Sunday, April 25, 2010

A short, perhaps premature, review

It was mid-November when I wrote my last '5 weeks left post'
Well, it's 5 weeks left again. But this time, 5 weeks in France, and this time, I'm not hysterical (yet).
In exactly 5 weeks, I'll be in a lovely, comfortable, business class seat somewhere over the Atlantic (and, after just having watched Titanic, the idea is a little strange). Actually, having just checked my itinerary, I'll only just have left England. But, no matter, I'll be comfortable, hopefully a little drunk, with a glass of sparkling white wine in my hand, no doubt (to numb the pain of leaving France and to dull the almost-certain panic-attack when faced with long-haul air-travel)
Also, I am glad to have just read that that unpronouncable Iclandic volcano has calmed down a bit for the moment, and will hopefully (knock on wood) not re-commence spilling its guts between now and then to make at least ONE of my long-haul flights undelayed and undisrupted (just this once!). Or any other volcano for that matter.
I don't know why I'm so calm when it comes to leaving France. Perhaps, this time, I have more plans, I know what's going to be happening. I know what I'm in for (sort of). I have adopted a good philosophy.
Perhaps, I have grown into my life. I know it's a strange phrase to use but I really do believe it. Examining the insane adventure that has been not just limited to my time in Europe, but the last 8 and a half months, I have changed so much. I'll admit that the first few months were a bit more normal. That my Canadian life had a sort of normality about it and that when I got to Europe that relative normality fell away before I was ready to let go, which made my time in Europe a lot harder and also, a lot more crazy. A real adventure, living by the seat of my pants (or skirt, as the case may be).
I really had no point to this blog when I started writing it, but I have come to one by accident.
The last 4 and a half months in this continent in numbers;
  • trains: 8
  • train-related panic-attacks: 1
  • planes: 4
  • plane-related panic-attacks: 2
  • glasses of wine: 937, 589, 793, 432 (although this statistic is waiting to be verified)
  • days without stockings: 7
  • drunken evenings: a few.
  • metros: countless
  • missed trains: 1 (but not mine)
  • jobs: 3
  • croissants: 39, 483, 295
  • countries visited: 6
  • cities visited: 20
  • international plug-converter thingys that still didn't work with my hair straightener: 3
  • museums visited: 11 (shockingly low!)
  • films seen at cinemas: 3 (also, shockingly low)
  • numbers of days when I started counting down to my USA trip: 126
  • days left in Europe: 34

Holy Crap! The last 92 days flew by.

As much as I didn't believe it 92 days ago... I'm going to miss Lyon. France. French. And my life here.

bisous. a.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunshine, books and pretty scarves.

I've been having a pretty wonderful week. I've been taking full advantage of my last week of enforced holidays. Next week it's back to work, back to being able to pay rent, back to 5 days on/2 days off (but not in that order).

On tuesday, I ate an entire baguette because I was finally working a bit again, and had euros in my pocket and decided to celebrate by eating, even though I wasn't hungry. This baguette included tomatos, goats cheese, eggs and jam, but not all together. I was still full this morning. Before work, I sat by the river in the sun, reading, trying to get some colour into these pasty legs of mine. After work, I made sugar cookies and watched Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason in Polish and remembered how much I dont like watching movies dubbed in Polish - the same guy does all the voices, quite monotonously, but it gave a new twist to an old favourite. And, the sugar cookies are quite amazing. Might snack a couple now...

Today, I shopped, having recently found that I have no white bra nor tshirts that I don't swim in (problem with weightloss - now a size S in bottoms and M in tops!). So, I took advantage of H and M's massive lingerie selection. I was tempted by many a cute lacy pink bra, or sexy blue panties, but I stuck to my guns and went for the plain white t-shirt bra. I also discovered some cute basic tops for 7 Euros... done! I splurged on a scarfe though. It was so perfect because I had chosen a peachy-pink top and a turquoise blue top, and the scarfe is beige with peachy-pink and turquoise blue flowers. I opted against this gorgeous denim skirt I saw, because once I tried it on, it made me look pregnant. No, not fat. Pregnant. The fit was perfect except for the little bit that the front which bulged out like a baby bump. I have as much desire to look pregnant as I have to be pregnant, so I had to leave the cute denim skirt with the bows on the pockets...

