Posts Tagged ‘Mama Shelter’

A Long Strange Day

May 12, 2017

But.

I’m here.

Whew.

It took a minute.

I have been in transit for a long time and it’s nice to finally be situated, although I won’t be here but the night.

I am at Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, and happy to have finally figured out the internet, and gotten myself fed and sorted out.

I had an unexpected delay at Charles de Gaulle that threw me for about two hours.

My flight got in right on time, which is awesome, since my first flight had to stay aloft for 40 minutes to be cleared for landing and that meant a sprint, well, a fast hobble, to my connecting flight, which I made, but yes, heh, I broke a sweat to get to.

Yeesh.

I also got a bright orange card to wave at everyone I ran through to get to the gate, I don’t know how I did it, I just did, up and down a couple of escalators, on a train, through the crowds at Heathrow and I made it just as they closed the gate, I was allowed on and even got to bring on my carry one, which technically for the size of the plane was too big.

I got through customs quickly and I got a quirky smile from the French security when he saw my tattoo and got waved quickly in.

Then.

It happened.

On my way to purchase the Museum Pass–pro-tip to any one traveling to Paris, buy the Museum Pass at the airport.  You can buy it at the museum you go to, but you have to stand in line, which is a pain, and the whole point of getting the pass is to not stand in line.

So.

I see my trusted Banque de Postale, which is where I traditionally pulled money from when I lived here and inserted my card.

And it got denied.

I lost my breath.

I got faint of heart.

Hmm.

Maybe I asked for more than my limit.

I tried again.

Transaction denied.

Fuck me.

I started to panic.

I was hot and cold all at the same time.

I had set my travel alert, it should have been able to allow me access to my funds.

Fortunately I got myself together enough to sit down and pull out my laptop and log into the WiFi at Charles de Gaulle and I saw, yup, “suspicious activity” reported on my account and I had to call the bank.

Fuck my mother.

I had the hardest time dialing out.

I finally got some assistance from a very sweet woman at the information desk and together we figured out how to place the long distance, COLLECT, call to my bank.

I am scared to see what my phone bill is going to be, I was on and off hold for ever.

I was finally able to get through to a live person who rectified everything, assured me I would be able to use my card and sent me back to the Banque de Postale to use my card.

And.

Motherfucker.

It was denied again.

I was going to melt into the floor and dissolve into tears.

I did not.

I rallied.

I also noted I was getting marked by a pick pocket, so I gathered myself, looked him in the eye and made sure he was aware that I was aware that he was casing me.

He skulked off and not a minute later a cop strolled by.

I got back on the phone with my bank, more holding, more transfers, three different service people and finally, FINALLY, they over rode the system so that I could use my card.

I kept the woman on the phone with me until I had successfully made a withdrawal, thanked her profusely and then promptly went and bought myself an iced coffee.

Then I went to the Toursime desk and purchased a four-day museum pass.

It’s the first time I bought the four-day one.

I am going to get my museum on people.

I said, screw the train, I’m over it, I had planned on being settled at my hotel and out strolling the neighborhood for a few hours, not stuck at the airport, so I hopped a cab.

And.

Hahahaha.

Got stuck in rush hour traffic.

ARGH.

It’s funny now, but at the time I was just like really, REALLY?

Enough already.

Then.

I just breathed.

I am ok, I have money, I am in a taxi, I’ll get to the hotel, I will brush my teeth and wash and put on some perfume and go have a nice meal.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I ask the super sweet, super friendly front desk guy what his favorite place was in the neighborhood and he directed me to this sweet little bistro Blaise et Brasil.

I had a salmon tartar.

Veloute avec chou (silky smooth cauliflower soup with truffle oil and crisped kale).

Fromage, (cheese plate with greens) two kinds, a Gruyère and another I don’t know what it was, but I made a very happy face eating it.

A bottle of Perrier.

And a cafe creme.

Heaven.

Welcome back baby.

I probably won’t be able to sleep for having had a coffee at 10 p.m.

But fuck it.

I’m in Paris and it felt really good to sit and eat and watch the people walking by and the patrons in the cafe.

I spoke French in totality and in fact, was able to make a funny joke with the table next to me as the waitress brought them my bill and not theirs that I really appreciated the kindness of strangers.

It was sweet.

And I feel settled now.

Writing this certainly helped, it always does.

It is just a damn good way to process all the stuff that happened and help me see, with perspective and humor that I am fine and things happen and I get to roll with it and still be grateful.

Hell my cabbie dropped my fare by 7 Euro when he dropped me off.

