mercredi 22 août 2007

the last, lengthy US post

The next time I write here, I'll be in Paris. Weird. I'm taking a break from packing and stressing out. My friend, Cher, just gave me a cd, so I'm listening to it and importing it into itunes. I'm making my "leaving" playlist. Some songs that'll cheer me up and get me excited about leaving. I'll post it down below.

The ninja is packed!

My suitcase is...half-packed.

Kuya woke me up this morning before he went to work, and we said goodbye. I cried a bit, but I was super tired, so I fell right back to sleep. I wish he could be there to see me off, but these things happen. I told him I loved him--I rarely say stuff like that--and, that I'll see him again.

I just want to formally thank everyone for seeing me, talking to me, helping me before I go. I love you guys, and you all make it very hard to leave. Some more than others--you know who you are. Saying goodbye has never been so hard. Take care of yourselves, be well, and I'll see you when I get back.

love love love,
elaine xo

the "leaving" playlist

This playlist also includes songs from my friend Noriko's cd, but I don't have the track names or bands. These are just songs that I've been wanting to listen to right now and feel that are appropriate for my journey. Check it!

1. New by No Doubt: So energetic, hopeful. The line "And I can't believe I've had this chance now" says it all.
2. Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn, and John: Lovely like a spring day.
3. Where's My Head by Copeland: Weird at first, but interesting and reminds me of Coppola's The Virgin Suicides.
4. Snake Eyes by David Holmes: Just had to have some David Holmes in there. I love the soundtracks for the Ocean's Eleven series. Jazzy cool.
5. Someone to Call my Lover by Janet Jackson: Evokes some memories of a boy I'm leaving behind.
6. Steal My Sunshine by Len: Poppy, fruity, sticky like a popsicle melt-down.
7. Shadow of the Day by Linkin Park: Come on. Just listen to it. They wrote it for me.
8. Dashboard by Modest Mouse: I love their lyrics.
9. Here It Goes Again by OK GO: Airport treadmills. I'm just kidding. This song just pumps me up.
10. Face Down by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: Don't know why this is here. I just like it.
11. Baby Britain by Elliott Smith: Upbeat song, soft whispery voice--lovely.
12. Such Great Heights by The Postal Service: This song never gets old to me. It was on my "leaving" playlist when I went to Cambridge.
13. Bottle Up and Explode! by Elliott Smith: Reminds me of San Francisco. Check the "XO" album.

Okay, that's it. A bientot!

mardi 21 août 2007

1 day left

I have barely begun packing. Part of me can't grasp that I'm leaving. I found my old packing list from when I went to Cambridge, and I'm using that to help me pack. I'm taking basically more than a week's worth of clothing, three pairs of shoes, a load of my electronics (cam, vid cam, laptop, batt charger), and toiletries. I did a lot of stuff today and yesterday though to get me ready:

--I got traveler's checks at AAA. They don't charge a percentage if you're a member.
--Bought my fave health products that I'm not sure they'll have in Paris and laptop sleeve (Fry's is the ultimate nerd heaven).
--Cleaned my computer and backed up some files.
--Did various stuffs at the bank.

Recieved two mixed cds from my friend Noriko. They're amazing, and she is truly an artist when it comes to making mixed cds. Thanks Noriko!

Today, dinner with the fam. Lovely, lovely. Dad marinated steak. Mom steamed green beans that were picked fresh from our backyard. Kuya opened a bottle of French red wine. I set the table and served the rice. We ate in our backyard--it was nice outside, and our AC isn't working. I said grace, and Dad told stories about his days in Spain.

Spent time with Kuya since he's leaving for Seattle tomorrow. We went to some guy so he could buy billiard cues. We're seeing Superbad tonight. I'm really going to miss him because we share the same bizarre sense of humor that I don't have with anyone else. And he's my brother, come on! He might visit in the winter. He loves watches, so when he visits we might go to Switzerland.

I'll pack tomorrow, make copies of my passport and itinerary for the parentals, and finish tying up loose ends.

lundi 20 août 2007

it's not all fun and games

It's hard to ignore the fact that bad things can happen. Not all trips are safe, end happily. There are bad people around who will hurt you for your money or other things. My uncle's friend who visited Spain was put into a chokehold until she was unconscious while they took her purse and money belt. She was walking down a strange dark alley at night. Anything can happen, but it's up to me to be on my guard and not do anything stupid.

Today, Dad was giving me his talk about protecting myself. I'm pretty cautious, and it takes me a while to trust people, but I've got to be on my guard abroad all the time. It's like a switch that must be on 24/7. It's fun when I turn it into a mind game, the kind of thing assassins or spies would train for. Looking for exits, checking if you're being followed. I've carried a knife with me ever since my Dad gave it to me when I turned 17. Having an older brother who could surprise tickle me or put me in a fake chokehold has quickened my reflexes. I could scream loudly if I really wanted to, and my karate teacher once told me that he liked the way I delivered a kick. I have all these things, but still. Dad says, "If anything happens...go for the kill." A scary quote, but I will do what I have to do to save my life or the lives of others.

I'm not going to lie and tell you that I love being a woman all the time. Sometimes I really don't. Guys have it easier. I hate being the prey. I hate the automatic assumptions. From what I learned about working on film shoots (where the majority of people on the crew are males), I'm my role first (whether it be assistant camera or director), and I'm a girl second. My sex has nothing to do with my job. My ability, my knowledge is sexless. I have a slogan at Gungirl Productions--my production company with my friend--and that's "Don't let your boobs get in the way of your filmmaking". Once you bring your gender into it, you lose everything. Let's stop arguing and make this film. Okay, enough about gender roles. I ramble.

All I'm saying is that everyone who travels has to be careful and not stupid and always aware. Girls, carry pepper spray, get your own drinks, and stay with friends. Guys, don't be stupid assholes and drink too much.

dimanche 19 août 2007

lists are good

Things that are funny to me:

--Mom at Costco throwing a brick of cheddar cheese into the shopping cart
--Dad arguing about how we don't need so much cheese and who's going to eat it
--Me screaming when Kuya almost hit a pigeon with my car
--The line for food at Costco
--That ridiculous kiss in Spider-Man when MJ is kissing the upside-down Peter Parker

I am unbearably happy. I have reasons to be unbearably happy:

--I can't stop thinking about funny people and things I love and will miss.
--Because a lovely boy took a bus from SF to see me before I go.
--Because I'm leaving in a couple of days.

I can't sleep, and I wake up early. This excitement is killer! Also, I've been waking up wanting to vomit. Is it excitement or nervousness? Both?! In high school, I always vomited right before an essay test in my AP English class because I was nervous. We knew what we had to study, but he never gave us a prompt. It was also excitement too, all that literature running through my head. All I could think was, "What's my teacher going to ask of me? What can I tell him that's never been told before? What will I do to stand out of all these other essays? How can I make my essay amazing?" I guess this is the same thing. What's going to be asked of me? How can I make this trip amazing?

J.D salinger wrote that writers only get asked two questions when they die: "Were your stars out? Were you busy writing your heart out?" That's the only kind of writing (and living) I want to do.