lundi, novembre 24

"I love you," she said

It's been almost a month since my last post so I figure it's about time to throw you a bone and put finger to keyboard (as opposed to pen to paper, although I've been papering it up quite frequently and keeping in correspondence with some clever pen pals who understand my adoration of the written word when written by hand). Lately I've been doing the usual, work, hang out, chill, ride my bike, yoga every once and a while, cooking soup, etc. Every Sunday there's a big dinner party with different people at a friend's apartment which really ends up being the highlight of my week, we all bring different dishes and wines and have a big urban family dinner. And as long as I'm on the subject of good food and great people might I say in passing that my roommate works at fantastic bakery just around the corner from our apartment and constantly brings me home sinfully delicious little french desserts and fresh baked breads? She's just such a difficult roommate to have around...

In other news I've been posing for a few photographs lately, which feels silly since I've never actually done that before. Since so many people are interested in the arts everyone seems to have a side project or activity they work on; many of my friends are photographers and have asked me to sit for them. My most favorite experience was a fashion photo shoot for a friend's class; I was dressed in a poufy peach prom dress and a furry Soviet-esque fur cap with a make up explosion of neon pink, mauve, blue, and silver...I looked like a trashy back alley crack whore Russian prom barbie from the 80's, which is to say, very sexy indeed. Through this joyous photo shoot I met and made friends with another photographer who got me a discount hair cut (and a great one at that) at her salon and through that I met the owner of the salon (I believe) and am now going to be a hair model for a L'Oreal hair show they'll compete in. The fun doesn't stop there dear readers as I will also be doing a concept shoot for a *fabulous* local designer (who also happens to be a friend), as compensation I've been promised an outfit of my choice. (!!!!!!) So far, so great. Right now it's snowing to beat the band and I really should get back to studying since I've got a very nasty final exam awaiting me tomorrow. Curse you fates! I have no will to study, I only wish to run and frolic through this night of snowy wonder. I'm honestly so happy right now...hair, make up, photo shoots, free clothes, & snow! Also, I just bought a new winter coat (large dramatic collar, ruched sleeves, bells out then tappers in, marled grey and white tweed) because it was so terribly reminiscent of my dear Parisian fille extraordinaire, Anais, a terribly stylish girl with a fantastic eye. Photos forthcoming, promise!

mercredi, octobre 29

If dreams are like movies then memories are films about ghosts

Everything is going great until it isn't; this is the best way I can think to describe my day to day life. I really love it here but realize that I'm having the same problem now that I had in France, I miss the people I have a history with; the ones who know the inside jokes and about old I find myself in this situation constantly: everything is going well, very well, and then all of the sudden I realize that something or some one is missing. I hadn't really taken the time to slow down or acknowledge the fact that I'd gone and left (again) a most wonderful group of people and one of my most favorite cities in the world. Things were just so lovely here, until I started to have the same problems of any other normal person and realized that I really had no one to share these issues with or ask advice of. All of my relationships are still in the very burgeoning stages, I do adore my friends here but we know so little of each other. Any time I want to discuss a problem or tell about a friend from home there is a huge dialogue that needs to exist involving extensive back stories which don't ever get articulated well or may seem superfluous to the listener who is unfamiliar with such details as old Halloween costumes, former flames, and drunken debauchery. Last weekend my dear dear dear friend the sensational Ms. V flew in for an all-too brief visit which couldn't have come at a better time. No matter what we did together (drinks, brunch, dancing) felt like the most fun I'd had in weeks. It made me realize that where I came from I had roots, no matter how far I keep walking they're still right where I left them...& hot damn I'm missing all my lovely friends like it's nobody's business.

jeudi, octobre 23

They call me mellow yellow

Part of the reason why I haven't been blogging is not just a lack of muse but also a lack of time. I've been kept quite busy by studying, readying, riding my bike, making soup*, and above all work. I started a new job just last week; unfortunately I wasn't very enthusiastic about the mood at work but was trying my darnedest to succeed. Despite my best efforts I decided to leave due to a traumatic incident involving my manager, without going into too much detail I'll simply say that my trust was violated and that I hope never never to see this man again. On the bright side I now have more free time to finally devote to simple things I hadn't been able to find the time for, things like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, uploading my photos, making phone calls, etc. Incidentally I was also happy to have not taken the tags off of a dress from American Apparel (which I was told was necessary for the job) and went to return the dress and get my money back, alas American Apparel only does in-store credit! Drats! And yet! It meant that this was money I could only spend there, not on rent or groceries or any other plain old humdrum expense, wow it felt foreign to be able to look at the clothes and think about what I wanted to treat myself to. Since moving to Montreal I've been dealing with a very tight budget and haven't shopped at all, haven't even allowed myself to look. I ended up getting an adorable little golden-rod colored mini skirt with deep pockets and a pair of canary yellow white trimmed men's briefs...lately I kind of have a thing for yellowy tones. As I hopped on my bike to go home I passed a little friprie and popped in for a quick peruse. I happened upon another lovely yellow shirt (same color as the briefs) in a super soft worn cotton, a little yellow paisley scarf, yellow and white plastic bead necklaces, and a black lace slip which I'd been needing since my other one totally bit the dust earlier this summer. All in all a very productive afternoon.



*I have really begun to mature in my soup making techniques and recipes. My little vegetable stand is extremely affordable and I oft pop in to buy everything for a large pot-o-soup for a mere $5 or less! Sometimes I make a simple vegetable soup and put in whatever seems freshest, however, I've really been a fan of mushroom barley these days. I simply use a container of button mushrooms, however much barley my heart desires, a medium onion, garlic, sage, rosemary, and a bay leaf. It makes for a very satisfying soup and I've always enjoyed mushrooms in soup although I find it's not a vegetable used often enough in this way. Aside from these soups I delighted my friends with a root vegetable soup of beets, carrots, potatoes, and turnips. I used herbes de provence, garlic, oregano, tarragon, and thyme. By a happy coincidence the beets turned the entire soup bright pink, highly delightful. (Nina this soup made me think of you and all the times I commanded you to make me tsimus. Mmmm...tsmims) The most advanced of soups was my roasted pumpkin puree. We went to the market and found a big big pumpkin, carted it home on the bike (all bundled up in its own little crate bed) and hacked the beast to bits, salt peppered and olive oil her up and then roasted as much of it as we could (freezing the rest for future soups!). In a pan I sauteed leeks, carrots, 1 small apple, and garlic, and the most fragrant soft leaves of fresh sage I'd ever smelled. Once the veggies began to wilt we added slices of the roasted pumpkin as well as vegetable bouillon...puis ca y est! All that's left to do is give it a nice blitz in the blender with a bit of creme fraiche and you can be sure that all who try your lovely creation will be wagging their tails for more.

samedi, octobre 18

Remember me

Friends, it has been too long. Since moving to Montreal my blogging has been almost non-existent, please accept my apologies. I find that I just keeping hitting the wall of having nothing to say or not being able to phrase it in a way that would make it seem interesting. This is not to say that my life here is boring, quite contrary I'm the happiest I've been in years; but it feels like I forgot how to tie my shoes, so to speak. Perhaps the blogger in me went into hibernation to moment things started to go really good. I used to use this blog as a way to rethink my days and express the emotions that I struggled to understand and hoped that others would want to read about and comment on. Now that things are (mostly) good I feel less of a need to blog and more of a desire to do, and I much prefer to live my life with an emphasis on the doing and acting. I am fully enjoying the possibilities of going out and seeing new events, shows, films, etc and meeting fabulous people every night of the week; oh my salad days you keep me up all night and I smile sleepily as I wander through the days that follow. In any event I simply wish to say a quick 'Hey, I miss you. Let's hang out.' I haven't entirely abandoned the blog but like most things in my life it's not something I can force. I need the blog to be organic, which is what you want too, non? Bisous.

mercredi, octobre 1

Kindreds

I have always loved receiving letters. There's something wonderfully special about getting a little message in the mail that isn't a bill or coupon or advertisement that cheers me up like nothing else can. I suppose letters mean more nowadays that they're written so infrequently. When I lived in France I took great pleasure in maintaining correspondence with many dear friends Stateside and say with pride that I received over 40 pieces of mail (packages & little presents included) during my stint abroad. Pal mal! En tout cas I just had to share this email my lovely friend Michael sent me. I hadn't seen Michael in about two years and then I ran into him at one of my favorite coffee shops in Minneapolis one of the last days before I left to move to Montreal. We had an intense conversation about literature, Europe, travel, etc etc. and I realized how this long lost friend of mine and I were kindred spirits in many ways and I felt so very happy indeed that we had found each other again. When I moved to Montreal I promised to keep in touch and unfortunately only had his email...yesterday I finally fired off an email request for a mailing address (Michael is a special and particular person, one to whom I could not imagine writing emails, you'll see why in a moment) and this was the response that followed:

Good-evening, Sarah.

