Posts Tagged ‘train travel’

One More Day!

May 18, 2016

One more day of work.

Then.

Off to New York.

I have made some decisions regarding my trip.

One.

I am not taking the subway to the Air BnB when I get into JFK at 10:30 p.m. at night.

I don’t feel like showing up to the place after midnight.

I’m going to get a car.

I am going to let myself not worry about navigating the trains, I’m going to let myself have a little experience, see the city from a car at night.

I think the view alone from a car will be worth the splurge.

I am also going with a good amount, obscene it feels like, of money.

I have saved all semester and I have a comfortable little cushion to let myself spend and the luxury of not being anxious about making the right train and transferring to the right line is well worth the cost of a car.

In fact, I’m also going to take a car to the airport when I return as well.

My flight back is way early, 7:30 a.m.

Which is awesome since with the time change it puts me at getting back to SFO around 9:30a.m. and I took the whole day off from work.

I’ll probably train it back to the house from SFO.

I’m hella comfortable with that commute.

But in New York, I’m going to let myself have the experience of not being anxious about train times and getting here to there.

I will take the subway while I’m there, I won’t be on a time frame, it’s loose and flexible.

I want to go to the MOMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, but if something comes up and I miss one of those because I am having some other grand adventure, than cool.

I’m going to be flexible.

I um, heh, want some souvenirs, because that’s how I roll.

And I did actually come up with a tattoo piece that I may go have checked out at Three Kings in Green Point.

If I can get it for a good price I will.

If it seems like it would take up too much time and energy then I won’t.

I do want a pair of earrings, or three, a bunch of notebooks, bunch of stickers, postcards from the museums I make it to and what ever the hell floats my boat.

I would love a sweatshirt and I always love getting a hat from the city I visit.

I don’t actually have the one I got there two years ago, I am not sure where it got off to, but I don’t have it.  I do have the one I got in Paris in 2007 and I love wearing it, I am always reminded of the street where I got it, the time of day, and how I just fell in love with it.

I’d like a good New York cabbie hat or fedora.

God damn.

I am excited.

Coffee galore, walking, oysters at a restaurant somewhere, photographs, graffiti, I want to make sure I bring my camera and rechargeable batteries.

I am also thinking about getting one of those brick recharger deals.

I drain a lot of juice on my Iphone when I take photos or when I use it to navigate anywhere.  And if for some reason I’m out and about in a part of town and don’t feel like subway back to Clinton Park, I’ll get a car and that means having my phone powered up.

I will be out on the town.

I will not be hanging at the Air BnB.

That is simply to have a place to sleep and do my blog at night.

I plan on being up and out and going the majority of the time and it would be handy to have an extra bit of juice for the phone.

I met with a lady this evening after work and told her about what I was doing and why and her whole face lit up.

“That’s like bucket list stuff for me,” she said her face glowing.

Girl, if I can do it, so can you.

So grateful that doing nice things for myself helps the women I work with give them the allowance to do the same things too.

Travel was such a dream for me when I was younger and I am so grateful that I am allowing myself more and more to embrace it.

I was writing this morning about where I want to go and things I want to do.

Take the Empire Builder Train Line.

Go to Paia, Maui–see the place where my grandmother was born.

Go to Burning Man in 2017 since I can’t go this year.

Go to Hudson, Wisconsin and see my best friend and her family.

Those are the tops on the list, but there are so many others.

I would love to go back to Alaska and really see it during the summer.

I still want to see Venice and go back to Rome for more than a weekend with more than the 50 Euro I went with.

I am still in awe how that happened.

Rome for 50 Euro.

Cape Town, South Africa.

Toulouse, France–I owe it an amends to be seen truly instead of the drunken, hung over stupor I did it the first time.

So many places.

And you know.

I’m going to go to all of them and more.

Because I am alive, I love myself and I am fucking awesome.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

But for a woman who came from where I did to be where I am at it is only by grace that I am here and I feel like I owe my God the happiness and joy I find in traveling.