I indulged again in a 'Chelsea' grilled panini, with an Iced Tea at a little place called something like Bagel Sandwitch Bar, or New York Bagel Bar or whatever. All I know is there was a photo of NYC's Hard Rock Cafe and the Naked Cowboy on my table and a huge New York State license plate print on the wall. I finished up at 5:30pm, with no desire to go home, so I spent 2 and a half hours reading in the sun by the cathedral. It's sunny so long now, it's past 9pm and it's not even fully dark yet.

For tomorrow I envision more sunshine, reading, possibly at the Parc Tete d'Or or at Croix Rousse... and possibly a lesson... still waiting for the confirmation from my student....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shoe Obituary

I've been desperately needing new shoes, but I've been trying to put it off till I go to the U.S. because shoes are cheaper there. However, I can go on no longer.

I love my old shoes... here they are... a bit worn and torn...

... but they have served me well, nonetheless. In Washington last August, I managed to wear out 2 pairs of flats which I bought in Perth. These shoes saved me; US$11.50 on 5th Avenue in New York City. I wore them all over North America, they were my only shoes until the snow came in Montreal. They travelled and have seen Europe with me. Well, it shows:

they have also been stretched beyond belief and constantly fall off my feet. Stairs are a struggle in them. I guess it's time they go.

But I'm very picky with shoes. I'm travelling. They can't be super heavy, they need to suit everything in my suitcase and they can't cost more that 20Euro. But I don't want black shoes.

After over 2 hours of fruitless traversing in what feels like a million stores where the shoes were either ugly, or too expensive, or too colourful, or not colourful enough, or too plain, or too 'out there', I found these wonderful cotton flats for less that 15Euro;

They have no holes, they fit and they don't fall off my feet. They are pretty, they match everything. I really do thing I have a bit of a crush on these shoes. Even so, I have become attached to my purple shoes. I have some good memories of those shoes. It's sad to let them go...
R.I.P dear purple shoes. I will remember you fondly.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things I love at the Moment (Mk. II)

  • al fresco coffee without jackets
  • need for sunglasses
  • the smell of fresh flowers
  • french markets
  • half a dozen eggs for less than a euro
  • waking up to sunshine
  • backrubs
  • long talks with my mum
  • the look of sunlight coming in through stained glass windows
  • getting things right
  • unexpected outings
  • dancing like crazy while completely sober
  • goat's cheese
  • home-made omlettes
  • the snooze button
  • cover bands at local bars
  • open-air art galleries
  • new jewellry
  • clean apartments (but not "cleaning apartments")
  • cuddling on couches
  • dinner with friends
  • girly talks
  • sunsets at 8:30pm.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today, I am going to the library.

Why, you may ask, is this blog-worthy?

Because, I love books, I love libraries and I haven't been to one in ages.

That is why.

Bisous. a.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

So, the weekend is nearly over, it's sunday afternoon and I'm determined to be productive!
I had a wonderful weekend full of sunshine and good company; je suis tres contente

I was so happy to finish work on Friday, after an exhausting day full of scooters, bikes and tears (not my own), and knowing that there will be two weeks of freedom (albeit financial shit) to follow. It looks like I will have to further downsize my already shoestring lifestyle, a challenge, but I think it's do-able. It just means, less convenient grocery shopping to find the cheapest markets in town, more penny pinching, no more giving to beggars (sorry) and no more chucking 1 and 2 centimes pieces in the bottom of my bag. It means bending over to pick up that 10 centimes piece, and possibly (finally) exchanging my safety-net of swiss francs and seeing how many euros I can get for US$8.19.

