm so sad to have not been there to run around with my friends and get tipsy and dance. Boo hoo. On the bright side, I have not been forgotten and am most honored to still be remembered and thougt of by my friends. Also, one of the photos I took has been chosen to be featured as the front page photo for the website Utata today! I'm amazed and excited to have my photo featured on one of my favorite sites, check it out m'dears!

dimanche, décembre 16

So content

Two exciting new developments have occurred this weekend:

1. The lovely Swedish lad I met in Stockholm has bought his ticket to come and visit me in Paris after Christmas.
2. I bought a plane ticket and reserved my hostel room for a mini vaca in Barcelona with Chantal after new years.

I suppose I'm quite happy now, might even venture to say I'm ecstatic. (!!!)

jeudi, décembre 13

First frost

Today was by far the coldest day I've seen since arriving. Something about it was so beautiful, though. I don't know how to explain it really, but this frost felt so different from the ones I'm used to. Each little leaf was carefully edged in tiny ice crystals and every small object on the sidewalk and in the street looked like it had a ghostly shadow thrown over it. The sky too seemed to hang onto being blue longer and didn't let the sun through until well past 10. I made sure to bundle myself up good, Thursdays I have to walk to take the bus to the primaire, I put on warm socks and leg warmers and the world's longest and warmest scarf (which my mother always insists I pack) my big woolly pink hat and my mittens. Walking down the street I tried to conceal my smile as I laughed. It felt good to be so tightly bound in a million layers; I'm quite at home in the cold.

mercredi, décembre 12

Etsy is my cocaine

Things Overheard That Made Me Smile:

At the yarn store: "She's been in here before...she's foreign." (I had to try not to laugh as the women at the yarn store said this, they must have thought that I didn't speak French.)

My house: "My bookshelf is arranged by subject, over here we have the poetry for Sarah, and over here..." (Rene, telling Chantal about his books.

Things are still pretty darn good. I've become quite enamored with drawing lately and am trying to draw little characters of my friends. I don't have much talent but I know that the more I practice the easier it will get. Also have become quite taken with Etsy (online world of homemade crafts) and have bought 2 Christmas gifts as well as some goodies for myself. However, becoming an Etsy addict hasn't just meant that I stay up late and screw around with all the fun features and look at random things that I can't afford/don't need...it's also been a great inspiration for me. I've always loved creating, making, and doing. Etsy has lit a fire under me and I find myself doing more creating: knitting more, drawing more, learning how to sew, planning out things that I'd like to make, buying art supplies, etc etc. And I'm setting a new goal for myself here and now, I hope to open my own Etsy store by the end of next fall. Perhaps you'd like to own a little piece of La Fille en Rose for yourself? Soon you shall!

lundi, décembre 10

I'm set free

I've been quite the busy bee lately. Ever since my birthday I feel like I've finally fallen into the swing of things here, have finally started to accept that this is my life. The day started off a bit humdrum and I found myself feeling lonesome, however, I had the most wonderful birthday dinner celebration with the other assistants. I was overwhelmed by everyone's generosity and good spirits, it felt so nice to have everyone come together around the table and enjoy good food and good conversation. After that night I began to do more me-like things...the things I loved doing before but for some reason had left by the wayside since arriving here. For example, I went to the library at my high school and was delighted to discover their extensive collection of English literature...I immediately threw myself into reading and finished 2 books over the weekend. Friday night I went to my first 'Fest Noz' (a big joyful Breton dance party) where I had the most lovely time. Saturday too was a full day of reading in my favorite cafe, finishing up knitting a gift, and game night at a fun wine bar. Sunday I saw I'm Not There (incredible film, I haven't stopped thinking about it since) with 2 other assistants and our new silly German friend. After we went to discuss the film over pastries at a little tea salon. As far as I'm concerned this productivity feels like it's going to continue to continue well into the week. (Today, for example, I accomplished my entire 'to do' list...quel feat!)

In other news worthy happenings I am pleased to announce, I'm now legal! I received my illusive carte de sejour today, hurrah! Take that french bureaucracy, you can't get me down! Upon closer review of the card, however, I noticed that although I was legal I was legal for a mere blink of an eye because the card expires at the end of May. It appears Mother France won't allow me to overstay my welcome, in fact, I'm practically being shown out the door after all the rigmarole of documentation has taken place. And, well, for some reason it didn't get me down. Perhaps it's because I've just been so damn effervescent lately, but it almost made me happy...because it made me think of Portland. It made me think about how much I can't wait to move to this secret city dream of mine that already feels so much like home despite my millions of miles of distance from it and the simple fact that I've never even seen it with my own eyes. The date of expiration on my card means that I'm coming back. Coming back sooner then imagined, and that makes this girl quite happy, although, to be honest, I'm suddenly quite happy with here. Being here, and what I'm creating here.

vendredi, décembre 7

The tip of the iceberg

Allow me to vent. France is a beautiful country, really a lovely place to live. But. It is a country in which no one can ever claim to be overworked. For example, today I tried to go to the prefecture to finally, finally pick up my Carte de Sejour (which was the world's most painful and involved process...paper work needed to hand in included: a letter from my land lord stating I lived in my residence, the contract of rent signed between my land lord and I, birth certificate, statements from my bank, letters of work contract from the government, a mandatory medical visit evaluation form, family tree, zodiac sign, blood test, palm reading, urine sample, retina scan, etc. etc.) however, the damn place was closed. At 4:15. Closed at 4:15 on a Friday. Can someone please explain to me how any normal working human being in France is supposed to be able to make the working hours of 9:15-12:15 (2 hour lunch break) 2:15-4:15? And why why why would you close such an essential office an hour early? This isn't the first time I've found myself vexed at the working hours of this office...of course I tried to make it to this office on Tuesday of this week and arrived during the normal working hours only to discover that the office was 'uniquely closed one hour early' that day. Similarly another office I tried to visit was closed 3 hours early every Tuesday and Thursday for 3 weeks. I should be used to this willy nilly approach to working but damn it, I'm not. I want stability, dependability, and less bureaucracy! But, like I said, France really is a lovely country. Really, it is.

mardi, décembre 4

23

Relaxing, again. Watching Marie Antoinette, giving myself a facial, drawing out new little creations to make, writing letters to friends, eating frosting (from an early Christmas package my mother sent), sorting my jewelry, writing down titles of books I want to read (philosophy and cultural theory mostly), cursing myself for not having brought my little pearl mermaid headband, setting my alarm clock, hoping I'll drink champagne again soon, thinking about being one year older, thinking I might like to stay young forever, etc etc amen.

lundi, décembre 3

Oh my, my muse

Home from Paris. It's so nice to escape to a big city on the weekends. I spent all day Saturday in Montmartre just wandering and then I sat in a little cafe with a tea and a croissant and wrote and wrote and wrote. (I haven't done that in ages. At least not since Norway.) It's so fulfilling to just sit and watch people, observe your setting and try to understand the social network of who and what. I sat and was still, but entirely entertained for almost 2 hours...it was like watching a movie. Speaking of movies I saw Across the Universe on Sunday and it was fantastic! I had a bit of a hard time getting myself into the film because there was so much singing but it seemed to only get better as it progressed. I highly recommend it to everyone. If nothing else it will completely transport you...I was so into this movie once it really got going. Oh how I cried and smiled and wished and hoped during this film, it hit all of my emotions.