It fills me up, it lights me up.

New places, new experiences.

New faces.

New art.

God.

I can’t wait to just cram my face full of art.

I’ll have something to compare the new MOMA to when I get back.

I haven’t been to it yet, not having really had time to what with school and work.

But I will when I get back.

Especially since I won’t have to be doing homework every weekend.

Hell.

I’ll also do some little trips around here.

Why the hell not?

Get on a train and see where I can take it.

Scooter down the coast.

Or up it.

I’m not sure about taking my scooter over the bridges, but I could see going around the coast  a little.

Oh summer vacation.

I am so happy to meet your acquaintance.

Feels funny to say that at the ripe old age of 43, but there it is.

One more day of work and then some play time for me.

I have so earned it.

Seriously.

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Spa Day

April 24, 2013

After the trains, buses, planes, and various Metro lines I took yesterday, both in Rome and in Paris, I was pretty tuckered out.

So much so that when the offer was made to me to come over to a friend’s house and stay while she was away in the states for the week, I balked.

No.

I don’t want to get back on a Metro to transfer to another Metro to hop on the RER C and head out to Vitry-Sur-Seine.

I want to cry in my tea and put my head down on the table and give the fuck up.

I felt done in.

Then the realization hit that my room-mate had a friend coming into town who was going to be staying for the next week, ie until I left back for the states, and perhaps getting on another round of trains was not such a bad idea after all.

I said yes, let me get myself together, drink a cup of tea and re-pack the bag I had just unpacked.

It took me an hour to unwind my frazzled self, a spot of food, what was left in the house before my adventures in Rome–potatoes–and two mugs of tea and I was ready to hit the road, Jack, once again.

When the hell am I going to slow down, I thought to myself as I transferred from Line 7 to Line 10 to the RER C at Gare d’Austerlitz, I shifted my bags and opened to the door to the train and stepped onto the platform.

How many platforms did I cross yesterday?

Express Bus 40 to the Trevi Fountain; Metro Line A to Termini; platform 34 on the Leonardo Express; the plane from Rome To Paris; RER B from Charles de Gaulle International airport to Gare du Nord in Paris; walk down the hill to the house, then back out the door to Metro Line 7 to Metro line 10 to RER C off at Les Ardoines, walk to the house.

Whew.

I was ready to sit the fuck down.

Apparently I was ready to sleep too.

I did that in spades.

I slept until 11:30 a.m.

It felt like much later, as the house has black out blinds in the living room where I was crashed out on the couch.

“You could always couch surf, you know,” he said to me this evening, the light golden and rich, haloed his blonde hair and his eyes sparkled with a bit of sexy French man charm.

“I could,” I replied, “I am in fact now, couch surfing, despite having rent paid at my place, the opportunity to be in a more spacious environment was given to me, so I took it.”

“I have,” I repeated, “done a lot of couch surfing, and you know, I’m about done with it.”

“Are you moving back in with your parents,” she said and leaned toward me eager to hear my response.

I just about spat out my tea.

“Uh, no,” I said, “that’s never really been an option, although, my parents have lived with me from time to time.”

“Oh,” she said, and stumbled around looking for the next thing to say.

I stepped in and saved her the embarrassment of assumption, “I’ll be staying with friends when I go back,” I concluded and looked up to see another friend coming toward me to kiss my cheeks.  Saved from the continuation of the awkward conversation I turned my complete attention to him, as he sprinkled me with “Ciao Bella’s”.  We hugged and caught up.  I am going to miss some people here, I surely am.

“You look beautiful,” he said to me.

I should, I thought, I got so much sleep and then instead of running out the door and trying to cram some last moments of Paris into the last week I am here, I gave myself a spa day.

Plucked, waxed, shaved, showered, deep conditioned the hair, manicure, pedicure.

