connect!

Day 48: Adopt a Man?


Although I am moving on, my progression is moving at a turtle's pace and the moments of loneliness come in waves which are more often than not. I have mastered the art of hiding my sadness to my friends and family and am giving the impression that I am evolving and moving on. 

I'm not. I feel awful. 

I fooled all of my friends except for one: Thomas. Ball-busting Thomas who is irritatingly sharp as a whip. A few weeks ago, he left me a cryptic text message telling me to check my e-mail in 5 minutes. Okay. As instructed, I let 5 minutes pass and checked my in-box to find an e-mail from him with the subject "It's Time..". I opened it to find a list of website links. Meetic.com, Adopteunmec.com, metrodating.com...they were dating websites? Internet dating?!? I'm someone who got an iPod 4 years after it was launched because my discman worked just fine, my cell phone came free with my plan and frankly, it's impressive that I am able to manage a blog. I am not technologically inclined and am behind the times, this includes e-dating. Leave it to Thomas...

I called Thomas back immediately and told him that I didn't need a dating website and that I was moving on just fine and in good time, I will find someone else. Again, he busted me on my lie and told me that I still vent to him and only leave the house to do 'weird things' like Belly Dancing. Damn, he was on to me. He urged me to at least join one, for fun. Why not?

Not wanting to join a serious site like meetic.com which could be the equivalent of eHarmony.com, I chose the kitschy and ridiculous AdopteUnMec.com, where the men are merely products and if you like 'one', you can put them in your shopping cart where they have access to message you. On top of the degrading nature of the site, the guys have to pay. Tough break guys. 

It took me all of 10 minutes to join and was presented with a dossier of 100 guys at my fingertips to "approve" of. I flipped through the photos and gave my "oui" or "non." Some of these guys were really cute. This is where they've all been hiding! I was impressed. I woke up the next morning with over 15 e-mails to respond to. Wow. Maybe this was going to be more fun than I had thought! If anything, this was one way I was going to brush up on my French writing skills. I responded to all of them to thank them for the message but narrowed my search down to three guys who interested me the most. 

I went out on a few dates that were a little weird: One guy was married with kids (whose wife knew he was on a date) and another tried to get me to sleep with him because he won a game of cards. But it was nice to get out? I suppose.

Will this turn into anything serious? Certainly not with these two dates but given my current state of mind, even with someone decent, probably not. But it feels good to exchange emails and meet new, albeit strange, people. Today I will enter the year 2011 and try the least organic form of dating. Maybe it's true what they say, that it always takes someone else to get over a former love...I doubt it because I've already tried that this year and it blew up in my face, but we'll see...

Arghh. I'm so not ready for this.

Day 47: Almost Die on a Segway...

I just got back from an afternoon in Versailles where my boss treated our office to a work lunch at the Hotel Trianon Palace, to thank us for a well done second quarter. Somehow during the planning of the lunch, a tour around the garden got smuggled into the schedule. Not just any tour but a tour on a stupid segway - something that I will never do again in my life. I almost killed me and the tour guide. No, really.

The training session took longer than the guide had expected because Pierre, whose patience with me was running thin within a matter of minutes, didn't feel that I was comfortable enough with operating the equipment. And he was right. A Segway is like a unicycle where your body weight and balance determine the speed and direction, so no, I wasn't going to master this in a 30 second "training session" in a parking lot with no presented obstacles like tourists, tree branches, pebbles, and large bodies of water that you can easily segway into.

Once Pierre felt that I was decent enough to hit the road or rather the training session exceeded the 15€, we had no choice but to take the tour on the road with or without my segwaying skills intact. To err on the side of caution, Pierre issued me a tightly strapped helmet and tour guide Jean-François to shadow me in the event of an accident. I'm not sure what exactly he could have done on his Segway to save me but scream directions at me in French, but I was glad we would be cruising the gardens together because J-F was just gorgeous. He had that Parisian postcard kind look that would make any girl want to move to Paris, this guy was what dreams were made of. His name was Jean-François...come on. Perhaps it was his fitted navy and creme stripped top and marine blue capri pants that he was wearing that was doing it for me but he was just asking for someone to stuff a little baguette under his arm. 