The autumn is a very lovely time, in fact, a very melancholy time and
Stillwater is always both; as such, as always, I have been lovely in the
most wistful, pensive way. I agree with you: Emails are nothing but
tomfoolery and business; if you recall, you and I were once friends on
Facebook, but a departure was necessary as pen and paper are my closest
friends, though not much was reciprocated, I mean most think it's an
inconvenience to write a letter. It really is one of my favorite things,
receiving them is even better.

Hope you are splendid.

Until a letter,

Michael

vendredi, septembre 26

Rarely political, frequently enraged

Nation, I find this entire scenario unacceptable, I won't point fingers or go into detail. I'll simply say that I'm tired of our nation being afraid of intellectuals, I'm tired of people taking pride in their ignorance and supporting the ignorance of others. It's time we took ownership for the quagmire this nation has become and make some changes; realize that means changing our personal habits, behaviors, and preconceived notions. We can't continue on like this any longer, let's not fool ourselves (or believe that propaganda of those in power) into believing that everything is ok. I haven't been following the election coverage very closely because I'm so so terribly afraid that we might fail again, and if we do, if we do...

lundi, septembre 22

Monday monday

I am missing you already...this morning I woke up with a start at a quarter past nine and felt quite lonely with you being gone. I remember waking up as you left (you were wearing a grey shirt?) and thinking...no! blasted morning! stay next to me! I sleep so deeply next to you; nothing worse then watching the door close behind you when you go.

vendredi, septembre 19

For Barbs

Ok so I've been a bit of a lazy blogger...the reason why is simple: life here is so good. As I mentioned before I've meet a lot of amazing people very quickly and have been going out ferociously ever since my arrival. The thing about this city that I find so wonderful is how accepting and diverse everyone is. A lot of the people I've met are/have been travelers as well and have an interesting story to tell about how they ended up in Montreal. Everyone seems to know everyone, or at least someone who knows someone who knows someone...etc, it's like a high school with all of the different types of social cliques and groups but without the stigma of not being able to talk to/associate with soandso because of suchandsuch a reason. My being from Milwaukee is seen as "cool"...people actually want to know my story. They love hearing about how much I love Montreal. It feels like, at least for the moment, there are very few social boundaries. Another exciting part about being here is how novel I seem to be at the moment, I don't want to sound vain but let me be completely honest, I'm kind of special around here. People have gone out of their way to welcome me and get to know me. The best way I can describe it is to compare moving here to my freshman year of college, where suddenly every thing was a new experience and people made it their job to make new acquaintances and friends. I haven't had so much attention focused on me...well, ever. I have to believe that part of it is because I'm new in town, new people almost always seem interesting, and because I'm an American (United States, of) anglo-francophone (we're a rare breed indeed). Whatever the case may be let me be clear about one thing...ladies, it's raining men in Montreal. Legit. Good mens, kinda mens you blush before kissing. Take tonight, for example, I worked at a catering event and met some really great people, one of whom offered me a ride home. We chatted on the drive back and as I was being dropped at my door he mentioned that we should get together and talk about Montreal/languages/life/etc. sometime soon...since I'm always in search of interesting people and have a lot of free time I said 'Yes, absolutely, call me any time.' To which he responded, 'Ok great, how about Monday? I'll call you Sunday and we'll plan something, it's a date!' Right, so when someone says 'it's a date' that doesn't...er...make it a date, does it? ...In that case the number of dates I've been on is nearing double digits. Yikes. And yet, high five!

mardi, septembre 9

A new look for the old gal

I've been wanting to change up the look of the l.f.e.r banner for a while and finally had the opportunity to when I snapped this lovely little photo after a party we had at our place this weekend. Initially I had intended to throw this image up on Everyday with the title, 'We had a party' followed by the caption, '...it was a grand ol' time'. But the more I thought about it the more a realized that it was just the thing for l.f.e.r. Naturally it had to have a little bit of pink in it and I needed it to be a picture that captured my space, both personally and geographically. I hadn't changed the banner since the blog first came into existence back in Minneapolis while I was still in college. Something about the fact that it had not changed felt stale to me because I've changed so much since the first post, both as a blogger and a person. Thus, l.f.e.r needed to match that. I find this new image to be both comforting and reflective, a souvenir of funny moments and simpler times. Who isn't still excited by the image of balloons? To me they conjure up memories of childhood birthday parties as well as the notion of travel, as in hot air balloons. Thus I hope you find as much intrigue in this new banner as I do. Returning to what I mentioned earlier, this weekend we had a party. It was the bomb diggity, yo. I've made fast friends with good people here and feel so very happy in this moment that I don't even know where to begin to describe all the joy and luck I've come across since my move here. I'm still working to achieve a balance, like my summer, I find I'm playing much harder then I'm working. Although, in my own defense, I like to think of it as networking. I'm determined to do my social homework, if you know what I mean. Hope you're doing well dear friends, even though things are lovely here don't think I've already forgotten about you...je vous embrasse!

mercredi, septembre 3

Felicitous fille takes first steps in her new city, finds herself quite at home

It's been a while, but I can assure you that I am mostly well. I arrived in Canada with 2 large suitcases and a carry-on the size of a large toddler; the stewardess gave me a wry smile as she saw me forcing it into the overhead compartment on the plane. It is what it is, I moved to a new country and am forced to make choices about what are the most vital items needed to begin again. For me the answer is never simple, I want all of my dresses and books and lovely frivolous little accessories. In any case I made the trip successfully (did not die in a horrid plane crash as the previous entry suggested I feared) and had no problems obtaining my proper paperwork at immigration. As I boarded the bus bound for the city center I sat by myself at the back and gazed wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the city that passed before me and promised myself that I'd know it by heart and memorize it like it was my own, because, it now was.

Fast forward to today, I live in a charming little apartment on a bustling street of shops, bars, restaurants, fruit and vegetable stands, and boulangeries. I've become well acclimated to the metro system and am becoming better acquainted with the city buses as the days pass. Campus is still a bit overwhelming for me: it is so beautiful. There are so many people on campus. It feels like an institution, everyone knows it, McGill is omnipresent in this city. These factors combine leave me feeling a bit out of the loop and unsure of myself, I hope this feeling will pass. For the moment my biggest hurdle is dealing with my student loans (so much anger and frustration and emotion all tied up in this one silly process!!) and finding a job. Deep breaths. These are only small road blocks, I need to tell myself this constantly. I will succeed. I already have. Just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

dimanche, août 24

My luggage was randomly selected by the airline to be searched

I'm almost there, I'm sitting here at the terminal connected via invisible wires and cords send out this message and wondering if you're as bewildered and amazed by technology as I. I know that it's been possible to connect to the internet at airport terminals for years now but something about the fact that I feel like I should be cut off from all outside sources of communication and yet am able to maintain my life, rather my online life, seems absurd. Technology makes me ubiquitous, but some how I can't help be feel dwarfed by it all. Existential crisis before flight? Perhaps. I'm not a good flyer, it never used to be this way until the last few years when I've become absolutely petrified of boarding a plane. This is no way stops me from continuing my beloved travel habit, but it certainly puts sends my stomach into knots and leaves me reevaluating my life each time before I board. I've been lucky to come across friends who've tried to calm my fears, even some fellow passengers on flight have been extremely kind and reassuring. I just feel so helpless. No use worrying about it now, though. I've bought the ticket, checked the bag, and been frisked by security: I'm going whether I survive to tell about it or not. And, well, I hope that I do survive to tell about it because I've got Montreal waiting on the other end and I'm terribly frightened and excited about the new foray into another life change/choice/country. There are still many many unknowns that await me, such as where I'm going to live, if I'll be able to get a job, if I'm qualified to receive a student permit, student loans, etc. etc. amen. Enough. I'm in a state of purity, the way you can enjoy something before you've even touched or tarnished it with your expectations. The city that awaits me is nothing but my own, as I see it, with no faults or mistakes although it may be messy and at times unjust the city simply exists in the gray matter of my mind as the idea of an idea I once had. One day it won't be mine anymore, I'll feel let down, get tired and jaded, and eventually abandon it for something newer or farther away; I know this is inevitable. I've always known that this capricious mind (soul, rather?) of mine has a tendency to wander. All I know is that I want a lot of everything, spatially speaking, I want to make a map of every place my feet have been...that means never standing still.