And now I'm sitting in my room knitting in my pj's looking out my rainy window and wondering how I'm going to start the day; a jog and a shower? writing and reading? still undecided. There's a large pile of fabric staring at me on my desk, my fingers itch to draw out my next creation. Oh yes, did I tell you I've got a sewing machine now? I decided to be productive with all this free time on my hands and learn to do something I've always wanted to...sew! Unfortunately my first attempt wasn't as successful as I had hoped, half way through a little coin purse I was sewing something got stuck (or broke?) and the machine wouldn't function properly. In an effort to fix the beast I was stabbed by the needle and spilled an entire bottle of water on myself. Yikes. Hopefully today I can get it up and running. In any case just having it around makes me happy. I've turned my bedroom into a little workshop of crafting. I think I might go find myself a big sketch book and some pencils today. Time to bring art and creating back into my life.

vendredi, novembre 30

So, now, then

La Fille en Rose, I'm sorry. I haven't been a very attentive blogger. There was a time when you were updated almost daily, but ever since the creation of your sister blog (everyday) you haven't been given as much attention. I promise to try and give my best to you both. So, on that note, a quick little run down of my day: Today I skipped my last class and finished knitting an x-mas present. Then I went to the thrift store with C-town & Barbs. I got 2 dress (both of which I plan to alter/salvage) and one babetastic dandelion yellow wool skirt. I really love yellow right now, well, yellow and pink I guess. Tonight C, Barbs, and I are going to use up the rest of my curry sauce and have a lentil & vegetable curry with quinoa and cinnamoned apples with vanilla pecan ice cream for dessert. I'm about to go fold my laundry and then pack for my weekend excursion to Paris because... it's Paris time again!

dimanche, novembre 25

Sleep the clock around

I'm up far too late. I can't bring myself to shut this computer down; something keeps grabbing my attention and pulling me further into this sleepless night of web surfing. I should really try to sleep. I need to sleep. I can feel the slightest tinge of something creeping up my throat and I hope to the heavens it's not another form of a cold/flu. Boo. This weekend I went to Rennes to have a proper Thanksgiving day feast with the other assistants. As is tradition with Thanksgiving we all ate too much and then proceeded to eat too much of the leftovers the following day. I still don't feel entirely up to par...must have something to do with lounging around for most of the weekend while slowly doing one task (cutting potatoes, stirring some random dish on the stove top, dishing out advice on the best way to season yams) or slowly boozing all day long. Nevertheless this act of (what feels like) doing nothing leaves me restless. In other news La Fille en Rose is officially one year old! Who would have thought I could carry on with these endless me-centric ramblings for a year? Far more intriguing are the people who have become my Fille en Rose groupies, the regulars, the peeps who leave comments. Merci a vous, dear friends. I hope it's as good for you as it is for me.

jeudi, novembre 22

Action de grâce

It just so happens that today René had planned to have a small dinner party at our house...and it just so happens that today is Thanksgiving and I have an amazing cousin who sent me all the ingredients for a pumpkin pie. So 2+2=4 which means I made a pumpkin pie for the dessert tonight and it totally won the French over; they even asked for seconds! I'm sure you're all curious about what our French Thanksgiving consisted of so here's a quick rundown of our lavish meal:

Champagne (2 bottles)
Hors d'oeuvres (cheese & grapes, miniature puff pastries)
Main course (homemade pepper sauce & rice...everyone else had chicken, I sautéed up some tofu)
Red wine
Salad (dressing made by yours truly)
Cheese (comté, goat, and some other kind I didn't recognize)
Pumpkin pie
White wine
Pumpkin pie seconds
Coffee/tea
Artisanal chocolates

I must admit that I was grinning from ear to ear as everyone asked for seconds. The French ladies wanted to know what was in the pie, 'C'est très fine!' they said. I didn't have the heart to tell them it was canned pumpkin and condensed milk...or rather I kept it a secret. A good chef never reveals her secrets. (Not even the ones listed on the can.)

mercredi, novembre 21

First class

My cousin is the best, the best of the best...I love you Cousin! Today I received the world's most complete and wonderful Thanksgiving day care package (pumpkin pie filling, pie crust mix, green bean casserole topping, vegetarian stuffing, m&m cookie mix, canned cranberries, dried cranberries, scalloped potato mix, candied yams, and a glittery turkey card) !! This is the best gift on the face of the planet. Also, I received the world's greatest card from Linds-Lou and Eric Rollerblades...


(Cut outs of our faces pasted onto the card) ...you guys rule & so do all of my other friends and family in the states. In other news it appears that I qualify for the 'Economic Hardship' loan deferment plan on my loans which means that I have a 12 months before I'm officially in the poor house. This thanksgiving I'm thankful for my Economic Hardship! Happy Turkey Day my dear ones.

jeudi, novembre 15

Every so often (perhaps once every 15 days)

Every now and again I run across some extremely beautiful someone in the street and I think to myself, Where do you come from, where are you going? And then I go about my ordinary humdrum day wondering about these mysterious beautiful people in my small town. (Are they curious about me too?)

mercredi, novembre 14

Adventures in French cuisine

One of the most brilliant aspects about living in France is that the French love food; they're interested in where their foods come from and the ways in which they are produced. The quality of products available is unbeatable and I find that there's always something special and different about all of the small delicacies that are, to the French, common place. The aisles at my grocery store are filled with tiny little jars containing complicated and delicious sounding jams and spreads for bread and hors d'oeuvres...don't even get me started on the yogurt and cheese (an entire aisle of cheese followed by an entire aisle of yogurt, cream, and milk). However, being a vegetarian in France means that sometimes I'm a bit frustrated with my food options when it comes to dining out, and for all of the wonderful new foods I can eat I have to say there are equally as many which I won't. Nevertheless I must admit that I've never felt left out when someone brought out pâté (a spread made from the fattened liver of a force fed goose)...luckily for me this is a country that truly enjoys the decadence of delicious dessert and being vegetarian here means that I have some extra time on my hands and room in my stomach to discover the sweet delights that this culture has to offer.

Today, for example, I came across a silly little jar of rose petal jam that I fell in love with. The jam was such a pretty pinkish/tea stained color with transparent little ghosts of actual rose petals suspended in the jam...I knew it was coming home with me. (I love the way the French use flowers in foods and desserts. One of my favorite flavors is Violet, it makes a delicious drink when you add violet syrup to sparkling water.) As long as I had my jam I certainly needed something tasty to put it on so on the walk home I popped into my local boulangerie for a bit of brioche, which lead me to a delicious little tea and coffee shop I'd always wanted to stop in and see (another thing the French do spectacularly well is different tea infusions)...which lead to the buying of a wonderful tea flavored with dried fruits and flowers. And as long as I'm talking about wonderful and delicious French food did I mention the beurre salé (salted butter)? Beurre salé is a religion for me, it's changed my life and the way I view the world. I want to slather everything I see in beurre salé, I want to brush my teeth with beurre salé, and well, unless you've been to France and tried it you'll never know this fever burning inside me.

mardi, novembre 13

Written in the stars

Sarah
Origin: Hebrew, meaning princess
Your day is October 9th
Your planet is Venus
Your color is red
Your lucky number is 2

Sarah is very soft and feminine. Fragile, she is sensible to the risks of love, often seeking the certain security of herself. Secretive, willful and passionate, you are someone social. Venus is the planet of love, you are very sensible to the quality of your relationships with others. People happily recognize your joy, your kindness, and your sense of diplomacy. You are very appreciated by your friends because you are very engaging.



(Translated from French by yours truly, this was written on a ruler given to me by a friend of mine...is this me?)

vendredi, novembre 9

If on a winter's night a traveler

"It's all very well for me to come and go, shift and turn: I am caught in a trap, in that nontemporal trap which all stations unfailingly set. A cloud of coal dust still hovers in the air of stations all these years after the lines have been totally electrified, and a novel that talks about trains and stations cannot help connveying this odor of smoke."

-Italo Calvino





Packing my suitcase again...
this time for Nantes and Rennes.
Back sometime next week.
Ciao to you dear lovers and friends!

En Attendant Godot

Waiting for class to start, waiting for the weekend to come, waiting for my next vacation, waiting for the train/bus/plane, waiting for a phone call from my mother, waiting for paper work from the government, waiting for my laundry to dry, waiting for a sunny day, waiting for friends to visit, waiting waiting day in day out. If I'm not waiting then I'm thinking about waiting...lately I've been thinking a lot about returning to the states after this little stint is over and the thought has me over the moon with excitement. I think I want to move to Portland. I'm feeling more bold, now that I've started over once what's one more time? So, I suppose it's all a big waiting game at this point. I suppose looking forward to what comes next is what keeps me sane and keeps me moving. I suppose I'm not really doing what all those obnoxious people recommend which is live in the moment, always be present. Well, I am present, in the future.

mardi, novembre 6

Home again home again jiggity jig


Let me just cut to the heart of it and save all the blah blah details of my itinerary and what monuments I saw and didn't see and wish I'd seen but couldn't, etc. and say that Stockholm is a phenomenally beautiful city. In the time I was there I managed to make a few friends and feel quite at home and happy...so much so that I'm thinking of making Stockholm a sort of temporary home away from home whilst I do this little ditty abroad. (Summer in Stockholm anyone?) In the mean time I'm glad to be back in France and happy to receive all of your letters and news from across the Atlantic...tell me dear friends, how is your life?


