Archive for the ‘French School’ Category

Ta Douleur

August 6, 2016

Wake up – I’ve just decided
Let me replace you
I will take away your pain
Softly; no noise at all
Like rain wakes you up
I will take away your pain
Take away your pain
I will take away your pain
She is struggling and fighting
But don’t bother escaping
I will block the elevator
I will take away your pain
Sabotage the switch
I will take away your pain
But who is this hanger-on
Thunderstorm before the summer
Dirty little brat sister
I will take her everything
Her darts and her whistle
I will spank her little ass
I will take away your pain
Remove her from the playground
I will take away your pain.
But who is this little heiress
Who bathes and hides herself
In the warm water of your loins?
I will deprive her of dessert
Make her eat dirt
of those who aren’t hungry anymore
I will take away your pain
from those who don’t have any more
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there I think
What does this bitch want?
Cake and eating it too?
Whether you live or whether you die?
She must crave happiness
or a new pair of shoes
She must collapse under the flowers
Change the colours
I will take away your pain
I will take away your pain
Tell me what science will do
when we have this bridge between our bellies?
If you are hurt where you are scared
You’re not hurt there ooh I sing
Okay get up
Lève toi c’est décidé
Laisse-moi te remplacer
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Doucement sans faire de bruit
Comme on réveille la pluie
Je vais prendre ta douleur
Elle lutte elle se débat
Mais ne résistera pas
Je vais bloquer l’ascenseur
Saboter l’interrupteur
Mais c’est qui cette incrustée
Cet orage avant l’été
Sale chipie de petite sœur?
Je vais tout lui confisquer
Ses fléchettes et son sifflet
Je vais lui donner la fessée
La virer de la récrée
Mais c’est qui cette héritière
Qui se baigne qui se terre
Dans l’eau tiède de tes reins?
Je vais la priver de dessert
Lui faire mordre la poussière
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus rien
De tous ceux qui n’ont plus faim
Dites moi que fout la science
A quand ce pont entre nos panses?
Si tu as mal là où t’as peur….
My new favorite song.
Oh my gosh.
So good.
My dear Parisian friend made me a playlist on Spotify.
I have been listening to it pretty nonstop.
The above is one of my favorite songs on the the playlist.
Ta Doleur.
By Camille.
I immediately put the album Le Fil on my favorites.
I love finding new music and new French music?
So lovely.
Then.
I am at work and I am listening to music blasting quite loud and it comes on the sound system.
Except.
It’s not Camille.
It’s Mike Doughty.
Holy shit.
I had no idea that he had done a cover of the song and he did it in French on his album The Flip is Another Honey.
I don’t think he actually speaks French, I could be wrong, I would guess that he’s doing it phonetically.  However, it was nice to hear coming out from the speakers in the kitchen while I was cooking up a storm for my absent family.
I got it all done too.
And was able to get out a little early, get some personal shit taken care of and even meet a friend for tea.
While we were sitting there catching up I had a deja vu to the first time we had sat at that same cafe, other table, in the front, one night after doing the deal and had coffees and talked and I think it was a sort of let’s investigate whether or not we want to date.
We did off and on.
The best I can say is that I had a friend/lover/friend.
I was moving to Paris and it was fun to share some of that juju with him.
He sent me a few mixed cds to me in Paris.
They came at the worst possible time, I was so homesick that week I had burst into tears in my French class over a “futbol” exercise.
Football.
Thanksgiving.
And I’m in Paris where there is not Thanksgiving and they just go about their days ambivalent to your football, it’s soccer anyhow, you heathen.
I didn’t watch football when I was in the states, it was just something that said Thanksgiving to me, family, playing eucher at the table after dinner was done and the girls, my aunts, and me and maybe one other cousin, were washing dishes in the kitchen.
I hadn’t even been to a family Thanksgiving in years, five, six, seven, more, maybe a decade since the last time I had been to a Thanksgiving meal at my grandparents, but there I was losing it in Paris in my French class in a border line neighborhood at the end of the line 7 Metro train.
It was rainy.
The rain fell in heavy splatters against the windows.
The room was overheated.
The French, mostly bad, except for the teacher.
And me, I was the best speaker in class.
Not because I am the best French speaker, oh no, it was more like I had taken a class below my skill set because I am stupid on computers and when I took the skills test on the school’s system I fucked up, so I was assigned a beginning class.
Which was actually really helpful, it was a great way for me to refresh my French.
The teacher was going to move me into a different slot after she heard me speak, but I told her I was just fine and I was.
It was fine.
Until it wasn’t.
The rain.
The homesick.
The culture shock that I didn’t realize I was going through, but was absolutely going through, was taking a toll on me.
The paltry Thanksgiving dinner that I could barely eat anything from at the English speaking pub a friend worked at, the cold Metro ride home, the rain, the rain, the rain.
An instant message from my friend/lover/friend.
Did you get my package?
I hadn’t.
And then.
I knew where it was.
I had known, you know, sometimes you just know, and it was like a homing device.
I ran back out into the rain, crossed the courtyard, and there, I found it.
Henry Miller Tropic of Cancer.
50 Euro note.
Two mixed cds.
One which was “Something To Write To.”
The other “Something to Dance To.”
He knew me well.
I burst into tears listening.
He knew me.
But not well enough.
And.
That is another story.
We’re both fans of Mike Doughty and there was a song on the “Something To Write To” mix from the album “Yes and Also Yes.”
I immediately downloaded that album.
It became my Paris soundtrack.
I don’t know why, it just did.
And there is this curious serendipity as I talked to my now strictly friend/friend, as we’ll be going with mutual friends and his girlfriend to see Doughty play and I think of my French friend from Paris and it’s odd, or God, or both.
And there is just this deep beauty in it.
The song, when it came on, the cover by Doughty, made my arms break out in goose bumps.
I don’t have to find meaning.
There is just sometimes magic in the world and when I open my heart to it.
It burns.
Rare.
Pure.
Bright.
Smitten to my core.
With.
Love.
Yes.
Love.
And more than a little forgiveness.
But most.
Simple.
And.
Most.
Just.
Love.
Advertisements

Where Does The Time Go

April 17, 2014

Wednesday’s Child?

I was talking to my employer today about how her little boy was dressed, very French, blue short pants, brown boots, a white shirt and a little red checked ascot/bib.

Tres chic.

Then I realized that I am just shy of two weeks of my return home from my Paris experiment.

I got two messages today from friends in Paris asking me when I was coming back.

Not yet.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

But, I will be back.