After about 10 minutes on the tour, I began to feel comfortable with my Segway and started flirting with J-F. After learning that he was all of 19 years old and had just graduated high school, I got tired of being in the back of the group and started to speed up to cruise along with everyone else to enjoy the tour while not flirting with a 19-year-old. The day was just beautiful, I was enjoying the cool air mixed with the warm summer sun on my face while watching the clouds roll over the château. I really was having a peaceful moment reflecting on the beauty that surrounds me here in France. As I drifted off into my daydream, I hadn't noticed that I started speeding up more than I had planned on. I started speeding up and couldn't stop. All of sudden my handlebars were locked close to my chest and my segway had stiffened up as my speed was escalating, going close to 15 miles an hour while screaming at the top of my lungs that I could not stop. Suddenly, the lake in the middle of the château came into vision and I was heading straight for it.

I was terrified as I whizzed past Pierre and in a flash saw the faces of all of my co-workers one by one as the pond was becoming a part of my soon to be a reality. Suddenly, Pierre was next to me and J-F behind me and they are screaming for me to bend my knees in order to stop but it wasn't working. A pack of cyclists was about to turn the bend and my options were to either fly into the pond or in the bikers on the Fat Bike Tour. Pierre had gotten way ahead of me and jumped off his Segway and stood in front of me in a ninja stance to stop the machine. I smashed right into him and we both went flying. Luckily, not into the pond or into the cyclists but into a nearby grassy knoll. Suddenly, I looked up to see all of my co-workers giving me what I call 'the mail room look', it's that disapproving look I get when I send something to the wrong office or if letters get returned to sender. If they didn't think I was ridiculous and stupid before, they sure did now.

Pierre explained that in order to stop at high speeds, you must sit back on your heels and straighten your arms. Now he tells me.

After my near death experience, I decided to go back to Segwaying with J-F at the end of the group, going 5 miles per hour and enjoying the scenery in slow motion. As we were approaching the segway hut, where we had started, I was happy to get off, never to venture on one of these death traps. Pierre told me that I was his first client to lose control and almost go rolling into the lake. I'm sorry but I find that extremely hard to believe. 

I have seen these rolling death traps in Manhattan and in the actual city of Paris and after this experience, have a new respect for tourists who take their lives into their hands in order to sight-see with a rolling contraption under their feet. Different strokes for different folks...

Update: The inventor of the Segway died on a Segway...not comforting. These things should be illegal.

Day 46: Date Paul Rudd.

My eyes are half opened as I'm writing this. I don't want to forget a drop of the insanity that was being created in my head a mere five minutes ago. During my post-snooze button dream, actor Paul Rudd was wooing me and in the strangest way. And damn it, why can't this one be true?!

I was back in New York, Williamsburg to be exact and it was snowing. I was hanging out in a loft with people I have never seen before in my life, two skater boys circa 1995 who couldn't be older than 19. Paul was the neighbor who lived upstairs and came dancing in wearing a canary yellow hooded sweatshirt to chat with these younglings about their 'kicks'. Throughout the dream, Paul was always around. On the RER Train which transported me back to Paris, there was Paul. Back to a house party on Long Island, there was Paul. At and underground church with a dress code for Vicar's robes, there was Paul?

At one of the parties, where he was telling me about his divorce to Olivia Wilde (?) 'Paul' and I were really connecting as I was becoming a comfort to him during his rough time. Throughout these dream sequences, he kept leaving me homemade videos of our adventures with homemade cards that he sketched. Paul is so thoughtful. I looked terrible in these videos as Paul had added music and slowed them down by 200% so you could see the drinks splashing out of all of our hands as we danced and the evolution of weird drunken faces in slow motion. I looked awful. It was obvious Paul was into me. 


Now that I am fully awake as the my Nescafe is running through my bloodstream, Paul is becoming a distant memory.

I know that I had said in the past that dreams aren't reality but can this one be true...please? Can my dream mean that in reality Paul Rudd wants to make party montage videos and draw cute cards for me?

This will teach me to never fall asleep during the 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' again.

I love you, Paul. 

Day 45: Melt.