Ps. What do you think of my pretty new 2 bird ring?

vendredi, octobre 26

City of blondes

I'm off to the Nordic North this morning (...in about 4.5 hours actually) so I wanted to say farewell, adieu! I shall return in two weeks' time refreshed and full of Scandinavian vigor, until then perhaps you should check out my latest creation.

On becoming a regular

There's this little bar we like to go to, we call it the music bar because they have live music on Thursday nights, it's different from the usual sports bars or smokey tabacs that seem to pollute St Brieuc. The music bar has a laid back bohemian feel to it & I like the people who come in, these people are a unique bunch, the type you'd want to meet and have as your friends. We've gone so often that the bartender has memorized my drink...she smiles at me and says,

"Un Kir Framboise?"
"Oui, s'il te plait."

(It's the little things like becoming a regular and being recognized that are becoming my saving grace here. They know what I order and they smile when I walk in.)

mardi, octobre 23

Me without you

How do you tell someone you miss them...someone who might not miss as much as you miss them (or worse, might not miss you at all)? Perhaps you'd send a postcard or make a phone call or, the lamest of all, write a blog. Here goes...

Dear Person Who I Find Very Special and Unique,

I really like you, the big kind of like...the love kind. I'm sorry it's too late to do anything about it now...but I just had to say it for me and you and anyone else in the world who would ever care to know. There's no sense in hiding it for myself anymore, no sense in pushing it away, I want you to know that when I say "I miss you" it's code for "I'm too chickenshit to say I love you". (I'm sorry I wasn't strong enough to tell you this in person.)

dimanche, octobre 21

To live the life that I have made in song




After my dismal Friday morning/afternoon experience I decided to try and turn the day around by picking myself up off the ground and, at the very least, moving. I left the house and decided to walk down the streets and parts of the city I hadn't seen yet. (The worst thing for me to do when I'm sad is nothing, the sadness manifests itself and I can just sit around and be upset for days.) As I walked I came upon a cafe that reminded me a lot of home: large, bright, warm and playing beautiful but unidentifiable music. Inside the cafe felt familiar and tranquil; there was lots of room to move and sit and the tables weren't terribly cramped together. The floors were dark wood and against one wall there were floor to ceiling shelves filled with lots of neat tea containers and old apothecary jars which held handmade candies. I sat down and thought about home and about not being home and drank a rose flavored soda and then I felt okay. For the moment I feel mostly okay. (And being okay feels like a safe place to be.)

vendredi, octobre 19

Low point

Waited for my class today and they didn't show up...met the teacher in the hallway and she said she forgot to tell me that they're in Morocco. I was assured that this was an exceptional case, just like last week was when they had a 4 hour economics exam. Walking home an old man shouted some gross 'compliment' at me. I hate to say it, but this whole not having class thing and being harassed/followed by creepy men is an all too regular occurrence here. I miss home.

mardi, octobre 16

I rather like teaching

Petite Fille: Sarah tu es belle tous les jours.
Moi: Merci beaucoup.
Petit Garçon: Tu ne peux pas dire ça parce qu'on ne la voit pas tous les jours.
Autre Petite Fille: Sarah tu es belle tous les mardis et les jeudis.

***
Little Girl: Sarah you are pretty every day.
Me: Thank you very much.
Little Boy: You can't say that because we don't see her every day.
Another Little Girl: Sarah you are pretty every Tuesday and Thursday.




Holy crap these kids are cute. Working at this elementary school makes me almost want to have a kid...almost.

lundi, octobre 15

I've got all the time in the world...to do nothing

I said no to taking a nap at 3:30 this afternoon because it was a waste of a rare and cherished sunny day, I said yes to going to the beach. Alas, my tiny bed won and I took a disgraceful 3 hour nap...ack! Now it's too late to do much of anything because everything here closes at 7:00. Something about this town or working a few hours a week makes me incredibly tired and unmotivated. On the brightside I planned my toussaint vacation yesterday and will be going to Stockholm! and Oslo! with 2 wonderful new assistant friends I have met here. And, keep this on the hush hush, I'm planning a wildly exciting fête this weekend because my landlord will finally be going out of town! (I'm thinking cidre, kir, wine, cake/tarte type things with pretty frosting, any number of small hors d'oeuvres, old fashioned games, etc. etc. suggestions?) Hurrah for freedom and fun...I hope I don't sleep through it.

samedi, octobre 13

Love to love you

Something about the French that I find quite curious and different from myself (and my culture) is that they always seem to be in a relationship. If they're not in a relationship then they're looking for one...but in a somewhat generic sense of the word. It feels like, from what I've observed, the French are always going from one relationship to another or staying in one while waiting for the next best thing to come along. We Americans always swoon over how romantic France feels with all of the happy couples holding hands or kissing or strolling through gardens; I have to say that I've reached a bit of a breaking point. Sometimes it looks fake. I'm used to being single, in fact, most of my American compatriots here are as well. We're used to looking and waiting before we even think about entering a relationship, let alone saying the big L word. I don't mean to say that the French don't really love but it feels like something about this obsession with the concept of love, dating, and relationships doesn't jive with the rest of French culture. Isn't this a culture that values quality over quantity and that won't settle for a substitute because it wants the real thing?


Dear France,
Dating can be fun.
But seriously, sometimes it's best to wait.
Xo.

lundi, octobre 8

How to paint bird's portait

Peindre d'abord une cage
avec une porte ouverte
peindre ensuite
quelque chose de joli
quelque chose de simple
quelque chose de beau
quelque chose d'utile...
((J.Prévert))
...
Today, was supposed to be my first day of class. However, I've found that teaching and schooling in France is a bit more fluid than in America. Nevertheless I came home and sat down to lunch with René (the owner of the house). He'd seen me reading a book of poetry from his bookshelf and asked me which one it was; a book of poetry about the ocean. I told him that I loved poetry and was happy to find that he had a rather extensive collection. He beamed and said, "Là, on a un point un commun". (We've got something in common.) And then he was off and buzzing about poems and authors he liked, he got up from his lunch and hurried over to the shelf to show me several books he enjoyed and even recited a few poems and lines from heart..! He calmed himself a bit, returned to lunch and offered me a square of his dark chocolate. It's good for the memory, he said.

jeudi, octobre 4

Je suis ici

Hi, I'm still here. Promise. There have been so many new & wonderful things and experiences that I'm overwhelmed and don't know where to begin. Paris, for one, was fantastic. My last night of course involved champagne, dancing, and a new added element of apricot hookah (ooh!). Whilst dancing with a melange of brit punks and french mod-ets I was approached by a twiggy francaise who said,



Her: You look like that girl from Breathless.
Me: Jean Seberg?
Her: Yeah.
(Then I cried a little tear of happiness)


& now that I am in Bretagne and starting to settle in the momentum of newness and excitement has only increased, I really like it here! Everyone has been beyond nice and extremely helpful. The town is bigger then I imagined and has lots of cute shops (even a few natural food stores where I can buy almond milk and tofu and other kinds of yummies). I've taken many a fine photo but haven't been able to upload them since our wireless is not working for the moment. Much love from abroad...!

vendredi, septembre 28

First impressions

I live here now, not in Paris exactly, but here as in France. This has been my world since Monday...pas longtemps. Everything is oddly familiar and yet completely new. I've visited here so often and I speak the language, I know this city better then I know most cities in America. Still, new.


Rain


Taking a nap in a cathedral with all my luggage


Washing lettuce in the bathtub


Purple metro tickets


Tiny dogs


Techno music in boutiques


Pear nectar


Afternoon naps


New dresses


First letter writing


Scarves; everyone everyone everyone wears one


Goat cheese and mustard potato chip dinner


Scenester party at Palais Tokyo


Fancy chic bar for drinks after


Mastering my pronunciation


Helping with English homework


Chocolate Mousse at midnight


Art exposition


Kir cassis


Cigarette smoke (in my clothes)

mardi, septembre 25

jeudi, septembre 20

The goodbye girl

Yesterday was neat. I am reminded once again what great friends I have and how lucky I am.

I got a package in the mail from Friend…a fancy lady purse in a beige color with a gold chain handle and a fantastic matching fancy lady dress in beige and white. These pieces look awesome together and separate; I wore the purse to a party that night and got loads of compliments. Way to go Friend…I will certainly be wearing this outfit when I go somewhere fancy for lunch. It just screams wear me with elbow length gloves and a little 60’s swing coat…I’ll be quite fetching in this ensemble as I have an afternoon at the art museum and then lunch in a chic tea salon. Hurrah!