vendredi, août 22

Halfway off the ground

"...there are people who believe they are flying, but it is already an achievement if they can get off the ground flapping their batlike overcoats."
-I. Calvino

Well, I guess I'm ready. Mostly. Ok not entirely, but I'm a bit of a procrastinator and I've been able to cross off about 78% of the items on my to do list. The only things left are to go through my clothes one final time before packing them and finish up a few administrative paperwork things, pas mal! Tonight I'll be following in the footsteps of exactly what I did last year by having dinner with my dear and beloved friend Tony. What's on the menu? TLTs! (Tofu, lettuce, tomatoes!) I intend to bring the leftovers of my homemade authentic New Orleans red beans and rice (made with Barbs' recipe!) and perhaps a bottle of wine. Dinner with friends, true dear friends, is such a delight. And I'm afraid that's all the news from Lake Wobegon for the moment, stay tuned for one final post from America's Dairy Land before I fly off to my next exciting adventure in a foreign land.

mardi, août 19

On never saying goodbye, ever

Gone. Today I drove home to prepare before my departure for Montreal. It's terribly exciting but of course I was an emotional wreck as I hugged everyone and celebrated with two going away parties and one going away brunch. (Lucky and loved am I.) As with most transitions in my life I was apprehensive and emotional, but this time I feel stronger and more aware of my own emotional strength. I've come to realize that leaving doesn't mean never returning and also, it doesn't mean saying goodbye. I proved to myself that I was able to return and be welcomed with open arms back into the relationships and friendships that I had cherished and thought lost forever when I went to France last summer. I thusly extricate the word and notion of goodbye from my mouth and my life, from this moment forward you'll only hear me say, 'a la prochaine' or 'see you next time'. Minneapolis you're my castle in the sky and I swear when I'm not in your midst you're on my mind and in my heart, I could never not return to you. And with that said, dear reader, please forgive my frequent absence this summer as I've been something of a space cadet. I've felt as if I had so little to say that was of any coherence or even importance; but I'm ready to breathe new life into this old blog again. Allow me to leave you with an inspiring and delightfully adorable music video that someone great showed me, thanks for sticking around, I'll see you when I see you.

lundi, août 4

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

This is exactly what I need right now, more then anything else, is to be able to calm myself and see the bigger picture. Lately things seem to be out of my control, namely immigration & visa paperwork that I need to complete to enter Montreal (Quebec specifically). I'm working on applying for my QAC which, in layman's terms is a piece of paper which states the the Quebec government recognizes that I've been accepted to a university. It seems silly and unnecessary and thus is entirely French in that it's simply more bureaucratic red tape to deal with...those French really love to test your limits. In order to apply for this form I need to pay (ha, naturally) 100 Canadian clams, submit the application, and prove that I have enough money to support myself for a year which means I need 10k in addition to tuition. Yikes. So I'm dealing with my own feelings of anger as well as those of my parents who want to help but are also frustrated at the entire process and unsure of just how to approach it. Factor in that I probably won't even get this form before I need to leave and you've got one stressed out fille. I just wish for simpler times, I wish life wasn't so complicated. I wish I was at the beach, with a QAC in my hand, and something really boozy in the other hand.

dimanche, juillet 27

Optimistic

Sifting and sorting through boxes, bags, and drawers I review the paperwork before my eyes. September 2, le 2 Septembre, it says in English and French. This moment feels oddly familiar despite the fact that the situation is new; once again I'm preparing to say goodbye and am carefully rereading all of the facts on a time line send to me via foreign correspondence. A scant 27 days or so stand between me and the great new adventure in the North East. I've an ocean of work to do between then and now in terms of preparation yet I approach the fact that I am completely unprepared with gleeful excitement. I thrive under pressure. Unlike last summer where I'd known for months about my imminent departure to France I've only just learned about Montreal 2 months before, not much time to fully internalize and accept the fact that I am leaving. Leaving again. Hello, au revoir. I can't decide just how I feel about it yet, because, well, it's all happening so goddamn fast. Everyone's been congratulating me and telling me how amazing it is that I'm following my goals/dreams/aspirations/whatever/etc. And they're mostly right, but then again, I feel a bit trite in smiling and responding with the obligatory, Thanks, I'm so lucky or I know isn't it great? I mostly just want to shout at them, You can do it too, you can make whatever you want for yourself happen, stop waiting around, I think you're really brilliant and I wish you did too, I'm not any different then you I just realized that the fear of not doing what I wanted was greater then the fear of trying and potentially failing. I'm in no means an example to be followed, but I simply wish that people, namely those I love and care about, would do more. (And by do more I mean do more doing, any sort of doing really.) I continue to approach this new experience with critical eyes, have I made a knee-jerk reaction to returning back to the States? Was I too scared to actually try things out here? Am I running from my past? Do I glorify my past too much because I fear the future/unknown? Do I fear the shaky job market and slumped economy? Why didn't I apply to a program in France? Is this what I really want or just something that I was accepted to and thus accepted myself? As usual, I'm drowning in questions and trying to grab at any answer that floats by. Of course answers to hypothetical questions rarely present themselves so easily and I try to calm nerves by searching for apartments on craigslist or reading up on Montreal's neighborhoods. I guess the only conclusion I can come to at this point is that I'm restless. I know Minneapolis isn't for me, at least not yet, maybe one day. In this moment I need more, a lot more, and I can say with almost complete certainty that Montreal won't be enough for me either, even if for the moment it keeps my heart content.

vendredi, juillet 18

A numbers game

Pssst....I just signed up for my fall class at McGill! I'm super fired up to go and live in Montreal and giddy with joy about being a student again. I can't wait to buy my books and sharpen my pencils, does any one else get this excited about the newness of each semester? Certainly it will be a lot of work, but for the moment just the idea of it all is enough to keep me smiling. Speaking of reasons to smile, today I ran 6. 6! Goodness me I've never ran so long/far ever. Anyways I'm at the library again and am about to go dig up some books on Montreal and maybe look for a Vegan cook book before I have to jet off to work. Did I mention that this is my 200th post on La Fille en Rose? Round of applause for me and you! It feels great to put my words out there, it feels even better knowing you read & respond to them. Mille fois merci!

mardi, juillet 15

Lessons in bravery

I'm having trouble sleeping tonight...it probably has to do with the fact that I went to the amusement park yesterday and when I got home I slept from 9 until noon today. The day before that, Saturday, I worked a hearty 16 hour day. In any case I can't complain as I've filled my days with laughter and new experiences, as per this time last year I am fully aware of how much I love this city and how connected I feel to it. Nevertheless the restless wanderer in me is not content to stay and I will be picking up and leaving yet again; time to be fearless. As I've mentioned before this summer I'm trying to challenge myself more and do/see/experience things I normal would say no to. I began with interpreting, a scary experience for me but also a necessary one. Initially my stomach would sink as I rode the elevator up and then sat waiting for the client to show up, but now, I adore it. I feel super comfortable with the staff and the situation and really enjoy being able to help out in any way possible, it's especially cool to be able to help out in such a hands-on way. I know they need me there. Keeping up with this notion of new & scary ideas I decided to talk to our chef and see if I could try my hand at baking for the restaurant a bit. I've always loved to bake and thought it might be fun to help out a bit. I was given the task of making the desserts for Sunday brunch, Hurrah! , I thought. Unlike interpreting, however, this new opportunity didn't offer as much fulfillment as I had hoped. Unfamiliar with the bulky equipment and dealing with a janky as hell oven certainly didn't help matters, my desserts (the ones that survived) turned out mediocre at best & I wound up baking until 3 in the morning. Yikes...maybe I wasn't cut out to be a pastry chef. In any case I didn't let one small slip up keep me from going on not 1 but 2 roller coasters at the fair! (If you were unaware I hate roller coasters and never ride them.) I'm so glad I did because they were great great great! Also, today I tried vegetarian chicken for the first time & I highly recommend it. It was so tasty I ate the whole platter. Rereading this blog I feel a bit silly writing about the ups and downs of my experiments in being brave, but I'm hopeful that perhaps you'll try something new too? Fearlessness and being brave, dear friends, are my new favorite traits. My father always used to say, "How are you going to grow up to be big and strong if you don't try new things?" Right you are, Pa. Lately I feel like I'm 70 feet tall & growing...

