Monday, June 29, 2009

The 15 on France

Two extraordinary things happened to me today.

One, I came home early from class to find my mummy and daddy eating lunch while Lilou slept in her room (damn Mono). Catherine, like any good doting mother, immediately fetched me lunch. Turns out, that left-over sausage that I ate last Friday after school was actually chopped up cow stomach in sausage casing. Today, it was my lunch. I thought it tasted a little slimy last Friday. Now I know it's better suited for cats than for an uppity American. After learning what it was, I told them in all honesty, it has great taste, disgusting texture, and I just don't like eating cow guts. They reassured me that is was fine and commended my willingness to try it. For the second time.

Two, I saved a honey bee who was drowning in the pool because the bees are dying, you know. Seriously! My kids (or yours) won't know the joys of mass-grown fruit! I watched to make sure the little bee would dry off and fly away. But it was too late. Instead of watching him or her gain its strength, I watched it die. First time I've ever seen something die.

I've been listening to Michael Jackson's song Will You Be There from the Free Willy Blockbuster. His greatest yet. I really want to start dressing like early-90s Michael--short, skinny black pants, low tight white tshirt with white button-up over this, thick white socks, and black patent leather penny loafers. The guy had moves in so many ways.

One and a half weeks until I return to the US. Things I still hope to figure out: why french people don't shower, what other body parts of cows they eat, why they love beverages so much, where is EuropeMTV?, why is their music scene so much better?, is it awkward when Sarkozy and Carla Bruni try to kiss?, do people really order heineken's with their croissants, why everyone parts their hair so damn far to the side.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I get this feeling sometimes, or really quite often actually, where all the stuff that i've accumulated (clothes, books, music on my itunes) starts to make me nervous--like when there's too much food in the fridge. So I do a massive revamp and get rid of it all. I've been using that past few days to really rack my brains and the items I have here: what's useful, what will I need later?, what am I keeping around for nostaligia's sake?

Completing this task every three, four weeks always gives me a new, fresh start: like running a net through a leaf-ridden pool. Afterwards, I can swim without being grossed out. And, the timing really couldn't be more perfect, as the French Sales (a bi-annual event where all commercial stores put inventory on dramatic price-reduction). Being the good little retentive girl i am, I have made inventory and a list of the things I want to buy (assuming of course that I have the money and that I can find them). Things that top my list are...
1. Longchamp laptop case (retail, 42 E)
2. Panama hat (size 60...i know, it's effing big)
3. Button-up over-sized shirts
4. leather sandals (love the gladiators, but will they be obsolete in a season?)

In other news, I am still cracking away at Alice in Wonderland. And in other, other news: yes, French people practice the most backwards form of personal hygiene: perfect makeup, sensual thick parfum, and oodles of body-odor (i'm sorry, it's true--they don't care for showers!). Speaking of which, I am still hard-at-work on my mediteranean tan (yes, i saw the sea this weekend too!) and my sister Lilou and I have made tentative plans to go salsa dancing this weekend. Ole!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Everything Will Be Ok

The first in a three-part series video that has won numerous awards. The second installment, entitled I'm So Proud of You was just released this year. Google this.

Three Things

I don't know what it is, but once I was at WalMart and the check out man was asking me about my mother (as it was mother's day). When I reciprocated the question, he told me his was dead. Sometimes I feel like people tell me too much than they mean to or should. Even in France, I can't avoid this uncomfortably bizarre ability, along with a few other freaky things.

Example one: In the pool today, with my Speedo-wearing host-father, I am told that the marriage of my "parents" is surviving only because of a contract. Questions about my own parents' divorce proceed...

Example 2: I SAW A GHOST! I'm not kidding--it (I think it was a boy) shook my legs to wake me in the middle of the night from sleeping. Once I opened my eyes, he slowly disappeared. I only saw his tshirt. Probably just wanted to ask me if I work out...

Example 3: Last night I had this weird thing, as I was falling asleep, on the back of my eyelids where all I could see was white. Felt like the ligths were on, even though they weren't.

Lyon for the most part is going very well. The weather finally as started to improve. Geneva last weekend, the Auqeducts this. Considering taking an au pair job with a family in the 6th arrondissmet, that, by the sounds of it, has more money than they know what to do with. Who knows. Still have yet to perfect French style, but the sales start next week and maybe I'll be able to make up for lost time.


Friday, June 12, 2009

eat good food

Me, the girl who can say no to nothing, especially food, can get into a lot of trouble in a city named the gastronomic capital of France. And it's true--okok, so I gained five pounds, lay off. No biggie. I'm just filling out! It's my late growth spurt, big deal. But seriously, how could I have avoided the extra weight. The food here is, well, to die for.

But it's true, french women really don't get fat. At dinner tonight on Rue Merciere with my dad, Diane, and sis, I realized that I think the French, and maybe Europeans in general, have a different, and healthier, relationship with food. It seems like food isn't a Frenemy. Meaning, food isn't constantly a love-hate relationship for them. Food is a necessity for living, and because of this, it can't be avoided. So instead of trying to fight it (like adding loads of refined sugars or trans/saturated fats or robbing it of all taste by making it "diet") they eat the food as it really is. They embrace it, I guess. It sounds cheezy, I know, and I'm really not poo-pooing america because it's like trendy or something. It just seems that the French have so much more fun with food. Because food will be around for eternity, they have come to appreciate it the same way that we appreciate our family, our community, our, um, our cars?