Of course, he also gave me his phone number, so maybe he had an ulterior motive, but it was sweet, we were stuck in traffic for close to an hour, I was grateful.

And now.

Well.

I am going to try to get a little rest.

I know.

There’s not much for the wicked.

But.

I shall try.

Bon soiree mes amies!

Bisoux.

 

 

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Hello Again

May 8, 2017

I have been remiss my friends.

I have not been keeping up with the blogging.

I did post last night.

A poem.

But I had no energy after the emotionally exhausting day of classes.

It was a big school weekend.

A lot of deep work.

So much.

And it’s all great stuff.

But.

Fuck.

A girl could stand a break once in a while.

I did get to see my friends a bit more than I have in the past school weekends.

I had a girlfriend dinner with two of my favorite ladies in the cohort on Thursday.

We met at Mazzat, a Lebanese restaurant in Hayes Valley after I got out of work and had scootered home to let in my friend who was hanging in the Outer Sunset waiting for me to get back from work.

She needed to drop off her overnight stuff.

We were having a slumber party.

Hence no blog Thursday night.

It is just not a nice thing to do, I have a small place and I wanted to be a good host and although my friend did encourage me to write, I didn’t feel that it was necessary.

All my delicious catching up and being with her and our other French friend in the cohort at dinner had filled me up, made me happy, completed my experience for that day and it was more important to crawl into bed with my friend and whisper and chat and talk girl stuff.

God.

It’s nice to have girlfriends.

She is like a sister to me and we have pretty much connected to each other since the first week of retreat our first year.

God damn.

I am done.

DONE!

With my last weekend of classes.

I am officially now a third year student.

Holy shit.

And.

Oh, thank you sweet Jesus.

I went to the financial aid office this weekend and sorted out my aid and my package and the lady in the office was super kind and accommodating and it was all done in five minutes.

Such a help.

And I am so grateful to have that settled.

I should be getting enough that I can pay for the tuition for my summer school practicum and for the supervisor and have a bit left over, about $1400, which should cover my costs for out-of-pocket therapy for the summer.

That’s the plan.

It felt so good to get that taken care of.

In other housekeeping stuff.

I e-mailed the bookstore when I got home from class today and listed the books I’d like to sell back, some of which the awesome manager at the bookstore had told me when I was selling back in the fall, to hold off until spring, that I would get a better price.

So.

Fingers crossed.

A few bucks in my pocket this week.

Always handy when a lady is getting ready to travel.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

I leave for Paris in four days.

Four!

I am so excited.

It is finally here.

I have three days at work.

I have to go tomorrow and meet with my supervisor before work and I am hoping that I will be able to run a few quick errands before heading to work.

I need to pick up a few travel toiletries.

I went grocery shopping today after class to pick up some essentials to have in the house for the next few days, as well as to have some things for myself in the freezer when I get back from France.

I bought a new neck pillow for the flight as well at the co-op in my neighborhood.

It felt super fun to tuck it on top of my roll on suitcase.

This trip to Paris will make it number three for this particular suitcase.

It has also taken me to London once, Rome once, New Orleans, Anchorage, Minneapolis, Madison, New York twice, Orlando, and Los Angeles.

It’s a damn good piece of luggage.

It may need to get replaced soon, one of the wheels is getting a little wonky, but having had it for seven years, I think, that’s not bad, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a trip or three that it has taken that I didn’t list above.

No.

I have not taken it to Burning Man.

Ha.

That is the one place it does not go.

Soon it shall come out of the closet and get filled with clothes and shoes and stuff and things and I will be heading out the door to SFO to London to Paris.

The only small fly in the ointment is that I got a slightly changed flight out of London to Paris, and now I have a bit of a layover in London, so I won’t get into Paris until 5p.m. on Friday, May 12th.

I was supposed to get in around 10:30am’ish.

Oh well.

I will probably save myself some travel hassle from Charles de Gaulle and just take a cab to my hotel.

Mama Shelter.

There is a music venue across the street that my Parisian friend told me about today, Fleche d’Or.

I may go check it out after I get checked in and settled.

Could be a fun, spontaneous first night in Paris sort of deal.

I was thinking I would get myself to the hotel, check in, unpack a few things, hit the shower and go out into the city.

I will grab dinner, somewhere in the neighborhood,  Les Desnoyez or perhaps Le Baratin.

I mean.

I sort of want my first night in Paris to be special.

A lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace.

Music at the club.

Dinner in a French bistro.

A walk past Pere LaChaise in the evening.

Oh.

The things I am going to do.

I am excited.

