mardi, juillet 25, 2006

Everyone in The Devil Wears Prada has better clothes than I do

Let's start with the required fields- Yes, it's very very hot. It is wierd being back after being gone for almost a year, especially in a place that's so different. No, I haven't seen too many people, mostly my parents and Sarah. No, really, it is that hot. I'm still going back to Lyon. And yes, my spelling is somethin' crazy right now. I tried to invent words all through a Scrabble game with mom. She would have none of it.

On to the more fun stuff... I forgot what it was like to get fun mail. Mostly because of the insane cost of postage, I don't get a ton of mail in Lyon (except from Mom and people who insanely want my money, like my cell phone provider and the electricity people). So I rejoice in getting good mail here. Emmy sent me the bestest little owl finger puppet who is anxious to join his comrades for some picture-taking sessions, even if they'll never reach a beginning French class. Then I morphed into overly-spoiled land when I got a Huge.Old.Envelope from Kelli, who I got to know through her wristlet swap. Kelli's wristlet is currently in the "construction" process, but I will say that it involves some knitting needles and some pretty funky buttons. But anyway, Kelli, as always more on the ball than I am, already sent me massive amounts of goodies- a knitting roll (so I can stash my needles in the same place), an adorable bag with polka-dotty accents (and a GIRAFFE tag- you can't really say enough about a person who uses giraffe tags, can you?), new needles, and the arizona-sun inspired wristlet itself, which was filled with great stuff that I attacked. You may be now saying to yourself, "Self, if all of these things are so cool, then why aren't there any pictures?" It is because Gina is too LAZY to take pictures. No seriously, I've taken like 3 since I've been here. And that's pathetic. I promise I will tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow.

No one has yet laughed out loud, but I know they're all thinking the laughing in their head when I go out in my bermudas and pearls and huge sunglasses. I don't care what you think people- I'M COOL IN FRANCE.

Eating and drinking have been two of my main occupations since arriving here. Notice that "exercise" is absent from this list. Shit yo. But I only have 3 weeks to eat all the Mexican food I can! And my deep dark heart of coal has been showing itself as I've been to Starbucks almost every single day. Baaaaaa. But after that first technicolor drink experience I got scared and have only been drinking iced cofees or lattes. Don't worry, the real coffee drinking has been done in the privacy of my own home or at Le Buzz, the best place I know in Tucson. Every time I come back my parents seem to know more people there. We're gunning for a Le Buzz regular's cafe tour of France. I've offered my apartment for slumber-party-style sleeping. I'll keep you posted on that progress. If you're in the Tucson-area (and if you are why haven't you called me???) you should head on over to the B-line on 4th ave, where my best friend Sarah will be Shtaking over the baking/pastry duties (except the bread) on Wednesday. I've honestly never been, but you know that I will go now. She'll also be doing the desserts for dinner, which I hear is quite good. (note- if this is not true, the person to blame is Heather, who told me so)

While we're on the topic of friends, I feel the need to mention (again?) that Toni is coming on Wednesday night. Yes, this Minnesota girl decided to brave the insane desert heat that is Tucson right now to fly out for a visit. Expect much organized craziness, impromptu photo sessions and general girlie things that boys make fun of. Except Alex. Because he's wonderful. (okok, so he makes fun of me for other things, but not this. So he wins)

It's incredible how Alex and I can finally be in the same time-zone again, but unable to communicate due to the wonderful non-working power of my french cell. It's a complicated techinical thing that I don't understand, but it's easier for us to talk when I'm in France. Biiiiiiizarrrrrrre. I am already tired of this whole separation thing, and I'm not afraid to whine about it. But, on the whole, it's ok, because he's doing what he wanted to do and I'm doing what I want to do. Besides spending time with him. But on peut pas tout avoir, n'est-ce pas? September isn't that far away. I spend more time than I'd care to admit sending him seemingly cute emails that recount nothing of importance, except maybe that day's temperature. Poor guy. When he gets back I'll probably shower him with cupcakes. Ok, so I won't really shower/throw them at him, because that would be a waste of cupcakes, but you get my drift. Between me, the new silicone cupcake pan that FITS in my oven, and the cupcake book there will be NO STOPPING ME. AHAHAHAHA.

Oh Martha Stewart, your cookie of the month does NOT make 3 dozen. Or I just can't correctly identify 3/4 inch. Actually, either option here could be completely true.

jeudi, juillet 20, 2006

A girl of many hats...

