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'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


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 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! 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.