Illustration by Marion Bolognesi

Today was the first scorchingly hot day in Paris. Like Hot 97 blazin' hip-hop and R&B hot. It was 39 degrees Celsius which converts to a miserable 102F and in this cramped little city where proper air conditioning has yet to be invented makes people a bit shall I say, cranky? I made the mistake of wearing a silk cream-colored dress to work that was see-through by the end of the day as well as making the mistake of applying self-tanner that was dripping down my ankles and staining the collar of my dress. I was a mess. At work, the wafts of hot air blasting through the corridors was far from producing a happy work environment as we all glowed with beads of perspiration that complimented the sweatshop worker expressions on our faces.

After work, I stopped by the Franprix to pick up bags of frozen veggies to sleep with and a bottle of ice-cold Rosé. I loitered a bit longer in the frozen food section paying homage to the Married with Children episode where The Bundy's camp out at Foodie's because they don't have an A/C. I've always agreed with The Bundy's on this. I mean, really, why wouldn't you camp out at the market?

Sitting in my easy-bake oven apartment that has a way of sealing in the heat, I decided to take an evening walk around the Marais to cool off. No warm summer's eve is complete without bumping into someone, and that someone was drag cabaret performer who specializes in Ginger Spice, a former mutual friend of Monsieur Flaneur and I. Not having seen him since 'it' happened as well as hardly recognizing him sans his glitter Union Jack dress, I almost walked passed him until he stopped me and assaulted me with the tilted head look. I hate that look because it's always followed by a painful 'how are you doing'? 'Ginger' being a member of the human race, did just that but added the bonus shoulder touch. People! It's been months since the break-up and it's not as if this whole time I have been crying and pining away alone in my apartment. 

Okay, so maybe I have but he didn't need to know that and luckily I have a talent for ignoring pink elephants and responded that I was doing alright, hate my job and itching to get the hell out of Paris for the summer. Thata girl! Way to show him the new and improved 'you'. I really do wear my heart on my sleeve. I can't help it.

The week will continue on with this heat wave and the heat makes me believe crazy things like convincing myself that the gym is a good idea, rosé hydrates better than water and that Sex and the City: The Movie, Part 2 should have been made. I'm sure this heat wave is worldwide, so wherever you are, try to stay cool! By the way, I'm totally naked right now. It's that hot here. 

Day 44: Go to Georges Bizet's House.

Last night, I went along with my photographer friend May to shoot the fashionable guests attending the launch party of up and coming French brand April 77 at Le Carmen, the former home of Georges Bizet over in Pigalle. I have been going with her to these fashion parties lately to get out of the house, out of Le Marais and to exercise my fading social skills. 

May, a cool chick from the Mid-West who matches my cynicism and shares my love for 60's garage rock and a good white wine, have been spending a lot of time together. While I enjoy the company of my new friend, sometimes I can't help but wish I had stayed home whenever I go to these flaunty events. I have lived in Olympia, Washington, Silver Lake and Williamsburg and ten years later, the vapid hipster scene with haughty bartenders, and too cool for school scensters still bores me to tears. Same pretentiousness, different city. 

I'm going to hate myself for writing this but when I was at this bar watching girls who were probably breast feeding when Nirvana's Nevermind came out, I couldn't help but yearn for a domestic life to go home to at the end of the night. Parties are fun to go to but I'm at a point in my life where they are even more fun to leave, especially when you have someone waiting for you. I should say that I am confident, independent women and that I need no man to complete me, but all I wanted to do was to go home and tell someone just how uncool I was and love me even more for it. No, really, it's true, I'm not cool. I still think of Sonic Youth as an underground experimental band, that only several tastemakers know about.

In my early twenties, break-ups created a sense of excitement of who the next guy will be, and the fleeting pain was cured with bar hopping with the girls and hang-over brunches laughing about who did what (and who) the night before. But as I get older, the girlfriend pool is getting smaller and "Girls Night Out" is turning into "Husband is Away So I Can Pretend I've Been Wanting to Go Out This Entire Time" and scarily so is the potential boyfriend pool as everyone is settling down. I hate the cliché that all the "good ones are taken", but is it true? Have they all be taken and I used up all of my shots at romance?