After a delicious afternoon nap I went down to visit the always lovely always charming Ms. Lara-Bell, her going away gift to me was a FANTASTIC highlight job. Seriously the best I've ever had...it looks like a sunburst across my hair with wonderful little hints of superblonde throughout. (I’ve received confirmation that this hair is officially ‘hot’. Rock.)

After a little soirée at Lara's Tony had a surprise going away dinner planned for me…McDonald’s! The All-American meal: McDonald’s extra value meals (super-sized & ordered without meat of course) we floored it back to his place and topped our buns with veggie burgers. Dessert was Ben & Jerry’s ‘All Americone Dream’ and late night TV. Perfecto.

Today is my final night in Brookfield and I am off to Chicago early tomorrow morning to visit Fatima until Sunday when I am in America never more. This may be the last post before Franceland in which case I wish to say ta ta for now...a bientôt!

mardi, septembre 18

Every generation needs a revolution

For The One Who Has Me Convinced:

You are a brilliant example of what is right (no pun intended) with this country. Thank you for renewing in me a sense of hope and excitement about the future. There are some people that make me happy just by exisiting in this world...you're it!

...

For those of you living under a rock please be informed & entertained and check this out!

jeudi, septembre 13

Recovering the archives

Since I've been home I started going through all my old books and papers and deciding what I want to bring to France with me, and most importantly, what I want to teach these kids about America and my culture. I love art and literature and am very excited to be able to have some small in voice in what will be taught. I was always a bit of a wild child in school and it was hard for me to be inspired to sit and focus...the stories had to be good (in the words of a seven year old) so that I would want to know more and continue reading. I hope that these books and bits of culture create a sense of wonder and excitement about other cultures, ideas, and lifestyles. I have to say I'm becoming more and more excited each day...I can't wait to start.

Primaire:
Classic American Children's Lit: The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, The Bernstein Bears, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Wizard of Oz…

Lycee:
The poetry of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, and Langston Hughes (potentially Howl by Ginsberg), two of my favorite plays A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, A collection of American short stories and perhaps To Kill A Mockingbird or Fahrenheit 451.



(The drawing above from my kindergarden journal...it's probably some kind of fairy princess since that was one of my specialties. I remember being really proud about drawing the 'heart within a heart' above her.)

mercredi, septembre 12

Let's talk about it


I can’t seem to kick this sadness…it’s been lingering around for days. (For some reason I keep wanting to take showers, to be alone and silent.) It’s like living in some kind of cloud, somehow the day passes by and I can’t remember what I did or if it went by fast or slow. I left Tony a terrible voice message on my drive home when I stopped in some random small town. I kept almost falling asleep at the wheel so I pulled off to get some coffee and the only place to go was a Burger King. Basically everything about it was depressing…the overhead neon lighting, the people in it, the fact that I was alone and it was raining. It felt like some kind of alternate universe of sadness. He called me back to see if I was ok but I didn’t pick up, in fact, I didn’t answer anyone’s phone calls or text messages. I’ve just kind of been letting the phone ring. Sorry that I’m being so miserable and awful but lately I just don’t know how to relate to anyone/anything/any situation. I’m tired of talking about it already. Yes, I’m leaving. But there has to be something else we can talk about. (…this is sounding much more dramatic then I intended. I only want to say I’m sad, I don’t feel like I fit in, I miss you, I’ll be fine…except right now I’m not, take care.)

lundi, septembre 10

Letting go

Minneapolis, adieu. I sped down your streets in a fury to head East, home. There should be something profound I can say about my time in this city and yet words fail me. I know only this, these past 4 years have been more then amazing. I don't feel any sense of regret or emptiness about leaving, only a feeling of overwhelming fullness and appreciation. Friends & lovers the journey isn't over, you can still follow along from home...next stop France.

mardi, août 28

Ready set

Walking down the street today was a man shouting, "Happy Tuesday, Happy Tuesday!"...yes, it was indeed. Today I was a big city girl taking the train to downtown Chicago & getting my French visa. It's official now, all my papers are in order and I'll be on a jet plane in a mere 25 days. Soon, so very soon.

lundi, août 27

An appeal to stop the hands of time

Dear One Who Winds The Clocks,

Please feel no need to keep watch over time and its quick passing. These past few months have been grand, lovely in fact, and I’d be quite satisfied if I were to live in a time bubble of this summer indefinitely. You see I’m not quite ready to deal with my life after this summer because it’s going to get very complicated and involve a lot good-byeing and traumatic tearing away of an extensive root system which I’ve worked hard at cultivating. As evidence of my true feelings I’ve enclosed a photo taken at a party in which I and a friend of mine wore star sunglasses, which were given to us as a party favor. As you can see we’re voguing for the camera because we’re so totally amazing and if the hands of time are not stopped I fear I may never vogue for the camera again, indeed I may just break my star sunglasses because what’s the sense in even having them if I cannot smile and be happy with the ones that I love in the moments that make this summer timeless.

Xo.



vendredi, août 24

Mmmm & ooooh

Well, now I just realized that my 100th post passed without any fanfare! In which case, this 101st post will be extra special...hurrah! 101st post! You're so special and loved!

...

Moving on to more important matters, I went out for dinner with pal to French Country Meadow where I can order my favorite salad (to exist ever!) and we decided to try pineapple wine since it seemed so interesting and refreshingly different and my god! My senses are still all aglow from it...just thinking about it! And speaking of aglow and happiness and excitement I saw Stardust the other day and I highly recommend that you all go see this film. I stared up at the screen in complete wonder and amazement with a huge smile on my face throughout the whole film. Do yourself a favor and see this movie...then go drink pineapple wine.

mercredi, août 22

We've made contact, or, you're invited

Through the beauty and grace that is the internet I have been fortunate to ‘meet’ several of my fellow assistants through email & facebook. In addition to meeting and greeting, however, a few of us have made the acquaintance of Guillaume, an actual inhabitant of St. Brieuc! 'Gui' has been very helpful and nice to sent me a most exciting and informative email in which he informed me, “to busy yourself, you have different clubs of sport from sea sport, until climbing or celtic dances... many!!” (Before I continue, a pertinent observation about the French. Why is it that most French people I know use an astounding number of exclamation points and smiley faces when they write an email? It's rather alarming, especially when one stops to remember that the French are well-known for being guarded in real-life…where is all this happiness and excitement coming from? Is the internet the only safe outlet for a French person to smile?)

What? Celtic dancing? Well why didn't you say so earlier? Celtic dancing it is! (You may think, dear reader, that I am joking. I assure you I am not.) What kind of attire would one need for Celtic dancing? From my experience it has been a curly wig and some form a strappy black shoe. However, aside from teaching young whippersnappers swear words in English and clog dancing with the best of them I fear I'll still have a lot of free time on my hands. Guillaume also warned, "places to have fun.. there're very few... unfortunatelly, it's a kind of "ghost" town! :-DD". To be honest, I wasn't as excited about the prospect of a 'ghost town' as Gui. So what is this fille to do in a small town with extra time...why start baking and plan a party of course!

Thanks to my insider knowledge I've decided that what this town really needs is someone (or something) to spice it up. I'm going to be St. Brieuc’s first party girl...in fact I've already extended an invitation to all of my fellow assistants, 'T'inquiet pas! La soirée va être chez moi!' (don't worry, the party's at my house). Since everything is closed on Sunday (EVERYTHING...yes even the hospital so pray to the baby jesus that you don't get fatally maimed on a Sunday.) I believe that it will be the perfect day to indulge ourselves in a long and delicious Sunday meal with all of trimmings... wine, champagne, fancy little cakey tart things with elaborate frosting, cheese, baguette, etc. We'll eat off of fancy dishes, wear our Sunday best, and bicker and gossip about all the silly people in our small town...it'll be like we're already family.

mardi, août 21

At it again

Lately, unless I have something to do from dawn until dusk, I'm stir crazy. I think it's mostly because I've been feeling sad again about leaving and if I'm alone with my thoughts then I start to get all worked up & emotional...not that I'm trying to repress these emotions per se, rather I just don't want to deal with them right now. (...and that's not an oxymoron at all.) So the other night I called up Miss Emma to see if she’d like to bake a cake with me. (I’d been staring at pictures of Ladurée macaroons and dreaming about elaborate French pastries. 32 more days…almost there, almost!) I wanted to make something a bit involved so I looked for a complicated recipe and stumbled upon ‘Hazelnut crunch cake with Mascarpone cream frosting and chocolate', some sort of zillion step cake with lots of ingredients, success! I put on my June Cleaver house dress to get myself in the mood, swung by to pick up an extensive list of ingredients, and off I flew to Miss Emma’s where we began with the first, and most important, step in baking: opening a bottle of wine. The cake was a beautiful labor of love and we brought it over to little Nicky’s house where we all had drinks & were merry. Hurrah, another baking triumph!