mercredi, juillet 9

A healthy spinal column

Tonight I watched "Across the Universe" down town on the roof top of a great Spanish restaurant and drank Sangria till the cows came home with my lovely friends. Biking back to the apartment I admired the skyscrapers and my life, my city, my friends, and my life. It seemed necessary to get a little food in me before going to bed so I stopped at my local pizza place and had a silly late night exchange with the man who worked at the counter. I walk in & order a slice of cheese pizza, immediately I recognize the cashier, he's waited on me before and we've chatted. He recognizes me says, "You've been in here before, haven't you?" I say, "Yes, we've chatted." He smiles and says he tries not to be too chatty with the customers but that I have such a nice demeanor and spirit about me, also that I'm very 'cute'. At this point I'd usually draw the line since he's an older gentleman and not really my type, but he seems so genuine in his words and has a kind way about himself as well that I smile and feel happy about our exchange of words. I tell him, "Don't worry, you're doing just fine" he responds, "Would I be doing just fine if I pick up your slice?" ...well of course, no harm there. As I'm about to leave I bring my plate over and thank him again, he gives me a piece of paper with the website address to some of his artwork and asks what I do. I assume he means art-wise so I mention that I used to be a dancer but haven't actively danced in quite some time. "I had a feeling you were going to say dance or yoga, he offers, I could tell by the way you were sitting as you ate. You've got very healthy spine." Seriously, I love this city.

mardi, juillet 8

In

Ladies and Gents, it's official....I've been accepted into my translation program at McGill University! I'm unbelievably excited and will be leaving my dear Minneapolis for Montreal incredibly soon, too soon in fact. Classes begin in early September which means I'll need to get my visa paper work in order, pack up my suit case, figure out my housing situation, and get financial aid all within the next month and a half. Insanity! & Joy! Like most decisions in my life I am beside myself with grief and bliss, such is the state of my existence. In any case I am off to another new city for another grand adventure which necessitates both passport & suitcase...friends it really is true, I am a lucky lucky girl. And now for your viewing pleasure, a video which encapsulates exactly what the inside of my brain looks like...bring out the band and let's mother flippin party!

jeudi, juillet 3

Notes on today

Out out, out with these feelings to uneasiness. Today I woke up early, before my alarm even, and puttered about the apartment before deciding to head over to the coop for a cup of coffee and a carrot cashew muffin. I suppose I woke up early because I had an interpreting appointment at MN Advocates and those always make me a bit nervous, I say yes to them because I want to help in any way possible and it's excellent practice for my French. (Also, it's good to test yourself. I realize I need to push myself to go further, I underestimate what I can do and settle for less too often.) I was about half way through my muffin when I felt like I was about to vomit, I immediately packed up my bag and ran into the bathroom. I guess I just felt queasy and needed a minute to calm down. At that point I began to wonder if I wasn't just sick and not nervous. Anyways I couldn't miss the appointment and biked down town just fine. Sometimes I think I internalize these stories too much. It's like I feel that by interpreting them (which must be done in first person thus, when I was beaten, when they threatened me, when I escaped, etc.) it becomes partly my story too. After I biked over to the library, it's been entirely too long since I've come here and it still feels just like home. Somewhere in the shuffle of moving to and from France I misplaced my library card and had to get a new one. When I went to see about getting a new card the librarian asked me, When did you realize it was lost? To which I responded, When I tried to find it and couldn't. We both laughed. So there you have it. In other news I've been working like crazy and I kissed a rock star. Now I'm off to go check out my book (Calvino again. He's quickly becoming a favorite.) and a dvd (Truffaut! L'amour en Fuite!) & then it's time for the beach. See you soon friend.

samedi, juin 28

Disappearing act

So silly to think that my late night slip up could result in such embarrassing and foolish acts, I swear I've never been this truly awful before. I don't wish to go into further detail, but I do wish to make my life smaller more compact & meaningful. I'm too caught up in the web of the web, I need to be a bit more reclusive and protective. I need to experience the visceral emotions of the real world outside. Time to start taking care & attending to what is real. My first step in cutting the ties was deleting my facebook profile. (Oh friends, it was so liberating & I most ardently recommend it to you.) Not such a big deal in the grander scheme of things, but I've found that many of my friends are Shocked (!) at having heard of such a scandal. How could I just up and leave? Why? How would I live without facebook? (Speaking of which today I was kicking around downtown and stopped in Macy's for a quick look at the dresses. I was approached by a saleswoman who said hello & asked if I had a Macy's charge card to which I responded no. What?! Where are you from?! The nerve of my not having a Macy's charge card, unheard of!) I'm also making a stronger effort to ease up on my after work socializing and boozing; no need to party every night of the week. In addition to this I'm prioritizing my running goal (8 miles by the end of summer) and today I ran 5. (5!) So goodbye facebook and goodbye drunken debauchery goodbye feeling of helplessness and hello ownership, acceptance, & gratitude. I do lead a good life, time to start taking care.

vendredi, juin 27

Mean girl

Last night I got drunkly stupid and then proceeded to be a very mean girl. I'm not proud, and I hope that in writing about it I'll commit myself to not allowing it to happen again. Just when I thought I'd started to make some changes in the right direction (I'm interpreting again, I'm making time for running, keeping in touch with people) I realize that I need to continue to reexamine my choices. Damn.

jeudi, juin 19

Build me up buttercup

So about me and Montreal and Minneapolis and my life and here and this summer and now...well, it's a long story, but I'll do my best to recap. Montreal was wonderful. A really beautiful and culturally diverse city with a European mentality and an American-esque type feel. I instantly felt at home and had no problem navigating the city. I couch surfed in an apartment in the St. Denis area of Montreal with a group of students & had a phenomenal time with them. The reason that I went to Montreal, aside from having wanted to visit Canada, was to check out McGill University for a translation program. I applied & took the entrance exam and won't hear anything back until Mid-July. Eep. I'd really hope that I am accepted, however, if not it won't be the end of the world since I've been giving Australia a very close look lately. Australia?, you ask, to which I respond, Well, yes. You see, I really love traveling and living abroad, and even though I've never been particularly intrigued with Australia I do want to travel to Asia very badly. (I figure that living in Australia it's easier to faster to travel to Asia then going from the States to Asia.) Though Australia wasn't terribly exciting for me I met several wonderful & silly Aussies while I traveled through Europe and became curious about their homeland (in the same way that I became curious about Canada after having met C-Town). So...I suppose for the moment I imagine that I'll either be in Australia or Canada in 6 months from now. Pas mal, eh?

For the moment I am back in Minneapolis and enjoying the summer, mostly. I adore my friends and my job, but I feel like something's missing. This feeling is pretty normal for me, though. I always question my life and, in quiet moments, wonder if I really am happy with where I'm at and how I've constructed my life. I'm happy to be back to my roots in a city I love with surrounded by the people who make me feel the most like myself...but I feel like, somehow, I'm not being true to myself. I think what I mean to say is, I feel like I've given up my passions. Things that I treasure the most seem to be shelved for the moment (reading, writing, dancing, taking pictures, volunteering), & I feel like I'm treading water just trying to keep from drowning. How do you keep pace with your life? Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed because of all the interests and things I have & love to do that I find it hard to do them all. I know I've only been back for a little over a month, but I need to focus on finding a balance for including ...everything. Is everything too much? Can you ever have it all, how do you say no (or yes) to what you want when there are a million other things you'd like as well? (I'm talking myself in circles again, in any case Happy Summer to you. The weather here has been beyond beautiful lately.)

vendredi, juin 13

My suitcase is my third arm

And she's off and flying...this time to Montreal! Shall return late next week, be well my loves and be sure to know that I'll be back with photos & stories aplenty; bisous!

mercredi, juin 11

Even if it's raining, baby I still got you

Today I ran 4. Doesn't seem like a huge deal, but at this stage in the game every mile counts. In a little bit I'll go to a cafe and study my French (Montreal on Saturday!) tonight I'll go out to Barbette (my favorite!) for wine with V. Yesterday was my little Emma-girl's birthday and we had lunch al fresco (Arnie Palmers & salads) then went shopping to find her a special birthday outfit. The whole crew came out for dancing downtown, it was silliness as usual. The other day I finally had my inaugural bike ride of the summer and biked to Uptown. I checked out the book shops and ended up buying a kimono and an apron at Ragstock. Awesome. Sorry for the lack of voice and vision in this post, lately my mind feels scattered and the days seem more like circles of experience rather than linear boxes. I've got a million ideas and things on my mind lately and I feel like everyone knows it...I swear I've got energy around me, feels like I'm giving off sparks and beams of light. Anyways, I'm off to go eat a peach and read my book, hope your afternoon is full of sweetness and words as well dear readers. If I haven't said so before, thank you for your words and voice on this space...you keep me moving forward & cloud-high.