Sometimes the ache that is in my heart is a hard one to describe, it is a mix of nostalgia, soft regret, and the dull lash of the discordant whip I thrash myself with on the occasion, because, I did not make it happen.  I the all powerful, all knowing, all important, I.

But as I was remembering, it was also with a kind of realization that the Paris I go back to will be the Paris of reality, should I choose to return.  Rather than the fantasy that I went in search of.

It will be one in which I make a much harder resolve to go legally, to go to school for real, if that’s how I am going to go, really do it.

I certainly have the connections now and the know how.

Much better than I did last time.

I will go also knowing that I take myself with me.

In my roll-on luggage, in my bike box, I come with.

My employer has had a house guest all week, a sweet woman on her own for the first time in San Francisco.  I have gotten to give her all sorts of suggestions and it was nice to be the go to person when she had a question about where to meander to next.

Yesterday she took the ferry across the bay, first stopping at the Ferry Building for the Farmer’s Market.  Today it was a trip to the DeYoung with a pit stop at a cafe, FlyWheel on Stanyan, that I had recommended.

I like that I get out and see things and pay attention and go places.

I like that I went to Paris.

Scratch that.

I love that I went.

I don’t like the pride, vanity, and lack of humility that I have beaten myself up with over the last year for not having done it perfectly.

The constant seeking for perfection, in this country and that country, so that I can prove to you, who?  Not really certain who this mythical “you” is, how wonderful and perfect and amazing I am, and now please love me unconditionally.

You know the only person who is capable of loving me unconditionally is myself.

So, I choose that today.

To let my process be what it is and be really ok with that.

I told my employer’s house guest about how the Parisian children don’t have school on Wednesday’s and so Wednesdays were always a day I could find work, in fact, they were the most sought after day and the day I made the most money.

It was the day I would take the train in from the 9th out to Corbevoie, which was just out past La Defense.  It was a long commute and sometimes, often times, in the beginning of the job, it was dark when I left and just becoming light when I got there.

But I always got there.

The little girl I took care of in Corbevoie was named Nenna and she was six.

I tutored her in English.

Mostly, though, we just played and watched videos and sang silly songs, we went to the park a year ago today, it was our last day together.

The next week I was going to be leaving for Rome and the week following I would be leaving for the U.S. again.

Our last day together was really pretty and warmer than it had been, last year the winter was long and dreary, cold, wet, it snowed a lot, and the Spring was so long in coming, but that day, it was sunny, and we went to that park near her house and she ran around while I watched the other children run about and kept to myself on a bench off to the side of the park.

I am a bit of an anomaly here in San Francisco as a nanny.

I was even more so over in Paris.

But I was good and Nenna loved me and I her.

I also had some sweet charges that I still recall fondly in the 7th–Adele and her brother Cole–who were both precocious and smart and fun.  I loved Adele, Cole was a handful and I got to be fond of him, but his sister had my heart the first time we met and it was difficult saying goodbye to her.

My last night with Adele she stayed cuddled in my lap the entire night I was there, until bed time when I tucked her and Cole into their bed–a bunk bed–and they both sat in my lap and we all read books together.

Their’s was the home that I made my forlorn phone calls home to, the parents had a carrier that allowed them free phone calls anywhere in the world, so whenever I was there at some point I made a phone call.

It made me realize, quite quickly the people who I was close to, the ones that I called more than once, the ones I reached out to.

I do long for a Spring in Paris, a summer too, although I know that’s just crazy talk, summer’s in Paris can be really unbearable, but so too are summer’s in Wisconsin, and the first time I ever did go to Paris it was August.

I won’t ever forget that trip either.

It started something.

I don’t know when I will be back, but as the days lengthen here and I look around my home I don’t know that I can imagine leaving.

Yet.

It may be that I have some things to accomplish here first.

It may be that I will get to be a traveller again.

On a different pay scale, I should hope.

I don’t want to experience the Paris of a starving artist again.

Once was more than enough.

“When did you get back?” An old acquaintance I had not seen in, well, almost a year, asked me this past Sunday at an anniversary party of a mutual friend.

“Oh, I’ve been back for a bit, lived in East Oakland, then landed out in the Sunset, out on 46th between Irving and Judah.” I replied.

“You look amazing, and I am sure it was a challenge, but you know, you are so loved here, you belong here.” He smiled and hugged me and said, “welcome back.”

It was a sweet reminder that I am wanted and accepted.

Here.

There.

And everywhere in between.

Knowing in my heart that I don’t have to commit to being anyone other than my flawed self is a relief, knowing that my community loves me is a gift.

Allowing that love in is the work of a lifetime.

Whether I am in Paris.

Or San Francisco.

Or anywhere else for that matter.

Wednesday’s child, though, I miss you, little one.

I hope your day out at the park was as lovely as mine.

House Party!

December 14, 2013

“I haven’t been to a good house party in years,” my friend hollered in my ear as we were dancing in the living room.

Years.

Yeah, it’s been a little while since I have been out and up until 2 a.m. shaking my thing on the floor.

“Have you been dancing this whole time?!”  He asked me with a touch of incredulity.

I nodded, smiled, grinned actually, “once I start, it’s hard to stop, especially if the music is good.

And the music was fan-fucking-tastic.

I saw people dancing who I have never seen dance.

The dj got us all going and it was just an extraordinary night.

A night to remind myself how important it is to dance, to sing, to jump around the room with dear darling friends.

“What are you doing for New Years?” She asked as we segued into another set of shake your ass harder.

“Fuck.” I said, “I am working.”

“They better be paying you like $700 to work!” She said, “please tell me you are getting a good rate, you so deserve to.”

“I am, they are taking care of me, I am bummed though, I didn’t know you would be in town.”

My friend is a busy, busy, busy doctor and it is rare that we get to see each other.

But when we do, it is just the best.

We made plans to do brunch on New Years Day.

My overnight gig will be in the Castro and she’s got a place on Market and Church, perfect meeting of the minds, maybe a little Cafe Flore action, I know they will be open, then we were thinking we might hit Breakfast of Champions or perhaps the End Up.

But definitely do some dancing.

We also made tentative plans with another friend to do a night at the End Up in February.

Hehehehehe.

Yeah, that’s right, I am turning 41 next week and I still am making plans to go to the End Up.

God damn I love San Francisco.

And it really was one of the best, if not the best, house parties I have been to in the city.

All I had to drink was some apple juice and a cup of melted ice.

No party favors.

No extracurricular visits to the bathroom.

