samedi 5 avril 2008

"Let's take a look at the itinerary." -- Francis, The Darjeeling Limited.

Asked Mom to send me the itinerary for their trip and got this: Absolute insanity. You have no idea how freaking excited I am about this. You know how some kids don't like traveling with their families or parents? I am the absolute opposite. I love it. I guess because traveling has been ingrained in us for so long, from weekends to San Onofre to three weeks in the Philippines. And I'm with the people I love--heaven. And I'm in desperate need of some Dad humor and Dad quotes. You would not believe the things this ex-sailor says. He's so hilarious. And just paired with the rationality of my times indeed.

My aunt Trini will also be joining us too. Mom's good friend, but I call her Aunt--you know how that is. She's hilarious, and I've always looked up to her as a fashion icon. She's one of those ladies that you might think goes to fashion shows or has her house featured on Architectural Digest (her house is amazing), but she's none of those things, just a regular lady like my Mom.

I'm excited about doing this all in a car and taking our time. I really want to drive in the countryside too. Wait, it might be stick though. Shoot. I can't drive stick. This would be a great time to learn! I'm always bugging Dad to teach me. Dad has an old Chevy truck that's stick, and I've always wanted to learn on that. He said that, "If you can drive this, you can drive anything. You can drive a tank." So that was great motivation.

vendredi 4 avril 2008

I have a cat.

No, not really.

Landlord stopped by today to drop off some homemade prune jam. What did I do to deserve this? No, really. What did I do to deserve this. Haha, it was a really sweet gesture. And it's quite good, he's given me some before. I opened the door to let him in, and this cat darted into my studio. I was surprised, and Chris just laughed it off. "Oh, haha! Such a fat cat!" he said. I said maybe a bit too seriously, "Is that your cat? Do you want me to get him?"

"No, it's the neighbor's cat. (Pause) Well, have a good day!"
"Wait! Should I take him outside or..."
Chris gave me some ambiguous answer. So French. I let the cat stay and watched him for a bit until he went into my bathroom and found this hidden crawl space and went into it. That made me flip out, I was hoping this wouldn't turn into some "Full House" episode or something or end in some sad disaster resulting in the whole building hating me. He (or she) crawled out and at that point I nicknamed him Tintin since he was lounging by my Tintin towels for a bit.

Tintin explored my studio then sat by the window and people watched. It was pretty cool, having this cat for a bit, but also distracting since I was trying to do homework. I felt like Amelie when she has to cat-sit her friend's cat. Tintin heard the downstairs door open--he was probably anticipating his owner's return--so he went to my door, and I let him out. Don't worry, he'll be okay. There's actually a hole by our door building big enough for cats to sneak in and out, and I've seen him hanging around here a lot, so he knows where his home is.

Finally feel like I have my studio to myself again. God, living alone is so nice. It's so nice to lay on my bed and have all the pillows to myself. It's so nice to wake up whenever. It's so nice to make my own food. It's also nice to have a friend over and drink weird Jamaican ginger soda and shoot the shit, as they say. (That was my night last night). I'm really going to miss this when I have to move back in with roommates.

My favorite photo that I've taken so far. Taken at Opera Garnier. There was an old Japanese couple. His wife was dressed in a traditional kimono and the husband was taking photos of her:

jeudi 3 avril 2008


Woke up today totally unmotivated to go to class, so I skipped my morning one. I was just too tired. I ended up running into my morning class teacher and she said, "Ca va, ma cherie?" (Are you okay, my dear?) And then she came over and hugged me and kissed me on my forehead like your grandmother would if you were sick. If this was America, that would be weird, but she's a really sweet French lady and laidback and wears huge Lacoste sweaters and big ass glasses like Adrien Brody in Darjeeling (but not tinted) so that makes it okay. Very affectionate to the girls in the class (always bisousing), and she absolutely loves Italian boys. I had an Italian classmate named Manfreddi, and she'd always call out to him whenever he came into class late. "Manfreddi!"

Afternoon class was okay. There are some American girls in this class who can't speak very well or are not so confident, so they'll sometimes start in French, and then when they don't know the word in French they'll say it in English and as a question. For example, "Il joue...joue. Joue?...Plays?" (Joue--from jouer--means play or is playing). The other students talk much faster and have interesting analysis. I've only spoken once in class, trying to analyze a sentence from a Marguerite Duras excerpt, and the prof shot me down, so I haven't fully recovered yet.

I felt bad for these poor girls because they seemed embarrassed to be at their level while everyone else has clearly had French for more than 4 years, and I can't help but feel embarrassed myself because I'm also an American and not that great of a speaker. All I could think was, "This does not bode well for us Americans." Just how these foreigners are seeing us.

