samedi 2 février 2008

sick again

I can't believe I'm sick again. I was sick maybe no less than a month ago. I've been eating well and healthily. I guess it's been chillier than usual though. I just hope this all goes away soon. This has never happened before.

I've been having trouble sleeping the past two weeks. I can't get to sleep until 1 am. or sometimes later. I've tried all my usual remedies to get to sleep--reading, tea, writing in journal. Nothing's worked. Mind and body are taking revenge on me, although I don't see why. I've been good.

Today was a nice day, but I'll write about it later. I'm going to try my best to sleep.

vendredi 1 février 2008

fair warning

I just got the confirmation that my best friend from grade school and her little sister are coming to visit in late March. I have two other friends pledging to visit me this year. This concerns me a great deal.

I love you guys, and it's not that I don't want you to come and that I would take no pleasure in showing you the city, it's just that, and this is going to sound terrible, but...I don't want you to see me. Not this way.

I'm afraid of what you're going to think of me in this environment that I've been stewing in the past couple of months. I am afraid that you might not like me, that I might be...different. Maybe more eccentric and truthful than usual (I think the "Letter to friends visiting me" post beneath Paris for a Year Basics contests to that), and my friends know how eccentric I can be. And there's really nothing you'd be able to do, you'd have to stick it out with me in my city until I take you back to De Gaulle, and you board that plane home. See, it would be different if we just saw each other the minute I came home from being abroad. At least I'd be back home, real home, and things would be back to normal. You wouldn't have to come home with me and share my living space. At least you'd get used to me after a while. You coming here is just going to be a shock to your system, and I know, I just know, that you're going to be contemplating on the plane home what exactly happened to me while I was here. You'll look at some pictures that we took in front of the Eiffel Tower together, and you're going to think, "What happened to Elaine?"

So this is my problem when friends arrive. Just friends. I have another issue when it comes to getting to see my family. This was only made apparent last weekend when I went to London.

Even though I know I've changed here and made some changes in my life that would not have happened back in the States, I still feel like...the kid. This can be good, like the "kid at heart" sort of thing, but then there's the "she's a kid, she has no idea how much she needs to grow up" blah blah. Felt this slightly when I visited my fam in London. Although they showed no grand gestures to suggest this, I'm confident in my people reading skills, especially with what's subtle and underneath, and I read from them that maybe they were expecting a cooler version of me to greet them at the train station. As if I wasn't cool enough wearing my first pair of boots and a pashmina that's been wrapped around my neck like a pro. I mean, I felt pretty cool, like I was traveling with style. Lesson number one: If you're feeling cool, you probably aren't. Or you're probably trying too hard.

Anyway, it was as if they were expecting the high school senior version of me and not the freshman version of me, although that wasn't much of an upgrade. And it is true, I need to grow up because I have no freaking clue what I'm going to do with my life after college except move back to LA and take it from there. They asked me what I was going to do after school, and all I could say was go back to LA. Maybe they were expecting something more. So maybe they're just worried about me and my slight lack of direction, but so is everyone else in my family.

See, I have this "plan", more like one of those tests you find in teen magazines where you answer one question and the answer leads you to one place or another, and where you end up depends on your answer. That's me except I don't know what the questions are yet or where the answers lead to. Some people have it easy and have one question to answer and that's their life, but I just foresee a whole mess of questions.

Bottom line and what I'm trying to get at here is this: I'm scared about what you're going to think of me. Whether you're family or friend. It took years for me to accept who I am and to not care what others thought of me. A couple months in Paris and I'm back to where I started, awkward high school freshman just wanting to be accepted.

jeudi 31 janvier 2008

this is it kuya!

Hey Kuya, here's the cute sweatshirt I bought at Spitalfields market. It was in the men's section and slightly baggy, but I like wearing it with jeans or with pajamas.

is there another way?

I'm just going to be completely effing honest right now, I don't care who reads this. I've advertised my blog enough on Facebook and wherever, I don't even care. In fact, I know a lot of you who are reading here are, drum roll please, in Paris. Which astounds me! I mean, I've been expecting a lot more hits from home, but most are you are Parisians. Anyway, here it goes. I'm gonna get shit for this, I know.

Isn't there another way to hang out that doesn't involve booze? Or spending obscene amounts of money on booze when we can take a plane somewhere and see something new together? I enjoy a pint of framboise. Hell, I had a pint of that stuff and a demi of Guinness (my first time, and I didn't finish it. Tastes like cold coffee) yesterday night because, you know, everyone seemed to be drinking and having a good time. And I wanted to be a part of that too. No one likes feeling left out.

But when the alcohol wears off and people drink more and more, the fun wears off too. It just kind of gets sad. It's interesting to sit with drunk people, they talk more and they reveal things that they wouldn't usually reveal in normal conversation, and I, truthfully, like being there for that, but it feels so wrong.

And you guys want to do this twice a week? You go on ahead and count me out. And don't give me that shit about how the Mayflower is up my street. I know where the Mayflower is. The bar can be across the street. I just don't feel like doing this anymore. I'd rather spend money on other things and watching people get wasted isn't fun, it's kind of sad. I love you guys, and you're all great people when you're not hitting the sauce, but it's the truth. Like I wrote somewhere before on this blog, I wish alcohol didn't bring us together.

