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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fais-ing Dodo

I went over to Gui Gui's house yesterday. It's Wednesday, and I have at least one child all day, except between 2 and 4, so we've taken up the habit of having a coffee together, or taking a walk. Yesterday, we were both very tired from La Fete de la Musique, which is held each year on June 21st and features music in random places. We had walked around St. G for a while and had a drink at our favorite bar and consequently, I wasn't home until around one, which is now considered late for me.

We decided to take a quick nap, so we went upstairs and laid down. Gui Gui begins by taking all of the covers, all three pillows and his teddy bear (don't ask me why a 24 year old still has one) and curls up on the other side of the bed. Knowing this was just to provoke a reaction, and as I was exhausted I close my eyes and try and to sleep anyway.

I managed to drift off, which is impressive as the window was wide open, so there was noise, and the shutters were cracked, so there was sunlight. And Gui Gui knows that I complain about both. (I have sleeping problems, which is part of the reason I'm always tired.)

I feel a presence in front of my face. I open my eyes. Gui Gui's holding his hand over my face. "Quest ce-que tu fais?"
"Je te bloque le soleil!"

"What are you doing?"
"I'm blocking the sun for you!"

I rolled over and I hear him get up. He comes back and tells me to "Ferme bien les yeux" and I feel little stickers over my eyelids. He had taken post-its and were attaching them to my eyeballs.

This is what I love about Gui Gui. I can't ever really be mad at him, because he makes me laugh all the time. Here I am, grumpy and all I want to do is sleep for fifteen minutes, but I can't because my boyfriend is trying to be "helpful."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Disturbing Stories

On the way home from school this afternoon, I got to talking with one of SA's friends, E. Somehow the conversation drifted towards safety, and we started discussing how it is important to be careful after dark, and to never walk alone.

E then began telling me stories about getting harassed by men in Paris, and different bizarre things she's seen. The girl is eleven. She's a pretty child, but dresses her age, there would be no way to mistake her as being older, yet she's telling me about these perverts on the streets who have harassed her.

Now, this happens to my friends and I often, (I got into a shouting match last weekend with some drunk guy who didnt like being asked if he'd ever had a bottle smashed in his face) but although occasionally frightening, is usually amusing in the end.

I know this stuff happens in the US, I'm sure I've seen it happen before, but hearing it first hand from a child just rubbed me the wrong way. How dare these freaks target little girls like that. I don't care if it's a joke, or they don't realize how old she is, it's disgusting, and it makes me hate them even more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eating Habits, Illustrated!

As I snuck into my house this morning, starving, it occured to me how random my meals have become, especially when it's only me. I had an omelette because it's Saturday, and we've already discussed how I love me some American breakfasts on the weekend. But it did occur to me that the content of my weekend omelettes has changed. So I submit another meager illustration, be kind, world.

*Foie gras means "fat liver," I think it's usually duck or goose. It's delcious, but inhumane and illegal in the US. Fattening the liver requires force feeding the animals by shoving a tube down their throat.
**Made of olives, vegetarian friendly, and delicious as well.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Breaking and Entering

In France, the most complicated answer, is frequently the solution.

Scene: La Rochelle, second floor of the apartment of Couch Surfing Saudi
Players: Ali, Yours Truly
Ali calls me to the balcony
A-I did a betise...
I look down to see her bathing suit on the ground floor terrace.
Me-Oh shit.
A-Should we go downstairs and knock?
Me-Nah, the wall isn't that high, we can definitely hop it. It'll be easier to break in.

Sure enough, down we went, to find the wall up to the terrace about four feet high. I gave Ali a leg up, and she hopped over and grabbed the bathing suit triumphantly. We went back upstairs and celebrated by opening our third bottle of wine.

We found out later than Tham (the Saudi) had never actually seen anyone in that apartment, so we can assume it's vacant.

Win for the Americans.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I won't apologize for this:

They set out on bikes, eager to get away from the family, to be alone, and to see the beauty of the countryside. It was hot, and she sweated in her cotton dress, her bangs sticking to her face. The village was flat, and she was pleased to move around. She had been in the car for several hours to get there, they had taken a roundabout way, following the backroads. Now she was on the bike and her muscled flexed and moved as she pedaled at an agreeable pace.

“Putain,” there really isn’t anything out here, is there?” he said in French, “It’s really hard to believe how close we are to Paris.” And it was true, they were only 60 kilometers out from the bustling city, but here, there was no one. They stopped to look at the grains, growing in straight lines as far as the eye could see.

“I bet you’re the second American to ever be in this village, after my aunt.”

“I doubt that, I’m sure there were some when they passed through during the war.”

He laughed, conceding “Okay, but the second one in the last fifty years. Except for my phone,” he continued, “It could be 1935 here, just before the war, couldn’t it?”

They stopped the bikes and dismounted, taking pictures of each other posing and laughing together. After a moment she kissed him, leaning against him and she could smell his sweat.

“Shhh, listen to the silence.” She breathed.

They stood there holding each other and listened to the barely sway back and forth, making a shushing noise as the stalks moved in the wind. There were birds in the distance, and every so often, the noise of a car travelled across the field. The sky was clear blue, of French blue as it’s called, and the clouds looked as they were painted in the sky. Across the fields she could see small bosquettes, dark green contrasting with the golden color of the wheat.

Her mind drifted. What would it have been like, just before the war? She could rest assured that the village had been there, but she wondered if fighting had happened close to where they were. Her grandfather had been here, when he was her same age. But he sure as hell hadn’t been having dinner with the French, and watching their children like she was.

Europe, she thought, must have been like the Middle East is to her. When her grandfather was 24 could he have possibly imagined the EU, and all the diplomacy between the nations? Did he think his granddaughter would be walking along the same beaches on which he had seen so much death? Or passing freely, country to country, completely alone?

She felt a flash of optimism for the world, and turning back to her Frenchman, she kissed him again.