My evening was charmingly capped off with a guy reaching under my skirt while he passed me on the street. He seemed very pleased with himself and of my reaction of me hitting him with my purse, two times. I've actually been wondering when this was going to happen ever since I arrived in Europe and I recap the story that my grandmother loves to tell me about how a young gentleman got 'fresh' with her on the metro in Italy. Well, at least someone tried to get fresh with me last night...

When will I be cured of this heartbreak? I'm starting to think never...

Day 43: Be Proud.


I woke up this morning to read on my Yahoo! news that the governor of my hometown has finally passed the same-sex marriage law! I've been waiting for New York to get on board since Vermont introduced civil unions back in 2000. What took you so long, New York?! Being and born and raised Chelsea girl (who moved to Long Island for high school), this hit home emotionally and thought of all my friends who will have the same rights as I did before I got dumped. I immediately called my dear friend Michael in New York and asked if there would be a wedding that I should plan on coming to in the near future to his partner of 7 years, Steven. Sweet, ironic dear Michael replied that "We're not getting married until you can get married. You've been served unjustly!" Very funny. I miss my boys in New York.

Today in Paris was also Gay Pride and my neighborhood, the Marais was on fire! No surprise there. The energy was just thriving on the streets with music pulsing out of cafes and bars, arches of festive rainbow balloons over the little streets, and a surplus of half naked men whose asses were more toned and sculpted than mine will ever be. Unfortunately, I had plans on the other side of town and walked the long way to the metro to feel that I was still a part of the festivities. 

Today is a wonderful day in history celebrating freedom, letting go of old ideas of traditions, and looking into the future. I could learn a thing or two about that...Happy Pride!

Day 42: Sleep it Off.

After last night's attack, I took the day off from work and the gym, and spent the day indoors sipping on ginger ale, eating gourmet meals of plain noodles and watching Friends, a show that mysteriously comes on in English on France 4. During my repose, I received three texts from Monsieur Flâneur who was making a half-assed attempt to check up on me. The first was pretending that he "just" received a phone call from me and wanted to know what was up. The second was sticking to his story of my fauxncall and wanting to know what I wanted. Not one text was to ask how I was doing as he continued to stick to the lie that I had try to call him. Still feeling shaky and needing more soda and time to recuperate, I ignored his half-assed attempts to contact me and went back to sleep. 

After being woken up to the sound of his third text message which was an interrogation on what I was doing, I figured I'd respond. But not via text in fear of a childish back and forth text war, a phone call would start an argument, and a visit would inspire me to punch him in the face, so I thought an e-mail would be the safest form of response, although he didn't really deserve any. I sent my final e-mail to him saying that I was surprised by his response or rather lack thereof but 'understood' his choice to distance himself from me while I was experiencing something that felt like a heart attack with someone was sitting on my throat preventing me from breathing. I wished him well. I know how to send bullshit responses too.

Today is about discovering and securing new friendships, not relying on evil exes when you think you are about to die, and getting your mother an international cell phone so she can pick up emergency phone calls. 

Bon week-end.

No exclamation point. 

Update: (June 25th, 2012) Whenever I think I am being too hard on him, and should be friends with him, I read these back posts and remember why this guy sucks. How could I not have seen this when we were together. He is not a nice person. 

Day 41: Don't Panic.


Illustration by Garance Doré


Last night, Phil and I had dinner at Le Bistrot de L'Oulette, an authentic restaurant serving typical French cuisine off of Place des Vosges. We split an appetizer of escargots and then both took the fish special the was delicately sauteed in butter, kissed with lemon and steaming with absolute heaven. It complimented the glass of Chardonnay from Bourgogne; my favorite French wine region.

Dinner with Phil was lovely as usual, we started talking to couple sitting at the table next to us who were on vacation from New York. I love talking to visitors because it reminds me of how exciting Paris is to fresh eyes, forcing myself to remember my first memories in town.