samedi, août 18

Toute Seule

My camera is broke so I can’t post you a photo of what my world looks like today, but if I could I’d take a picture of my dining room window…not focusing on the window, but rather the rain drops streaming down it. (Today is dreary and I’m leaving all of the lights off. Even though it’s rainy and gray there’s still enough light to live by without having to turn them on.) Sometimes I like days like today, wet concrete, a cold wind, small but determined raindrops that fall endlessly, & no clouds, just gray all over. (Firetrucks scream down my street in a blur of red anticipation, do you suppose the rain could ever put out a fire?) I believe there’s a sense of comfort in having to accept the fate of a rainy day…it means staying indoors and rethinking the day. There’s certainly a lot of thinking and rethinking going on in my head right now. I haven’t received the happiest of news lately; it appears I may not have a special someone picking me up at the airport in Paris when I arrive. Most devastating of all, my parents were serious when they said the neighbor would drop me at the bus stop so I could take the bus down to the Chicago airport & catch my plane to Paris. They’re going to be out of town with friends. Oh, oh.

jeudi, août 16

Variation on a theme

Once again, let me say, I love my job. Last Saturday, however, was the worst day at work ever, ever. I actually cried. (yeah…) I was so stressed out, and well, it’s a long story and not terribly interesting. The best part of it was that I am now getting the support and backup I need from everyone because I wasn’t in the wrong. I did the best I could given the circumstances. Anyways, after the quagmire of a shift Miss Emma and I went out for drinks and had a lovely time at our favorite spot. We started off the night with Champagne and moved into blueberry vodka tonics, lemon drops, and some kind of toxic mystery shot. There were friends from work who popped by and new acquaintances formed, in short, we all turned a sour evening sublime and I couldn’t have been more surprised at the turnaround. Tonight, similar as well. I went over to our spot with friends from work and we had a fun and silly night, and yes, I got a bit sauced on a Wednesday night. (Social conventions be damned…I will wine myself on Wednesday should I so please!) Which brings me back to the main point, the item on the agenda, the issue at hand: I love my job. Love it.

samedi, août 11

Some like it hot

Getting ready for:

Seeing Friend (!!)
Noah's Ark ('America's Largest Waterpark') with the crew
Packing boxes
Selling furniture (Poor pretty dresser, I never want to let you go...)
Getting my French visa
Going to Chicago (again)
Moving out
Couch surfing for at least 10 days after my lease is up
Planning/having a going away party
Moving home (weird, way weird.)


It's an intense line up that I believe will send the rest of August rocketing past so fast that I won't even realize what time it is: Franceland time! I think I'm ready for this--no I'm sure I'm ready. In other news, it's been way too hot around here lately. Hellishly hot. I'm ready for that to be done too.

lundi, août 6

Beachy

Pretty soon these little beauties will be in my new backyard.


(I'm ready to go...are we there yet?)

dimanche, août 5

Scar tissue

Things are still quite a bit surreal for me. I used that bridge all the time. In fact, I was on the bridge the morning it collapsed (although not at the time of the collapse which was at night). It was a major artery for the city…and it’s gone. (So weird to be without it.) Not to mention the fact that many people died tragically and probably had no idea that day was to be their last. If anything good can be said about this tragedy it would have to be the fact that the number of victims seems to be quite low for what it could have been. I was proud of my city when I learned that many bystanders rushed to the scene right after the fall and helped in any way they could. This feels so Minnesotan to me. We’re always ready and willing to lend a hand. These people didn’t think twice about running over to help. That said, however, I still feel deeply saddened and affected by what has happened, we all have. Right now we’re in need of some form of comfort in the form of answers as to why it happened and assurance that it won't happen again. I want to say we're moving into a state of healing, but it feels too soon. Right now we're all still too shocked to even begin thinking about the world after the bridge fell.

jeudi, août 2

Searching for survivors

This is my city.
These are my people.
I'm speechless and horrified.
I biked to the scene 20 minutes after the bridge fell.
I haven't stopped watching the coverage in almost 24 hours.
I want to know more, I want the names and faces of those lost and missing.
I want to help, I feel anxious and lost. There is still a possibility someone I know is gone.
(Gone as in forever...something I've never dealt with before.)
I hope you're safe and so are those you care about.
I love this city.
Take care of yourselves, take care of each other.



(photo taken from NY Times)

mercredi, août 1

A dream finally realized

I was going to write about my wonderful experience with eggplant (my new found appreciation for this oft neglected friend of mine), the success of my orange yogurt bundt cake & the numerous fruit tarts I've been baking, and/or my new found appreciation for fresh basil and a type of pesto I like to call pesto rustique, however, all of these seem like petty matters in comparison with a larger more earth-shattering event which happened today. (Ps. that is the longest sentence I've ever written.) Today, someone put a post up about me on the 'Missed Connections' section of Craigslist. Words fail me. I suppose by saying this I have just outed myself about being shamelessly addicted to reading Missed Connections...the posts people leave are hilarious. ( & sometimes I wish someone would leave one for me.) It just seems so silly and romantic and hopeless all at once. You pity these people because it seems as if this is their last chance/only hope...but you also sympathize with them because sometimes you too feel a connection/affinity for someone you don't know and probably never will. Le sigh. Hope all is well at home with you dear readers and friends. I'm sure someone out there considers you to be a lost connection. The only difference between you and me is that someone cared enough to post about me on the internet. Ha.

jeudi, juillet 26

Working on staying, thinking about leaving

There’s something that I have to say. But first a charming anecdote about baking. (Who doesn’t love a story about cupcakes?) Today was the day that I acted like the kind of woman God wanted me to be: One Who Bakes. I have a fun little dinner date with W&FA who recently returned from her European jaunt and also a midnight movie party to attend after. Homemade baked goods were in order. I thought cupcakes for the movie party because they're easy & fun and don't require utensils to eat them with. I wanted to jazz them up a bit so I decided that I would make them with an orange yogurt frosting (of my own invention). Cutting to the climax, the orange yogurt frosting didn't turn out so hot. So I decided to try Magnolia Bakery's famous buttercream frosting instead, sans problem! It turned out just fine and made icing the cupcakes extra fun. My only problem now is the fact that the recipe was so large I now have two pounds of extra buttercream frosting in my fridge. Which isn't much of a problem now that I think about it.




Which left me with one more dessert to make and a big bowl of wannabe frosting. Hmm...time for some ingenuity. Running through the list of ingredients I had added to make the frosting I realized that I was half way to a cake batter so I added some eggs and flour and voilà! Orange bundt cake with a dark chocolate glaze was born. (Which looks like a big chocolate doughnut in the picture. But it's not.) Too bad not all accidents can be this delicious.




So now down to the nitty gritty. The reason I wrote the blog. The thing that's been eating away at my brain and occupying my every thought: I want to go to Russia. This came out of nowhere and I never saw it coming but I want it really bad. Maybe even more than I want a pony. Something about the fact that it’s a completely foreign culture and language is what I want and need. I love Europe, I do, but there’s something very familiar and almost boring about it to me now. I’m very disenchanted by how touristy Europe is. My best trip in Europe so far has been Prague. I loved Prague because it (The Czech Republic) had only recently joined the European Union and was still using the Czech Crown for currency. Prague seemed to be a city still unknown to many tourists and maintained much of what I imagined was it’s original patina, integrity. I’m sure in the coming years it will become just as popular a destination as Munich or Venice or what have you, but something about it still felt foreign and exotic. The people were friendly and quirky, very different from what I’d seen before. (This is what I want, this different-ness.)

Russia seems huge and open with so much culture and history and foreignness! I want to be surrounded, have all of my senses pushed up against this unending unknown. I want Moscow and St. Petersburg and that wonderful sensual language drumming in my ear on a train through some town whose name I can't pronounce.

