vendredi 2 novembre 2007

nothing important happened today.

Across the street, van after van parked in front of the church. Several men, in black suits, went to the back of the van, and they pulled out a shiny, black coffin out of it. I watched as a procession of women wearing black knee-length wool coats, arms holding one another, walk into the church. They were not crying.

My landlord came by to pick up the rent. He brought me some more prune jam. I didn't even finish the other large jar of prune jam he gave me. I tossed it anyway since I'm not quite sure what the shelf life of prune jam is anyway. I spent way too much on food last month: 276E. That's 100E more than what I spent last time. Not good. Will try harder not to spend so much on food. Maybe less eating out with friends, but that can in turn really hurt my social life. I cooked a delicious omelette with mushrooms, and my landlord could smell my cooking, and he said it smelled good. To have a French person compliment even the smell of my own cooked food made me blush with gratitude.

Wore hair down again. Realized that on the metro suicide day that that was the first day I ever really wore my hair down because I felt that it was long enough, and I was comfortable. Also favorite skirt is loose. Must be all the walking and all the fresh vegetables I've been consuming from the market guys.

Mailed some postcards. Did some homework. Cleaned. Pondered my existence. Read. Tried to figure out if I'm really depressed or if I'm just faking it so that I can write about it. Took a nap. Went out to get a baguette but didn't have enough change in my pocket since I didn't bring my purse. Thought about the future. Walked the long way back home and stared at the scooters at the scooter shop. Had tea. Decided to try hard to not be sad and miserable.

jeudi 1 novembre 2007


Today is Toussaint, or All Saints Day. No school today or tomorrow. Thank God. School here makes me absolutely miserable sometimes. I have a group project due on Tuesday that is absolutely ridiculous. I really don't like my professor. She's one of those ladies that's ready to retire. She likes the Americans but treats some of the Asian kids and this one Palestinian guy like crap. I'm never having her again. But she gives out helpful homeworks. Have to meet my group today which is total crap.

Got a coffee and pain au chocolat at my favorite boulangerie/café up the street which is oddly enough across my favorite bar which is also next to one of favorite eye-candy stores. It's a presse that sells newspapers, magazines, stuffs for writing. In the windows are all these AMAZING fountain pens. Did some writing at the café that was neither French nor homework but more amazing since it has to do with my film idea, so that makes me happy. One of the guys working there kept dropping boxes of soda and making such a racket just so that I could recognize he was there, so I finally looked up at him from my writing, and I gave him this look like he was bothering me, but then we both laughed. It was a nice moment. No words exchanged, a complete short, silent film.

Walked around the block to the building where Hemingway lived. And I thought it would inspire me, but it just made me depressed as hell. I forgot he killed himself.

Did some shopping. The horrible thing about feeling miserable is that the only thing that can make me just a teeny bit happy is buying things. Bought Le Petit Prince which I read in religion class in high school in English, but the original is in French, and it's relatively easy to read 'cuz it's for kids but very philosophical, and I thought that that would be encouraging to read since I'm having such a lousy time learning French. Bought it at this awesome comic book/video rental place/book store which is so truly amazing, it'll make nerds weep. The guy working there was super cool. Well dressed man in his 50s that looks like he really should be working at an art museum or auction house. He wrapped my book in some comic book paper, which was really cool, and I think I'll keep it forever.Bought a Carhartt jacket that is so warm and toasty I don't even need to wear a long sleeve under it or a scarf. Gloves maybe because my hands get cold and the sleeves don't cover the hands. It looks like a plain hoodie, but it's more than that--inside it's warm, comfy velour. When I'm wearing it, I feel like I'm wearing a wetsuit. I absolutely love it. It was a bit pricey, but to justify it all I'm going to say is that it's an investment piece. I'm gonna make this thing last forever. And it probably will. It's really well made. Heck, I'm wearing jeans I bought my senior year in high school. It's also one of the few things I've really wanted here.

mercredi 31 octobre 2007

beards are attractive! what about hermits?