Just me dancing my heart out in the middle of the mashed room full of friends, old and new, from all walks of my life, Burning Man, nannying, people in my life that mean so much.

“We have to do this again soon, like, soon,” she said to me with a fierce hug.

The mom of one of my little charges, who was dressed like the best unintended Cindy Lou Who of them all with her little white tights with the red snowflakes that became stripes right at the top of the knees.

She held my hand and walked me into the front room where the Christmas tree was (this was before the dj, to some lovely live music that was being sweetly sung in the living room), she pointed out the star at the top of the tree.

“Up,” she said in a high sloughing voice that I only heard in my heart, it bypassed my ears and landed flat in the middle of my heart, and raised her arms.

I lifted her up and she touched the star at the top of the tree and giggled.

“AW!”

A chorus of onlookers behind us.

“You have such a beautiful little girl,” one man said to me.

“She’s not my daughter, but I love her very much, I used to be her nanny,” I smiled.

There is no discomfort in me when someone thinks that one of the children I work with is actually my own child, that means I am doing my job well.

I don’t want to be that nanny that I see in the park, corralled up in a huddle around a bench with the babies all strapped into the strollers while they sit and eat and talk on the phone.

I want to be the nanny that the child talks about and wants to see and hugs and tells secrets too, and remembers the books we read.

I did a full on from memory interpretation of Jez Albourough’s “Hug” with her in my lap.

Of course, it’s not a difficult book to remember.

There are only three words in the book.

“Hug.”

“Bobo.”

“Mommy.”

But it’s all in the reading.

“You really should go into early child hood development,” my dear doctor friend said to me, “you are just amazing with children, they really respond to you.”

I don’t know what that is and I don’t take it as a talent, it’s just a given.

A gift, I suppose.

And I don’t know what to do with it, but you know, I like that idea.

“You should look into what it would take to open your own pre-school,” she continued.

Oof.

I don’t know.

But yeah, there have been times when I have thought about teaching.

And yes, I know I am good with kids.

I just don’t have any clue how that translates to career.

Anyway, that is another thought, another blog.

I danced.

It was good.

I met people.

I met Julian from France.

“You speak French!” He gushed, “really well!”

Well, I don’t know about that, but that was super flattering to hear, especially from a native-born Frenchman who teaches at the Lycee Francaise.

I met Ryan from Chicago.

A PE teacher who teaches at six different high schools in the city.

I met Andrew who is a waiter in the Mission.

I danced with guys and gals and made new friends.

And discovered people I hadn’t seen in a long time and found out we had mutual friends there and elsewhere.

It was such a sustaining feeling.

And good god damn was the dancing just what I needed.

“I need to go,” my friend said as the clock crept towards midnight.

“Me too,” I said was I contemplated the long bike ride home.

The holiday house party was at 30th and Church.

It was about a six-mile ride home.

But I just had to dance to one more song and the next thing you know, it’s 2 a.m. and the neighbors are saying, “turn it down,” and now, it really is time to go home.

I got a blog to write.

Dontcha know.

The writing which began in my head as I flew down Lincoln Avenue in the middle of the road smelling what heaven must smell like.

At least my version of heaven.

The evergreen resin so strong and pungent, I knew unconsciously that the sap must have started moving with the warmer weather today and then when the fog began to roll in and the air-cooled off, how it sung through the air, cold in my nose, replete with pine, the soul of the woods leading me down to the sea.

The rush of the air the only thing I heard until I stopped and got off my bicycle in front of the house, then, I heard the soft bell of a fog horn starting up and the breath in my lungs spooled out in front of me making its own fog and I looked up at the moon so bright in the sky, ringed with fairy light and I thanked God that I get to live here.

That I get to dance here.

That I am really truly home.

Getting to have my own private house party by the blue lights of my Christmas tree.

 

 

To Market, To Market

April 14, 2013

To buy a fat pig.

Or a five euro glass box.

Which I tried to barter down from 7 euro to quinze Euro.

The man in the stall did a double take, laughed, patted my arm, pulled his wife over, showed her the box told her I wanted to buy it for quinze instead of cinque, cue me blushing, having realized I asked for a higher price rather than a lower.

Ah, French.

How do I love thee, let me count the nouns.

I also just discovered the difference between the noun “baiser” and the verb  “baiser”.

One means a kiss.

The other, in slang, means to fuck.

Well, no wonder all French men think us American gals are all for the having sex non-stop.

“No, monsieur, just kiss me.”

Uh huh.

Christ.

Well, I did get it for the reduced price and I actually had a very cute and charming conversation with the vendor.  I told his wife I knew I spoke French like a Spanish cow, her husband doubled over, first time I have heard a French person belly laugh, tears standing in his eyes.

I was on a roll and explained at least it was better than the mistake I made a few months back when I first arrived here and said “no, I don’t need a sack, I am a sack.”

At this point, I believe if the wife had not been present, he might have just given me the box, he was laughing so hard.

Glad to know we can all laugh at me, most of all myself.

I do have a tendency to take myself too damn seriously anyhow.

I actually did quite well today at the flea market.

I was thrilled, too, to not have to go out to Cliangcourt to get my flea market fix, which was most likely swamped, as today was the first deliriously real day of Spring, I actually chose to walk on the shaded side of the street at one point, I went instead to Square D’Anvers, just a few blocks away from where I live.

Last night as I was returning from the baby sitting gig (which earned me the money for the few little splurges I got) I noticed the stalls being set up and the flyers posted around the square for “Brocante Soldes.”

Antiques.

Yes.

It was actually a really big market, I was surprised by how much of the street it ended up encompassing.  I walked through it twice.  The first time to get a lay of the stalls and what was being offered.  The second time to make my purchases.

All of which I talked down from the original price.

I may not be able to speak French as well as I imagine I do, and I do imagine it–I find myself thinking in French more and more often which is kind of crazy–but I do know how to barter.

I also know when I am being snookered.

I refused to pay for the price of a pair of bib overalls that a woman was selling in her stall.

Partially because I found it astoundingly rude to be hollered at from the cafe table across the way.  Lady, get off your ass and make the sale, put the cigarette down, leave the wine, and man your stall.  No, I don’t think I want to buy from you anyhow.

They are my current obsession, bib overalls.

I have no idea why, but I want a pair.

I do need a new pair of jeans, my last pair from the states died.

Bicycle riding will do that.

They did last longer than I thought they would, but the last bike ride out they died.  And no new jeans.  I find that I have looked a little for new jeans but I am finding it difficult to shop.  I am not much of a shopper any how, oh, I would be, I am sure, if I had more money to spend, but I am not much for just going and trying stuff on.

