Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I am doing things... I Promise

Two weeks ago, in between the spaces of time lost to another, I did manage to do some things. 

1.I met my conversation buddy, Andrey, from the Sorbonne, who, is a really awesome person as well as his friend, Pope (Pop! literally that is the pronunciation), who came along with him. We mostly argue in english and I attempt every now and again to speak french.

2.I got sick. The fever, night sweats, body aches, swollen lymph glands, and fatigue kind. The kind in which I can't move and, henceforth, want to kill everyone who is happy and who congregates in the room watching youtube in front of me till close to midnight.  The kind of sick where I am just plain unpleasent to all the people I care about, because I know they will still be my friend afterwards. So I spent a good night or two staring at my ceiling thinking I was going to die.

3. I visited Marseille. Another place in France I enjoy way to much. Marseille sits on the southern coast of France and is a seaport. The seafood was amazing, the company wonderful, the people sweet. Its one of the few places in the world, I would sit, on the beach, bottle of wine in hand, eating cheese and sausage, as the tide rolls in like thunder, when it was only 40 degrees outside. It was a short trip but memorable. 

4. I spent my break in London and got a taste of how much I was going to miss Paris when I return to the states.  I also realized that I needed to really invest time more in cooking for myself and eating healthy.  Something I learned while cooking with my vegetarian friend Michelle, who I was staying with.  I met a man, a fellow songwriter, who gave me some advice and my friend free drinks. I met up with my musical peer and friend, Ariana. I visited the Tower of London  and got see how fat Henry the VIII really was.
My favorite part was the Ronnie Scott show. The singer Earl Thomas ( I thinks thats his name), who (get this) is from that great country, The U S of A, was the special guest and he sang the blues so well, I nearly cried, he was simply phenomenal with his skinny stature and all matching yellow and brown plaid suit. Only someone who can sing could pull of that outfit. The blues band that played behind him had a swinging, moving, melody and a sense of time and rhythm and space, that sank into the souls of, if not everyone, at least me and Michelle and the only other young ladies at the bar who still past us by at least 10 years. One of my favorite nights by far.

5. I got acquainted with "evils" of social care. Around the time, I made a note of trying to eat healthy, I also found out I had an infection. I waited for an hour and a half. Met the Doctor, we spoke, he poked a bit to make sure the infection hadn't gone to far. I gave 30 euros for the visit, he wrote me a prescriptions, which, by the way came down a chute from the ceiling as if sent from heaven already pre-packaged. Which, only cost a whopping 4. 64.Took the medicine and was better within 24 hours.

I see now, that, these five things pretty much sums up my life for the entire month of November. Just sparkle a few papers due here and there, add a couple unproductive lessons on my part, oh and the trip not worth speaking about on this particular blog, and you, have pretty much got the whole picture. 

The Restart

I will not say I have found love in Paris. 
Though I will say I found something I wish I could hold on to. His name is not important at this time, neither for that matter is his occupation. He is kind, protective, and open-minded. He is from Algeria. He is from the hood. He speaks Arabic, French, and English. He wants to come to America because its a country of success. I laughed when he said this, but then he told me where he is from and his stories... I have learned so much.  I don't think we could be more different if we tried. We talk politics, the supposed role of men, the supposed role of women, the power of religion, the powers of the world, racism, the future, dreams, plans, everything. Nothing seems to be barred from conversation. It is wonderful.

So here I am lost in another persons world, so completely unlike mine, yet we still face the same fight, we still take things for granted. We even promises ourselves things we know cannot last.
Yes I am lost in an another's world and I plum near forgot that I had a blog.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Purgatory of Culture shock

It is not that I have forgotten anyone. It is not that I have forgotten how to write or that I even have this blog. It is that somewhere between the mess of culture shock, the city, IES students and music I have completely lost myself. My hermit independent state that came forth from the summer which I spent, for the most part, alone, dwindle back into the hopefulness and reliance of other people. People reaching me to conclusions I would have never once made, which, is neither good nor bad.
So today I go to reconnect myself, as I imagine everyone must do who immerses themselves in another cultures, however, I, of course run into of dilemma of who I am. Is it not who I am thinking is me right now? Who I thought I was two years ago? 
I am going out to remember a past me, one who perhaps has changed much since she has been here and will change even more in the months to come. I don't think she will be mourned, because change is inevitable and, after all, she plunged headfirst. Perhaps celebration is actually called for.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paris Monuments Partie: II

I know I should have probably written this sooner way sooner. Each trip is on a different day and a bit spread apart.

Giverny- the place where Monet lived and where his inspiration for the water lily paintings came from. His house is surrounded by gardens that are really quite lovely.

Versaille- Simply stunning, way to beautiful for words,  gardens went on forever. The Hall of Mirrors were my favorite part. I even got to see the fountains go off. Its just a little ways outside of  Paris. I just wanted to live there.

Chantilly is actually really beautiful for a fortress. My day here consisted of way more pictures then is necessary of forestry ponds, swans, and gardens on the outside, and  picures of kings and queens, that once inhabited the castle. I wish I could tell you something I learned, but I kind of got lost somewhere at the beginning of the french tour when we talked about the fine silverware and then he rumbling of my stomach drowned out the better half of everything else that was said. My favorite part was the stain glass, which depicted the storyline of a lover of cupid and lunch. The castle also foster horses and a track for them to run. For the second part of our groups tour we watch a horse show, with different maneuvering skills and stunts.