Okay, I don't know why I'm writing publicly about this. I guess because I need a laugh, and I'm no longer ashamed about my interests, albeit weird and...well, weird. But, oh God, I can't believe I'm admitting this but...I kind of like guys with beards.

Ahh! I can hear your moans of disgust over the interwebs! I know, I know. I didn't used to like beards. I would totally write a guy off if he had a beard. But, short beards are so darn cute! I'm more open now about what's cute to me. I used to have a rigid mindset about what I find attractive in guys, but now, wow, apparently, I'm into beards. Just look at this cute picture of Bret McKenzie from "Flight of the Conchords" (he's the one with the beard and cute curly hair: Come on, that's cute! That's just flipping adorable. And not everyone can pull that off. It only works for some boys, but when it does, oh gosh. The cuteness. The absolute adorableness. Short beards on boys. Curly hair. It also helps that this guy is flipping hilarious and a total cute dork on that show. Man, I should've studied in New Zealand! That's where these guys are from. Their accents are cute. At least they speak English there.

Also had to write about this because it brightened my day: my Spanish classmate bisoued me! And I've NEVER even spoken to him before! He just walked into class and said, "Bonjour" to me and my classmate that sat next to me. He shook Jinihanda's hand--that's my classmate--and then he leaned in an bisoued me out of nowhere! It was funny and nice. And HE has a beard!

Ahh! Sorry for being such a girly girl!

Also, in other news, it's Halloween. And I turned down two awesome reasons to go out. One for a party that a friend wrote about in Facebook and another from Lucia who wanted company to go to a bar that she was invited to. I know, I know, bad thing to do right? But if you read the post below this can see that I didn't feel like socializing. I felt bad mostly for turning down Lucia's invite just because she was going alone, but I made sure that if she wanted me to go I would go. But she said I didn't have to. Sweet girl.

Don't know why I love being such a hermit.

everything's happening without me

It's so weird that it's Halloween today, and it's like it's not even happening. Time passes whether I like it or not. I mean, it's Halloween here, but there's barely any signs of it since they don't really celebrate it here. If I was at home, they push all that candy and black and orange and those decorations in your face. You'd be blind to know that it's not happening. But here, it's different. It's like I can't even recognize what month we're in if I don't see some crazy ad telling me to buy something because it's that time of year. I kind of like it, and I don't at the same time.

I wonder how depressing it'll be once Christmas rolls around.

mardi 30 octobre 2007

I'll never forget today.

Someone committed suicide at my metro today.

On my way to school, my metro was closed. Blocked by police. I thought nothing of it, and I did what any logical person would do: walk to the next metro station. I descended the stairs at Place Monge. No one was there except for three other people. Across the track was an empty train.

I looked down the line, towards my metro station, Censier. It's a straight line from Censier to Place Monge. There were people standing on the tracks in front of the train that would be headed towards Place Monge. A man on the intercom came on saying that the service will be interrupted due to a suicide. I wasn't sure if I heard right, did someone actually say that? Then the intercom came on again saying that there was a "grave accident".

I left the station and crossed the street to wait for a bus. I boarded a bus so full that I stood side by side with the driver. I had full view of the street. It felt like being at the front seat of my parents' RV. In cinematic terms: it was the perfect wide shot. The best seat in the movie theatre. Life in high-definition. The sky was blue, sun shining. A total surprise to me since it was raining the day before. How can you wake up on a beautiful day like this and say to yourself, "Let's end it today"?

As we headed down the street, two ambulances came toward us, blue lights flashing. But they were slow. There was no need to rush; there were no sirens; the person was already dead. And it was so beautiful and cinematic, and I hated myself for thinking how beautiful this all was. I wanted to cry. I wanted to vomit. Someone died today. Willingly. I felt sick.

Below is a post that I had written last night and was going to post today. But it all seems futile now. After what happened this morning...I don't know what to think. Maybe it'll all be clear to me later what the post below and what today's suicide should mean to me. Maybe later I'll know the answer.

"ugh...another small crisis"
This isn't happening, this isn't happening...Ugh another identity crisis.