dimanche, juin 8

Stop, look, listen

Hello and greetings from the most wonderful of cities, Minneapolis. Sorry for the lack of updates but my feet have not stopped dancing since my arrival. Life is livable again, better yet it's grand. There's been baking and barbecues aplenty as well as endless nights and midnight breakfast. I'm alive alive alive and kicking. Et toi, ca va?

mardi, juin 3

Still life with elephant

Today was an absolute breaking point: meandering around the mall because I couldn't stand to be at home and eventually buying a pair of cheap nasty gold hoops at Wet Seal. Barf. When did my life become so pathetic? I thought I was watching over it carefully, but apparently I've fallen asleep at the wheel and crashed into this suburban nightmare I swore would never ever be my life. Well dear readers desperate times call for desperate measures...I've packed my suitcase and am ready to head back to my beloved Minneapolis and all my lovely friends there. Time to begin again, this time for real.

samedi, mai 31

In the future cars will drive on forever (and ever)


I took this photo from the front passenger seat of Rene's car on the drive from Bretagne to Normandie in March. Lena was sick, Leah had fallen asleep listening to her music, Ren silently navigated the road, and I looked out of my window, mouth agap and wide eyed taking pictures as fast as my camera could click. It was one of my most beautiful drives through the country that I can recall; the cloudscape left me speechless. Right before the sunset patches of pink and mauve spread across the sky and I probably took around 30 photos of the same thing, the only varying feature being a slight color change and perhaps a different tree or landscape in the background. Everything about the car trip felt perfect and I remember thinking it was almost the end, that it was one of the last times we'd be in a car together and just wishing wishing wishing it could go on forever. Even though there'd been hard times and things weren't always divine I never wanted that car to stop, I just wanted it to keep going forward and onward forever and ever amen.

jeudi, mai 29

The only place we're free

Since life has been less then exhilarating lately I've taken up residence in certain parts of my brain instead. Call it denial if you will but I prefer (and always have) the private and silly space in my mind to the oft upsetting and dull environment in which I currently find myself (aka suburbia). Lately I've taken to running and studying with a twist of seeing my dear friends whenever they pass through town. I find that the running has given me something to work towards; my summer goal is upping my runs from 3 miles to 7 by the end of summer...eep! Returning from France made me realize my desire to return to school and was thus responsible for my immediate immersion into old text books and course packets. Time to resharpen that brain. As unpoetic as this sounds I find it absolutely true: my brain has a severe beer-gut. Yes, I'm aware how gross it sounds. For real though, I can't believe how quickly I feel like I've lost academic edge. The fact that the economy is in the tank and there is a flood of recent graduates and a lack of jobs only fuels my desire to up my game.

So how is life in the brain? Oh it's ok, I guess. It's no Parisian night club, but it's better then grappling with the fact that I'm almost flat broke and living somewhere I never anticipated returning to. Like I said before, humble pie. Anyways I'm not complaining. It's a big big challenge not to feel upset and get down on myself, however despite all the circumstances it still feels really nice to be home. I'm proud of what I've done and where I've been & I'm working toward the next big thing, whatever and wherever that may lead. Unfortunately I can't say much about what that will be because, well, I've got 80 million different ideas. And if you know me at all you know I'm not lying, there are literally 80 million. I counted them last night.

jeudi, mai 22

And it should come as no surprise

That I am miserable at home and bought a plane ticket to Montreal. Hurrah. I suppose I just needed to visit a foreign place (yes Canada is foreign for me, I've sadly never been) and hear some French in my ear. Unfortunately, nothing else too exciting to report. Life here is slow. Real slow. I need to get myself a big city life again. Last week I visited my cousin in Madison; we went out for drinks and had to wait in line to get into the bar and then paid for our own drinks. That was a sobering experience for me coming from a city where I had become acclimated to table service, no lines, and never paying for my own champagne. Sounds snotty, I know, but you get used to it real fast. And now, oh and now. And now I get to start over and begin building again. Won't you excuse me while I go make myself some humble pie?

lundi, mai 19

Praire Underground

Whist kicking around online at 4am (Can't sleep. My mind, it races.) I discovered this little gem of a label. How silly, of course, that it is designed out of Portland. Part of me still thinks that moving out there is a good idea; I just know I'd fit right in. But I've got a few other plans in the works at the moment...namely places that lay beyond said American borders. These feet of mine ache to wander again. Sometimes I think I should have never come home. It's only been about a week and a half and already I feel suffocated. Maybe it's not the situation, maybe it's just me. I've started to believe that it's simply my nature to feel restless, unsatisfied, and trapped. But oh Jesus Goddamn I sure hope it's not because feeling like this all the time wears a girl down. In any case let me leave you with some lovely photos of the brilliant Praire Underground:

mardi, mai 13

I forgot my brain in France

Please bear with me in this tumultuous time of readjustment. At the moment this fille is feeling equal parts over and under whelmed. Life is confusing and strange and sometimes silly and sometimes fun, full stop. Less babble and most substance later, promise! But for now please hold on hold on hold on and don't let go...

jeudi, mai 8

O America

You shopping cart and overfilled aisle
Mini van, soda can, homeless man
Your gummy worm and Chinese food dinner

My broken croissant and lost perfume
Suitcase zipper, toenail clipper, high-heel shoe
Bought a one-way ticket back to the zoo

You stolen sadness and ice cream desserted my heart
Microwave, plastic bag, hand-me-down
Your streetlight at noon and TV show host

My old high school sweater and caged bird
Swimming pool, 2-car garage, one nation under god
Night of the living dead and while gone carried on,

I think I thought I knew you once.

mardi, mai 6

Leaving Oz


I've got my suitcase all packed and I'm about to go enjoy my last rays of Parisian sunlight...tomorrow's the big day. Tomorrow I'm going transatlantic; America I'm coming back to you.

dimanche, mai 4

In which I embrace Paris in my arms and whisper sweet nothings into her ear

Yesterday was brilliantly wonderful. (Can I say that?) I woke up late, threw on my trench coat and met up with Bella at Invalides; Paris is in love with Spring. Everywhere I walked the sun shone and kicked up all the colors in the day to make life seem vibrant again. (Is it me or has this winter seemed particularly long?) We got ourselves a chilled bottle of white wine and laid in the sun until Alex joined and we then decided it was a good idea to buy a second bottle of wine and it was only a matter of time before a third bottle joined as well. The lazy afternoon escaped us and we went out for dinner and made plans to go out partying, clubbing, and dancing after. Dinner didn't end until almost 11 at which point I scurried home for a quick change of shoes and then off we all went, into the warmth of the first Spring-like night of Paris. I wasn't to return home until after seeing the first lights of dawn with Alex. We had an early breakfast on the Champs Elysées & then I was back in my bed at 8 (a.m. that is). Being young is grand, I think, and the most exciting of adventures.

vendredi, mai 2

Ubiquitous, adj. Existing or being everywhere, esp. at the same time; omnipresent.