Back to reality, the only tangible thing stopping me is the tedious and expensive visa process. There are many forms to fill out and fees to pay before you can obtain a visa...& I don't know anyone willing to go through such a frivolous ordeal to accompany me on this adventure. (Does anyone else want Russia too?) Nevertheless I'm going to continue to research this visa process and figure out a way in because I must. I simply must get to Russia.

mercredi, juillet 25

New and improved

Check out the new do:


Compliments of the always lovely Esther who took pity on my poor and impoverished soul and cut my hair pro bono whilst under the influence of a delicious bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

mardi, juillet 24

There she goes (again)

Check it out...life goes fast! This summer, it's almost past. August is nary a week away, which means I'm almost gone. (Although, I must admit, part of me has already moved to France and has been living there for quite some time.) Despite the rapidly approaching date of departure I find myself already missing the idea of this city and the community I've created/found. I can't wait to leave, but I have anxiety about going. I'm over the moon for my job and the people I work with. Most importantly, I recognize how lucky I am. These circumstances aren't the norm, are they? I won't go into detail about how awesome things are, I've done this before, but I must say that realizing I'm leaving is now equal parts excitement equal parts sadness. So they sort of cancel each other out...leaving me somewhere in the middle of an emotion bordering on melancholy/apprehensive & dreamy/excited. If I'm not dreaming up some farfetched French fantasy I'm fretting over leaving and losing fantastic friends and a fabulous city for something completely unknown. There's no guarantee this will be 'better' or 'as good'...I'm not leaving because I'm unhappy with where I'm at. I can't say to myself, 'well at least it can't get any worse', because it can get worse. In fact things are so great right now how could I possibly expect them to get better? This is not to say that I'd ever turn this opportunity down, but I am starting to realize that life is rarely black and white. I'm never 100% sure of any decision I make. I am never moving in one direction, I am moving in many and all at once. Something about me is restless and never still, never satisfied. (Is this youth, immaturity, insanity?) I'm always needing something else, some indefinable something that is forever lacking. I suppose maybe the only cure for this is to keep moving, remain restless. So, here I am. For once I've planned ahead and I've got it all 'figured out'. Life should be simple and worry free now that I've got a plan and a timetable...nevertheless confusion and mayhem ensue.

jeudi, juillet 19

About this moment

Me, right now, I'm happy. Really happy. I feel full, if that makes sense as a quality. I'm lucky, really lucky because of all the amazing people I know and experiences I've had this summer. Things couldn't be better, which is something I can't say often. In this moment, with all this happy momentum around me, I feel a calm sense of fulfillment. I hope one day you can make it here too.

lundi, juillet 16

Social butterfly (off & flying)

This weekend was FANTASTIC! Saturday the always lovely V & I went to our favorite little French café and had a bottle of Prosecco & dessert (which V insists on paying for because she is a lovely girl and I have thus named her my benevolent benefactor) al fresco because it was such a lovely day and we both had on such lovely dresses that were fun to show off outdoors to all the happy people driving or bicycling by. 1 Bottle and 2 wine samples later I was back home & getting ready to go out with Jules & David (French/Italian chap...it's quite complicated because he was born in France, has lived there all his life, but identifies more with Italy & doesn't appear to like France one bit!). We went to a fun party at a new club/bar & danced the night away. Le sigh. I do love dancing (especially with good friends). However, the best of the best was certainly yesterday. The Pasta Bar crew went to Valley Fair practically from dawn till dusk. We went on all the rides, rollercoasters, water slides, etc etc. Bar none the most fun I've had all summer. But now that it's Monday I need to get some work done...today I'm working on filling out some pesky visa papers. But not for long. It's simply too beautiful of a day to sit inside & fill out visa papers. Meet you at the beach in half an hour?

mercredi, juillet 11

Fille de la mer

Voilà!
Je vais habiter ici:

Bonjour St. Brieuc!
Bonjour nouvelle ville, vie.


lundi, juillet 9

Dogs & frogs

Today L called from France. I like to call L Former French Flame (FFF) (Note: He's 1 of 2. Yes I realize I am pathetic.), although he could also be considered Estranged European Lover (EEL), and when I'm angry I think I'll start calling him Bizarre And Random Frenchie (BARF). Anyways the story, which is far less interesting then the acronyms that I've come up with for him, is that as he was about to hang up he asked once more, "Quoi d'neuf?" to which I sighed, "Je veux un chein". (What else? ... I want a dog.) Next thing I know we're off and running to the computer to look up pictures of dogs and talking about which ones he likes and I like & we're sending links back and forth comparing pictures and laughing hysterically at all the cute dogs. Originally I believed I wanted a Beagle...I love their little ears! But I've recently discovered the Golden Doodle which has now stolen my heart. FFF (or Eel/Barf depending on the day of the week) wants a ChowChow. Which, although somewhat cute, looks to me like a cross between a gorilla and a lion. (This really is a fascinating story isn't it?) Anyways the moral of the story is that I love dogs. And I have 3 new names for my ex boyfriend.

Also, my legwarmers are complete! I'm not quite sure if I like them for myself so I think I'll probably gift them to some lucky someone. (Any takers?)


samedi, juillet 7

One liner

After work last night the pasta bar crew crashed a party in Seward. (Ok so we didn't necessarily crash it but we brought practically the entire crew to a party where we only knew one person.) Luckily I got my wonky wheel somewhat repaired by some wonderful gents who took pity on a poor girl riding with a rear tire practically bent into an S curve. By far the best part of last night, however, had to have been when Emma & I went over to a group of boys to strike up a conversation. I didn't quite know what to say, luckily Emma piped up with, "So, how do you boys feel about euthanasia?"

vendredi, juillet 6

Keepers


Can't decide if I like them enough to keep them. What do you think? (Is anyone out there?)

jeudi, juillet 5

Some of it

I am a bit overwhelmed. Feel like I haven't done this in a while, & there is so much to say. How about I make a list...

-Yesterday was the best 4th of July ever. It was grand. I don't even know where to begin to begin so I will just direct you over to flickr where you can create your own story of what happened.
-My bike tire is super wonky...but I don't want to get it fixed because I am moving in 2 months.
-I visited my parents in the beginning of this week. It was stressful, but mostly good.
-Have been getting loads of compliments on my hair. My favorites are when people say I remind them of the girl from Breathless. (yessssssss!)
-Am almost done knitting a pair of legwarmers...purple & grey stripes.
-Was naughty and bought another pair of shoes today. Black patent leather with little bows. (pictures to come...)
-Latest obsession: lime sletzer water. Tasty.
-Will be leaving the house shortly to get wine at my favorite cafe with Jules & her Italian/French acquaintance. Oh la la.

And that, dear friends and lovers, is that. More later, perchance.

vendredi, juin 29

And of course she enjoyed life immensely.*

Today was green. Much about this day was effervescent & excitable with energy... a day filled with french interpreting from the 40th floor of a downtown office with the most spectucular view, a day of coffee drinking and library visiting, a day of translation and new book beginning, a day of light through the tree branches and cool grassy naps. Today was a dayday...there was much motion about it and it moved through and around me.






*"Mrs. Dalloway" -- Virginia Woolf

jeudi, juin 28

I work here

Last night's party had manditory glowsticks for both partygoers and staff. When I wasn't bedazzling guests in necklaces and glowsticks I was running out onto the dance floor whenever I heard a song I couldn't resist. Every now and again I'd sashay through the room and pick up empty wine glasses and cupcake wrappers. Mostly I changed glowstick colors throughout the night and invented new ways to wear them with my friends (headband...like a halo, arm band...like a genie, connect 3 bracelets together for a tricolor belt, etc, etc). When we weren't dancing or refreshing our glowsticks we'd run to the photobooth and take pictures together. Tough luck. Nobody said this job was going to be easy, or even, fun. It gets harder every time, but I always acquiesce. This weekend I'll be forced to work at a disco wedding...& I have to dress theme. (!!!)

mardi, juin 26

Is 9:30 too early for onion soup leftovers? Or, How I became obsessed with onion soup

Yesterday Wonderful & Fantastic Ani came over for a late night supper. Since I'm up to my eyeballs in lettuce (an entire shopping bag-full for only $1 from the farmer's market) and she had just as many onions, so we decided to have a little vegetable dinner party. And just what does one make with 3 incredibly large onions? Why French onion soup of course! Sad as it is to mention, I've never honestly had French onion soup. The idea of it never seemed very appealing...& it's generally made with beef broth in which case it's a complete no go for me. Anyways W&FA came over with all the ingredients for the soup and set to work chopping & sautéing whist I prepared the salad and poured the wine (Which she also brought; it is the wine she grew up drinking 'Valpolicella' and it is magnifico! This is definitely a wine I will buy in the future.) We ate our salad while the soup simmered and reduced and then indulged in the most comforting, warm, soft flavored soup. When it was ready W&FA sliced some baguette and put the pieces in the bottom of each soup bowl, she then laddelled the soup onto it and sprinkled a generous portion of cheese on top. Wowza was it good! For dessert we had raspberry sorbet with dark chocolate bits sprinkled on top, parfait!

