vendredi 30 mai 2008

Venezia: Day 14

Venezia: Day 14

Woke up late-ish. Traveling from city to city can do that to you, especially by Day 14 of our little trip. We didn't have much planned to see, no museums we were dying to wait in line for. Today was a really easy going day. Took the metro boat to the famous Piazza San Marco and had lunch at a lovely restaurant off the square where we were served by the Venetian Steve Buscemi. He really had his face. And he was super sweet and had a thing for Lucia. See, Lucia got this dish, and for some reason she wanted sliced tomatoes, so she asked him if he could arrange that for her, and he was really nice about it and said yes. He comes back and places by her plate a bowl of TOMATO SAUCE and walked away. We all stared at each other smiling. Keisha said, "Maybe he heard 'sauce' instead of 'sliced'?" Laughable. Afterwards, Keisha and I ordered an espresso as our digestif and Lucia didn't order anything, but Seniore Buscemi came by and put down a shot of limoncello in front of her. She turned, as if to say he was mistaken, but he only winked at her and smiled. Lucia has a Venetian boyfriend! We joked all day about it.We walked by the boat docking areas and sat there and had gelato and then we perused the many souvenir carts for Venetian masks. Keisha is planning a masquerade party for her birthday next year, and she wanted all of us to get masks. I got a simple white one that covered my eye area, Lucia one with feathers, and Keisha's was huge and goldish, and perfect for her since it's for her birthday masquerade.Walked some more along the canals with no real purpose. We did want to take a gondola ride though, so we talked to a guy who wanted 80 euros for the three of us for 30 minutes. No way. Keisha said that we'll be back because we need to find an ATM. We then got it down to 20 euros each and the guy said we'll stop by an ATM in the middle of the gondola ride, haha. Sweetness.

The gondola ride was pretty sweet. What I liked was that it was solemn and quiet. We didn't really go through touristy places or bump into other gondolas. Going along the canals was just so unreal. It felt like a Disneyland ride, almost, but way better. Because this wasn't a set, this was real. People lived here. When I was a kid, I wanted to live in New Orleans Square at Disneyland.

We stopped and our gondola guy told Keisha that the ATM was across the square. He spoke a little English. We docked right next to another Gondola guy that kind of looked like a young Jack Nicholson. He was funny and posed in some photos with us while smoking on his cigarette.
For dinner, took the metro boat to another part of Venice, the less touristy part. Got off at Accademia, and tried to look for this wine bar that I read about, but no luck. We went to a restaurant that faced the ocean and had some seafood instead. Real tasty. Then got some gelato and waited for the boat to take us home.It was still light out, but we were pretty tired. We took the long way back home though on the boat going through the shipping yards and passing the train station. The girls stayed inside the boat while I stood on the starboard side watching boats pass and the lovely scenery. I can't remember everything I was feeling at that moment, but I was definitely happy to be on this trip with good people and still have time to myself. You know you've found good people to be with when they let you be who you are and understand where you're coming from. I've never had to explain myself to them or be pressured to do stuff that I didn't feel like doing. And it's like they instinctively knew that I like my time alone. God, these girls are amazing.

I thought about friends back home with boyfriends, friends with kids, and girls I graduated with that are about to get married. I'm all happy for them, and I want the best for them. But I felt odd for not sharing what they wanted or at least being in the same situations as theirs. Graduating. In a relationship. Found a job. Moved into a new apartment.

Everything happens for a reason, I guess. If I hadn't made the choices I made, I wouldn't be standing here on this boat watching gondolas float by, feeling the cool salty wind brush my face and sensing that wherever I was, whether it be in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, or here on this boat, that wherever I was, I was home.

jeudi 29 mai 2008

all in all...a good day

I had a huge grammar test today. It was really long, but I feel like it went well. Morgan finished early and went down to the lunch truck, kind of like those food trucks in LA that sell food outside of construction sites for workers. When I got out of class she told me that the sweet lunch lady asked about me and Susie. Every Thursday I get a tuna baguette there and a bottle of water if I forgot mine. What a nice lady. So that made my day.