In Dordogne, Kelsey and I were princesses. (and no, I don't want to talk about the shrug. It's CUTE when it's not doing funny things like that)
Clearly, in Arizona I'm a pirate. So's Sarah. What a difference a country makes.

lundi, juillet 17, 2006

Helloooooooooo America!

vendredi, juillet 14, 2006

Dear everyone-
Happy 14 juillet! Yay France! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a plane to Arizona. I leave you in the capable hands of last 14 juillet, "Selected moments in French history with finger puppets." Enjoy the selection.
A plus tard, crocodile
La Chanson de Roland

The theatre of Racine

The storming of the Bastille, the aftermath

dimanche, juillet 09, 2006

You have not known true happiness until you have walked through a small but crowded-full with vendors Sunday market, surrounded by cafes and boulangeries, bumping shoulders with eager customers, tasting anything anyone gives you, listening to the church bells, dodging other baskets and filling yours with- salad, fresh currents and groseilles, apricots, a wedge of St. Nectaire, a baguette studded with thyme, pate en croute and some smoked bacon. The fruits are calling out for some sort of baking, which I can't tonight because on est en finale!

Wow, I live here. But I'll be making a special guest appearance in Tucson for 3 weeks only, starting on Friday. Margaritas and sushi, here I come. Won't you come too?

vendredi, juillet 07, 2006

These weeks, they're strange weeks. Summer is a time that seems to be seperate from the rest of the year for me, but this summer has determined so many things for me that are definitely not seperate from everything else.

Summer is the time I know best in France. It's what I knew of this place before I showed up last August, ready to hit the year running. Walking on the shady side of the wide street. The smell on the streets- apres rain mixed with exhaust mixed with cigarette smoke mixed with cafes. The smells of cooking coming out of windows. Confused tourists with maps. Forgetting to take sunglasses off when you walk down into the metro. Summer here makes me ridiculously happy. Every single time I look out my window and see all the rooftops or even just walk down the street I get happy chills. I hope that feeling never goes away. Last night a friend was starting to get nervous about leaving and suddenly stopped and said "Oh my god Gina, you live here now!"

So for the record, yes, I do live here now. Earlier this week I was accepted into the Masters program in Metiers des arts et de la culture. I found out officially today, but a friend of the Centre Oregon who works with the program was there when they made the lists, and leaked the information to Laurie, who leaked it to me. This is basically my dream program, so now I get to stay in a place that I love and do something that I love. (Ok, something that I love that involves learning accounting. In Freeeeeeench) This is two more years of school, with an internship each year. Watch out French art scene- here I come! Be warned. Also, my Masters from U of O was made official, so you do all have to call me Master now. Just kidding. Well, not really.

And now, to lighten the mood, i would like to share Alex's impressions on the 4th of July (via my translation) - "You people sure have a lot of flags." I am rather upset that HE got to see fireworks, and I don't even get 14 juillet fireworks because I'll be in ARIZONA then. And no, I won't get to see him while I'm there, because Spokane is far. And he has next to no free time. This is what we call a "bummer." It's ok, I still love him, even when he wakes me up in the middle of the night with text messages. That would be my fault for leaving the phone on. I'm already on the sappy train, so now would probably also be a good time to mention that right before he left, after i spent the night having random acts of crying, he hid notes ALL over my apartment. Wait, did I already say this? When I found the first one I cried. Everywhere, people, everywhere. Of course I saved them all.
Since dinner here isn't usually until around 8 or 9, I've gotten into the habit of the "quatre heures." This literally means "4 o'clock" and represents the time when you have your snack. Yes, snack time is planned into the day. How could you NOT love a country where you're supposed to have a snack? Today, since I was out running errands (read- buying silk, how chic does that make me sound?), this was my quatre heures:
A boule of glace a la violette and a sirop cassis. Which translates to a)violet ice cream and water with current sirop, b) sugar overload but who cares and c)a snack pleasing to Gina's aesthetics. And NO I did not choose it because of the colors. Entirely.
This was outside at L'epicerie, the bar a tartines that I've mentioned before, which is one of my favorite places here. You can also see part of Lila and Lila's tart. I did not eat this tart, which is rare. I was rather attached to my glace, you see.

Allez les bleus!

