Posts Tagged ‘culture shock’

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.

Being of Service Even When I Don’t Know

May 10, 2013

Where I am going.

I was lost.

Yeah.

That.

I get lost pretty quick.

I had thought I had it all figured out, not really, but I at least had the place mapped out on my phone, I was cranking down Piedmont Avenue on my bike looking for the turn I needed to make when I heard,

“CARMEN!”

I had no clue who it was, but I whipped a u-turn and turned my bike around.

There, a friendly face waving from the car.

“Where are you going?”

“1300 Grand Ave,” I replied with a grin, it’s nice to run into folks when you are lost.

“You’re going the wrong way,” she said and smiled.

“Of course I am,” I laughed.

“I can give you a ride,” she said.

“I don’t think my bike will fit in the back of your car, the front wheel is not a quick release,” I said scanning the back seat, “do the seats flip down?”

“I don’t know,” she said, “well, how about you ride your bike to my house, I live really close, then you can lock it up there and we’ll head over together?”

“Perfect.” I hopped into my pedals and whirled back down Piedmont the opposite direction of where I was going.

Arriving concurrent with her, I’m fast, and she got stuck at a light, I situated my bike, locked her up, and off we went, headed out to see some fellows in my new town.

It felt a lot better than last week, I was pretty cultured shocked and wonked out and I felt myself today, really myself for the first time since I have been back.

I am feeling CARMEN.

I am not jet lagged.

I am not having any more culture shock and my thoughts are now all in English again.

I am also digging on the sunshine.

Man, I get seasonal depression, yeah, chuckle now, that’s right, I wintered in Paris with its dark, grey, cold winter.  Makes great fodder for the depression.  I am lucky it did not get worse than it did.

Of course, I know that one of the best things for the depression, seasonal and the clinical anxiety and regular old depression I was diagnosed with six years ago, is exercise.

I walked a lot today, about two hours between pushing the stroller and walking the dog.

And I got on the bike and kicked out another 45 minutes or so, what with getting turned around.  The exercise really gets my head in a good place.  I am not a gym rat and walking and bike riding are where it’s at for me.

Good thing I will be doing plenty of it in the near future.

Tomorrow I will be heading into the city to iron out the details with the other two families that want me to do a nanny share.  Four families.  I am going to be working for four families.  Two days a week in San Francisco and two days a week in Oakland.

Actually a nice little balance between keeping my ties with friends in San Francisco and getting into the community here.

Hopefully the babies in the city will have a better start out to their weeks than I have had with the little monkey here.  Poor pumpkin has been sick all week.

Three diaper changes today with explosive yellow yuck.

I joked with her after the third change of clothes, “you are just a fashionista, that’s what’s going on, you want to have three full wardrobe changes, don’t you?”

Thank God for bubbles.

She is not a bath baby, does not like getting wet and lifted her little white frog legs away from the water like it was acid.

“Look! Bubbles!” I emphasized and splashed them higher with my hands.

“Bubbles?” She said wary, looking at the white froth.

“Bubbles.” I said with enthusiasm and lowered her little bum into the sink full of warm water.

She still cried.

Diarrhea is not fun for anyone.

Not the nanny, not the little monkey pants either.

Ah, yes 40-year-old woman blogs about poo.

Yup.

“Your going to have triplets,” my friend said tonight as we pulled out of the lot.  “I mean, really, look at all the practice you are getting.”

“Something, man, is coming out of this, I mean, I know there’s a good reason why I am doing this yet again,” I replied.

I don’t even have any cares about it right now.

Who cares?

I am a great nanny.  I am good with babies and toddlers and I like drawing, and singing, dancing, and taking long walks in the park and being outside.  I like that my tattoos are colorful and I use them to teach numbers and letters and colors and shapes.

“Star.”

“Bunny.”

“Pink.”

“Butterfly.”

There’s a great reason I am a nanny again, and I don’t have to know what it is or why.

Do I want to always be a nanny?

Nope.

I want to be a writer.

Oh, wait, I am doing that right now.

I am a writer.

The nanny bit makes it possible for me to do this.  The hours work for me, the money is not going to make me wealthy, but it is going to sustain me, and I get to sing and dance and make funny faces and hey if I fart, they think it’s hysterical.

Name me one other job where if you say “excuse me, I tooted,” your co-workers are going to hoot with laughter and clap their hands in glee.

Sure, I want an adult job, with benefits, and more money, and maybe some prestige, but when I look around at the beautiful children I have gotten to be graced with having in my life and how strong and funny and brilliant they are, to have been even a small part of that is a great gift.

Huge.

And if I do have twins or triplets, or even just one, I will have a solid foundation on which to build.  I cannot imagine that most parents have gotten to have the boot camp training that I have had in this venue.

Not to say that I am not looking out there for other work, I am, but until the book deal happens or Burning Man hires me, come on you know you want to, I am being taken care of.

Even when I get lost.

Most especially then.


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