Perhaps it was the after dinner glass of Lillet or my recent stress about work at the tax office where every day I feel like a fucking idiot who doesn't know how to send mail and the disappointment that is my life. Something didn't feel right and I just needed to get home. I made it up the six flights of spiral stairs up to my flat, washed my face, brushed my teeth and crawled right into bed. I woke up an hour later not being able to breathe and was shaking. I was having a panic attack. I tried to ride it out and somehow made it over to the sink for a glass of water but it got worse. I was wheezing as I was desperately trying to breathe. I gently lied back down on my bed with my phone, not sure if I should call the ambulance. I decided to call my mother, she wasn't home. I called my Aunt in L.A, she didn't pick up. I called Phil, it went straight to voice mail. I reluctantly called Monsieur Flâneur who accused me of being drunk and hung up. He never called back to follow up. 

The anxiety of not having anyone in a crisis made my attack worse making breathing more complicated. I was scared. Truly scared. Phil eventually picked up and ended up coming over which calmed me down. I didn't want him to come because he was getting over a respiratory infection himself and needed his sleep but I didn't know what else to do. MF on the other hand, was having cocktails with his friends around the corner and could not be bothered.

I know MF is angry with me these days. After the break-up, he wanted to remain friends and stay in contact but at the time, I was unable to because it was too painful. It wasn't until I had become stronger, accepted the fact that we will never be together again and became open to the idea of remaining friends that I realized that he only wanted me in his life under the condition that I would still pine over him. His attitude towards me went from condescending pity to arrogantly flirty to now, pure disdain. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong time to express his aggravation and I will never forgive him. It's as if he is stamping his feet over the fact that I have been able to pick up my own pieces and move on before and without him. It was never a competition, jerk.

Perhaps I was asking for too much? Was I overstepping my boundaries? After the end of a relationship, is it still the other person's responsibility to be available in a crisis?

Day 40: Learn Italian.

I'd like to say that I look like this, but then I'd be a liar...
Illustration by Dahlia

Before I was a French speaker, I dabbled in learning Italian. I didn't take it on with as much gusto as I took on the French which is probably why I don't speak it very well. Its a shame because my roots are 100% Italian on my mother's side and probably should've taken the language that my grandparents speak with as much seriousness as I took to the French. Well, can't turn back time but I can take on yet another hobby in my Summer of Renewal 2011.

Where did this sudden need to learn Italian come from? It has been in me ever since I moved to Paris and would hear Italian speakers and wanted to join in on the fun too. At the time, I thought it was best to stick to one language before confusing the pants off of me by adding another. 

I was having a drink at La Petite Porte on Music Day with Kendra and Kamal listening to a French band do a cover The Red Hot Chili Pepper's 'Aeroplane' when I started chatting it up with an extremely attractive gentleman. Tall, dark and handsome. Obviously. I am in favor of this combo because it compliments my short, dark and cute. I noticed he had an accent while we were chatting away in French and had asked where he was from. Italy. He was from Italy. Bellisimo. Well that explains the tall, dark and handsome. I was able to manage telling him in Italian that before I spoke French, I had spoke some Italian but had lost most of it. I was impressed that I was able to say that much. So was my new friend. As I tried to continue on in Italian the French kept creeping in. Unfortunately, the romance languages aren't interchangeable. 

As it turned out, La Petite Porte is owned by Italians and I shared with them my desire to relearn it. In typical Italian fashion, they commanded me to go home, study and than come back to practice. Thankfully not this night but with Italians, you never know. This will be what drives my inspiration to take on my next language challenge. 

Unfortunately, I missed the deadline for summer classes at the Istituto Italiano di Cultura but this gives me the rest of the summer to save money and brush up on what I had already learned in hopes to bypass the absolute beginner's class. I'm ready to get back to my roots dive deeper into my romance language as I take on my second. As for the tall, dark handsome and I guess you would say stranger, while we didn't do the official exchange of contact details, I will be seeing him again. 

La Petite Porte
20, bd. Saint Martin
Paris 75010

Update: (March 2, 2012) I still haven't gotten to learning Italian because I still need to focus on my French. This French thing seems to be taking forever! My boyfriend's mother asked me questions about American politics the other day and I froze up. So Italian will have to wait...sigh...

Day 39: It's Ella, bitch.