Today felt like the first day of spring, but only for a little while. The sun was shining finally, and you could really feel the warmth. And for a bit I didn't have to wear my scarf. Met up with Melissa and Kathy at Starbucks after my class, and we chatted it up for a while. Lots of students go there to study. And I mean seriously study. They had their laptops out and highlighters and various papers and books. Kathy had a newspaper, Melissa two books and a notebook, and I had my planner out and later some reading I had to do. But we mostly chatted. I can't study or do homework in groups. It's too distracting.

mercredi 2 avril 2008

15 days

Dropped off the girls at the airport this morning. Last night, we had dinner in. I cooked salmon, rice, and steamed vegetables. We had white wine, and for dessert rice pudding topped with raspberries. Delicious. We went to the Tour Eiffel around 9 when it's starting to get dark. I bought a ticket for the second floor while the girls got a ticket for the top floor. Since I've already been there, I brought my notebook and sat on a bench and just wrote while enjoying the view. I got a few weird looks from tourists.

I'm kind of glad the whole friends visiting is over, just because I really got into living alone and not doing tons of touristy stuff in short periods of time. It was weird getting different reactions from my friends who I haven't seen in a long time. Some were nice and others were kind of...let's just say that some don't like the new me. Paris me. But what am I supposed to do? Not change? Go back to pre-Paris me? It's just not possible. And I don't want to go back. I like who I am right now. I guess living in this city might have hardened me a bit, but I totally needed it. I was too soft, back then. I'm still soft in some ways. Kind of doughy, actually.

15 days until Italy!!! I'm very excited. After the airport, met up with Lucia, Kathy, and Melissa for lunch. We had pizza at St. Michel. I mentioned to Lucia that I wanted to get a small Italian phrasebook so me, her, and Kathy went to Gibert Jeune. I got one under 5 euros by Lonely Planet, and it even has a cd, so I can put the lessons onto my ipod shuffle. Sweetness.

Back to normals stuffs to do:
1. Loads of homework/Study
2. Clean
3. Mail letters
4. Get ready for Italy

Stuff sent home:
1. winter parka
2. winter accessories (save for 2 scarves)
3. assorted cds and books
4. notebooks and papers from last semester

lundi 31 mars 2008

city of love

I was at the Louvre waiting for the girls outside behind the giant main pyramid. That's my meeting point for friends because it's not that crowded, and you can easily see who enters and exits the Louvre. Been pretending to be a spy to watch my friends leave the building. Felt spyish too with my trench coat.

I was sitting for a while, and this young American couple sits a couple feet away from me. I had my back to them. I have really good peripheral vision, so I notice the boyfriend on his knees. He brings out this brown box, unwraps it, takes out this ring, and puts it on his girlfriend's finger and asks, "Will you marry me?"

She says yes. How lovely that I got to witness that. It was just me and them and no one else. It felt really cool to be a part of that, to be a witness to love in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Louvre's a funny place to propose to a girl, but it's not as played out as the Tour Eiffel. I'd probably say yes at the D'Orsay. Louvre's not so bad though.

They kissed and sat huddled together for a while before leaving. I love how small this act was. It wasn't some grand gesture. Nothing huge like a big screen proclaiming love was involved. It was just this guy on vacation with his girl and taking her to the Louvre. Simple is beautiful.

It's funny that this happens because I've been recently in touch with a friend who, at my age of 21, is considering marriage. I was completely knocked out. I don't know...21 just seems so young to get married. But that's just me. I always thought I'd finish school, travel a lot, work and be indie, and if a boy fits in there, a boy that's as indie as I am, who gets my stupid jokes and can stand me, then that would be cool. That's my plan anyway. Who knows what'll happen. Every girl is different though and wants different things.

I remember being taught by my English teacher that it depresses him when girls would rather have the guy than to travel or do what they've always wanted to do. That we don't need boys to complete us. I wish every girl felt the same way.

splurge on yourself

Girls are on the way to the Louvre while I get some much needed study time/blog time. I have another test tomorrow, and this time I can't screw up. But it's hard to focus when your friends are in town and you need to show them around.

Took them to Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, and the Moulin Rouge yesterday. Also went grocery shopping up the street. They're really thrifty girls and I commend them for it, but I want to see them splurge on themselves on their vacation because I think they deserve it. They buy gifts for other people, but they haven't yet bought anything for themselves. They're so selfless, and I want them to be selfish.

Yesterday on the metro, I made the girls sit on some seats far from me while I stood, and these guys started to talking to them. At first I was wary, but it ended up being a good experience for them. One older guy said that Cher was very cute, and this younger college student guy who spoke English translated for her. Then when the college guy was getting up at his stop, he said to Cher, "He was right. You are very cute. Au revoir." I thought that was a lovely story.

Last night, we watched The Darjeeling Limited. Both of them fell asleep a few times, and that's understandable, they're tired and jetlagged a bit, but at the beginning of the film, one of my friends had her sudoku book on her lap and a pencil! That kind of hurt my feelings. Sometimes she'd peek into it, but whatever. Whenever I show a movie I like to a friend and she does stuff like that or doesn't want me to pause it for her when she goes to the bathroom, that kind of upsets me because then I can tell she's not giving her full attention to something you really like and she's not being open to the experience. Can you imagine what I'm going to feel when I show my first big film to someone and stuff like that happens? I'll probably go into a full on depression.