Anyway, back to my weekend. Friday night involved cocktails, more specifically, pina colada and lots of French! Trying to keep up is still hard, but getting easier. Saturday was brilliant; involving a walk around the old town, croix rousse, down the Rhone river and a petit repose in the gardens of the art gallery. On saturday night, crepe party chez moi, complete with wine, tarot cards, cosmo magazines and a Gerald Butler film. This morning, I called my parents and must say it made me feel so much better but made me miss them like crazy. I realise I do, infact, have the best parents! And talking to my dad, which I havent done for ages, was so good and he helped me get some real perspective on my life and the near future. I don't think he gets quite how much he helped me this morning! Now, I've just finished work and plan to keep up my productivity even though watching some films is getting too tempting. Perhaps, if I write down my to-do list, it will be easier to get motivated;
  • reply to some pressing emails
  • re-post work advertisments online
  • take out the rubbish
  • put my name on the mailbox (finally)
  • clean the kitchen
  • work on some paintings
  • post finished paintings on new blog (yet another!)
  • eat. soup w couscous. not my favourite, but all I have that is not pasta. (which I'm sick of)

Ok! Allons-y!

bisous. a.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What I'm loving right now /// Les Choses que j'adore a ce moment

  • big, brown fabric flowers // les fleurs brun de tissue
  • grey-blue pastel silk skirts // les jupes de soie gris-bleu
  • off-white cotton blouses // les blousons de coton presque-blanc
  • not needing jackets // pas des manteaux
  • big sunglasses // les grandes lunettes de soleil
  • crepes // crepes
  • french white wine // le vin blanc francais
  • balmy nights // les nuits embaumees
  • strolls by the river // promenades au bord du fleuve
  • fresh seafood // fruits de mer
  • long nights // les nuits tres longues
  • longer days // les jours plus longues
  • sunshine waking me up in the morning // quand le soleil me reveille dans le matin

Truely, it's spring! // Franchement, c'est les printemps!

Love, adore, aime, all these things.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And sometimes things just go right...

I woke up this morning feeling pretty average. Rent is due and I had to get my metro pass done. I found out my rent had not gone down since we won't have a new roommate. (insert profanity here).
I barely scraped up enough to pay the cheaper rent. (insert other, stronger profanity here)
I also will not be earning more euros until tuesday (double profanity).
So, I label myself as 'in the financial pits'. I was hoping not to touch my savings anymore until I left for the US.
I put off getting my papers sorted to get my metro pass done by chatting on facebook, reading blogs, muttering to myself and making yet another cup of tea. Finally, I got off my ass, got my passport, my proof of address and my 5 euros for the photomachine (Le Photomaton, just like those in Amelie *sigh*) and headed to Perrache.
Not in a good mood as it was, I grumbled my way through the station to the first Photomaton which was out of order, passing by the insanely full TCL (Lyon Public Transport Co.) office thinking I was going to waste a few hours of my life just waiting in line.
Finally, I got to a working Photomaton and took the photo thinking "I just don't care." However, I was pleasantly surprised. My photo came out looking a lot more glamorous that I had expected. What an ego boost! (that oversized flower I bought at H&M was definately worth the 4 Euro) I quite like it and am considering taping it into both my passports and over my student ID to cover up past photos where I look ridiculous, or very, very stoned.
When the photos came out, and I braced myself for what I learned from past metro-card-acquisition experiences (like those in Montreal), I was set for more questions than I had been asked at Canadian customs (i.e. a lot.)
In Montreal, it took me 6 hours to get my metro pass. In Lyon, it took me 6 minutes. The crowd at the TCL office had disappeard into thin air thanks to the help of a magician named 'Luigi' (it's the only explination as all public service institutions are set up to make life miserable), there were 3 free service people, each smiling as I walked up and gave one of them my documents. She typed things in to the computer, clicked the mouse a few times and gave me my metro pass, valid untill 2015! I asked if I can pay by Visa. She said 'bien sur', smiled, processed the payment and wished me a 'bon journee'.
I thought this is all too good to be true, and perhaps the card only starts working in 24 hours or something. But no, it's true! The card works!!
To celebrate, I bought a baguette and debated which avocado was best (the hard one or the squishy one - I opted for squishy, even though it was more expensive. Also, did you know that 'avocado' comes from a native South American word meaning 'testicle'? The Spanish adopted it to describe the fruit, not knowing the genital reference. Anyway, I digress.), and walked home in the gorgeous sunlight with the breeze that was just enough to make me feel pretty, but not enough to get my hair stuck in my sunglasses and lipstick.
So, despite being in the financial pits, there are some moments in the day where I feel my life has almost reached perfection.