Call me crazy, but I think these French are on to something.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Where is Mark?

photo courtesy of:

Speaking of which--this french pop thing I just really don't get. LIke, they are just now listening to Natasha Bedingfield's "These Words?" At least they know who Kanye least...

So my parents arrived Saturday, and just as expected, they stress me out to the extreme--my dad never makes plans, and I like plans, so I guess our views on appropriate vacation time-spendature-idge is just diff. Never the less, it's great to have Jim, D, and Audy here. They look very un-American and I couldn't be more proud. We had a great dinner Saturday night in the Roman part of town called Vieux Lyon--the typical style of eating/food/dinner-restaur
ant assemblage is called "bouchon" and the restaurant we went to specialized in it. I wasn't too hungry, so I just had a big salad with smoke duck procuitto--the verdict is still out. But the rest of the gang had the prix fix, complete with melted chevre, pommes de terre au gratin, and praline tartes--Superbe!

Sunday was French Mother's Day so we went to my "house" for linner (my word for lunch that starts at two and ends at six and requires three bottles of wine) and Dad and Diane, I could tell, were impressed, humbled, and a little jealous. We laughed as we tried to translate french to english and back again. Jose and my father settled on Spanish--even though both can only really say ''un poquito.''

Class tomorrow and meeting up with the fam at 3pm. I hope to get a little shopping in--there was a dress at zara that I eyed the other day (very French--boat neck, white with thin navy horizontal stripes) and another good meal. You know, Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France? Have you heard of Paul Bocuse? I hadn't 'til I came here--wiki that shit.

It's so weird--on this trip, I feel like not in France at all. I kinda just feel like I'm about to see a familiar face any moment, but it never happens. I kinda like it, and at the same time, it's challenging my ability to both adapt to one place and leave the other behind. Perhaps I'm changing the boundaries of my comfort zone.

Oh, and I took you up on the Otis Redding challenge. My god, the man is vocal sex, love, mystery, fatigue, weary heart and mind and soul--like a coffee table book that makes me feel good just looking at it. Send me anymore suggestions you have.

Limewire just so happens to work in France as well.

really awesome pic of N.B. courtesy of:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Week Ago Today I was...

Um, drinking in my basement, I think?

OMG, i'm picturing you and the burly man at Graceland--like two batty grandparents who seem to have forgotten who Elvis was (NO IS--HE'S STILL ALIVE).

Ok so remember when we were in Neice (jkjklol) and there were those kids from Minnesota with frizzy hair and pale skin and braces (because, ew, who has braces after Junior year?) and there was that boy who we had all hoped would be super super hot and he was super NOT? Well I feel like that's about every kid on this trip.

Except there are about two that I can stand, in fact, adore. They're fabulous and i find them to be genuinely unique and interesting people. Today I went to the parc de la tete d'or and much to my dismay, there was no big golden head. Just a lot of nursery kids with their tattooed and smoking nannies. What's up with that? Get 'em hooked early, i spose.

I made my first real purchase today after the Parc which was a Longchamp bag and it's currently sitting at the end of my bed. I occasionally glance up from my computer screen to admire it. Ahhhhhhhh...

Dad and Audy and Diane come on Saturday. A little nervous for them, but also excited. Have a few other weekend sejours planned--Paris at the beginning of July. Tell me how Maine is/was. And how are the girls? (I mean like Maya, Elle, your sis...not your boobs, dumbass.)


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ma petite chou

it was an uneventful plane ride. i was terribly gassy though, and the plane was bound for Mumbai, thus all these elder women dressed in saris and sandals kept smelling me and (i think) giving me strange looks. I watched "The Reader" and it changed my life--please see it if you haven't already.

i arrived with ease, found the two girls i was to meet, and we took a taxi (60 effing euros!) to the University where I met my "mohzzair." Her name is Catherine and is about as big as my little finger. So so sweet though. She is an architect. The dad Jose is Portuguese and moved to france when he was nine. He doesn't work, but used to work in hotels as a maitre and in the restaurants, where he once served Gorbachev! I know, right?! My sister is named Eulalie (pronounced eu-la-lee) and she just turned twenty-one and currently doesn't go to school, but used to for biology and she is wonderful and her friends--omg the hottest french girls i've ever seen. The brother is named Jean-Hughes; he is 26? and lives in Annecy and does computer work--dresses sooo dorky--you know, like dorky european? ugh, it's the worst.

One night, I met a co-worker of Catherine's, as he came over for appertifs/dinner, and he said "Oh you mean all the cars in America are automatic? It's genius that is!" I also visited Catherine's parents for Sunday lunch and Jose's after that. They both live in the Bourgogne region near Macon, which is a very quaint mid-sized town.

Perhaps one of the greatest reliefs so far has been Eulalie's boyfriend named Sean. He currently lives with close family friends (think Penningtons-McBrooms) at the cause of his mother's passing, and his father not being in "za peekchure." I am sure there are more details to this story that were, how do you say, lost in translation. Anyways, so this is how Sean and Eulalie met. He is from south london, and lemme tell you, he is a hoot an' a holler for sure! He says shit like sick and has tattoos but also drinks tea at every occasion and refuses to accept that American breakfasts are anything like "proper English breakfasts" (even though they are the exact same effing thing). Basically, he is a God-send because he (a) speaks English and (b) his crazy Brittanic ways never fail to make me laugh, or at the very least, miss being drunk and talking in british accents. Or just talking in british accents with all you gals back home.

Speaking of which, I am not homesick at all and I mean that in the best way possible. Things so far are so very good.