I still don’t see my body very clearly and despite having tried on clothes since I lost the weight, over two years ago now, I find myself either going for things that are too small or too big, getting discouraged, and giving up.

Plus, despite being smaller than the last time I was here in Paris four years ago, I do still have a bigger frame than the majority of woman here, except for the African immigrants.

French woman are just tiny naturally, shorter, in leg and torso, and thin.

I am none of the above.

Now, I love my body, it’s strong, and much healthier than it was for years and years, but finding clothing that works well for me has never been quite my forte.

Hence the lure of the accessory.

I found my Paris earrings!

Five euro.

Pink plastic hearts.

I also found a wood bead and fabric necklace for five euros.  It had been originally been 25 Euro, not sure how I got it for five and I scampered away before the madame could change her mind.  I knew I had made a great score when a few stalls down when I stopped to look at some beautiful vintage hats and gloves (way out of my range even with barter skills) the woman in the stall approached me and complimented me on the necklace asking what country I was from and where I got the necklace.

When I told her, ici, here, she was quite surprised.

I was thrilled and told her thank you and that she had a lovely stall, more expensive than I could afford, but so pretty.  She thanked me, we talked about my tattoos and I slowly drifted off to the next stall.

I got a lot of attention for the tattoos.

The weather, ah, oh, ooooooh, the sun, it came out today.

And off with the jacket, the scarf, and the layers.

I showed more skin today than I have in months.

I was not openly harassed, though, just admired and it was a pleasant experience.  I told my friend today at the park, as we sat in the sunshine and admired the green leaves unfurling, that I often had men, mostly, approach me, and touch me, then ask after the tattoos, the last time I came to Paris.

It was a disconcerting experience then, my French much more rusty than it is currently, despite making mistakes still, which I will, I am sure, make more of.

I don’t put up with the touching now at all.

It won’t be an issue for the next few days anyhow, I will be covered up again.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain, but I got out today, walking, wandering, bartering, speaking my poor French and soaking up the sun.  I don’t even care that I made an ass of myself.

If I can’t laugh at me then I am taking myself too damn seriously.

And I am not that French.

Today Was A Good Day

December 14, 2012

It was my last day of French class, but not, I think my last French class.

I made the decision to do my best to stay put, to be here, to allow the Universe to work its magic without me getting into it and muddling around.

Put it out there.

Take one step toward the Universe and it will take one thousand toward you.

Believe.

Have faith.

I was indescribably happy today for absolutely not apparent reason.

It could have been one of many things.

Listening to the rain fall in the courtyard while drinking my morning cafe au lait in Paris while writing my morning pages.

It could be that this cold has almost met its match and I think, despite it having a claw or two still in me, is nearly gone.

It could be that it is Friday and the end of the week means the end of the week.

I could be any number of things, I did not care, I do not care now as I am typing.  I am indescribably happy.

Anything could happen.

Anything.

How amazing.

I also noodled about making some birthday plans.  For which I am excited.  Coffee with Wilmien, lunch with Natasha, the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Centre de Pompidou, a walk through Paris, a tattoo at Abraxas on Rue St. Merrie in the Marais (a gift from my room-mate, I can’t afford a tattoo in Paris, holy bats are they expensive), a ride on the ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde, and a shellfish dinner.

Not a bad plan,eh?

And actually all well within my price point.

Ah, today, despite not having revenue coming in I felt inundated with hope and faith and I just kept taking actions and putting it out, I have no idea where the job is going to come from or what it will be, but it is coming, I can smell it like chestnuts roasting over hot coals in the courtyard of the Musee de Louvre.

I also had a really amazing moment with Corinne at the Lounge Lizard and something within me shifted, some thing within me stirred, that quiet voice deep down, soothing, loving, ever present, rose up and I realized I was sitting in a cafe with a woman I just met a scant six weeks ago talking about all things important in my life over a hot cafe creme in Paris.

In Paris.

Hey, I made it.

Ha.

My whole body just relaxed a little bit.  A deep resounding settling in my skin.  I sipped  my creme, we read some words, I felt like I was being re-born again and getting to see that I was always being carried forward, just like I am being carried forward right now.

I also had the most disconcerting moment of deja vu I have had in years in French class.

I count deja vu as  sign.  Something momentous is about to happen.  Something miraculous.

Magic.

I cannot tell you how stupendous it was.

I looked out the windows at the rain clouds, I looked at my teacher’s mouth forming French words, I smelled a perfume I had not smelled in years, I cannot say what it was, but it was so potent I nearly fell from my chair.

I have already been here.

That was what went through my mind, I have lived this moment, and I am living it again.  The sensation, illusive, yet tangible swept over me, and I stopped listening to the lecture and wrote a poem.

Poems have been falling out of the sky for me.  I wrote two sonnets this week.

Two.

I have written five since being here.

Six?

I am quite happy to be writing sonnets.  Sometimes, despite calling myself a poet far before I called myself any other kind of writer, I would think that I had used up all my poetry, that there was nothing left.  I had a few years when I did not write a one.  All the while writing my blog,  In fact, I got worried that the blogging was becoming the only literary coin I had to spend.

It is apparently not so.

I am grateful to have more poems in me.

 

Fin de la Semaine (End of the Week)

Over come with deja vu in French class

conjugating verbs.  Warm breath fogs

cool windows, outside it rains, solace

between the drops, warmth follows, dogs

me as I wrestle with my infinity

scarf.  Smells assault me, suddenly

far away memories storm my divinity.

If only I could smoke crack lady

like, but no, ca va?  C’est n’exite pas.

Mais, I can love un-lady like as well.

I will dash between the drops

fall into puddles of salt splash hell,

yet arise, phoenix like, again, reinvent

me in your porcelain blue eye inward bent.

 

Fin (end)

 

The nice thing about writing poems is that they are just for me.  They tend to be romantic, in the nature of that genre, and they are more real for me than the history or the stories I tell to myself.

The poem above may make no sense to anyone, but I know, without a doubt in my mind that anytime I read those words I will be transported to that moment in the classroom.

I will feel my scarf around my neck, see the condensation of warm air on the windows, smell the perfume, hear the verb viendre being conjugated by someone two rows behind me and be transported into a revery of another place, layers upon layers of time.

The ever-present now in all its godlike glory unfolds leaving me rapt and awed when coming out of the Metro I look up and see Hotel de Ville lit and sparkling with mad disco lights.

Sparkles

Sparkles

I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I believe I will stop struggling now.