The purpose of W&FA’s visit, aside for a vegetable party, was to discuss her upcoming voyage…she is leaving Saturday for France and Belgium for a month, the scallywag. Of course I’m completely jealous and pouted for half of the evening but this is W&FA (and she just made me the best soup ever) so I also told her all of my favorite things in Paris and other places to see and go. Le sigh. W&FA will be in Paris and I’ll be sighing in my leftover onion soup wondering which city street she’ll be wandering at that moment. 89 more for me.

dimanche, juin 24

Every Sunday

I will go to the Farmer's Market. Today Pal & I went and had the best time picking out our happy little grocceries for the week. I can't believe how vibrant and well-picked the produce was...and the prices were phenomenal! Here I've been fretting over paying an arm and a leg for a few tomoatoes...no more! I am now a proud supporter & patron of my friendly Farmer's Market...local & delicious. Amen.

This week I will eat:
Arugala
Baby Red Potatoes
Bib Lettuce
Blueberries
Broccoli
Cherries
Purple Grapes
Tomatoes

vendredi, juin 22

Word for word

Lately I’ve really been diving into the world of interpreting & translation. I haven’t formally begun my initial interpreting job yet; they book the appointments pretty far in advance so my first appointment isn’t until July. This is a good thing, I think. Initially I was quite shocked that I was offered the job because I didn’t think I was qualified for what was expected of me. (Most of the appointments are at hospitals, thus I need to know and understand medical French.) However, the woman who hired me assured me that she was confident in my abilities and that I had scored very high on the exam. Still I was unsure. Sometimes I have a problem of doubting my abilities, I’ve dealt with this issue since childhood and it’s still something that kicks around in my life from time to time. I’m glad that I didn’t have to dive right in because I needed some time to let myself sit with the idea of my new job. This time allowed me to research the field as well as read personal accounts and recommendations from interpreters and translators.

This week I was also lucky enough to receive a manuscript from the publishing house I interned for last summer. They’ve become more interested in publishing translations and have several French manuscripts for me to look at. I am currently in the midst of reading one right now and my confidence in my French has been renewed. I am flying through this manuscript and feel like, if the need arose, I could translate the majority of the manuscript quite easily. AND today I had an orientation with a local human rights organization and will be volunteer interpreting/translating for them. They work with impoverished asylum seekers and have set up a program where lawyers work on the cases pro bono. So this is where I’m at right now. I feel like I have 4 small children…I really love and care about each job that I have right now and feel so fortunate to have these opportunities come my way.

Alack, it's not all fun & games anymore. Something else I have begun to think about is this whole leaving the country deal. Only 93 more days until I cross the sea to begin anew. Yikes. I’m suddenly unsure of my choices. I get so excitable sometimes and then I’m off and running without thinking twice or looking back. I feel sad to be leaving this community I have created/found for myself. & I suppose there’s not much sense in living by the numbers anymore…important to recognize that France is not an answer to an equation or a cure-all. I cannot pretend that leaving will be a simple act of packing a suitcase and saying goodbye. But this is no time for tears, there are still 93 more days. And that, dear friends, is a lot.

lundi, juin 18

Details, details

Today I opened a savings account and am feeling quite smug about myself because this is the first lovely adult-like thing I’ve done all summer. Not only did I open a savings account but I also, gasp, looked at rates for CD s and other fussy bank products. Warm fuzzy feelings aside, the banker who opened my account was a total skeeze & he looked about as trustworthy as a used-car salesman. Craig The Banker was morbidly boring but made the encounter interesting by managing to inadvertently insult me several times throughout our meeting. I feel horrible for anyone who has to work in a bank…in my mind it’s one of the most destitute places on earth…maybe even in the entire galaxy. However Craig The Banker seemed to have really found his niche in terms of miserable places to work and fit right in with the mundane atmosphere. Swell.

Anyways, I haven’t really felt like blogging much lately. Been doing a lot of doing again. Most importantly have been doing a lot of reading and most nights go to sleep with an assortment of somewhere around 5 or 6 different books in my bed...these lazy summer days are turning me into a complete floozie. Also, I have a movie recommendation: 'The Lives of Others'. It is Phenomenal. Go see it now. And I simply must mention that yesterday I bought peach. It was the most perfect thing I have eaten in a long, long time. Sorry for the random details, maybe more next time. A bientôt chers amis.

vendredi, juin 15

100 days to say goodbye

Dear Life,

In 100 days you will greatly change.






Xo.
Moi

mercredi, juin 13

Where I am


The happiest place to be on a day like today.

mercredi, juin 6

The professional

Today I have begun a new chapter in my life...a chapter I'll call "I Am An Interpreting Goddess & I Rock At Life". (I am now a Professional Interpreter!) I smoked my interview yesterday and passed my exam like a champ...today I got my offical P.I. badge! From this point forward I wish to be recognized as such, and will now be signing my name followed by the initials P.I. (La Fille en Rose P.I. at your service.) I begin my first day of duty tomorrow... je suis trophypercompletementmega contente!

mardi, juin 5

Restlessness, a list

Keeping me awake at night:

-The hat I am knitting...I need to buy another skein of yarn to finish.
-Trying to save money has kept me eating pasta & other lovely cheap dishes...I need to splurge and at least buy some pears or tomatoes or something that grows on a tree. I think the last time I ate something fresh (not canned, frozen, or dried) was last week.
-The new job. It's stressful, long hours, and I already feel like quitting after having only gone to one 2 hour training session. (Perseverance. I shall succeed. I just need to give this new job a chance and push myself beyond my comfort zone for once. I've discovered one my biggest flaws is not challenging myself enough. Now is the time for change.)
-Hair cut. I finally bit the bullet and cut my hair short. Short, short. Like Jean Seberg in 'Breathless'. People seem to like it, but its still got to grow on me (ha...no pun intended).
-Job interview this morning. I feel unprepared & anxious. I hope I am successful, I plan to wear my new Teacher Shoes. This should perk me up.
-Books! I am in the midst of reading 2 (Suite Française & One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest)...with several others sitting on my shelf just waiting to be lovingly held and carried. I must be a really stressful person because I can legitmately say that I have anxiety about the number of books I have on my shelf and want to read.
-Small miscellaneous other nitpicky things...Laundry, dishes, selling old clothes, writing thank you letters, etc. This crap piles up all around me. I wish I was one of those people with the talent to micromanage all these small tasks so as to not overwhelm oneself. I've begun to try and accomplish this by continuing to use my weekly planner. So far I've seen a slight improvement in my overall morale and initiative to accomplish these mundane tasks. Baby steps.
-Insurance. I am currently without.
-France, a source of joy and anxiety. I really wish I knew where specifically I was going. I'm also apprehensive about how much I will be able to cover with the salary they are paying me. This causes me to freak out that I need to work more. However, France. A sanctuary located in the middle of Europe. The land of wonderful memories and good friends. Ah yes France. I do adore it.
-There are many other things I am sure. This is a somewhat filtered list. And yet as I read it now I realize how utterly neurotic and volatile I seem. Please don't be alarmed...I can assure you this is normal.

dimanche, juin 3

Everyone says goodbye

All this leaving, this packing of boxes, & driving hundreds of miles away isn't good for my heart. My friends why do you have to go? I know 'it's just that time' to be off and leaving, but I wasn't prepared for this. I wish there was some kind of class or something called 'Rites of Passage 101' where you learn about what to do in times of change and transition...what to expect, how to cope, success stories, etc. I'm in a complete state of shock, I didn't realize that watching others (friends, close & wonderful friends) leave would be so painful. I feel foolish even indulging in my own pity because what is important is that everyone does what is right for them. I want for my friends what they want for themselves....happiness, success, love, whatever whatever amen.