And as the weekend is wrapping up and I just turn around and head into the work week I know it will go fast and before one can say “croissant” I will be leaving on a jet plane.

I am so ready for it.

Seriously.

 

 

Letting Myself Get Excited

May 3, 2017

I think today it finally sunk in that I am really going to go to Paris soon.

Like I fly out next Thursday.

It has a lot to do with the being done with my papers.

It also has to do with clearing up some housing issues and having all my places situated.

One of the spots I’ll be staying in is actually a place I have stayed in before.

Mama Shelter.

I stayed there when the hotel first opened in 2007.

I got a stellar deal on it since it was new and in a somewhat, not now, but at the time, dodgy neighborhood.

But it was perfect for me.

It reminded me a lot of the area of the Mission that I lived in, dodgy, but charming, easy to navigate and really not a tourist spot.

A bit off the beaten track.

But a very lovely part of off the beaten track.

109 Rue Bagnolet.

It’s in the 20th arrondissement, predominately still a very working class neighborhood.

Not really central, but two, three blocks, five-minute walk to the Metro line 2 and near Pere LaChaise and my very favorite books store Le Merle Moqueuer.

There’s also Le Chat Noir, where I have done open mics, and Rue Denoyez which has some fantastic graffiti and mural art.  I mean there’s some fantastic artists in the 20th, I have a lot of photographs of murals and graffiti from my many walks through the area.

I’m only there one night, though, then staying with a friend in a more central location.

So I’ll get my gritty “real” Paris feel for my first night and rendezvous with my old haunts and cafes and libriaries  before heading toward central Paris for the rest of the trip.

I am so excited.

I was talking about my trip today with my therapist and how it came about and challenges I have had in the past with female friendships and how excited it was to have planned this trip with my French friend in the cohort, how happy I am to have her as a friend and how I have a tough time saying what I need in relationships with women.

I didn’t exactly have the best modeling around female relationships.

We talked about how important my friendships are and how I often feel a bit lonely, so many of my friends have moved out of San Francisco and I have said goodbye to many precious ladies.

I will say good-bye to more as the school year wraps up this weekend and I won’t see some faces until next fall.

And.

Some faces I won’t see at all.

I am sad for that, I will be crushed when my dear friend moves back to Paris, but then again, what a fabulous excuse to get me to go back.

I assure you I will be visiting her a lot.

We have already tentatively talked about next May and I am sure there will be many other trips to Paris to see her sweet face.

And there will be this trip to Paris.

I decided to even let myself do the super uber touristy thing.

Something I have disdained from doing, but um, actually sort of want.

A Paris black zip hoodie.

My friend that I lived with in Paris had one and I secretly loved it but I couldn’t ever bring myself to buy one, somehow it just felt too hokey.

But I realize.

I want one.

So.

Heh.

Expect to see some photograph of me in the near future sporting a black, zip hoodie with Paris emblazoned across the chest.

Fuck it.

I’m only going to live once.

I have also gotten an idea of what I want for my Paris tattoo.

Anticonformiste. 

In script on my left forearm.

I definitely am not someone who conforms much.

Whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

I often find myself doing things differently.

I am also smitten with a monologue on the Bon Entendeur music app that I have on my phone which has actors speaking about moments in their lives, scripts, films, revealing moments, then it’s woven into the tracks, deep house, chill, electro, and one of my favorites that I have been listening to a lot is Astier, Anticonformisme.

The track list is so good.

Astier starts out talking, in French, about how his mother was always drawn to certain people, neither rich or poor, of a certain temperament, that tend to buck the system, to be artists, lovers, musicians, humans, and how he admired this trait in his mother and how she brought him up to appreciate the creative.

I love the monologue and the music is just so good, I’ve been listening to it a lot to have French in my head for the trip.

I will probably queue up Amelie as well as Je t’aime Paris, soon, they are sort of my go to movies to get my ears back into French.

I digress.

Back to my tattoo.

I just thought, what a fucking awesome idea for a tattoo, which is anti-conformist thing to do, getting a tattoo, and it speaks to me, speaks to me of my love for French house music and electro, of being an artist, of doing things outside the box.

I am pretty sure that’s what I am going to get, but I’ll leave it open.

I am going to get a tattoo though.

And yes.

Ha.

My sweatshirt.

Hey, I live in the Outer Sunset, often a land of heavy chilly fogs, I need another hoodie.

I only have three.

Heh.

Oh Paris.

All the things we shall do together.

I am counting down the days.

I am watching the weather forecast.

I am planning my outfits.

I am greedy for you, my love.

I shall be seeing you soon.

Oh.

So.

Soon.

Yes.

 


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