While my nails were drying I nibbled a salad of raw vegetables and green olives and sat on the porch in the sunlight and read a book.

Life is not so hard when I stop the struggling.

I do need to focus on getting my feet beneath me, I know this quite well, I do not want to live on the generosity of my friends, I do not want to be a taker, I want to give.

We sat on the banks of the Seine tonight, reading from a book, passing the pages back and forth, talking about the wisdom expressed, sharing our experiences.  The sunset, firing her hair with red-gold and smothering us in love.  “I cannot say how much this means to me,” I said, tears forming in my eyes, “to be here, in Paris, sharing my experience, getting to work with you, on the banks of the Seine at sunset.”

What gifts I have been given.

What a life I get to lead.

Relaxed and at ease, and having an awesome hair day, if I do say so myself, I know that these next few days will have moments of fear, of challenge, perhaps of anxiety, but I believe, I truly do, that I am only going up from here.

The book I was reading today on the porch while my toenails dried in the warm French breeze, finally! Was Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides.

There was a quote that caught me,  “to go forward, you have to go back to where you began.”

That is exactly what this feels like.

I am going forward by going back.

I am no failure for having come here, despite the financial repercussions of my actions.  If anything, they are showing me exactly what I want and knowing that I can begin to change the habits and patterns that do not work for me and find a way forward.

“We will stay close,” he said to me tonight, looking deep into me.  I felt my heart breaking open, breaking wider, allowing in even more love, I love you my dear, I do so very much.  “I will read your words, I will be close, we will see each other again.”

And we will.

Here in Paris.

Or on the playa.

Or where ever the Universe decides to drop me next.

Just hoping it is not on a couch, but in a room, a place to call my own for a while, to grow forward to make my way, to bloom with brightness and love the way the trees along the Seine were blooming tonight.

“I love you,” I said into her hair and the shell of her ear, “I love you so much,” we hugged good-bye and I plunged down the steps to the train station, another platform to cross another rail to ride.

Here in Paris.

Six more days.

Sans Arret

January 25, 2013

What, motherfucker, really?

No stopping?

I don’t want no stopping unless it is non-stop sex.

I stood on the train platform in the suburbs after a ten minute “brisk” walk, that would be the fast, don’t fuck with me walk, in the cold, in the dark, in the strange new land, I call France, in the cold, did I already say that?

In the cold.

Damn.

It is cold out there.

I am inside now, thank God.

I don’t know if I read the train schedule wrong, there is that, I could just have read the train schedule wrong, but I thought I had it pinned down.

I had taken the same train just a few nights back from the suburbs and the baby and not had any problem.

The platform, when I arrived, at 10:44pm was empty.

Cold.

Empty.

A scattering of salt on the iced over steps and nothing else to see, except the trains that blew past ruffling my hair off my face and chilling the tops of my ears even more.

One train.

Two train.

Three train.

Four motherfucking trains latter.

No, five, it was five trains before one stopped.

They would whistle past, warm, lit, stuffed with passengers cozy and warm, I imagined ensconced in soft seats with warm heat vents blowing on them and mugs of hot chocolate in their hands, complimentary of the train, and the was probably even a wood burning stove on one, I imagine.

With wee elves roasting marshmallows.

For s’mores.

Thanks, brain, love that scenario.

I finally understood that the next train was not coming until 11:22 pm

Enough time for me to make the transfer at Gare de L’Austerlitz to the Metro Line 10 to the Metro Line 7, before the Metro closed for the night.

If all went well I would be sitting here at the computer with a cup of tea, thawing out quickly and I would be writing about the bite of cold and the double muffler option and my room-mate was not kidding when he said get a winter coat.

“Aren’t you cold,” she said to me from her nest of furs.

“Yes,” I answered simply, “I am.”

I won’t always be cold, maybe I will actually listen to what others say and get better prepared.  Of course, it will be warming up by Sunday, easily, according to the weather, a good thirty degrees warmer than right now.