If you know me, you'll know that I'm not a sports person. That I'm pretty much the opposite of a sports person. But this country has gotten to me, or the World Cup has gotten to me, and now I've become one of the screaming masses. I watched France trounce (if you can call it trouncing) Portugal in my favorite funky bar on Wednesday, surrounded by cheering (and screaming at the refs) people. Normally I would have been like "Shut up people! Let me drink in peace!" but this is DIFFERENT. This, mes amis, is the Coupe du Monde. And France has hit the finals, which is going to be a Gina's heritage show-down between France and Italy. I will watch on Sunday. And then I may or may not be one of the people in the following pictures-

Place Bellecour- there were flame eater/throwers, people on street signs, people screaming anf singing, people everywhere. And this was only the semis. Also, the guy on the left is being interviewed by some sort of camera person, but I have no idea of how official it was.

Some people take the "matching your accessories to your outfit" rule just a bit too seriously. Unless he really dyed his hair those colors, and that would be a)a really stupid idea and b)actually sort of impressive- how did he get the lines so straight?

Better view of the flame stuff. There were cars coming through all night, honking and waving flags out the window. The back-up was to near chez moi, which is a 20-minute walk away. But the feeling, people, the feeling! This is an entire country getting excited about something. This is people running around carrying flags that are bigger than them. This is the French team being national heroes. I'm definitely in love with Alex, but after goalie Barthez's incredible saves last night, I must say that my affection is a bit shared. Ps don't tell Alex. PPS, I'm just kidding. About the affections, not the telling.

dimanche, juillet 02, 2006

Gallery of moving...

I thought you might want to see some pictures of the moving-in process here at 51 bis rue Saint Michel. I took these when all of my stuff (well, except for a few last things) had been moved, but hardly anything had been unpacked. Scary, isn't it? So from the top...
*The kitchen. Ok, so the stuff that wasn't here yet was kitchen stuff, and this is not the scariest point in the kitchen moving process. That came a little later when I realized just how many spices I had.
*One of the only sane parts, in my room. The fireplace mantle (it doesn't work) and my bedside table, actually a tv stand. I built the table, as well as the book-case you'll see below (and I discovered that carrying 20 kilos of stuff back from IKEA by myself on public transportation is HARD). I put up a bunch of pictures pretty quickly so it would start to feel like home. And because I'm a sappy dork and a shit-ton of them are of me and Alex. Sorry. And those huge doors? Are my closet.
*Hall, with boxes. And IKEA bags!
*Part of desk and bookcase. Hey, at least the books are mostly unpacked. But still not that organized, sadly. The order in which I did things was honestly pretty amusing.
*View into the hallway from my room. You can see the paint job, which was redone when Julie's parents bought the place- my room is two shades of green with ecru curtains that are the same color as my bedspread, quite randomly. The decorating that I've done (on frames, etc) is mostly those colors with some pink and purple accents, which sounds so middle-school-in-the-80s, but actually looks very nice.
*My bed with random shit all over it. It's so big that it was hard to resist the temptation to just THROW everything on it and then sit in a corner and cry. But the light crown was hanging, so all was well in the world.

But no fear, mes amis- the apartment no longer looks like this and is in fact quite lovely now. Well, Julie's part always was, now my part has caught up. There's still nothing on my walls though, which is dissapointing. Ideas?


For all of you who may not be up-t0-the-minute on World Cup news, here's a flash- France just took down Brazil 1-0. It was an INCREDIBLE game- I didn't know if les bleus could pull it off, but they did. Now we're in the demi-finals, or semi-finals, against Portugal on Wednesday. The other demi is Italy/Germany. This could get crazy, people. Already everyone is driving around Lyon honking horns and waving huge French flags out their car windows. I love seeing all this enthousiasm for soccer, as opposed to football or basketball or the like, which I sorta think are, well, poopy. Soccer is harder- I mean, have you SEEN how big the field is? And you just keep running and running and running. I will, however, admit that some of these players could go for a style makeover, especially Mr. Ronaldhino-I've-just-misspelled-your name but that does NOT make it ok to have permed-style long hair in a ponytail AND wear a headband. Actually, neither of those is ok, and together it's just worse. Going back to the poopy nature of other sports, there's a player on the Brazilian team whose name is, seriously, Kaka. Those jokes did not get old. Because Kaka? Will never be not funny.