No, not really. But, I am sort of having a mid-student life crisis. I was home asking myself why I wasn't trying hard enough in my classes. And I know part of it is the senioritis thing and not wanting to be in school anymore, but there had to be more, that wasn't a good enough answer. And I was looking at my homework that I left to do the freaking night before, and I just felt like such crap for procrastinating. I closed my eyes, and this is going to sound so lame, but I looked inward for the answer, breathing in and out. I asked myself, "Why don't I care anymore about learning French? Why am I not trying hard enough? Why can't I just stick to these classes, it's really not that hard, all I have to do is study and I don't even have a job. Why?"

And my internal voice said: "Because."
Me: "But that's not good enough. Why?...Why?...Why?"

And finally the explosion, the huge fireworks finale. The voice fought back at me, "BECAUSE, BECAUSE, ALL YOU CARE ABOUT IS CINEMA!!!" Then this fog suddenly lifted. And all the reasons just spilled out,

"All you care about is cinema and writing and being creative, and you like the idea of living here and writing here, but not studying here, and in fact, you'd probably be trying harder if you were doing cinema back home. Remember 310*? Remember how hard you worked on that first project, the image continuity project? Remember when you actually loved, and I mean loved a class? Remember the feeling you had when you turned in that final screenplay and the day you got it back? That was one of the best days of your college life. That semester was hard, juggling 310 and screenwriting and a freaking job, but you did it, and it was hard but it didn't matter because you loved it, and it was worth it. And look at you now. What are you doing? You're not doing your French homework, you're not studying French, you're writing, for pete's sake. In your free time, you're thinking about the next movie project or writing in here. On your metro ride, you're thinking of dialogue, shot lists, the events that are going to become you're next written post or you're next movie idea."

"Don't you get it? Coming here was never about the French major. It was always about Cinema."

And that was it. It was over. After looking inside, I finally found the answer. Coming here was never about learning French. I look at these French words in the dictionary, but I feel like they will never mean anything to me. And it's all beautiful and wonderful, but I never needed it. And I thought I wanted it, but now, I want Cinema more than ever, and I want English. I want to be in screenwriting class getting mentored by Prof. McBride. I want Prof. Holmes to give me editing notes. I want to be glued to the Macs in the Creative Arts lab working on my next big thing. I can't believe I had to come to Paris to realize how much I loved cinema and not French...All the Cinema graduates are always saying, "Find your focus, and hone it in. You can't be a cinematographer and director. Find your focus." Maybe Cinema is my only focus. I thought I could do both, have a life separate from Cinema, but maybe I can't. Cinema will always play some part. I can't escape it. If I had to choose between French and Cinema, I know what my answer would be...When this finally dawned on me, I couldn't even bring myself to cry.

Oh my God, I can't go through with this degree. I just don't know anymore. I can't believe this is happening. My parents are going to flip out. Mom, Dad, I'm so sorry. I also can't tell if this is one of my regularly scheduled freakouts or if this is for real. I could feel different next week, I don't know.

*310 is a film production class which includes a lab. It lasts all day.
P.S. I swear, my internal voice isn't Holden Caulfield or Buddy Glass or even Zooey Glass--but probably a combination of the three.

lundi 29 octobre 2007

dropping bombs

My heart is ready to implode right now. Mom sent me an email asking me if I wanted to come home for Christmas.

AAAHHH!!! Just the idea that Mom would be okay with me coming home for Christmas makes me happy to no end. The thought of coming home in the middle of my year abroad has never crossed my mind. This is Paris for a Year, even though it's an implied "school year". I shouldn't be going home in the middle of it. Everyone even advised against going home for Christmas, how it sort of ruins things a little. I can see how that can happen.

But it's tempting, dear God, is it tempting. It's also expensive. I already looked at some flights. And I'd like to go home, really, you have no idea, I want to see my family and friends and spend Christmas and New Years with them, hug and kiss my Mom, Dad, and Kuya, eat good ol' American food with them, but I can't help but think about the sacrifice I'm making. How I'm giving up the chance to experience two major holiday events without the people I love. This might be the only chance I get to do that. You might think I'm crazy, actually wanting to spend the holidays alone, Bridget Jones's style. But to spend the holiday in Paris, of all places. What would that be like? Totally depressing? Or ultimately rewarding, enriching, life-affirming, add any sort of inspirational adjective here. I want to know what happens to me, how I'll cope, what I'll feel. The option is there. And I might never be at a point in my life where I want to be alone like this again.