 

 

Time to Face the Baby Sitting

December 13, 2012

I Skyped with John Ater last night.

Thank God I had already cried off the majority of my eye make up by the time I had him queued up.

I would have been a wild mess.

I did lots of crying yesterday, but as I explained to a new friend last night, despite doing the same action expecting the same result, I was not going to hold onto it as long as I would have in the past.

I actually laughed about it all today.

Oh no, mom can’t send me the money.

Grow up kiddo.

Get a job.

“Well honey, it’s like this,” John said, templing his hands beneath his sage eyes, so bright, so quick, “you can come back crawling with your tail between your legs and go back and work at the bike shop again, or you can decide that you want to live in Paris and you get a nanny job.”

“The choice is yours, you made the decision to go, now make the decision to stay.” John concluded, chuckling at the f-bombs I was dropping left and right.

Then he told me the story about the man who was too good to work at McDonald’s and how after months without finding work in his field he finally went to McDonald’s and didn’t get the job.

He got home and there was a message from his old job asking him to come back.

In other words, take the action, let go of the results.

John also said, “have you asked for help yet?”

Grr.

No, sort of, not really, well….

“Honey, you asked for help to get you to Paris, now ask for help to stay in Paris,” John laughed at me as I cried something out in profanity.

“It’s going to take you two years, two years to feel at home, stay put.”  He added, knowingly, goddamn does he know me, “you sound a little homesick too.”

Yup.

For certain people, certain things, certain places.

I am home sick.

It’s great for the writing, I get inspired at all times of day and night.  I stopped fighting against the rising ache in my heart when I hear certain music or think about certain people, I just started using it.

I had my headphones on last night and I was doing a few last-minute things before heading to bed and the song came on and it was on shuffle and I certainly was not expecting to hear that at that moment.

The ache boomed.

Tears sprung to my eyes.

“Use it,” a voice said in my head.

I did not even think about it, I opened the Word application on my computer and I wrote out a sonnet.

Well, look at that.

I am constantly getting information and feeling so much, my skin a translucent thing, gossamer thin, I sit in the wash of the world and all my senses are assaulted and if I can just keep my head above water and let myself absorb the sensations and the smells and the sights, the smell of charcoal burning in the Metro, the smell of chestnuts literally roasting over a fire, the sight of a woman in full furs climbing the slick stairs in stilettos and emerging like Venus from the shell of the Metro station, the evergreen baby Christmas trees lacing the air with pungent sharp pine sap, the caress of a kiss on both sides of my cheeks, over full with light and sound and the sharp cold air in my nose, the slant of red lamps shimmering along cobblestones slick with rain.

The image well full.

That is the well from which I drink to satiate my thirst.

It can get intoxicating at times, I get dizzy with it.

There are so many things to see.

And hear.

Tomorrow is my last day in French class, not forever, I think there will be a time that I continue further.  I feel good with it, I got a taste of it, I got a month of good solid review and learned more and met wonderful people.

Wilmien and I

New friend

Wilmien had her last day today and I wanted to make sure I got a photograph of the two of us.

She is off on a mini-vacation with her husband for the weekend.  However, she will be back by my birthday and insisted that she was meeting me for coffee.

I am blessed.

I really am.

The class not only helped me square away some good French lessons, I got a new friend.

A new friend I hope to visit at some point in Afrique du Sud, from her descriptions it sounds amazing.  I am down to do more travelling.

I mentioned that in my craiglsit post today.

I put up a nanny ad.

I put it out to the world.

I grabbed a FUSAC, an expat Anglo magazine, to comb through the want ads.

I am going to the American Church on Saturday and will pull ads from the infamous bulletin board.

I told people I ran into tonight that I was not only looking, I was open to suggestions.

I actually got quite a few interesting ones.

I am open.

I want to stay.

I am ready to face the music, or the baby sitting, or the house sitting, or the whatever comes next.

I am not ready to go back to San Francisco.  Unless it is to file for my work VISA.  Then, well, I will hop a plane tout de suite.  For the moment, I am going to progress forward taking action that says, I am here, I want to be here, show me how you did it.

I am a suggestion sponge.

I will try anything, legal, no “special massage” for you, thank you very much.

No drug dealing.

I still have this weekend ahead of me to focus on getting the book done.  I really do believe that I can get it done by my birthday.  I edited a bit more today.  I am getting through.  The work is holding forth.

I am excited.

It could just be that the cold is finally lessening its grip on me, it could be that I am done living in fantasy land.

Either way, I am committed to be here.

In Paris.

You Have Meaning

November 28, 2012

You have purpose.

I was given a beautiful tiny pot of pink roses this afternoon on my way into French class.

I was talking with Johnny, who I had not even noticed walking down the street as I had my head in the clouds.

Literally, I was watching the sky.

Sometimes, when I wonder what I am doing in Paris, yes, aside from the obvious, writing, I think it may be just to observe the color of the sky, the formations of the clouds, it is God television and it never fails to enthrall me.

Of course, sometimes, it does make me a bit of a nuisance as I stand blocking the sidewalk, looking for my camera, juggling my gloves, my bag, my apple stuck between my teeth, then I forget that I am blocking the sidewalk.

I take the photograph.

Head in the clouds

Head in the clouds

Then I take another.

Skyline

Skyline

Some times, most often, truly, I take that photograph with my mind’s eye.

Which is what I was doing when I startled out of my reverie to see John standing in front of me waving.

He smiled.

“Oh!  How long have you been standing there?”

“Only about 20 seconds,”  he laughed.

We did the French greeting, faire de baise, kiss, kiss, one cheek, then the other cheek.

“Ca va?”

“Ca va bien,” I said and smiled.

As we were standing there catching up, my class mate walked past, the lovely W. who had consoled me last week when I was homesick for, well, I don’t know what, the fantasy of Thanksgiving?

Je suis mal de pays.

I am homesick.

I could not quite express what it was, but she knew.  She is a sympathetic soul and despite not having had huge conversations, we are somehow connected.

She is a person I feel compelled to confide in.

I have told her a few things about me and she is becoming a friend.

She touched my shoulder and handed me a small pot of pink roses wrapped in lime green paper touched with white ribbon.

Budding Friendship

Budding Friendship

“What’s this?”  I asked, then I saw the inscription.

“W….!”

She smiled, “I will see you in class.”

Tears pooled up in my eyes, which I now, just now, mind you, realize that I cry when my heart is full.

My heart so full, it overflows.

It read: Carmen….

You have purpose, you have meaning….

I do?

I do.