I could stand that.

Maybe, just a little.

The days are growing longer, I did notice that today, and there, for just a brief moment was a peek of sun that lingered for a minute, lighting the planes of my cheeks before I ducked around the corner on George V and headed for the American Cathedral.

Cold in its own way.

Try sitting in a room for an hour and a half while there is open air construction going on outside the door and one of the windows has a broken pane of glass and the tattered plastic that was put over it flaps in the wind.

Actually, let us not to try to imagine that, I just got cold again.

I am almost warmed up.

I am on my second cup of tea.

I am in yoga pants and a long jersey shirt, a sweat shirt, and a scarf.  I also have on knee-high socks and slippers.

I will warm up soon.

Usually by about 4 a.m. I am actually too warm and have to throw off the covers for a moment or two.  The comforter on my bed is quite cozy.  I could crawl under it now, but I would then not perhaps finish doing the writing for the blog.

I will nail down the train travel for next time.

Tuesday I will be going back out to help with the baby.

Baby is doing good, mama got to get a little sleep, I got to do a feeding and lots of snuggling.  Auntie Bubba at home and abroad. Where ever I go I get to be of service around the miniature set.

Tomorrow a baby sitting gig in the 7th.

Sunday an interview to do a Wednesday gig with a six-year-old girl to teach her English.

Monday baby sitting in Asniers Sur Seine.

Tuesday back to the suburbs to do another shift with mama and baby.

Which is not paid in anything but love, but it is some good time there, and well worth the travel, even when it is cold.

I am getting to help out.

I am getting to get out of my head.

When is that agent going to get back to me?

Probably not until next week Martines, so chill.

And keep up the cold queries.

I sent out another one yesterday and I shall send out another tomorrow and another the day after that and, well, I believe the point is made.

I actually do not expect that I will get picked up by this agency, but I will get picked up.

I do believe that.

I will pay off my student loans.

I will travel more.

I will write more.

I am writing more.

I will get published.

I will.

And if I get to help out with a few kids in the mean time, then I am lucky to be where I am, the demand for child care here is high.  And my experience with the under twelve set is getting extensive.

Here to be of service.

I just keep telling myself that.

Even when it’s cold out there, I am not out in it long.

I have a warm place to come back to and hot tea and an apple to munch on here in a moment.

I get to make phone calls to the states tomorrow too, I have already booked on with John Ater.  Another perk of doing the gig in the 7th, love getting that phone time in.

I too can go without stop, some times, but now seems an appropriate place to at least pause for the evening and fall into the warm of my comforter.

And sleep.

Sans arret.

 

 

Being of Service

January 23, 2013

When you don’t have an official job, but you sort of do.

What do you do?

Go be of service.

I went out to the suburbs today.

I so thought I was going to get lost.

I really did.

However, the directions were perfect, and the best kind of directions for this wayward, oft waylaid lady–take a right by the cafe, red mailbox on the left, as the crow flies–sort of directions.

I also asked for directions the one place that I was a bit uncertain as to which way I was supposed to go next.

In French.

I asked for directions in French and I understood and I followed those directions and voila!

I made it.

The trip was a little surreal.  When I think about it, I spent over three hours total today below ground on various trains and Metro lines.

Metro Jussieu

Metro

I got where I needed to go, however, a very new development in the Paris suburbs.

New Developments

New Developments

This mural was my “red mailbox” to turn right at.

The apartments are so new that the streets are not yet on any maps.

The turned earth raw, the pavement new, the cranes and scaffolding scattered about.

It was all very new and very strange.

I wondered to myself how is it that I got here?

What in the world am I doing at 1045pm on a Wednesday night in this neighborhood?

Being of service.

I say yes to things, is another way of putting it.  And if this was being a help, than I am glad for it.  I washed some dishes, I made some dinner, I gave mom a rest, and I got to hold a new baby in my arms for hours.