The class after my grammar class was canceled so I took my lunch (paid a visit to lunch lady!) and went to Ile St. Louis to eat beside the Seine and write a little. It was overcast out, but still nice. Perused some books at bookstores nearby then went home.

I wonder if couples traveling ever break up after a trip. I was on the bus, and I saw this couple outside, and they were for sure tourists. They just have that look. The girl was cute, dressed nicely. The guy looked a bit douchey--he was wearing a souvenir beret and aviator sunglasses. He had a map out. They looked like they were arguing lightly, and she looked maybe embarrassed to be with him. Just standing far away from him, arms crossed and looking around a lot to see if people are watching. I dunno. Trips should bring people together. Maybe it's over with and they're making out in front of the Eiffel right now.

I did a crapload of drawing today. Like two hours worth, it was really fun. It's almost as good as writing. Almost. The advantage being that it recalls memories faster. Like today, I drew the St. Denis lunch lady. I think drawing allows me to connect with that inner child, it helps me de-stress, I's just fun. I don't know why I didn't draw sooner. I just hope that I make time for it when I go home.

mercredi 28 mai 2008

understanding in a car crash

Like the new blog header? I find it hilarious because that sheet of paper is completely blank save for 2 words. It was this paper I was writing for History of Paris.

I'm feeling slightly better now. I'm just trying to get used to my life being a question mark. And that's okay. That's okay. It's going to be okay. I feel like going to batting cages right now, for some reason. I'm a little on edge.

Good day today despite being a little in my own world. Lunch with girls at L'As du Falafel in the Marais, only the best falafel place in Paris probably. Then off to a cafe to study. This time one by Melissa's work. The place was really super cute with lights in the ceiling that look like stars and comfy chairs. Much studying and talking was done. Then Kathy and I went to WH Smith because she needed a guide book for Italy. She's backpacking there by herself. Good for her! After walking around Paris for a while, met up with Melissa a couple hours later for another study cafe session, this time at the Barnum. That's when I had my "car crash" moment.

I must explain with backstory. Junior year of high school I got in a car crash going to class. It wasn't my fault, I was making a protected left turn and an airport van ran the red light and rammed into the right passenger side of my car. I saw it coming, but I was too late at reacting, in fact, I turned left more, like making a U-turn, hoping to avoid the crash, but it didn't happen.

Whenever stuff like this happens, I feel like I need to re-examine my life. Even though my life wasn't in danger and I wasn't hurt, I still felt like there was something wrong, that even at some subconscious level there was something I was overlooking. Yes, it was his fault that he hit me, that he wasn't paying attention, but this had to happen for some other reason. Maybe this happened because I wasn't paying attention to something in my life, not something that had to do with the car crash.

Anyway, another car crash moment, fast forward 5 years later. At Barnum, we got Cokes, and I was absentmindedly crushing my lemon with my spoon inside the glass with the Coke in it while Melissa and Kathy were talking, and I wasn't even paying attention. I was just crushing the lemon with one hand when the glass tips over, and I can see it all happening slowly just like the car crash 5 years before, and Coke spills all over the table. Kathy and Melissa react more quickly than I do, and I just watched it drip onto the floor. There weren't any napkins or anything. Kathy got some and the waiter was super sweet and cleaned it up, and I just sat there thinking, "What am I ignoring? What am I not paying attention to?" Maybe I'm looking too deep into things. They just joked and said I was a klutz. But I figured out what was wrong 5 years ago...Sometimes I think we need a little "car crash" to put things in perspective.

Anyway, if this all sounds too crazy, this episode of "The X-Files" written and directed by Gillian Anderson is all you need to kind of understand what this is like for me. My favorite 7th season episode, "all things".

mardi 27 mai 2008

second thoughts

Yesterday was a weird day. One of those fall/winter 2007 freakout days where I wondered where my life was going, and if this was what God really intended, and stupid crap like that that gives me an awful headache.