Anyway, I'm not writing this to stop people from drinking and having fun in their own way. They can do whatever they want it's their money and bodies or whatever. But if you're wondering why you don't see me that often or why I won't come out tonight, this is why.

I can hear the hatred coming.

mercredi 30 janvier 2008

tea over boys?

God, I'm weird.

Was outside the Mayflower with Morgan, Nayo, and Kathy when this hottie from Australia overheard us talking English and said hello. We were chatting (mostly them, I'm just listening really) with this really hot Australian, and all I could think about was some tea. A nice hot cup of tea. Like, how good would some chamomile tea be right now? Really good. Like, better than talking to a hot Australian guy with his lovely accent.

So I left and went home. And I'm typing with some chamomile at my right.

How am I ever going to meet boys when I'd rather be drinking tea? It's so crazy, right? And this guy is really nice, not boring, and very patient with my friends since two out of four of us are roaring drunk. He'd answer their questions very nicely and all that and wouldn't even flinch at their cursing. I'm not drunk at all. I'm coherent and shy, and it's hard to get in a word when all your friends are just dominating this dude. They've done this before. They have guy experience. I don't know, I'm just not the type that's forward and all that. The guy, David, is on this world tour right now, just left London and talking about all the places he's been. Very interesting and cool guy, the kind of guy I'd be into since he's into traveling, and yet I'm sitting at home drinking my tea.

It's amusing to me what my priorities are.

Conversations are interesting. Just how they lead from topic to topic. Today, everyone asked me how London was and I was telling them what I did, and someone interjects with something, and then another one interjects with something, and then I can never go back to talking about London. It's just gone so far off course that I can't go back to it. That happened today, and it happens a lot to me. And I don't want to be the person that's all, "Anyway, as I was saying..." I don't know. It just sucks when that happens. And I'm not a very talkative person, but when I want to talk and I can't, it sucks.

That's why I write so much. That's why I blog. I'm not very conversationally dominant and when I want to talk, people don't want to listen they just want to talk too, and I'm thrown off track. Sometimes people...they don't even wait until you put the period on your sentence. They just go right on in, like pressing "Play" right after "Pause". You're not even done with your sentence, and they start a new paragraph or a new page. Sometimes you know that even while you're talking, they're just waiting for they're turn to speak.

Blurg. I can always count on blog to listen.

mardi 29 janvier 2008

london day 2 and 3

Went to Spitalfields Market, one of the open air markets I was interested in seeing. A lot of independent clothing designers and other cool things like jewelry and stuffs. I got a royal blue sweatshirt with a bird on it. It's really cute, and I love it. Maek showed me all these Banksy (graffiti artist) prints that are not real, just photographs, but he has a real print at home worth $4,000. And for Loz, we went to little antique shops on the way.Then walked along the Southbank, and they took me to the BFI! That's the British Film Institute. SO COOL. I spent almost half an hour perusing their film bookstore while Maek, Loz, and Jaiya were hanging out at their cafe. I absolutely went ape-shit over their books, especially the Faber and Faber books that are scripts with forewords written by the scriptwriter or director. I bought 6 books! And I don't feel badly at all about the purchase. I bought 4 scripts and 2 books. They were having a sale of the scripts, and I couldn't help it. I love reading scripts and using them as a reference to how to write my own. And they're cheaper here than in the States where I have to special order them sometimes. We had a coffee at the cafe afterwards, then walked back along the river Thames.

Before going home, Loz and I rented Blood Diamond and Death Sentence at Blockbuster. Watched Blood Diamond, which was amazing, while Maek cooked roast chicken and vegetables. It was tasty. Home cooked meals are so nice.

After dinner, Maek and Loz tol me all about all the traveling they'd done. They were together at my age and had done so much traveling. They told me to definitely visit Marrakech and Rome. That those should be my top two. They've been everywhere, their bookshelves and their home prove it. The proof is hanging and displayed in their home. It's definitely easier when you're living in England to be able to travel to so many places. And I felt, being surrounded by their pictures, and the beautiful mural of old keys that Loz and Maek bought in an open market in Marrakech (they found really large and small keys, and Maek hung them on a canvas), I felt like I have done absolutely nothing with my life. I mean, I'm lucky to have seen what I've seen and been able to travel to where I've been, but I still feel that I haven't seen enough, that I should have seen more by my age. And it makes me sad to know people who don't feel they need to travel and leave their comfort zone, who won't make sacrifices to see the world.

And at that moment, hearing their fascinating stories, I felt ready to make the sacrifices I needed to make to see things that I've never seen. They told me how they payed a driver in Marrakech to take them 3 hours through the desert to a beach that's supposedly a surfing haven. How in Colombia (of all places! and while the drug thing wasn't so huge) they slept in hammocks in a rain forest and when Loz wanted to pee during the night, the floor was covered in blue crabs. Exciting!