I think the only solution to the problem is to invent a little machine that will allow me to see whoever I want whenever I want to see them. I'd be feeling sad one day while I cooked up a little tofu dinner for one and then I'd press the button and ZING! Anu would be right there beside me & we'd have an awesome time...or I'd be wanting to walk around Lake Harriet and remembering all the great times Friend and I had & SHAZAM Friend would be there with me. It’s such a brilliant idea for a machine and I think it's something everyone in this world would want (need). So that's what I've decided to do. Instead of being sad & moping around I'm going to start working on plans for this special 'reunion machine'...until then I'll be content with phone calls & old photographs. (Dear friends, you're a source of so much strength and joy in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

jeudi, mai 31

Goddamn glam

La fille en Rose se rencontre Burberry


Irresistible. Expensive. British... j'adore mes nouvelles lunettes de soleil.

mardi, mai 29

Behind the scenes

We drank virgin mojitos and hung out on the roof while waiting for the party (already an hour late) to arrive. After the party was over we went to our friend's new place and had a bonfire, wine, & pizza. My job & the people I work with couldn't be more amazing. Why do I complain so much when I constantly have moments like these? New rule: No more bitching about work. Also, more mojitos on the job (virgin or otherwise).

dimanche, mai 27

I used to be in love


Having recently seen a film on Paris, love, & love in Paris (loving Paris) I've thought a lot about my own love, a former love. It's strange to me now to no longer be in love, there is certainly some kind of palapable void (is this possible?) in my life. I know I am without love, but this is not something I like to mention with a casual ease. I used to be in love...I hate writing that in the past tense. Although I am glad that what was no longer is, I find myself missing the idea of love more then ever. (I miss that constant spark of excitement.) I hate thinking to myself, I used to be in love...I used to be in love...I used to be in love...




(I'm not any more)

vendredi, mai 25

The afterlife of students

Lately my life has felt like a bad re-run. I've only had two days off (no more school, no work, my roommates gone, Friend moved) and already I'm stir crazy. It literally only took me two days to go completely batty. I can't handle having nothing to do ('free time' as normal people call it). Yesterday I sat at home bored out of my mind all day (in my own defense it was raining) making lists of things I should have been doing. It was a complete nightmare...I have so much 'free time' on my hands that I've become annoying to myself. I don't know what to do with myself but I feel like being alone in a room for more then one day at a time is toxic.

Luckily today was better. I woke up fairly early and went over to a friend's. We made a delicious summer salad (mixed field greens, grapefruit slices, red onion, pistachios, and a simple vinaigrette...it was divine.) and hung out much of the afternoon. I then scurried home to get ready for work. Perfect. Days like today are just what the doctor ordered. All this sitting around with nothing to do (or plenty to do but no motivation to do it) has caused me to become the world's most lazy-unaccomplished-lame-dull-obnoxious-pathetic girl on the planet (a hard-earned title which I hope to dismantle one insulting word at a time). But I guess I should end this post before I deface myself any more (or continue to shamelessly use parentheses every other sentence).

mercredi, mai 23

Of, or pertaining to, Greatness


She is the best of the best. Someone who knows absolutely everything about me & will still listen when I tell more. She knows all my quirks and insecurities. She accepts me as I am, likes me when I'm me. A source of so much strength. She knows when I lie and tells me truth when I need to hear it. She knows when I'm down, She can hear it in my voice. She laughs at all my jokes. She is just like me, but She's still She...which I think I love the most. I'm me, She's She. Together We're 'We'...We make a really great We. She knows me well, We know each other well. We know We know each other well. Even though She had to go...I'm glad to know She's living the life She always wanted to. She makes me proud everyday. They'll never be another She for me, but that's ok. There could never be another. I hope She knows how happy I am when We're We.

lundi, mai 21

London calling

Last night I had a dream that I swam to London. Never mind that I'm from the middle of America...I swam to London. I was with a group of people and the journey was initially quite scary, but I made it. A lovely, lovely dream it was.

dimanche, mai 20

Playing grown-up

I think I've always been out of touch with reality. (Ok, I know that I have.) I'm certainly a big dreamer and frequently unrealistic. (Qualities that I consider to be simultaneously my best & worst.) I guess the problem is that I have this bizarre way of viewing my life as if it were some type of game. This summer I plan to go to the beach, ride my bike, and eat watermelon. Of course I'll have to occasionally throw on a funky polyester dress and work a catering event or 2 in hopes of saving a few clams for my trip across the pond. For a change of pace I'll move to France and play 'teacher' in the fall. I've even started to buy my costume so that I can look the part. In my mind so much of life is about looking and acting the part. I've always been a huge subscriber to the whole 'fake it til’ you make it' theory as well as 'all the world's a stage..." When I'm a waitress I wear an apron. Sometimes I carry a lot of plates in one hand, but usually that's only when I'm showing off. I act like I know a lot about the culinary arts and wine pairings with the food. (Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. This is where the acting part comes in.) When I'm a teacher I'll wear a pencil skirt and my teacher shoes*. Sometimes I'll give a test and when I do I'll walk around the room with a ruler in case anyone tries to cheat. Mostly I'll be nice, I think. I'll give out stickers that say "Great Job" or "All Star Student". (I'll also read Dr. Seuss books--I received quite the collection from my parents as a graduation gift.)

Dreams, acting, & faking it aside, I’m pretty sure my playful notion of life will soon change. Yesterday Friend and I talked about being Adults--something that we do not consider ourselves. We discussed what age we'd consider ourselves adults (somewhere around 27ish, 28). We're certainly not adults now, rather we're somewhat caught in the midst of a post-teen-screw off-lackadaisically-unrealistic period in our lives. Unsure of what's next but certain that the decisions we make will determine future options & decisions. We realize that we're old enough to make mistakes, big mistakes. We'll be forced to face the repercussions of such mistakes. Yikes. Despite these somewhat catastrophic realizations I feel like I am still on too much of a high from being freed from the ivory tower of higher education to stop and worry about the future and this whole ‘adult’ thing. I’ve got the whole rest of my life to be an adult and act adult-like (look adult-like). For now I’m only going to focus on the whole riding my bike & eating watermelon part. I need to enjoy the small nothings before this life-game I'm living takes an ugly turn towards adulthood.





*Teacher shoes: I bought a pair of 'teacher shoes' for my life in France. This does not mean that they are matronly or frumpy, however. The lovely buckle detail and small studding made them simply irresistible. Something about them said "Adult-Almost" to me. They're authoritative, versatile, yet somehow stylish (& a little saucy).

mercredi, mai 9

Elle commence

Friends, lovers, strangers, I have news. Big news. I am moving to France in September. So far the details of my assignment are thus: I will be teaching at a grade school somewhere in Brittany. (!) You cannot even imagine how happy this makes me. All day long it's all I've been able to think about...I've already begun to think about what I plan on packing and which countries I want to visit. (Answer: all of my dresses, booksbooksbooks, my watercolors, & knitting needles. Iceland, Berlin, Amsterdam, Oslo, Athens, ...Istanbul too, perhaps?)

So it looks like the first decision has already been made in response to the grand and oft looming, "What Are You Going To Do After Graduation?" I'm not one to brag or show off, I'm generally pretty humble about my life. But, I'm going to France to teach English. I'm going to live in one of the most charming parts of the country (near the ocean, I hope). I'm going to earn a livable wage while only working 15 hours a week. I'm going to sit in a cafe all day reading, writing, & people watching. Tough luck. Hope I can handle all the pressure of having the most amazing 8 months of my life.

lundi, mai 7

Grace


I am in love. I bought the most lovely dress to exist ever. Ever. A dainty swiss dot fabric in a faded pale apricot color with a trail of 9 tiny buttons, a delicate collar, and the faintest rufflely flutter of a sleeve. Something about the dress speaks of the 70's to me...makes me want to be a swingin' 70's lady braless & carefree with long flowing hair and amber jewelry. It's the kind of dress that makes me want to run through fields of daisies, frolicking and holding a basket filled with a picnic lunch, go for a bike ride, walk along the shore of the ocean looking for seashells, wear a large sunhat, makes me want to drink iced tea or lemonade or both. Oh yes this dress sure is something & its got my mind off and running every time I think about it. Foolish girl, you say. Well, maybe. I tend to get carried away quite easily, but I swear to you this dress is the essence of bliss. It's summer defined. Careless, simple, pretty, elegant, youthful, etc etc amen.

jeudi, mai 3

Sexy boy(s)


Oooooooooooh am I glad I got to see these boys in concert last night. (A special thank you to a special someone for taking me.) The show was pretty solid, I was surprised at how much better some of the songs sounded live. (Specifically 'How Strange is your Love' and 'Run'.) They did not, however, play my favorite song. ('Surfing on a Rocket', although I would've liked to hear 'Playground Love' as well.) Zut. Nevertheless it was an awesome show.