It's a sad and rainy day today. And there's a funeral outside. The bells haven't tolled yet, but the vehicle to carry the deceased is there with it's back door open. There's sunshine somewhere, and that's where I want to be. I'm getting party invitations from friends recently graduated from college and other notices across the interwebs, and it all makes me want to throw the laptoppy across the room.

Yesterday, I tried to figure out my fall class schedule if, worst case scenario, I can't get into any advanced production classes. I actually like the worst case scenario since I don't want to take advanced production classes. They cost loads of money, money that's been already spent here. And that's okay. If I had to choose between Paris for a year and a year of advanced production classes, developed film, camera rentals, and pizza for actors...I choose Paris.

The only really crappy thing is that for worse case scenario, which I will refer to as WCS, the number of units doesn't add up to what I need.'s possible that I won't graduate by next year. Maybe I'm making this worse than it really is, I'm just digging a bigger hole, why not, I'm already down here. Dig, dig, dig.

The good thing, the one, bright and hopeful star in this dark universe is that I haven't counted the cinema units I earned right here in Paris. I left that out, as part of the WCS. So there are 6 shiny star units off in the distance, just waiting to be counted.

God, this isn't supposed to be happening now. I already had my great big freakout last year, this shouldn't be a yearly thing. If anything, my great big freakout should be scheduled for this time NEXT year, you know, right in the middle of graduation, if that even happens.

And that's just the one problem I'm having. While at the laundromat watching my bedsheets spin in the dryer, I had my doubts about cinema. Just why, why, why, am I in love with something so unstable. Why can't I be a normal Filipino girl and do nursing or law. Why can't I be comfortable at home instead of being antsy and wanting to see the world. I spinned the whole thing around and then asked myself, why isn't anyone like me? Like us (Paris people, I'm talking to you)? Acting out on their true desires. I know far too many people who don't belong in the nursing field because their true ego lies in writing for people or designing clothes for them, and not administering their pain medication. But they do it anyway, they do it anyway.

This world is so crazy. Where's my Tylenol?

lundi 26 mai 2008

Firenze and Venezia: Day 13

Day 13

Woke up early to go to the Accademia for our scheduled visit to see the famous David. We checked out of our hostel since we're supposed to leave by 10:30am, but left our baggage in the office.

The David was really, really huge. Not allowed to take photos though. Grabbed a postcard on the way out. Also saw more religious paintings. By now, I'm kind of burnt out from all the art. There's just too much to see.

After the museum, we grabbed a cappuccino for breakfast then headed back to the Leather School. Lovely, lovely, they remembered us. Keisha was checking out the purses, Lucia the wallets, and I got my wallet monogrammed. It was so cool, just standing by the craftsman as he selected gold leaf papers, and fitted my initials into the stamp. He showed me the "E.G.F." and asked for my approval. I nodded and said, "Si."He stamped it, showed me the stamp and awaited my approval again, and then put the wallet back in its wrapping. Peeked in on Keisha as she tried out a green leather over-the-shoulder handbag. Absolutely gorgeous. I joined Lucia as we both looked presents for our family to get monogrammed. I chose things for Mom, Dad, and Kuya, and got them monogrammed. Then Keisha's salesman came over to give me storage bags for the presents. Awesome! When we were about to leave, the main guy who helped us asked, "How did you find us?" I mentioned my Lonely Planet guide. He smiled and said, "Come back again" before saying goodbye. As we left, we said thank you and goodbye to the craftsmen working.

I thought about our lovely things and how they would totally fit that "grow old with and pass it down" type stuff that I'm into. I thought about if I'd get to "come back again". Maybe by that time I'll be working. Maybe by the time I come back, I'll need a new wallet, with new initials in gold.