How is it that you meet the exact person at the exact time that you need?

How is it that some one I do not know, really, a week and a half of French classes is not a true intimate, yet, I do know, knows me better than I know myself?

I was beside myself.

“Wow.”  John exclaimed, “that is so sweet.”

I was abashed and shy and overwhelmed and how silly, flattered, but yes, that too.

I had also, wished, in a slightly dreamy sort of romantic way, that I would be given flowers.  I love so to be given flowers.  It has been a little while since I have had them given to me.

Of course, I think that they should come from a romantic interest.

But what is more romantic than being gifted something so brave and beautiful and full of hope with the promise of faith in who you are and what you are doing?

That is romance.

Especially when you least expect it.

Especially when you wonder, like I had earlier this afternoon, what I should be doing, what was I doing?

I was going to go to French class.

I was using g.ood o.rderly d.irection.

What is the next thing you need to do, I thought to myself as the doubt rose like gorge in my throat threatening to strangle me and hold me hostage.

Put on your coat.

Breathe.

Put on your muffler.

Shoulder your bag.

Participate in French class.

Now go.

And off I went, traipsing down the cobblestones on Rue Bellefond, down to the Metro, off to French school.  Where upon arriving ahead of schedule I walked around the neighborhood.  I walked past a florist and thought, I really want to have some flowers, I really want some one to give me flowers, I corrected.

You could just buy some, but that feels frivolous in these times of economy as I just put aside my rent money and then dug down to make sure I could pay for the Metro pass another month.

Do not fret, do not worry, there is a reason you are here.

I told myself, one foot in front of the other, look as you cross the street–lost in my thoughts yesterday I almost got mowed down by a taxi–look up.

And there, look, the sky.

My heart filled.

I ran into Johnny.

I got a pot of flowers.

My heart overflowed.

I have purpose.  I have meaning.

French class went by in a flash, then off to Rue Madame.  I carried my little paper wrapped package with me on the Metro headed to St. Sulpice reading Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”

I got off.

I walked around.  The sky was doing that incredible French movie Paris sky thing it does and I pulled out my camera, setting my roses onto the ledge next to me.

I took a few photographs, looked at my watch and realized I had more time than I thought.  I could go for a brief walk before I needed to be where I needed to be.

I gathered up my roses.

I realized where I was.

Pres de Rue Fleurus–the street where Gertrude Stein habituated.

Oh, why the hell not?

I walked down the street pulled along by the flowers in my hand toward the pinks that marched along the sky line.  I watched a cloud float between the two towers of row houses lining the rue and saw it go creamy golden to rosy pink to dusky velvet yellow and backlit with softest gauze pink.

I saw the window sill on the building of Stein’s home.

I set my flowers there.

Windowsill

Windowsill

 

27

27

 

 

 

 

Stein's Place

Stein’s Place

 

 

 

 

 

I actually do not want to write like Gertude Stein, her stuff is a little over my head, however, I do want to write like Carmen Martines.

And I did that tonight.

I came home.

I took my flowers out of their wrappings, watered them, set them by my bedside, gathered my lap top and my journal and headed off to Odette & Aime.

 

I wrote a poem.

I edited my book.

 

I have purpose.

I have meaning.

 

 

One of These Students

November 26, 2012

Is not like the other.

I spilled the I smoked crack beans and was homeless in class today.

Apparently nobody else has done either.

Or at least no one else was owning up to it.

The girl sitting next to me, woman I should say, asked me something about what I do and how long I am in Paris and what brought me here.  I told her I am a writer and that I am working on my first book, completing it truly.

She was confused, you are not writing about Paris?

No, I am using Paris as the well to replenish myself with when I need to get images.  Funny that, filling up my idea well with Paris when I am actively writing and engaging in the craziness that was the early 90s post-Hurricane Andrew Southern Florida, with a dash of crack and a side of homeless.

“What are you writing?”  She asked.

She, by the way is a professional actress and comedienne.  Who?  I have no idea.  But she is in Paris performing and filming and I do not recognize her at all, although I get the distinct feel that she is quite well-known in her country of origin.

I almost want to Google her.

I probably will not, I can barely pronounce her name, let alone spell it.

Besides, if I am going to be doing any Google’ing, it is to look for publication opportunities and agency and the like.  Which, I continue to remind myself, is putting the cart before the horse.

There is no need to look for agency until the book is a complete piece.

It is not complete yet.

However, it is fleshing out nicely.  Despite my embarrassment, self-imposed at the childishness of the writing.  It is young, it is not dynamic and it falls flat often.  The story is good.  The writing not as much, which is why I am editing, and I am writing into the story, deepening it, polishing it, cleaning it, and I get over the, I cannot believe I wrote this drivel when I actually get into the meat of what is happening and am able to show it, the story, instead of describe it.

“You are writing a memoir?”  She asked, after prompting me more to tell her about the book.

“You are too young to have memoir.”

I smiled and told her that it was only about the four months I was homeless smoking crack running around with an older man when I was 19.

I smiled.

Her face.

“You have stories to tell! You should write!”  Then she smiled, I nodded, yes, I need to write.  That is what I do.

Sidebar, my computer has been making the scariest noises recently, I am not excited by them.  Please do not die my friend.  Please.

I told her a few things, not like there was much time to discuss my crazy, but she asked another question, “two years” was my response.

Two years.

I was homeless for two years.

I slept in cars, I slept in tents, I slept in weird pop up campers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I slept on plywood.  I slept in abandoned houses.  I slept under the trees and on beaches.

Today I sleep on a fold out futon in the living room of my friends three month-let in Paris.

It is not really my bed of choice, but it is not bad, eh, when combined with the recall of where I have been previously.

I had these thoughts flash about my head in a swirl of fallen leaves as I was walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg.  I had thought that I was to be on Rue Madame at 5 p.m. this evening and as it turns out I was to be at Quai D’Orsay and the American Church at 8p.m.

Oops.

However, I had gone by the gardens last week, not realizing how close I was to them and, since I did not have to be where I thought I was supposed to be, I went for a walk in the gardens.

It was divinity.

That same sense of terrifying happiness engulfed me as I was walking, as when I was at the Pompidou and saw the Kandinsky.  The brilliant blue sky was overlay with the dusky light that seeps between the buildings at twilight and tinged with grey curling smoke.

There were huge drift piles of leaves pushed together along the dirt paths.

Children running about with ruddy cheeks.

I am walking in the park in Paris.