Hours.

Mmmm.

The smell of a new-born.

I told the mom, not to worry, I promise I won’t eat her while you are napping.

I may kiss some wee small toes, but I won’t eat them.

I had baked salmon for dinner, so I was already satiated.

Sleepy Monkey

Sleepy Monkey

She is a precious little thing.

I get to hang out with her and mom on Friday as well.

I am going to be getting my fill of the kids for the next few days.

Friday, this little gal again.

Saturday the kids in the 7th.

Monday the kids in Asiniers Sur Seine.

Wednesday an 8-year-old to tutor.

In between I must to write.

I must.

I filled my day with the baby primarily and got to help out my room-mate who has been down for the count for the week with a proper bad cold, flu, cross my mother fucking fingers, I don’t catch it, illness.

I have not gotten to the writing as much as I would like.

Granted, I have done some, I would not be who I am, who I want to be, without putting some sort of pen to paper.

I always write in the morning and I did today.

I always write my blog, and I am doing that now.

I also got off a poem.

Yup, babies and poetry, that’s what you get from me today.

Skip past the italics if it don’t float your boat.

 

Can You Save Me?

Pink pocket plagiarist dance

Jitter bugged steps toward

French waiters dressed white/

Black.  Follow, fallow, cast out

Bright light lamp eyes.

 

The spill of hot chocolate

Smell of the Tabac drifting

From behind the counter

Water slops in a glass.

Old lady hands, crumpled napkin.

 

Cast back, hand jobs, blow

Jobs, fucking, another on the

Couch, not yours.

Shivered green/

Blue.  Overexposed.

 

I lean into the violet

Dusk wishing to busk

Your cheek with love bites

Hold your hand still,

In the small of my back.

 

Hide me behind the

Open trunk of the convertible

Press me again to your

Mouth.  In faith I am framed

Smut crusted, dusted.

 

In old snow and dealt

Blue black, ribbons fallen

From bedraggled dolls

Drug behind tired children

In oversized train stations.

 

Moth batters about moon

Heart swells, music tells

Dashing apart, not falling together.

This is feeling though,

Not fact.

 

 

I like that I am writing poetry.

It was my first love.

Sometimes it is to me, and probably only to me, the truest form of my history, I can tell you every bit of that poem.  I can tell you it is about love and loss and wandering through train stations.  I can tell you it is a melange of four different times, four different places, sitting next to a famous ex-model, actress in a Parisian tabac, two different men, and the history of my own heart.

I can tell you the songs, snatches of music, the colors, the sounds, the smells.

I could pick apart every single line and tell you what moment of my life it comes from.

That would be rather boring, for the reader, I imagine.

Poetry, for me, is history.

It is my own histroy, my own story.

Poetry, for me, again, this is just for me, is the attempt to capture a moment.

Yesterday when I was writing the summary for Baby Girl to send to the agent, the curt, almost dry, cut to the chase, write the action, move the pace, tell the story as quick as you can, outline fifteen chapters and the arc of a life squashed down from 265 pages to 2 pages double spaced.

A kind of dry poem.

But it does not encapsulate for me the true feel of the book.

Then again I don’t know that I have a poem for Baby Girl.

I may have.

I did have a journal I was keeping.

It was destroyed.  The destruction of that record is long gone, twenty years gone, in a trash barrel, in a land fill some where outside of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

I have kept most of my journals, I have one that I wrote soon there after that trip.  It has bits and pieces of poems.  It may be interesting to go back some time and look them up.

A baby is a poem.

A poem is a child.

To love, to hold.

To let loose upon the world.

With or without my interpretation.

A conversation that I will only have a small part of, for just a moment, her small foot in the palm of my hand.  The small furl and unfurl of her fingers around my thumb.  The soft sweep of brown hair underneath my hand, and the warmth in my arms.

A baby.

A warm ache in my arms.

A body poetic.

 


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