I felt very close to them, my wandering cousins, in that I have itchy feet too, I want to be on the move too (they've lived in Australia and are now on the move to Bangkok), and it's been very hard for me to be close with my cousins because there's a huge age gap between me and them. I'm the youngest of them all at 21 and there's at least a gap of 7 years. But this desire to travel bonded us, me with my older, wiser cousins.

I saw how important traveling meant to me, how it means as much to me now as writing or film. How I want to be friends and meet someone who cares just as much about traveling as I do. I don't have many friends back home who feel as strongly about traveling. They say they do, but they don't really. I don't see them saving their pennies for the next big trip or planning their month of backpacking across Europe. Some have never owned passports or been out of the country. They say that they'll do it, but I don't think they ever will until they realize it's too late. Until they have jobs, families, responsibilities.

Instead they work, work, work like all Americans, and I commend them for their hard work. They use their vacations to work on non-work things or relax where they are. I don't see their sense of adventure, and I know I'm generalizing but a lot of American are like this. I told Loz this, and she agrees with me.

But I felt so proud to be part of an American family who loves to travel. My Mom, Aunt, and Grandma once stayed at a spa resort in the Czech Republic. We've made family trips to the Philippines, Thailand, England, and Norway. My Dad was stationed in Spain way back when and rode his motorcycle through various European countries. My parents saw the Great Wall in China and the Coliseum in Rome.

It's genetic, this itchy feet thing.


The next day, Loz and I spent the morning with Jaiya going around to some shops while Maek worked. Maek designs websites and you can see his portfolio here. Loz runs a website that rents locations for filming, you can see her site here. Their house is under Heath House! You can see that Marrakech keys thing I was talking about. I love how their jobs can let them be anywhere. They work freelance. So cool.

I rode on the back of Maek's scooter back to St. Pancras station. It was amazing. I've always wanted to ride on the back of a scooter! I just wanted to keep riding all over the city, I didn't want to get off. I saw Parliament, Big Ben, the National Theatre, all on the scooter. Maek was totally careful, and I wore a helmet. When we first started off I had my hands wrapped tightly all around his waist, but 5 minutes in I was no longer scared, and just had my hands at his sides. So much fun. I want a scooter myself!We bid goodbye at the station, and Maek said I could come over anytime with a friend before they move to Bangkok in March. Cool! It's so awesome to have family all over the world. I'm very blessed for an amazing family and being able to travel.

lundi 28 janvier 2008

london day 1

Hey all, I'm back from London! Arrived an hour or so ago. I had an amazing, really chill time with my cousin, his wife and the baby which was what I wanted. Not so much touristy things all crammed together. Just an easy weekend. See some sights and hang out.

Taking Eurostar is super easy and relatively cheap, I love it. And trains are pretty fun. I can see why Buster Keaton loves them so much. To me, they're the best form of land travel. Maek, my cousin, picked me up at St. Pancras Station in London. He drove with Lorraine, his wife, and the baby Jaiya. This is my first time meeting Jaiya.Went to Chinatown and had late lunch. So weird ordering in English. And eating REAL CHINESE FOOD. So good. Walked to National Portrait Gallery and saw a lot of cool paintings. Jaiya pointed at a painting of the Queen and said, "Poppa!" It was hilarious. Even an elderly British lady overhead and laughed. Then to the Somerset House to see their exhibit. Saw a lot of cool old snuff boxes. I picked these places because they were free to get into, but we also did see a photography exhibit at the NPG for 1 pound.

After, we headed home which is in south London called Clapham. They live in a three story house that they re-done, and it's absolutely GORGEOUS. Very modern. Loz (Lorraine) told me that they were actually contacted for a deco magazine, but it didn't pan out.

Chilled out at the house, and the sitter came to take care of Jaiya and we ate at The Sequel, this modern, fancy place that projected movies on the wall. Maek and Loz were happy to have a dinner out without the baby. I had steak, as did Loz, with potatoes and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream which was excellent.

After, Loz and Maek took me to their friend, Buffer's (that's his nickname) birthday barhopping thing, which was really cool. Their friends are super nice and funny. Someone asked Buffer what the plan was and he said, "First we'll find a bar then we're getting Punyo's (that's Maek's first name--Maek is his nickname) cousin SMASHED!" We met at The Pitcher and the Piano then moved to the bar Calvados. It was pretty hopping. Loz's friend Mikel was super smashed and kept talking to me, it was really funny. Her husband didn't drink much and was just watching after her. Then Mikel said, "I'm going to smoke a fag" and I said okay, and then I could hear her talking loudly to her husband saying, "TALK TO HER!" meaning me. It was funny. Her husband, Dave, came over and we chatted.

It's funny, I think British men are the most well dressed men EVER. They know how to put an outfit together just as French women know how to put an outfit together. British women as well. Yeah, I'm gaga for British guys and being in London sort of rejuvenated my love for them.

I don't remember who, but one of the guys gave me a shot, and Loz said I didn't have to drink it, but I drank it, and it wasn't that bad. We left early, around 12:30am, to get back to the sitter.