Well hello there my little goslings I have returned from the land of Eastern Europe with many a tale to tell and a camera full of pictures. I'm sitting here with my mug of citrus tea listening to some Hot Chip in hopes of getting my morning started and getting a move on. I woke up early this morning to the sound of a thousand little girls screaming. Legit. My friend's apartment is next to an all girls elementary school. Damn you children, fun isn't allowed before I have my coffee. Fun is forbidden before 9 in the morning. Alack I began to stir and decided to get up and do a little morning research before heading out in Paris. Today I think I'll head to the big boutiques in hopes of finding a gift for my mom. The last time I was in Paris she told me she wanted a silk scarf with flowers on it, pas de problème...except I am le tired. I haven't been feeling 100% ever since having experienced the world's biggest shit-show of a voyage from Budapest to Paris; 16 hours in transit, 5 different languages, 4 different countries, 3 different currencies. I began Tuesday by waking up at 4 in the morning to take a train to Bratislava (Slovakia) to then take a bus to Vienna to then take a plane to Paris. I spent a solid 4 hours in the Vienna airport browsing all of the duty-free shops eyeing up the expensive liquors and designer sunglasses before deciding that I deserved some little token of victory...Chanel red lipstick it was. (!) I've told myself I'd get a little Chanel before I went home and this was just simply the perfect time and place and color and I was feeling weak of persuasion and anyways I can now say that I am a woman who wears Chanel lipstick, red no less.

jeudi, mai 1

mercredi, avril 16

The last glass


Yesterday was my last day at the primaire, as I hurried to catch my bus (last again) an old man stopped to watch me cross the street and then kindly tipped his hat at me. The kids were great and I was extremely touched by the farewell drawings they'd made for me, still can't believe I won't be seeing them again. Last night Ren came home with a tart and a bottle of champagne. He made a fire in the fire place and gave me a farewell gift and card; he's what I'll miss most about this town. Hard to believe it's already a part of the past. In two hours I take a train to Paris, in two days a train to Berlin, then a flight to Budapest, then a spaceship to whoknowswhere. This isn't the end dear readers, only a brief intermission. See you in a few weeks... je vous embrasse très fort.

samedi, avril 12

Worrysome


Made an ice cream cake, said good bye to Kati at the train station, went to the library, watched part of Blow Up, bought a plane ticket, called a dear friend, listened to the Moldy Peaches, went to a party. Alack, I find it difficult to smile today. So many many things on my mind lately.

mercredi, avril 9

Breaking up is hard to do

Hello Student,

I like you. I think you're a lot of fun and have neat ideas and good things to say. Let's be friends & keep in touch. If you have a problem with a word in English, or need a suggestion for a good book to read, or want to know what I think of Britney Spears* or whatever drop me a line at: myemail. I hope you've enjoyed the time we spent together and what we learned; here's a recap of some of the topics we discussed:

-Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants"
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
-Tennessee Williams, "A Streetcar Named Desire"
-The films, I Heart Huckabees & Breakfast at Tiffany's
-The American 1960s

There are many other areas and topics that we didn't have the time to touch on, however I hope you will continue on and discover your own favorite bits of Anglophone culture. Once again thank you for a great year. I had a lot of fun and hopefully will see you on my side of the pond someday soon.

Sarah



*This is a joke please tell me you laughed.

This is the note I gave to my students; yesterday was our last day together. It was harder then I imagined, I really connected with these kids. I hope for nothing but success for them. I wanted to bring in a little treat (Which suddenly felt very elementary, I feel like French people don't really do the whole bring a treat in on your birthday/at holidays/on the last day.), I wanted it to be American so I made them little peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. In America we grow up with pb&j, I said, it's like our Nutella and baguette. I knew it was a dicey move because peanut butter isn't as well received in France but apparently my fear was in vain as not one sandwich was left. One of them exclaimed, "I am in ze paradise!" These kids keep me young, God love em.

dimanche, avril 6

I'm a boss


Once, about 2 weeks ago, I had a sudden urge to listen to the song "Bossy" by Kelis. It was a desire stronger then me and I listened to that song an innumerable amount of times. Barbs and C-town were also subjected to my fanaticism of "Bossy" as well as my singing of the song whenever I wasn't cuing up the video on youtube. People, that song is the jam. It's the story of my life. I'm a boss. I'm the one he got tattooed on his arm. Etc. (Feel free to sing along)

Anyways long story short I kind of forgot about Kelis and her goodies until last night at the Fest Noz. (Fest Noz = a type of Breton dance party where people lock pinkies and dance until the morning light) I decided to spice things up by bringing several mixed drinks in my purse to help ease my lightness of foot whilst dancing. This ended up being the Best Idea Ever since this was a small Noz of Bretons mostly around the age of my parents. Nozing the night away we met some chaps who appeared to be our own age and had a similar sneaky plan to get the party started; they offered us a pull of their own secret concoction. We followed them out behind the parking lot where they pulled a bottle out of the bushes along with some plastic cups and we all said 'Sante' to being Breton and young and wild and crazy. At this point in the evening I was feeling incredibly joyous and happy and broke out my own version of "Bossy" (it just felt right). I then begin to take more pictures then Jesus knows what to do with and then Barbs and I played hopscotch before we got a ride home with I don't even know who...the lute player? Fast times in St. Bri. We live without limits.

vendredi, avril 4

I just watched Gossip Girl and I liked it. Don't judge me.

Quick update for you this lonely evening in dull as ever St. Bri:

-Another successful trip to Emmaus on Wednesday scored me at least half of my summer wardrobe. I am now the proud owner of a trench coat, 2 scarves (one winter & one navy/floral patterned with an ethnic look about it), 2 navy dresses, a bulky navy cardigan with a St. James logo patch, and a vintage pair of Carmel colored high heeled scandals hand made in France and never worn! Oh sweet Jesus I will rock Navy blue this summer like it has never been rocked before.

-One of my students serenaded me. Everyone came into class except him (he's one of my absolute fav students) ...he opened the door, peaked his head in the classroom and then closed the door...one of the girl's said he had a surprise for me...the door opened and he came in singing (Kylie Minogue?) with one ear phone in from his ipod to sing along with. He was so nervous his eyes began to tear up and his voice cracked but that didn't stop him from singing the entire song. I was blown away, unsure of how to react or where to look I couldn't help but laugh as he eeked out the final notes in a soprano voice that reached tones higher then a dog whistle. Bravo to you, my young student, may your successes be plenty.

-We had an early going away party at our house this week with all of the assistants, Rene, & Monique. It was an amazing success with Ren supplying Champagne and everyone bringing a delicious homemade dish. I made a brie, apple, & candied walnut tart and a zucchini & goat cheese tart...both received such rave reviews that I plan to bring these little inventions with me stateside when I get home (Minneapolis I'm looking at you).

-So yes I've done a lot of thinking lately and as much as I wish and want and hope to stay I realize that it might not be possible. However, I do want to return home to see everyone and see my lovely cities and do all the normal things that I miss and haven't found the opportunity to do here. It'll be good to come back and regroup, figure out the next step, reevaluate, etc. And anyway home is where the heart is...right? (...)

-Tomorrow my German roommate leaves...leaving me to realize that holy hell pretty soon I'll be finished for good. Yay! Yay? I am thus forced to leave the safety net of my charmingly furnished house for an unpredictable amount of time with nothing but my suitcases by my side and no sure roof over my head; one might say I'll be living a somewhat bohemian existence. Luckily the hippy look of unkempt hair and drapey layers is making a fierce appearance on runways and thus will be my style of choice these upcoming days...if you see a girl with smeared eyeliner and a ripped hem peeping into your window don't be alarmed, just be sure to leave the light on for me.

lundi, mars 31

And if I never came home I'd still smile

The clouds in Normandie are beyond beautiful. I sat in silence during the entire drive and looked out my window; captivated by the ever-changing skyscape. We saw no less then 4 rainbows on the way there. 4! Having the luck of 4 rainbows on our side we arrived in the arms of our hostess (the ever sassy Monique, the apple of Ren's eye) to a warm reception and a neverending feast which featured such delights as homemade cakes & savory tarts, lavender kir, & violette ice cream. When we weren't eating there were lovely moments of silent indulgence as we read by the fire and drifted off in oversized chairs after a delicious meal. Something about the peace and solitude felt magic, felt like a small kind of accomplishment to escape my mind and thoughts and be still. There was a quality of surrealism to it all, being in the old farm house filled with faded photographs and piano books, a personable cat named after a French cookie (Calisson), little surprises and silly stories seemed to be hidden everywhere...after taking a shower Saturday morning I walked out the bathroom and almost screamed. Beside the window was a peacock cautiously eyeing me up. I stared back equally amazed.

vendredi, mars 28

Whever the wind takes me

I've got myself a whole grain baguette, sparkling water, fashion mag, and my rainboots and I am ready for a weekend away in the country. Off with the girls & Ren to visit Monique in Picardie. Enjoy your weekend m'dears.



