samedi 14 juin 2008

oh, mother

I explained to Mom that it's polite to say "Bonjour" to people when you enter a restaurant/store/whatever. Mom pronounces it "bomb-jew".

Oh. Gawd.

Hilariousness, but I told her that I'll do the talking. It's her accent, sometimes it's hard for her to say certain words the way they should be said. I even did a little French lesson on our boat tour, but no success. Dad's is better.

Notre Dame, Latin quarter, and a sweet little boat tour. Not bad. They want to take it easy. They've been on too many of those travel group tours where they rush to see everything. We let Dad nap in the garden behind Notre Dame while we bought souvenirs. While having coffee, Mom brought up Louis Vuitton and convinced herself that she's been working very hard and how it would be nice to "treat" herself. Oh lovely. Dad rebuked, "Working hard? You work one day a week!" Mom's retired but has a part-time job where she works with her friends in a lab one day a week. How awesome is that? Looking at blood slides with your friends and getting paid for it. That's what I want, to love my job, to be able to work with people I can consider friends.

Packed one suitcase that my parents brought and will use as one of their check-in luggages. This is weird.

vendredi 13 juin 2008

Meet the Parents

My parents have arrived. No gushy ceremony at the airport, it was just like old times. While in the taxi to their hotel, Dad saw a road sign for Nantes and mentioned the Count of Monte Cristo. The driver's ears perked up and then Dad said, "By Alexandre Dumbass."

The driver said nothing.

My father, ladies and gentlemen. Dad's a huge movie quoter, hope you know that one.

Helped them check-in and then we had lunch at my place then took them back to their hotel to rest. Mom loves the area, and we went to the market together to buy cherries and apricots. There's yet another film crew filming again and we got to check that out. Lovely, lovely. Tomorrow: sightseeing.

jeudi 12 juin 2008


The hard reality of leaving hit me last night.Small get together for Lucia and Kathy leaving. Good food, good people, and my small studio. Lots of wine and beer consumed and then...bikes.

I feel safer nightbiking here since there's less cars. Me, Lucia, Kathy, Susie, and Susie's bf Andy, and Melissa got Velibs and biked to St. Michel (then said bye to Melissa), then Notre Dame, then along the Seine ending at the Louvre. Beautiful at night. Stood around taking pics and talking by the main pyramid until the guard told us to leave around 1 am. We split ways there, knowing full well that we might not see each other until we get back to SF. But it felt like any other goodbye but with a little bit of sadness to it. Lucia and I biked up rue Monge then turned to my street. I've always wanted to bike down my street at night.

After returning the bikes, Lucia and I parted ways saying, "See you in LA." It felt so weird to say that. See you in LA. Do I really have to go "home"? Is this really happening?

I've been spending my days writing in cafés and people watching, enjoying my quartier which has been a cinematic dream to live in, everything I have ever wanted and more. I don't think anything will ever top this. And yet I want to believe that I could have it this good again.

Tomorrow morning, I see my parents.

mercredi 11 juin 2008

what I learned on the Italy voyage

I wrote this a while ago in my journal...

I just loved traveling with these girls. As much as we love being American, we certainly didn't fit that American stereotype that foreigners hold against us: loud, obnoxious, and sticking out like a sore thumb. Something that we call, "Ugly American". There's actually a book out with that name.

And, by nature, we're not really loud people. So it was nice just being in silent awe of what we saw and not making a scene.

The really hard thing about traveling is that you want to see the "best of" but, as I have learned, I also want to enjoy the moment and relax and take in this beautiful place. I think that's the difference from being a traveler and being a tourist.

To do to make this all possible and to keep a balance between both:
1. Plan ahead: If we had of known how long the crazy lines were, I would have made reservations for the Uffizzi. Instead we lost almost 3 hours standing in line

2. Make a conscious decision: This might be harder for some people, but I want to see a city more than once. I'm not one of those checklist people. I try to make a conscious decision to come back for another visit. You can't know a city in a weekend. There's just too much. I've been in Paris for almost a year and I still don't truly know some parts of it. I want a reason to come back though and explore more which takes me to my next point.

3. Explore: Traveling is about exploring, making the best out of your time in a beautiful place. Learning comes from experience, and experience comes from trying something new.

Also, I learned other things...

1. Have money: Take care of money problems and letting your bank know you're abroad. It sucks that this had to happen to Keisha.
2. There are amazing boys everywhere. Who cares if English is their second language.
3. I don't have to spend time in a museum to enjoy a city, and it's not the end of the world if I don't see some famous work of art.

Yesterday was pretty sweet. Went to the catacombs again this time with Melissa, Kathy, and M's friend Myra. Then lunch at an Italian restaurant. I got the fish and it was so good. Later decided to go to the Saint Medard to write a bit, and Lucia wanted to join, so we sat there with demi-citrons, our legs getting a tan since we were both wearing dresses. We talked, people watched, I wrote for a while and Lucia drew. It was nice. I saw a girl with a brown bike that I absolutely adored, and it made me miss my bike at home. A nice, laidback day.

lundi 9 juin 2008

the full, cinematic circle

UPDATED!: I added photos.They filmed on my street today. This time 1920s Paris I'm guessing, or at least late 19th-20th century Paris. Men in suits and hats; ladies in dresses, heels and their hair did. An old-timey wine truck was parked in front of my building. They put a facade over the Franprix and old shop signs are hanging in front of other stores. Down below, extras are sitting in the shade and smoking cigarettes. Absolute film loveliness. Went to do laundry and found them setting-up. The production assistant in front of my building was cute, almost stopped me but when I explained that I lived in this building he smiled and was cool.

