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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Waiting for the 14

Woosh woosh went the metro doors, and I stood there waiting, he wasn't there yet. I went back to my bench, turned open my book, and looked up at the screen impatiently. One minute 45 seconds until the next one. I turned the pages steadily. Woosh Woosh, once again, and the noise of people evacuating somberly, excitedly, engrossed in their iphones, talking with friends, or stumbling with obvious swagger of 1664.

Still not there, and three more minutes until the next train. Woosh Woosh, again, and I looked up to see the people shuffling off the train while the others pressed back slightly, anxious to get on. A young Arab girl came hurtling down the steps, throwing herself onto the train, just as the alarms went, and the doors closed.

Four minutes to the next one, I noticed and sighed, looking at my watch. This was of course the pain that I would pay for always being early, I was always the one left waiting. My book opened again and I fell back into the story.

I could smell his cologne before I saw him. I looked up and saw him standing, facing away from me, looking around searching. Woosh woosh went the metro doors, and suddenly afraid, I stepped on the train and left, before he caught sight of me.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End?

I haven't been writing much lately, instead I've been reflecting and pondering. I think that I'm at the end of the line here, living in someone else's home, infiltrating someone's family. I'm thinking more and more about the United States, not because I want to leave France, but because I need to get away from my job. I don't hate it really, I just don't love it, and the indifference and lack of enthusiasm I feel about, well everything, is starting to take it's toll.

If you've never done anything like this, you don't know just how demeaning it can get. I am fully aware that kids can be mean and abusive, and that's fine, until you sit back and say, "Am I seriously taking abuse as a daily part of my choice of employment?" It's even more upsetting, because as I start to look at other jobs, it seems impossible. I say I'm joking about finding a European Passport, but it's getting a little more serious.

So what am I doing? Sending my resume out to everyone I come across. I guess if I don't find anything in the next few months, it's back to the Etas Unis, and the beginning the 40 year adventure that is "the real world."

Hm, seems even more daunting/depressing when I put it that way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Want to Be a Super Model

I think I've mentioned this before, but Gui Gui is really good looking, and he also is really photogenic, unlike me, who always comes out with fifteen chins and blinking in pictures. So he got his haircut yesterday, and besides looking more and more like his twin brother, he also looks adorable. I introduced him to my web cam (he loves taking pictures of himself) and we did a little photoshoot. I sure hope he doesn't mind me posting this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Father Daughter Bonding.

Excerpt from emails between my father and I:
Thought you might be interested to know that I am now fluent enough to mock and frustruate unsuspecting French clerks. I'm thinking my June goal will be to make one cry.

Hope you're feeling better,
Love you,

Feeling much better. That fact that you are able to be obnoxious in a foreign country helps that a great deal.
thanks for your caring thoughs,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Calling My Bluff

So in French, I often don't understand every single word, but in context, I can almost always figure out the meaning. Which is why it's awkward when Gui Gui plays his "comme tu dis en anglais" game. Which is basically when he calls my bluffs. I'll laugh lightly at something he says, and pretend like I undestand, and then I'm forced to offer up concrete proof that I'm not full of shit. (The worst is when there's no context and he just says "C'est, insert random French adjective.")

Fortunately, at this point, as I'm panicking and stuttering, Gui Gui usually whips out his iphone and attempts to find a direct translation. But the problem is, this is really hard to do. I explain to him, that if he just describes the word, I will understand, and find a better translation. Because if he doesn't include context, it's very easy to mistranslate.

But I find in languages, it's pretty easy to determine when its important to understand, and when it's not. A normal evening out with his friends, I don't always listen to everything, because it hurts my head, and its not always interesting. Also, with eavesdropping, you can't exactly stop the other parties to ask what a word means.

Yesterday, on the other hand, I met Madame Gui Gui for the first time (This is a big deal, especially since I had Gui Gui tatoos all over my arms), and I hung on every word. I wanted to give off the impression that I was a well rounded, polite, french-speaking fille. And of course I didn't catch everything.

I can't complain too much, because after all, this is how I learn. And it's definitely better than it was before, and definitely better than January of 2010.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cafe culture?

I had an epihpany as I was lugging groceries into my house today. As far as I can tell, there's no real reason for a cafe au lait to be almost five euros. Or is there? As the French have a cafe culture (ie spending hours in cafes discussing politics,) I am not actually paying for the drink, but the time I spend sitting at my table, expanding my mind, and becoming enriched.

And just when I started to believe that all the good things in life were free.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Yesterday, Gui Gui came by my house for our customary Sunday afternoon promenade around a random suburban park. He called me, saying he was devant chez moi, and I walked down my mile long pipestem and found him leaning back on his scooter (or "scoot") with helmet and aviators on. "Where are we going?" I asked him. "There's a park that I want to take you to up the road. Here take a helmet." And he reached into the "trunk," aka lock box, and pulled out a helmet for me. I seated myself behind him and we zipped off, at the pulse racing speed of 25 miles an hour. Gui's can handle the two of us, but things were a bit touch and go as we headed up to St G (see previous post about death hill on cliff).

What is a scooter? Before I came here, I had this romanticized view of it. I'm going to go ahead and blame all tampax commercials and general misguided stereotypes about Europe, because the word "scooter" in English, is actually moped. Just take off the redneck, and replace with a skinny Frenchman in Ray Bans, and we're talking the same thing.

But, while not as romantic as I had intially thought, there is something thrilling, or at least pleasing about riding around on a scooter. There we were, perched on a moped, weaving through traffic, with my arms wrapped around Gui Gui and our helmets gently bashing each other at each stop sign, and I was happy. We couldn't really talk, because the language/cultural barrier really becomes obvious when there are loud noises involved, but it was really comforting to be molded to the back of his body, and for once, not listen to a single French obscenity while he drove.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Study in Opposites

An Autoecole car (Student Driver)
-Drives the speed limit, stops for red lights, yields to other drivers, doesn't lay on the horn constantly, doesn't cut you off, is not a moped that drives the wrong way down one way streets


Everyone else