I am looking at the trees and smelling the good smell of wood smoke and crunching through the leaves.  I am having autumn.  I had taken the edge off my hunger with an apple I had in my satchel and the sweet rose taste of it was still about my lips.

I sighed, smiled, looked at the sky, let everything bleed out of me and into the swirl of cirrus clouds above.

It matters not where I go.  I am here now.  Stunningly simple, this quiet reflection, I have this time, this gift.  I get to be here writing.

I thought about the list of jobs and things and what I had and have.

I have a bicycle.

I could sell it.

I love it.

But it is just a thing.

I have a tax return probably coming.

Then, I thought, let it all go.  Just be quiet in the twilight.

The quiet only lasted another brief moment as I trod toward the wide circle of fountain sketched with a few small scurrying boats and the scudding clouds above reflect back into it.

I was about to take a picture of an urn overfull with flowers, when the whistling began.

Flowers

Flowers

Urns

Urns

 

 

 

 

 

The urns were situated all about the circle of fountain.

I wanted to walk around it, circumnavigate it, see it from all sides, but the gardens were closing and the whistles, although not unharmonious, were insistent.

The sound of whistles came from all corners and gathered us up in an apron of leaves and shook all the park revelers out the front gates, which black plated and tipped with gold spikes, were to be closed prompt as prompt could be, at sunset.

Some thing of the civility of that, the closing of a park, at dusk touched that deep well, a ripple of thoughts dropped there.

I once lived around a man made pool of water deep in the treacherous heart of Dade County, Miami Florida, and perhaps lived is a too neat a term, survived to tell the tale, perhaps more like it.

Today I lived, present and peaceful, serene and full and I walked soft dirt paths by another man made fountain, but this heralded by the skies and the whistles and the laughter of children plunging in and out of leaf piles as they were herded out of the park.

A deep breath.

Bliss, wood smoke, autumn leaves, the sky fading toward the mottled purples of evening, and a walk under the bare tree branches, spartan and brave, I tucked my hands into my pockets, and shouldered my camera back into my bag and wished the gendarme “bonne soiree.”

A good night indeed.

Sunset in the Park

Sunset in the Park

Branches and Sky

Branches and Sky

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Branches

Tree Branches

 

 

 

 

Patronage

November 24, 2012

And how I am now officially asking for it.

That is after consulting with another person who knows me and knows my motives.

She said, and I quote, “do it.  The worst some one can say is no.  And then you are exactly where you are now, no different except that you asked for help.”

Gah.

This whole asking for help thing.  I did not want to be given humility for my 40th birthday, but that is what it is looking like I am being given.

That and a used copy of Hemingway’s, “A Moveable Feast”.

Which is what led me to the discussion with Corinne today.  I had been reading the book, it was left here by a guest recently and she had asked if I would care for the book, had I ever read it?

Nope.

She recommended it highly.

Then another person recommended it to me yesterday.

I thought, ok, ok, I am being told something, listen to it.  I also decided to head off to the market associated with Hemingway and the book–Rue Mouffetard.

Flowers

Flowers

I was a little disappointed with the market, to tell you my thoughts exactly, it was a tourist trap from hell.

But there were parts of it, here, this flower vendor.

And then there, that bit of color on the leaves of the trees in the corner park.

Fall Color

Fall Color

 

 

Lovely little things.

I did traverse the street and I was not entirely disappointed.  I found some delicious apples and a pair of darling finger less gloves.  The kind of gloves I have been looking for since I got to Paris.  I scooped them right up.

Frankly, though, the market was over priced, as are many of the places where the tourist is a targeted mark.  I understand this, but as I am doing my best to be a local, despite not looking, acting, or sounding like one, I am trying to shop like one.

My favorite market is on Friday on Rue D’Anvers.  It is a small market around the Square D’Anvers.  It strikes me as being for the more upper class in the neighborhood, but I always find a really good price on a chicken and I get the best and I do mean the best apples ever from this older woman and her son.  They are not only exquisite looking and quite large, the flesh and taste is something wild and old and tart and sweet and antique.

I feel like I am eating an apple from a tree in the countryside that has been grown on a tree that is over two hundred years old.  It is good stuff, I tell you.

I digress a wee bit.

I get off track a little.

I am embarrassed to ask this.

But ask I shall.

Will you support me?

Will you help me write?

Will you send some money to my Paypal Account?

I am not kidding.  I am actually asking for patrons.  Corinne said, “it’s not like you’re not working.  You are not asking for some one to pay for your vacation, you’re working.”

She is right.

I am working a lot.  Aside from the two hours of French class every day.  Which should you opt to help me out, I will sign up for another month of classes (190 Euro plus 28 Euro for the study book and workbooks), I am also out every day walking and taking photographs.

In the three weeks I have been here I have taken over 500 photographs.

I do not have an exact count.

Some make it to my other blog–www.whereintheworldisauntibubba.wordpress.com

Some make it here onto this blog.

Some, a lot of them go onto my FaceBook account.

Today I spent about a half hour editing the 54 photographs I took today.  Then I posted the ones that I liked the best to my photography blog.  Then, I spent another hour uploading about another 80 to Facebook.

Last night, I also spent about two hours re-formatting my photography blog.

In addition to this, I write every day.

Some times you see it, I have posted a poem and a short story that are completely separated from my blog and my book and my photo blog, here.

The short story is “The Button Boy”  which I am thinking about expanding, to what, I am not sure, but it feels like there is more to just the short story than I wrote, I feel like it has some legs.

The poem is “Salon De The”  written last Sunday at just that, a Tea house, or salon, as it may be called off Rue De Vieux Pompiers et Rue Madame.

I also, really, this is the juicy part of my day, the part I like the most and dread the most, as the case may be, edit my book.

I am 75 pages of editing in.

I do the majority of it at Odette & Aime which is the cafe just down the street from me.

Odette & Aime

Odette & Aime

 

Editing

Editing avec cafe creme

 

 

 

 

 

 

I try to get in about an hour of editing a day.  There have been times when I go about an hour and a half and there are times when I only last 45 minutes

The material is emotionally draining.  I am writing about being addicted to crack cocaine, about homelessness and poverty, about an abusive relationship, about being lost, it is challenging to keep myself and the story separate.

Which is the grace and the beauty of the situation.  That is my situation.  I am here in Paris, having given myself perhaps the greatest gift I could, unlimited beauty to assuage my soul with as I delve into the ugliness of reading and editing my first memoir.

Yes, my first, there are two follow up pieces.