I get so effing excited on film sets, you would not believe. I haven't been on one in the longest time, so I almost forgot what it felt like to be a part of the magic. Being on part of the set on my street brought me back to all those amazing times I've spent making films and helping my friends make their films. And I love how, in my first days moving in here I got to be a part of a film, and now, at the end of my days, another film is being created nearby. A full, cinematic circle.

Haha, omg, they're scrambling to get this shot with the noon church bells ringing and there's a buttload of people wanting to go up the street. Sorry, I'm writing this as it's happening. I'm going to go down and see what they're up to...


Okay. I found out the name of the film: Julie and Julia. A NORA EPHRON film!!! So cool. Sleepless in Seattle is one of my favorite romcoms. I looked up the cast in imdb--pretty huge. I didn't see Meryl Streep or Amy Adams walking around though. Maybe they're not in these scenes.

I'll post my amazing photos later. Anyway, it was really sweet to be surrounded by all the props and fake store fronts. To see crew waiting around with their walkie talkies and drinking water. It just brings a lot of memories for me. This could not have come at a better time. I haven't written about it much, at least not here, but I've been really struggling with this film path and constantly asking myself if I'm willing to go through this "life of pain and struggle" as my Cinema 202 professor once called it. "And when it's good," he said, "It's brief." He could not have put it in better words.

Life's funny. A couple days ago I was debating to myself, saying to myself, "I need something, I need to know for sure that I'm doing the right thing, that it's all going to be okay", and today God and the universe set up early 20th century Paris right outside my door. A successful female writer/director up the street. If that's not a sign, then I don't know what is. Signs don't get any better than that.

dimanche 8 juin 2008

the mouffe'

I spent most of Saturday in my quartier or in my studio writing at my window seat with the windows wide open. It was really special since there was a brocante, or second-hand stuff/antique sale, going on outside in my quartier. Streets lined with people trying to sell their awesome antiques as well as their un-sellable (I know that's not a word) crap. I saw a lot of cool furniture, but nothing small that was cool. I was looking for something for Kuya's girl Kathy. This little girl wanted a stone sculpture of a rabbit. The kind of sculpture you'd put in your garden, but her Mom said no. The little girl replied, "Mais pourquoi? C'est mignon!" (But why? It's cute!)

Also saw a boy, around my age, admiring a wooden standing valet. Those old-timey free standing suit hangers that holds the pants and the suit jacket as well as a tray for stuffs. Just seeing him inspect it and think about buying it filled me with joy.

Today I spent even more time at the brocante. Yesterday was a run-through while today was a more detailed look. Met Lucia and Keisha by the fountain and we went around to all the vendors. Helped Keisha decide to get two leather belts and a snakeskin portfolio. Yesterday, Lucia bought a set of cups and saucers. I myself was looking for cups and saucers.Keisha found an incredible automatic Mont Blanc watch. Keisha knows her watches since she specialized in them at Louis Vuitton. The face was huge and unscratched since it was double crystal or something like that. All I remember her saying was that nothing would scratch it except for diamond. The guy wanted 150 euros, but we walked away.Then, at another vendor, Lucia found another set of cups and saucers that were made in the south of France. They were really amazing. Man, if I had seen them first, I would have got them, but c'est la vie. She saw them. It's like that unspoken rule of not dating a guy that your friend liked first. I think the vendor could tell that I liked them too because he said I looked "mignonne" (cute) when I saw them. They just really made me smile. I would have bought them if Lucia didn't. And she already bought cups and saucers!!! Dang. Maybe more luck at the Marche Aux Puces.

Went through the whole brocante. Keisha kept debating about the watch. We had a most delicious lunch at Cave La Bourgogne, a restaurant right in the square. My landlord told me it was really good when I moved in, but I've never had the chance to eat there. I am so glad I did though. Got the plat du jour, steak with a bordelaise sauce and vegetables. House wine as usual. It was DELICIOUS and not expensive for the portions (14.80 euros). I was so glad that I brought my appetite since I only had fruit and tea for breakfast. We sat on the terrace, inside-outside. Since the streets are closed off for the brocante, my landlord was playing his music by the fountain. Across the street, we saw a man propose to a girl at the Café Le Saint Médard. We caught the tail end of it, everyone clapping and the couple kissing.Ordered dessert and café. Lucia wanted flan, but the waiter didn't understand so I explained, "C'est comme crème brulée, mais c'est pas brulée." (It's like burnt cream, but not burnt." He laughed, saying to himself in French "That's good! That's good! Not burnt! Haahahah". It made me so happy to make this guy smile just because he seemed like he was in a nasty mood since it was so busy. It put him in good spirits. He said that it was called crème caramel. And I got a crème brulée.An older couple took a photo of us, and the husband correctly guessed that we were Californian students. How funny. He also said that he liked my earrings and did I get them in Santiago? How weird. Keisha was still debating the watch, so we went back again, and she got to negotiate the watch down to 90 euros. I was so happy for her and her big faced masculine automatic Mont Blanc watch. I liked that the back was clear, and you can see the mechanism at work.

During lunch, Keisha had asked me what I was going to miss the most about Paris. I didn't even have to think about it: my quartier. None of my previous living situations would come close to this neighborhood, this experience. And will I ever have it this good again? It's really hard to say. In the quiet words of Toby Flenderson: "I'm gonna chase that feeling." Sorry, obscure "The Office" quote. But it really sums up my sentiments.