samedi 5 juillet 2008

Oh America

Got a great big dose of America yesterday, and it was very hard to swallow.

My city is one of the last few where it is legal to buy and set off fireworks. In the morning, Dad drove me around in the newest addition to our family of automobiles, this one a real eye-turner. I don't even know if I'm still supposed to talk about it. Let's just say that Dad pretends he's Steve McQueen when he's driving it and it's named after a snake. Yup. Drove around and saw lots of my redneck citizens buying stuff to blow up.

Oh America.

Went to the supermarket too to buy steaks, and got a big dose of America there too. Dad squeezed his giant tractor of a truck into the cramped parking lot. Short, chubby ladies with tattoos eyeing the steaks. Sunburned men in graying goatees and Corona beer tank tops piling ice into the back of the SUV gas guzzlers. Some guy on his cell phone almost sideswiped my cart and said to the person on the end, "I'm already ready to kill someone in this store." Oh America.

Dinner was amazing: steaks, rice, salad, corn. The basics of a July 4th dinner. It was a really cool day, and too huge of an eye opener to being back. I see the way things are done, and...I just wish it was like France. Like when we were in line at the cashier at the supermarket, I just could see all these plastic bags being used, and I'm not a huge preachy environmentalist, but I still care about the Earth. I brought my Franprix reusable bag to use.

Didn't watch my neighbors blow up their money away, but went straight to bed around 9. Still jetlagged. Today, I meet my best friend from college and we try to figure out where we're going to live in SF for this semester.

vendredi 4 juillet 2008

2 am again

2 am in sleeping so cal, but the laptoppy clock computer says otherwise: 11:15am.

Woke up around 1am and it was a bit trippy getting out of my bed now that the carpet in my room is gone and it's all hardwood. It's also kind of weird coming back to my room in my parents' house. First thing I thought was, "Oh my God, I have to get rid of a lot of crap." So lots of cleaning and organizing to look forward to.

Kuya picked us up from the airport. First me then my parents. Took us out to dinner at Lawry's which was DELICIOUS. Had the California cut, why not I'm back. Also was starving since I didn't eat on my 15 hours flight. Rather what I did eat did not stay long in my system (I puked twice, yuck). Our server was a British lady named Mrs. Fetherston (pronoucned "feather-stone"), what a lovely lady she was too. When I heard her name I could only think of Mrs. Featherbottom on Arrested Development.

More details to come on my trip back at a decent hour when I don't feel like a zombie.

mercredi 2 juillet 2008


I can't sleep for obvious reasons. While packing I watched Kung Fu Panda and The Big Lebowski. I wrote letters to leave for the next resident and for my landlord. Keisha is so kind and offered to help me take my baggages to the taxi stand. What a sweet girl.

To help me calm the flip down from the bank incident, I re-read the dog-eared pages of Franny and Zooey, pages 201 to 202. I'll probably need to read them again later. It's packed with my carry-on.

I didn't think I'd leave like this. I thought I'd be...less mad. Susie and Melissa came over to hang out, and I even had dinner with Keisha, and I was just totally distracted. I didn't want it to be this way. Mais c'est la vie.

God, I wanted to write something nice. Something good about leaving. Maybe something will come later when this is all done. Will try to sleep at least one hour.

Paris weeps for me

Definitely one of those semi-crappy Parisian days designed to make me long for America and going home.

It's hot and rainy instead of hot and sunny. The morning was fine--had coffee with my landlord which was lovely. He bonjoured just about every other person that walked by and he knew. He talked about his time as a student and the day he left New York on his study abroad. It was nice.

I guess the only really crappy thing was closing my bank account. I guess my French was shit today, shit enough that the lady, maybe after a few seconds of me trying to comprehend what she was explaining, just got fed up and said she'll explain in English. Which was fine, whatever. All I could hear in my head was the Dude's concise resignation, "Fuck it".

Anyway, I used my card today which I shouldn't have and so it was I guess a big deal since she made it out that I can't get my money from my account until all transactions are verified, and she'll wire it. Fine. Then she went through all these hoops of fire and made calls and then said I could have some of it and wire the rest. She made it like it was some huge undertaking, that I had created a pile of work for her to overcome and do, and then when she finally found a solution, she said, "Do you agree to this? This would be better for me." Fuck lady, yeah whatever suits you, just make sure the fucking money gets here. Then the old bag at the counter kept counting the money she was going to give me as if she was parting with the money from her own wallet.

And the crappy, crappy part was me walking home (please dear reader, just let me whine just a little longer) and feeling like pre-Paris me. Naive, timid (still), never-speaking-up-for-myself, pre-Paris me. I thought I was done with all this confusing, living in Paris stuff, but Paris wins again.

This whole bank thing probably didn't go down as exaggerated as I put it probably--I'm just in a crappy mood on my last day in Paris. But that was enjoyable for me to write and for you to read, I hope. I apologize for the cursing, you usually don't read me like this. Next time I write it will be about happier things, I pray and hope to God.

mardi 1 juillet 2008

I'm melting

Back in sweltering Paris after stopping off at Nevers to see the preserved body of St. Bernadette. Got into Caulfield mode or the "Caulfield Effect" as I'd like to call it. Sometimes I refer to it as that when something vulgar happens in front of kids and I want to protect them or when something is desecrated. Today, this group of tourists that came in on a bus from somewhere walked into the church where her body was held and one guy, and there was a HUGE sign saying not to, started filming and taking photos. I've never felt so violently ill or moved in a sacred place. Honestly, that deep, dark side of me that I never speak or write of publicly usually wanted to take that camera far from that place and all those people and smash it to the ground. You just don't do that type of stuff at a church.

Anyway, drove back into Paris, and it's so hot here! Thought I left the heat in Spain. Bid farewell to Mom and Dad--I will see them back in the States. Bought some wine and brought it over to Micefa, my favorite one that's sweet a bit and good chilled. Then made an appointment to close my account. Felt so disgusting because I was sweating from running all over and the heat, and the guy that helped me was really cute but a bit of a douchebag.

Met Melissa and Susie and Mel's bf Cedric came home and we had dinner together: salad and pizza. Yum! Then we saw In Bruges at my cinema--my last film there! It was not bad. Made me want to see Bruges. Then got drinks to cool ourselves off since the cinema is under construction and there was no air conditioning. Got home pretty late.

I really can't wrap my head around leaving and packing. I almost just want it to happen already so I don't have to think about what I'm missing. But it was a good run, and after visiting so many different cities and countries, I know that there's still more I have to discover and experience. I've always got tired of routines. They were safe and comfortable for a while, but it's good to explore and constantly challenge yourself. I hope that I can accomplish that next year like I did this one.

dimanche 29 juin 2008


I'm in Lourdes, France where Saint Bernadette had her visions of the Virgin Mary. Mom decided it would be a better trip from Barcelona instead of going to Toulouse, and I totally agree.

It was quite a beautiful experience, something I've never done before in my life, I mean I've never done all this pilgrimage stuff my parents do, so this was pretty cool and interesting just seeing all these believers people in wheelchairs, walking with canes, lots of old people and the disabled coming here to be healed.

I won't go into too much detail--I'll get to it on the day posts--but I will share that this day was probably the best day of this trip or at least my favorite.