mercredi 6 février 2008

what the heck is happening?

I'm in the twilight zone. This has been a cool Parisian day.

I feel like I'm doing things better now, better than last year. I just have a feeling like this part of my year here is going to be the better part. I was in a rut last year, last semester, for a bit, and I was sad a bit, but I'm going to do my best to have more happy days, and less sad days while I'm still here. I'm glad I experienced that rut though.

Met up with Lucia at St. Joseph's Catholic Church near the Champs Élysées this morning. I wanted to go to an English mass for Ash Wednesday. Unfortunately, I was late and missed getting ashes. The RER was packed, and I had to wait for another train. Lucia got hers. She was glad I suggested an English mass. I don't know, I just felt like English mass for this time. The readings were really good, especially the second reading which was Corinthians. I decided to hang out here until the next Mass at noon.

We went to Starbucks for a drink. It was in the middle of this small shopping center and not busy which was nice. We sat on big comfy chairs and talked about plans for Amsterdam. Somehow we got to talking about perfume, and she said something that made me laugh so hard:

I don't want to smell like fruit, and I don't want to smell like food. I don't like it flowery, but more flowerish.
Hilarious. It went down in the Moleskine. Funny how I understand the distinct difference between flowery and flowerish. How I love the English language.

I suggested we burn some time at Sephora just a few paces down the street looking for her non-food, non-fruit, flowerish perfume. We tried some scents. She liked one called "Elle" although I can't remember the maker. We then looked at lipstick since I was looking for a classic red to wear if we go out--Lucia and Keisha dress nicely and wear make-up so I didn't want to be a dud when I'm around these two gorgeous looking gals. Plus, it's the only thing I know how to apply. A petite lady that looked Filipino to me came up to us and asked if we wanted to try anything. I was still looking, so she put some lipstick on Lucia.

While doing Lucia's make-up, we made small talk in French. She asked us our origins. Lucia said Mexico, and I said Philippines. She got really excited and said, "Moi aussi!" (Me too!). She asked if I spoke Tagalog, and I said no. She seemed kind of disappointed, like she really wanted to talk in Tagalog.

Meeting Arleeda, the Sephora lady, gave me hope. Arleeda came here, at my age (21), speaking no French at all. She spoke English--in the Philippines it's taught in schools--and was an au pair for an English speaking family. But wow, her French is amazing. I mean, she works at Sephora and speaking French is a must to have a job here. She's helping French ladies find perfume and giving make-up tips to young French women.

She was really cool and did my makeup which was fun because I don't wear makeup and am absolutely clueless. She did a red lipstick and silverish eye shadow, and it was fun, like being pampered, and I've never done this before. I ended up getting the lipstick and eyeshadow to wear on special occasions. We said goodbye to Arleeda, and she told us to come back soon. Lucia went off while I went back to church to get ashes.

Do you remember my stylish French lawyer neighbor? If not, refresh yourself here. She knocked on my door and gave me 2 euros for using my cell phone and for letting her stay over while the locksmith was on his way, and I told her not to worry, but she insisted that I take her 2 euros. Then, talking really fast like most French, she said something about wine and motioned to her door and some time (was it 2pm?), and having me come over. All I could muster up was "d'accord" (Okay). Then she said goodbye and left, descending the staircase.

Oh shit, did I understand what she just said? Did she say what I think she said? She said something about having wine together and 2 o' clock. Did she mean today? It was 1:30 when she came by. Today or some other day? Was this an invitation for today?


Learning a language is such a pain sometimes, because you have moments where you're right on, and moments when you're totally off. Like today, the Starbucks guy was giving me my coffee, and Lucia was already at the sugar/napkin station, and she asked me if they had honey, and no problem, like a total switch the French came on, and I asked the guy, "Vous avez du miel?" And he said, "Non." And I wasn't even thinking it, it was just a reaction, albeit a little slower than a usual English speaking reaction.

When I wasn't sure what my neighbor said, I knocked on her door at 2pm (she had come back from wherever it was she went), and I seriously stood there for 3 seconds fumbling with my French. And I knew what I was going to ask her, if she wanted to have wine today or some other day because I didn't really totally understand what she said at the door, but I stood there for at least 3 seconds going, "Um, uh..." By God, that's going to happen a lot. And it's painful, oh God is it ever. But when it's over and done, what a relief. She said not today, maybe next week on Tuesday since she's going to her parents today and she's packing. She said she'd come over again and let me know. Sigh of relief. Glad I understand now. That was painful and slightly embarrassing, but now I understand. Now I understand.

So yeah, a cool and weird day buying makeup from a French speaking Filipina and speaking to my French neighbor.