I think the decision has been made. Thank you Mom and Dad for wanting me home that much. But I think staying in Europe for the holidays would be the best for me and for your wallet. I love you.

love love love,

dimanche 28 octobre 2007

movie night

Typical lazy weekend. Worked on the laptoppy to get film on youtube (see post below). Took the bus to St. Michel to get a thesaurus at Gibert Jeune. I desperately needed it for my homework. I don't even own an English thesaurus. That's how good my English is or (used to be). I've been honing it for 21 years now, come on. Also got a copy of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. I've been wanting to read it. I love how relatively cheap books are here. It's amazing. It was only 2,28E, which is like 5 bucks. Then walked home along St. Germain. It only took 30 minutes. That's how close I am to St. Michel, Notre Dame, and the Seine. 30 minute walk. Fabulous. I love it. Back in SF it took me around the same time to bike from home to school. Now that I look at those trips, side by side, going back to SF is going to be rough. 30 minutes to SFSU or 30 minutes to Notre Dame--which trip is more amazing?

While at St. Michel, got a text message from Kristin. Movie night at Kathy's. She lives in the 16eme, living as an au pair. She quit her job though since the kids were too much. Anyway, the fam was out of town for the weekend, so she invited us over. We all went to Monoprix, got pizzas, chocolate, Vienneta (ice cream dessert that you slice like a cake), alcohol, and soda (for me!). We ate in their kitchen, and Kathy showed me around.

I swear, this family is stinkin' rich. When Kathy showed me their living room, I swear that room alone was as big as the whole first floor of my parents' house. I was astounded. The dad hunts, so he has all these dead, stuffed birds hanging on the walls. Literally hanging by their legs. And there's like a family of deer heads in the closet.They also have a freaking projector to watch their tv and dvds and surround system. We tried to work it, but the volume wasn't working. It totally sucked, but oh well. I couldn't believe it. I mean, if you can afford this stuff, you can afford to take care of it. They also had foosball, but Kathy said the kids don't like playing it!

We couldn't get through the movie (Notting Hill) as we watched it on Kathy's laptoppy. We just kept making fun of how ridiculous it was. So we all went out to find a tabac to get cigarettes (not for me). Came back and just talked for a while. Found out that one of my friends hates it here. I feel her, and I feel like the lesser version of her. I mean, there's a lot of things that make this place amazing, but I miss the simplicity of living in America. It's just easier, and not because of the language. I know that, when I get back, everything'll be "easier", living-wise. There won't be anything worth complaining about since I can say, "Wow, I shouldn't be complaining. Living in Paris was more difficult compared to this." But no more complaining. I live in the most amazing city, and difficulties come with living here. It's a learning process.

Went to Church early--I forgot about Daylight Savings!!! I love the fall back. It feels like I've gained an hour. Lucia called and wanted to go to Ikea. Great idea since Ikea is in zone 4, and I can travel to up to zone 5 on weekends with my carte imagine R (my student metro card). Bought some stuffs I needed for the place: cooking pan, cutting board, closet organizer thingy, and scented candles.

We were going around, looking at all the demos, and it got me really excited for when I have my own home back in California and what I'd like it to be like. I don't want it to look like some college dorm or the "after college apartment". I feel like I've sped past that phase, like it's already over. When I was a kid, I used to peruse the Ikea catalog looking at what I'd want in my future house. It felt just like that, except the future felt much more closer, much more real. On the train ride back, since it was the RER (think SF's Bart), I brought up to Lucia how weird it is to be on this train since I took this same train route going towards Paris when I first arrived here. And, looking back, even though it was 2 months ago, I feel like I'm looking back at some kid. Things have changed so fast. It's crazy.