(Hope you enjoy this fab video from the Go-Betweens...)

jeudi, mars 27

John ought to wash his neck

Last week I borrowed an old book entitled "Essential English" from my roommate to use with the student I tutor. Having only quickly glanced through the book I wasn't aware of how archaic and how very British it was until we came upon an exercise involving the negation of ought and shall. I laughed under my breath as my student said, "I shan't go to the pictures after this Test Paper." Of course "John oughtn't wash his neck" was as brilliant of a phrase as I've heard in a long time. The poor child thought I was laughing at her until I translated the sentence into French so that she could understand the absurdity. It reminded me of when I had conversation classes with a French speaker in Minneapolis to help improve his accent. I had him read articles aloud from the Onion...is it my fault that the Onion is extra hilarious when read in a heavy French accent? Oh my foreign fellows please do forgive me, I dearly love to laugh.

mardi, mars 25

Today smells like spring

Everyone is funny today. My teacher at the primaire wouldn't stop using the word impeccable to describe me...the fact that I had the kids draw animals to show during their performance of Old MacDonald was impeccable...as was the fact that they'd learned how to say the words for family members (mother, father, etc.). Actually, that was 'absolument impeccable'. On my bus ride home the driver kept stopping abruptly to let pedestrians cross the road. Each time the person would make some silly sign or nod to acknowledge the driver, one man even made a highly theatrical bow right in front of the bus as he was crossing...it was so funny I laughed out loud. I guess I've started to feel pretty good again and when I'm happy I find a lot of joy in random things; like people who bow before the bus. It's probably because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, my time here (in this town) is almost over. I'm slowly erasing the bars of my cage, where to next?

lundi, mars 24

My brother is in Nepal

Holy shit people, take a minute for that to sink in. Yesterday my brother was in India. I'm beyond jealous and joyful. Jealous because I always thought I'd make it there first, because I'm supposed to be the one in the family who does things that make my parents nervous. Joyful because my brother has never been anywhere besides Europe and America, because I can't wait to hear about his reaction to other cultures/customs/lifestyles. Rock on bro.

vendredi, mars 21

A noble fruit, good & true


The French have this expression "une bonne poire " ...it means to be naive and a bit stupid (at least this is how the phrase was explained to me). I was asked by my silly French friends to choose a fruist as my nickname; they chose fruit from themselves as a sort of alter-ego. For example Kiwi. (Kiwi is my all time hands down most favorite French girl on the face of the planet.) She has and always will be Kiwi for me even if I do know her real name I will never call her by it...although incidentally enough her middle name is the same as my first name. Anyway, her cousin, dear friend to me as well, is Pamplemousse*. Upon entering into this mélange of fruit I was given the opportunity to pick my own fruit; for me it was no contest. Pear. I could think of about a zillion reasons why...I love pears, I have a pear figure, and I love pears. Kiwi and Pamplemousse tried to dissuade me from choosing such a 'bête' fruit...offering up Framboise** or Cerise*** as alternatives. Nope, my mind was made up. I was Poire. I found their explanation of the phrase almost a bit more intriguing to chose pear because I felt like I could be the new pear. I could make pear mean smart or charming or whatever else I wanted...I would become a whole new generation of Poire. So here I am, GenXPoire, ready to kick some ass and break down misconceptions and stereotypes. Poire takes on the world. But first, Poire takes on Paris. Peace!

*Grapefruit
**Raspberry
***Cherry

mercredi, mars 19

In which I majorly score

Today I went to Emmaus (the French equivalent of a salvation army, but cheaper and dirtier) with the girls. I've picked up some great finds in the past...bracelets, dresses, scarves, etc...but today I really struck gold when I perused the handbag section and came across a Longchamp bag. Initially I was drawn to the bag because it was navy (my new favorite color, love it I do) and a sort of small-ish size. I'd been looking for something like it; the perfect sort of little bag to fit a camera and wallet in, adding to it's charm was how Sping-y and light it felt. Upon closer inspection I noticed that, unlike most second-hand/vintage bags, this one appeared to be in great condition and was extremely well-made. Ah yes, and then I noticed that trusty horseman logo and knew, just knew I had the golden ticket. Rejoice in my luck and thrifters alike to heart, it can happen to you!

mardi, mars 18

Small victories

Today I decided to become an optimist. I've been living with a bit of a dark cloud over me for a couple of months and I feel like the change in weather has finally sent that cloud away to go rain somewhere else for a while. I know that I'm a bundle of nerves now that I'm searching for a way to stay; I spend most of my time wishing I was here or there or had this job or that job...but I feel like I can finally take joy in the unknown. I suppose there isn't much else I can do other then continue to hope and search for a way to be and live the life I want, so, in that spirit I may as well be happy and find beauty in the detours and setbacks (sometimes they turn into opportunities and adventures) and realize that my mind, like my future, is a malleable creature. I can choose to do with it whatever I will, and I will for myself happiness and joy and optimism. It's almost spring time, lovers, push the clouds from my eyes.

dimanche, mars 16

A network of lines




Click on the image for a clearer picture...

samedi, mars 15

Now hear this

I think it's been too long since I wrote something. But I also think that I don't have anything comprehensible to say. I've started to get a bit sick (again, again!) and have extremely blood-shot eyes despite getting more then enough sleep. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach and feeling like the only thing I wanted was to drink tea and mope around all day. (Sometimes I get this complex where I don't want to chew my food...not that I don't want to eat but that I'm too lazy to chew. It's completely nutty I know and doesn't happen that often but when it does I'm usually in some weird in between sort of mood. Read: confusion, fear, frustration. Psycho-analyze that!) I'm not sure if I mentioned before that I want to stay. In Paris, that is. It's a recent decision that I've come to and like most things that I want I want it pretty bad. I always have an amazing time in Paris, I've got lovely friends there, and it feels entirely possible. Rather, it felt possible. I practically had a place lined up to live in for the summer, had found several promising job opportunities, and well just a million other things felt right about it. I was ready to begin again. As I'm sure you remember it took me much longer then anticipated to get used to and feel comfortable with being here. And, well, I never did feel this way in St. Brieuc, but I do feel this way in France. But, not being a European Union citizen I am unable to stay. As of May 31st Mother France is officially pushing me out of the nest. It's tough love in France and you're only welcome as long as your visa stays current. This leaves me with 2 choices: find a husband or go home. Brilliant. Suggestions, ideas, and the phone numbers of single (French) men are welcome.

jeudi, mars 6

Epic

So I let you down. I promised stories and then didn't deliver and now I'm leaving town. It's Paris time again, lovers. Please accept my deepest apologies. I still feel like my feet haven't hit the ground yet and have been trying to recover & return to some form of normalcy since vacation. Here's a quickie to tide you over until then...the weekend before I left for Holland I was in Paris and staying with my sweet friend Annabella. I arrived in Paris Friday night and we went out for dinner at a very swank Pershing Hall (love love love this place) with her friends. Champagne was offered and didn't stop for the rest of the night. While having apero we were joined by 2 contestants from France's Next Top Model, wowza I felt like a country bumpkin and couldn't stop staring. We finally had dinner at midnight, left for the clubs at 2, club hopped for several hours, meeting new and fantastic friends, given a ride home sometime around 7. (I learned the next day that we were given a ride home by the owner of the last club we were in.) Needless to say the transition from St. Brieuc to Bright lights, Big city was abrupt...and I loved every minute of it.

lundi, mars 3

It's a long way down to the bottom

Yesterday I walked in the Alps, played in the snow, and had Swiss fondue...today I carted my suitcase through the rain and was followed by a construction worker on a bicycle shouting, "Were you on vacation? Were you on vacation? You're very pretty!" ...Hello St. Brieuc. You're a sobering slap in the face. Back to reality, I guess. (Vacation was great, more stories to come, but first dinner.)

jeudi, février 14

Sometimes I don't know which one to wear


...but I'm sure I'll wear them all at some point during these next 2 weeks. It's vacation time again; did I fail to mention that I've got another one? Lucky me because February happens to be my least favorite month of the entire year, does anyone else feel the same way? To me it's that odd time of year, the transition between winter and second winter (at least that's what it was like where I grew up in Wisconsin and Minnesota). You're stuck between winter and spring and wanting one or the other but certainly not February. February you are the year's biggest disappointment. I suppose that must be why Mother France has bestowed upon me yet another 2 weeks with which to frolic from country to country. This week's adventure being Paris and then Holland (Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam) followed by Switzerland (Geneva and Zurich, I believe). So, with that I must bid you adieu. See you in March, lovers.

mardi, février 12

I didn't have anything to say except this

We are kitchen goddesses, me and these girls I know. We're a team, we make beautiful little cakes and pretty petit fours. Today we (Barbs, C-town, me) made macarons after a somewhat prolonged absence in the kitchen. Having been humbled by a particularly wonky batch of violette macarons we all returned to the kitchen with our A-game and were successful in realizing the glory of fleur d'oranger macarons. (Ooh are they beauties...apricot colored shells and cream ganache filling.) The ganache filling being somewhat of an improvisation on a traditional butter cream frosting which we changed through the addition of crème fraîche, orange zest, & orange flower water. Joy! Also, this Friday is officially the beginning of vacation which means it's finally time to get the hell out of Dodge. But looking down at my hands on the keyboard I notice my chipped burgundy nail polish (time for a fresh coat of paint eh girls?) and a reminder note about my tutoring session tomorrow night. Damn. I'm still here. This week isn't over, yet. (Hope you are well dear readers and friends, I still think about you sometimes. Do you think about me?)