Walked to another area known for leather, Piazza San Lorenzo. Stand after stand of leather goods. Some specializing in just purses, or just belts, or pashmina scarves. Keisha wanted leather gladiator sandals, Lucia a purse, and I was good and totally done with shopping. Right until I found myself at a belt stand with Keisha. The vendor was really nice and funny. I picked up a green leather belt but found that it was too big. "I fix for you!!" the vendor said. He put the belt around me, saw how much he should cut off, and then disappeared with the belt. When he came back, the belt was shorter, and he put one more hole for the buckle so that I can cinch it tighter. So sweet! For Keisha, he shortened her snake skin belt, put in another hole and even made a little loop with the extra snake skin. Lucia was at another vendor one stand down and got a black leather purse.

Afterwards, we went to the train station to get our ticket to Venezia. Got tickets for 15H-ish which was in an hour. Picked up our baggage at the hostel and went back to the station and got Mcdonald's before boarding our train to Venezia. Slept for most of the train ride.

Got into Venice around 18H. It was so surreal traveling by train over the ocean and pulling into the station. Like something out of Spirited Away.We exited the station, and all I could think was Dr. Indiana Jones exhaling, "Ahh...Venice" in The Last Crusade. We got a 2 day pass for the "metro" which is really a boat that goes from dock to dock all over the islands. How cool is that?!

On the boat, we watched gondolas, boat taxis, and people with their own boats pass us. Got off at Ponte di Rialto where it was busy with tourists dining by the canals. I had directions to the hostel which were more complicated than I thought. And we passed lots of stores selling Venetian glass and leather bound journals. After what seemed like forever, we found our hostel through a tiny alleyway where we saw a lovely circular lamplight pointing to the entrance.

Checked into the Locanda Poste Vecie, and our sweet hostel lady showed us to the Annex, which was a couple metres down from the hotel. The annex was the "hostel" part while the lobby was part of the hotel part. The buildings were converted from a palace. I guess where we were staying were the servants quarters. She was really sweet and helped with Keisha's luggage, but was out of breath on the third floor where our room was. She also showed us the two shared bathrooms on the second floor.
Our room was HUGE and cute with paintings of famous Venetian bridges on its walls. Originally for 4 people with 2 queen beds, we decided to book it anyway since it was cheaper than other three-person rooms we found, and this hotel was in a super-central area. I mean, 2 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. Come on!

We collapsed on the bed to rest for a couple of minutes, then started unpacking. For fun, we laid out all the leather goods that we bought in Firenze on the bed and took a picture. We really went to town there. While Keisha was napping, Lucia and I decided to see the area since it was only past 21H. We walked around the canal area and the bars and found a cafe by the Ponte where we got sandwiches, chips, and water to go. Came back to find Keisha awake and hungry, so we ate while sitting on our beds, amongst our leather goods. Unpacked some more and went to sleep in our comfy warm beds.

dimanche 25 mai 2008

j' liste.

Things I like:

1* watercolors
2* sitting in parks to study with chocolate and fruit to eat
3* sitting in cafés to study with a demi-citron to drink
4* 1664 Blanc in its blue bottle
5* wearing a button-down over a flowy dress
6* stores dedicated to certain things ( and Dubois on rue Soufflot
7* wearing flowy dress with my rugged engineer boots
8* not wearing a watch
9* mimes
10* finding new uses with old things (Bonne Maman jam jar for water when painting)
11* calligraphy
12* girls wearing high-tops and dresses
13* guys wearing 5 day stubble and wrinkled button-downs cuffed to elbow
14* brebis fromage + tuc crackers (+ jam, as suggested by Melissa, but I've never tried it)
15* square scarf as a headband
16* shortcuts or different paths to the same place
17* Monoprix peach champagne
18* when boys think I'm cute and tell me so (thanks Taylor!)
19* hosting dinner party
20* looking at all the color choices at Dubois (see 6*)
21* seeing my priests on bikes or wearing sandals while shopping for fruit
22* giving old people directions
23* tartines: opened faced sandwich