The trip home was unforgettable. It never seem to fails me that no matter what I do or where I go bizarre things happen. I almost don't believe it myself. We return to the bus, in which I am completely exhausted after waking up at an unreasonable time in the morning. ( In which we were a half hour early and had to wait on the bus). Somewhere along the ride I knock out. I awoke, drool spilling down my arm, to gasps. I opened my eyes and was blinded by the naked stark white asses of 4 young teenage boys pressed against the window of the bus next to us. I promise you I have not seen asses that white since I was in high school in the suburbs. To make matters worse we were battling through traffic so each time we passed them or fell behind, our lane would move and we would pull along side them again and have a preview of another new mooning. At the time, it was the most action I have gotten in awhile.
Perfect way to end another perfect trip.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Things that do not exist in Paris that I need to exist in Paris:

1. The word "Awkward"
2. An IHOP
3. The word "Awesome"
4. Pepperoni
5. A Doggy Bag
6. The word "creep" or "creeper"
7. On the go cups
8. Practice rooms with no one in them. That are open. Constantly.
9. Water that does not dry out my skin and hair.
10.The word "Awkward"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nuit Blanche

I have never gotten so little sleep before in my life.
... well not in Paris anyways. Though I certainly have not done so much dancing non-stop. 
Last night I celebrated Nuit Blanche. Which means "white night". Basically, the way it was explained to me, is that everything is open late like museum and exhibits and there is live music. It is a kind of celebration of the arts. We had heard from a Parisian that it was not any fun at all, however, all the advertisements beg to differ and we are American, we live in country of  advertising. We believe what is shown to us... So, we got all dressed up and we made our way to the museums. 
In heels. 
Which, I promise you I would later regret. We would all regret.  My roommate, company, and I made it through the Renoir Art exhibit (which was very interesting). We soon realized that this night was not as spectacular as we thought it was going to be.  However, when it came time to call it a night, I was completely reluctant to go home. So I hitched a free ticket from a little lady in our program one who was equally as ready as I to party all through the night. 
We got in VIP style and we danced. I mean we really danced. I danced for about 3 hours straight, no sitting whatsoever. To be quite honest I was slightly impressed by my stamina. I mean especially after all the pastry eating I had been doing. 
The people in the club were considerably different dancers then what I was used to, and were not much for grinding. It was nice not to have worry about a guy just grabbing you and trying to make you dance with him. The French seem to dance more to themselves in a club atmosphere. If anyone tried to place their hand just a little bit lower then necessary, I grab it, and firmly placed it back where it needed to be, to which, they would look at me a bit shocked, laugh, and then continue dancing, not making it an issue. 
Sadly, though, the French that surround me, could not really dance and I mean they really could not dance. They made me look like the best dancer in the world and for those who have seen me try to get down in Atlanta (or any place for that matter) you know how hard it is to make me look good dancing.
The music was a Techno 90s/80s flashback, with Michael Jackson everywhere up in the mix, and old, old, school hip hop towards the early part of the morning. 
Yes, I was that American girl. The one who is dancing and singing every word to every song that came on just because I could, even ones I would never sing to at home. You know what though? It was a good time. I don't drink and I was having fun, so I can only imagine how much fun it must of been for everybody else in that tiny room to watch me flailing my arms and shaking my non existence butt all around.
I left at six in the morning, caught the Metro, and was escorted home by a man way to concerned for my safety. Little did I know he was soon to be my new French friend.
Don't worry I made a French friend, but no French kisses.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Paris Monuments Partie: I

So it has occurred to me, as I am sure it most have occurred to you, the readers, that I have yet to write about any of the famous sights. You must be wondering what in the world I am doing here, and still I have not seen any sights. Though the truth is I have seen so many. I am not exactly sure where to start. Though, I suppose, I should start by writing about some sights before this becomes another pointless accomplishment in my life... because what good is a blog abour Paris if I don't talk about any of the monuments and museums. 

Now within the first three weeks, I hit most of the major ones. The Eiffel Tower which is way bigger then I thought, but with my determined roommate I managed to fit me into a picture with the tip of my finger touching the tippy top. 
The Arc D' Triomphe was neat, however, it is at the center of the bussiest roundabout. Roundabouts, don't have any lanes so car just drive haphazardly around until they get to a road the  road they would like to get off on, in which, they cut everyone else to get across. It took us at least a half hour to find the underground tunnel that leads into the monument. 
I have visited the Louvre...well at least 1/8 of it. The thing is huge. It is nearly impossible to do it all in one day. It is mostly filled with classic works... which, is not my taste at all. I saw the Mona Lisa, though, her smile held no mystery for me... In fact I think it was just plain ordinary. Perhaps that was Leonardo da Vinci's point the whole time. 
I did fall in love with the Musee d' Orsay, which, is a museum full of impression art. It has the look of an old train station, because it was modeled after a train station. In fact, the central train station in New York was modeled after it, as I found it. Though art has never spoken to me the way music has. I must say I was truly touched by paintings such as Venus de Milo. I am definitely planning a returned visit.
Now, I promise you that every time I make eye contact with the Notre Dame I am having a love affair with it. I don't believe there is a time that you can not take pictures, night or day that Notre Dame will not be simply gorgeous. The stain glass is stunnning inside and out. The flying buttresses were really neat. (I am letting out a chuckle just typing this... because I was explaining how I needed more technical terms to use in my blog to describe monuments. I was offered the words "flying buttress" by a fellow IES student. I still am not completely sure what it means but I would hate for it to go waste.) 
What a gorgeous city.