mercredi, février 6

Paris saves

Hello lovers, sorry for the absence. The trip to Paris? It was grand. In all honesty it felt like couples therapy for me and France. We needed a little weekend getaway, some time to reflect on why we fell in love, what made the other special and unique. And let me say, the proverbial flame has officially been rekindled. There was some small bit of excitement and energy in everything and everywhere that I went: shopping, a new hair cut, dinning out (le marais), dancing (CAB, a great club by the Louvre), a museum (the Rodin, one of my all time favorites), a film (Sweeney Todd, meh, it was ok). I couldn't help but feel lighter, more free. (Something about this city makes me walk differently.) It felt inevitable, it felt like I was meant to be there, meant to live and love and exist in this city. And, at the risk of sounding like a complete skhizo, it made me want to stay. I've finally come to terms with being here, with the fact that this is my life now. I live in France, Paris is only a train ride away, and home, when I miss it, is only a phone call away.

vendredi, février 1

Park that car, dream about me



Ok so I'm not 17 but I've got my make up on, I talk trash under my breath, and I ain't coming back. (Till Monday...)

mercredi, janvier 30

Grin and wear it

I am extremely hot and bothered by this whole navy blue nail polish trend I've been seeing crop up on runways and in magazines for the last few weeks...all aboard! Today I splurged and bought myself the most expensive bottle of nail polish I'll probably ever own: Blue Poison. This is also the first and only designer anything I've ever owned, and, well, it seems so sad and lonely amongst all of my lowly other no name products and thrift store finds. Oh Blue Poison #900, you make me feel shiny and new. I swear, I swear it to you now, I only have eyes for you.

mardi, janvier 29

Don't even get me started...

In a horrible mood today and not feeling very good. I've had the feeling of encroaching sickness lingering for about a week and it came to a head today when I almost fainted/threw up in the shower. Also, my loan deferment paperwork was rejected because apparently making just enough money to survive is equal in my creditors eye's as me pulling a Scrooge McDuck and swan diving into a huge pool of euros that I'm stockpiling.


lundi, janvier 28

Stepping out

Just bought my ticket for Paris this weekend... ouiiiiii. Barbs and I have decided to treat ourselves to a weekend of luxury and excess and, well, it's about damn time. I have every intention of bringing only my nice and fancy clothes and planning myself a full and cultured itinerary. There's plenty of room on my agenda for museums, shopping, and of course, dancing. Who wants to dance?







(I need this, leaving that is. But, I know you know.)

vendredi, janvier 25

I didn't vote for him

I read an interesting blog from a fellow American abroad and I have to say that there feels like a lot of truth to it. I don't agree with everything that was said, but I must admit, I often feel like I need to defend myself (here, in France and in Europe) and put on my armor before I allow myself to be wounded. I, like most expats, am "...buying into a stereotype so that we wont be stereotyped by a person that may or may not stereotype Americans." We're falling victim to a really nasty stereotype which has caused many Americans to turn against one another, to point fingers, and to try and dissociate from the group. I'm not one for patriotism and I certainly don't support our current government in office, but I do know that I love my country. If I've learned anything while being abroad it's that there's a lot to love at home, even if there's a lot that needs to change.

mercredi, janvier 23

Let's call it love

Check out one of my new favorite websites...Sex Drugs and Intellectual Freedom. Just when you thought someone couldn't get more accomplished or be cooler (see: grad student with a double major, roller derby ref, art museum field work, supportive friend, & all around kick ass human being, etc etc amen.) he comes out with another reason for me to adore him. Keep on rockin my friend, you continue to amaze and inspire me.

In other news Barbs and I held a candle light vigil for our generation's first fallen heart throb, dear Mr. Ledger. We celebrated the life of our former high school crush with chocolate and a showing of 10 Things I Hate About You. We have since decided to, like the main character Kat in the film, start a chick band. I'm going to learn guitar and Barbs is all over the Tambourine. Suggestions for band names are welcome.

dimanche, janvier 20

Show and tell


Since my last great fall I've done a lot of thinking and sitting and regrouping...and I've decided to stay. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel and having your support has given me a second wind. I.Will.Survive. [Cue the music.] So rather then write another self-pitying blog I thought I might let you in on a few things that I seemed to have skimmed over and show you a lovely little image of some new things in my life. First things first, I've been getting a lot of questions about this mysterious man who visited. First, he is a lovely Swede I met in Stockholm at an art gallery. We kept in touch and then decided we wanted to see each other gain so he came to visit me in Paris after Christmas. There were a few low points (none of which were our fault...rather they were the actions of supposed friends) but overall we had a fantastic time together and I was thrilled that he came. Hopefully I'll be able to visit him in Stockholm (my new favorite city) again one day.

My next vacation is in exactly 25 days. This is going to be tricky because it doesn't seem so far away but I can guarantee that I'll need to leave good ol' St. Bri at least once before vacation time actually begins. I plan on visiting Holland with C-town and then taking the train to Poland to visit a friend who is teaching English there. Aside from leaving this town I am most looking forward to taking the train. I adore train travel, it feels so nice to have the time to sit and read or observe the change in scenery from the window as your surroundings slowly begin to change and become more foreign.

Let me fill you in on how I spend most of my days as of late. Today, for example, I did some reading (Alice in Wonderland & Dance Dance Dance) and some baking (see Everyday) as well as some drawing, napping, and Dawson's Creek watching (A new obsession...something about reliving my television habits of 7th grade takes me to a happy place. Don't judge me.) Tomorrow I plan to walk to the pool and perhaps begin going as regularly as possible. Also I've begun to do some serious research into graduate school in hopes of figuring out just where and what I would like to go and study. If this program has taught me anything it's that I long for and miss the atmosphere and passion for learning of high education. I need it back in my life. Now, please.

In other news, as was mentioned briefly, I did quite a bit of shopping and am living a rather meager existence for the moment. I suppose this is a good lesson for me to learn as I generally spend every cent I own and have a hard time budgeting. In my own defense it was Christmas and New Years and I went to Spain and my cell phone company charged me too much. Honest. Anyways, get a load of the pretty dress I got in Spain, my new Victorian broach, the coin purse that Kiwi made me, my simple pearl on a chain necklace, and the awesome yellow cardigan with rhinestone buttons my mom sent me for Christmas. Score. Looks like I'm lucky in life and in fashion. Once again, thanks for all of your support. You rule.

vendredi, janvier 18

Hold on hold on hold on


I can't see five feet in front of me, I have no idea where I'm going, I throw in the towel anytime something gets too difficult, I'm a demanding person (demanding of those I know, my surroundings, my life), I don't give as much as I should...in short, I have many faults. Yet, this out pouring of support and love from friends, family, and complete strangers has been overwhelming. It appears as if you're behind me in no matter what I do and you believe in me and my choices even when I don't believe or it seems like I've gotten off course or made the wrong decision. I can't even begin to express how amazing that feels to know; it gives me the strength and morale I thought I'd lost. So how do I begin to thank you? What do I have to offer in return? Perhaps I'll take a page from your book and start believing in me. Start with realizing that I can transcend this temporary situation, or better yet, I can embrace what I have created for myself here. Thank you, yes really, thank you. Sometimes I'm a bundle of nerves and I lose my way or feel like I'm alone. I know that I'm not. I know that it's temporary. I know that you're here.

(merci, merci, merci)

jeudi, janvier 17

Black and white

So here it is, up front, cold, and ugly: I'm unhappy. Terribly miserably unhappy here. This town makes me crawl out of my skin and I feel so incredibly upset and confused that I don't know where to begin. I've phoned family and friends with the message I'm coming home. No definitive decision has been made yet, but for the moment I envision myself returning soon, as soon as possible even. I wish I could more clearly verbalize how I feel and what has made me arrive at this decision; I'm trying to see this situation in black and white but all I see is gray. I suppose I've tried to distract myself through various means of entertainment and small vacations in hopes of avoiding the unavoidable fact that this just isn't right for me and I can no longer go forward. Returning home, however, will not be a quick fix to this problem of unsatisfied unhappiness. I fear this problem goes much deeper. Returning home is perhaps only the first step in finding or hoping to recover what I seek.