I cannot write yet about Paris.  I have not lived here long enough.  However, I can use Paris as my muse as my inspiration, as the place I get to take a break into when the image of being 19 and scared and overwhelmed and sleeping on a piece of plywood on an abandoned airforce base becomes a little much.

I set my pen down.

I take a break.

I make a bowl of cafe here at the house or I take a walk or I go to market.

I got myself here, not alone, I cannot say alone, so many people loved and supported me.  But if I am going to stay, I am going to need a little more help.

Hemingway had patrons.

I am allowed patronage too.

I have a Paypal account.

I have a work ethic too.  I am not going to sit on my ass and eat baguette and chocolate bon bons.

I promise.

What I am going to do, is continue to write, to edit, to walk, to take photographs, to live an artistic, bohemian life, in Paris.

You send me 5 Euro.  I will send you a postcard.

You send me 200 Euro.  I will take another month of French class.

You send me whatever the hell you want and I will write you a poem, I will take a photograph for you. I will go to market, or Notre Dame, or walk along the Seine.

You send me rent, 500 Euro, you get a signed first edition of my book and I add your name to the acknowledgements.

I do not know what I am doing.  But that is how I learn.  I make a jump.  I take a risk.

I ask for help.

I take some one else suggestion.

You got one, let me know.

Current suggestions being followed–read “A Moveable Feast,” write every day, blog every day, take a walk every day, meditate, be of service, ask for help, let people know what is happening, get outside, sit up front at French class, take the opposite direction from the Metro stop as you think you should.

Let yourself get lost.

Oh, and let me not forget, my lovely, my dearest, my blog.

I will keep posting to my blog, every day, every adventure, every tear, date, dream, love.

     Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. 

My Paypal account is my old yahoo e-mail address:

carmenreginamartines@yahoo.com

Click here to donate.

Don’t forget your address so I can send you a postcard!

Get Your Gratitude On

November 22, 2012

I got homesick, in of all places, French class, today.

Homesick for what?  I am not sure.  But it was definitely a case of homesick.

It’s Thanksgiving and it is not really a French holiday, in case you were wondering.

I thought I was fine today, in fact, I woke up before my alarm went off with more energy than I have since I have gotten here twenty days ago.  I did not feel sleepy, I did not feel any dread, I did not feel achey, or depressed, wonky, none of it.

In fact, I had been ceaselessly thinking about my bike.

I saw a guy walk out of an apartment building yesterday and hop on a Bianchi fixed gear.  I stopped in my tracks and watched him pedal off, his feet finding the toe cages and sliding in, the little hitch in the pedal as he pumped up to speed, and I could have tackled him.

I wanted on my bike right then.

Right there.

I pulled it out of the box this morning.  I laid it on the bed.  It would not be hard to put together, come on, I worked in a bike shop, I told people how to put their bike together all the time.  Just because I had not ever officially done it myself did not mean it could not be done.

I have it assembled, sans the pedals.  I did not give myself enough time to do that.  But she is ready to go and damn, she looks good.

My room-mate was like, “do you need some alone time?”

I was all up on my bicycle, her pretty sparkles, the lovely saddle, the curvaceousness of the crank set.  Oh la la indeed.

I have  a damn pretty bike.

All thoughts of not putting it together flew my brain as I unwrapped her and with a helping hand from said roomie, it was assembled quite quickly.

I thought I would need a pedal wrench to put on the pedals, but when I got home tonight I took another look-see and I believe I will be able to throw those bad boys on with just my Allen key.

If I do end up needing a pedal wrench I will take my bicycle over to Bicycle Store Paris and have them give me a hand.  I may well go over to the shop anyhow, as I do not have a chain breaker and I need to leash up my saddle.

I have already seen a few sad bicyclettes without their saddles.  I like my saddle quite a bit, it was special ordered for me and I have no desire to part with it.

Plus, the store looks pretty darn sweet and it will be a nice destination ride.

Tomorrow rain is forecast and I actually have a pretty busy day, so Saturday, I believe, shall be my inaugral ride.

I am quite excited.

Now, here I am all excited, all set to go, and I sit down, have a nice little spot of lunch, tuck my French home work in my bag, grab le livre et le cahier (my book and notebook) and get ready to leave for the day.

I suddenly feel dreadful.

I do not know why.

I go out onto the streets, they are bustling, it is Paris, and it strikes me, there are too many people out.

It’s Thanksgiving, no one is supposed to be out.

I have not seen the streets ever this busy.

Then, of course, it hits, this is not the United States.

This is France and this is not a holiday and no one eats turkey here and whatever, it’s a Thursday and there are places to go and things to do and French class to attend.

Fast forward to sitting down at the table in class and feeling again, this very real sense of displacement and I am starting to feel again, this odd sadness.

My new friend Wilohmene says hello and how are you and I tear up.

She hurries over, and sits down.

“What’s wrong?”

I had opened my cahier and the homework assignment was next to a writing exercise about football.

It’s Thanksgiving, that’s what we do in America.  Eat turkey, play cards, and watch football.

The writing exercise in my workbook was not even about American football, it was about soccer of all things, but the word, just hit home.

And there it was, that weird little pang again.

“It’s stupid I said, it’s Thanksgiving, and I, uh,” I pause trying to think of the equivalent holiday in France.  On top of which, Wilhomene is not from France, she is from South Africa, even further removed.  “I guess, maybe it’s like Bastille day in France,” I stumble around for the right holiday (Bastille Day is nowhere near Thanksgiving but it was all I could reach for).

“Oh!” She said brightly, “it is a holiday for you.”

“Yes,” I sad, more tears running down my face.

You could have hit me with a stick, I was just absolutely in shock that I was feeling this blue over Thanksgiving?  Really?

Mina, from Korea, comes over and hands me a tissue.

Suddenly I am surrounded by sweet women from all over the world who aren’t native French people either and we all are commiserating about being homesick.

“Red wine,” Wilhomene said, “or chocolate.”

I laughed.

I did not tell her I would not be having either.

I shed a few more tears and then suddenly, it is class time and it is French, and hey, I am learning French.

This is pretty cool.

I did go back and forth, waffling a bit, earlier this evening after class let out and I had made my way over to Rue Madame, about going to the Lounge Lizard tonight for Thanksgiving dinner.

I did not want to go, but I had and have things to be grateful for, amongst them, people who wanted me there.

I went.

I felt better.

Yes, I did cry a little bit more.

I do not think I am so much homesick right at this moment, but just supremely grateful to have these new people in my life.

Sweet, kind, generous people.

That for me is the essence of Thanksgiving anyway.

I got my holiday, just with a French twist.


%d bloggers like this: