Posts Tagged ‘Thello Trains’

What To Do? What To Do? What To Do?

April 4, 2013


I had really believed that once I was in Paris I would just be staying in Paris.

Oh, maybe I would move around a few of the arrondissements until I settled in place, then life would unfold, and I would be here for the next ten years.

Fantasy land.

Reality land is much different.

I was thinking about that today as I reviewed a conversation with my room-mate in my head–he pointed out to me that I have not been on vacation here.  I have been trying to live here.

Excuse me, I have been living here.

I am not on a vacation and I have put in enormous amounts of energy to make this work.

I have struggled.

I have not surrendered.

Until recently.

Yesterday when the final moment tick tocked down and the wallet was opened and the ticket was bought.  I cried a bit, then I had a head ache, then I laughed a bit, then I cried some more, then there was the hugging.

Then I got a gift from the Universe.

Two actually.

First was an invite to come to Rome.

Friend of a friend who I met over the Christmas holidays, who happened to be room-mates with a wonderful friend of mine back in San Francisco (who I met a Burning Man five and a half years ago) and we struck up a conversation and hung out one evening in Paris over dinner, which led to more talks, another dinner, and a walk with some fellow travelers around the Opera area one night.

She read my Facecrack page, as I updated it, begrudgingly, after I got the confirmation on the ticket, and said, “we should see each other before you go, either I come up to Paris or you come down to Rome.”

Now, I have never been to Rome.

A Roman holiday could be quite lovely.

I hear they have a new fearless leader.

The second thing that I saw happen was a hit on my “Patronage” post.

When this happens, which is not as frequently as I would like, but far more frequent than I imagined it would, it means that some one has read my blog about asking for help.

Yes, that is correct, a darling friend in San Francisco sent me 100 Euro and said, “go do something fun with it.”

Perhaps knowing that I would be loath to spend it on something frivolous.

Which is true.

My friend in Rome said these days work best for me.

I checked them out and the cost to go is a bit more than what I had planned on them being–200 Euro instead of the 70 Euro I had thought it would be.

Thello Trains runs a special 35 Euro rate one way from Paris to Rome via sleeper train.

Which sounds way more romantic than it really is.

Believe me, the photographs are not depicting luxury travel at 35 Euro a night.

The train company also apparently has a very limited amount of these berths.

I did not purchase the tickets.

My internet here at the house today has been patchy at best, you should have seen the hilarious Skype session I had earlier, it was in slow motion, I laughed a lot, flirted a bit, and got flustered a lot as well, all in what felt like stop time animation.

I am uncertain if it has to do with the construction happening in the courtyard, but the internet for the apartment is down completely.  I am on the SFR Wifi, which is heavily trafficked and slow.

Regardless the connection is trash.

I got off the Thello site and started attempting to research further the tickets, they do not provide the only train from Paris to Rome.  I may also try to hook up a plane ticket there and back, that may be the quickest way and cheaper.

I am hitting the pause button for tonight, but I do believe I will take up my friend on the offer of a place to stay.  Her only requirement is that I bring a fridge magnet from Paris for the room-mates who collect them.


If the ticket ends up being a little more, well, I did get asked to babysit tomorrow and Saturday.  I could swing the remainder.  It would seem a shame to not go to Rome for a few days if I can do so.  How many people get the offer of a two night stay in Rome for the cost of a refrigerator magnet?

Not many I am supposing.

Say yes to the Universe, I hear the voice saying in my heart.

This is a good voice, it is in my heart, not from my head.

Say yes, Carmen, you will be taken care of.


I will buy the tickets.

Yes I will go to Rome.

I hear they have some nice paintings there.

I do not have to grasp and clutch and hold tight onto the money out of fear.

I can open my hands up and say, yes please, and thank you very much.

I accept these gifts.

All these gifts, the presents of being in the moment, here in Paris, where I am for a little while yet.  There was a reason I was brought here.  It may have only been to be in Paris for six months, that is no little reason.

It may have been to strike up a conversation with a flirt bucket in New York.

It may have been so that I was of service to a few people.

Or that I needed to see that art there, go for that walk here, taste this, smell that, thousands of moments, the feel of snow falling on my face in Paris as I crossed Pont Alma, the sound of birds in the woods in Chambourcy, the laughter of little French children swarming around a playground.

I don’t know.

I don’t care.

I don’t have to know what to do or where to go, actually, I am being told quite distinctly, quite loudly.

Go to Rome.

Go to San Francisco.

Go to New York.

See what happens when you get there and do the next action in front of you.

Enjoy the moment.

And then write about it.

Prep Time

February 22, 2013

I am going to do a little research.


That was depressing.

I googled “woman age 40 stats”.

I have to say I am not fond of what I found.  Nor am I of the opinion that what mostly popped up was in any way applicable to me.

Either I am a raving lunatic who must make baby now.


I am losing my sex drive and have nothing to look forward to but the ravages of menopause.

I say fuck you to both those things.

I have been letting my thoughts percolate this week on the subject of being a woman of 40.  A topic I feel like I have done a lot of thinking about and a lot of playing with for this last year.  However, since I was asked to participate in this blog project, I have been coming back to it again and again.

Doing some sorting out of what makes me tick at 40 and what differences I see in my life and whether that has anything to do with anything regarding the actuality of what the age means to the society at large.

I don’t read a lot of papers.

I don’t watch the news.

I don’t get women’s magazines.

I do read “Voici” when I go babysit.

It is this hysterical French gossip rag.

I don’t have to understand much French to understand the scope of the magazine.

Besides the pictures really are worth a 1,000 words.

Not that the articles accompanying them are ever that long.

I have preconceived ideas, I suppose, of what 40 should look like.

It just looks like me.

My scope is limited.  Maybe I don’t have the same kinds of pressure to perform, to juggle marriage, children, career.

Working in a bike shop was a career, of sorts, I suppose, as is babysitting.  But they are certainly not the careers I think I would have seen myself pursuing at this age.  I just see what I am doing and think that it’s what I am doing.  It does not have much to do with my age.

When my age comes up for me it is generally a stick to beat myself with, as in I should be this, this, this, that and the other, like women I see who are my age.

I don’t look like women my age or act like women my age.

I just act like Carmen.

Do I need to put an age on that?

Do I need a signifier to go forward?


The age has brought wisdom.

That I will give it, wisdom which comes with experience.

There is nothing I would go back and change, though.


I like this me.

I like the work I have done to get here.

That is what I believe I will end up writing about for the blog project, the last year in a kind of retrospective, what happened to get me to Paris.  How I let go of things, the couch surfing at Calvin’s, the change of jobs, the losing the cats, the house siting in Oakland, the Lover, the Mister, the dating, the sex, the Burning Man, the service, the roll on suitcase.

I was also asked to be a contributor beyond the initial blog.

Which has me thinking too.

What goals do I have for myself, what am I doing now, where do I plan on going, how to move forward with my most authenticated self.  How to not care that I am 40 and acting like a student on holiday.

Well, actually, perhaps not acting like a student on holiday, the posters of the movie “Spring Breakers” in the Metro are cracking me up.  I am no spring breaker or spring chicken.

But I still get from here to there with a messenger bag, the new “back pack” oft-times and I am looking at Europe through the eyes of a student on vacation.

I found out through a friend recently about a train that runs from Paris to Florence/Milan/Rome/Venice called Thello and it costs, wait for it….

35 Euro one way.

That means for 70 Euro I can go back and forth to Venice.


I can take an over night sleeper train for 35 Euro and go to Venice.

That is something.

I am going to do.

I have been writing I am a world traveller in my daily affirmations for what feels like years now and Venice is one of the places I have always wanted to go.  I could go for a weekend.

Walk, stay in a hostel, maybe couch surf, take a gondola, go to a museum, watch the light and see what the sky looks like in Venice.

70 Euro.

Less than what it cost me to go to London and back.

I want in.

Of course I am still looking for Euro for rent for next month and food and all that jazz.

But 70 Euro?

How can I not do that?

I also do not know when or how things are going to change.

But they are.

That too is something that being 40 has given me.

This utter belief that if I show up things work their way out.  They don’t always work out how I think they ought to or the way I had suspected they would.  No, the world spins to a different tune than the one the dj in my brain box has playing.

It is a better song to dance to, frankly, I get tired of the station my head plays.

Reality when I show up for it is fantastic.

I am doing the work.

Corinne pointed that out to me tonight as I sat on the couch rocking the baby and shedding a few tears, mostly tears of frustration over the thoughts I beat myself with, the 40-year-old stick that I need to retire.  “Your really do the work,” she said.



No bullshit.

I can always push harder and try harder and exhaust myself and wrack my brains with schemes.  Or I can just soften myself, lay down the bat, just because I have been using it for 40 years does not mean that I have to use it for the next 40.

I am not even middle-aged yet.

One day I will look at where I am now and see that it was all exactly the way it was supposed to be.

Because it already is.

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