 Illustration by Inslee Haynes

As luck would have it, I had the day off on the annual Fête de la Musique, a day that Paris decides to celebrate music where bands, musicians and singers perform on practically every street corner all over the city. Music Celebration Day? Just another layer of what makes this city so bite-sized and lovable. Before the evening's festivities started of what would be musical mayhem, I decided to change up my workout routine and finally take that hip hop class at Le Centre de Danse du Marais that I have been fantasizing about ever since I moved into the neighborhood. 

Not wanting to shlep all of my old crusty t-shirts and sweatpants across the Atlantic back when I was packing several years ago, it's safe to say that my workout attire choices are limited. Going to Les Cercles de la Forme in old rags is one thing but I was going to a dance class and I needed to look official, but not like I was trying too hard. I turned my apartment upside down as I was trying to find a tough ensemble for my Hip Hop class. And then it dawned on me. Why didn't I think of this before? I had just the outfit. I walked into Le Centre de Danse du Marais (yes, you have to say the whole thing) smug as a rug and so bad-ass in ripped leggings and a pink Hole t-shirt, circa 1994. How do you like them apples? Can't you just hear the motorcycles revving?

I arrived a few minutes early to class to stretch out and feel part of the group with my "super cool" outfit and tried my best to come off like I always come here. You know, just another dance class. In Paris. C'est ma vie.

No one cared.

Being a former student of the incredible - albeit militant -  Bev Brown at Broadway Dance Center, the woman who taught me to never fear the one handed push-up, how to properly launch a pirouette and how to pop and lock, I must say, my moves weren't that bad. A bit rusty? Yes, but not as ridiculous as I am in Belly Dancing where my teacher just feels sorry for me. My age crept back up on me as we learned a choreographed dance to a song I have never heard of and by a voice that was far from familiar. I come from the school of Britney and J.Lo (pre 'comebacks')and all of this new noise is hard on my delicate Gen X ears.

Going back to my dance roots and reconnecting with my love of physical activity, I realized that I had forgotten that this was a huge passion of mine that I kicked to the wayside while in the nook of love. Where the hell did I go when I was in a relationship? Each day that passes that I rediscover myself, I am more shocked by how much I denied my interests. To be fair, it is to no fault of Monsieur Flâneur, he was always supportive. But as our relationship progressed, it was him who had become my passion and interest, making me less interesting by the day. I would have broken up with me too...

Today is about reconnecting with my interests and challenging myself again. Will I be the next Jennifer Lopez? While I have the backside to be a serious contender, it's doubtful. But I feel damn good about my popping and locking and getting down with difficult choreography while biting my finger and winking at myself in the mirror. I admit, I totally did that.

Le Centre de Danse du Marais
41, rue du Temple
75004 Paris

Update: (January 23rd, 2011) MF was NOT supportive of anything I did! I must have been drunk and/or desperate when I wrote this. Reading back on this just made me sick! He was always telling me that I was wasting my time with all of my projects, dreams and goals. I was so delusional back then. Why did I want this creep back, again?

Day 38: Choose Happiness.


The rain cloud no more...!
Illustration by Andi/Spork


It may seem really obvious but we can choose to be happy. Sometimes it's not an easy choice to make and we spend more energy resisting it than accepting it. Frankly, it's easier and sometimes more satisfying to complain about what's going wrong in your life than actually doing something to improve it. I spent the entire spring refusing to be happy and its no surprise to anyone that I had a miserable spring. In fact, the flowers in bloom, lush trees and any new signs of life irritated me to my core because of how dead I felt inside. What a shame too, it was my first spring in Paris. 

I started to choose being happy over feeling sorry and you know what? It's starting to work. Why didn't anyone tell me about this before? I can just say 'I choose to be happy' and focus on new ventures and it works? There is power in intentions and mine is to live life to the fullest and choose to be happy, damn it!

Someone stop me if I start saying it to myself in the mirror. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Day 37: Remember Dad.

My Dad 
Circa 1979 
New York City

I don't love Father's Day, and for completely selfish reasons. Because I don't have one anymore. I lost him over 5 years ago to cancer. I feel more sad on this day than I do on his birthday or the anniversary of his death which to me is ironic because he hated Father's Day. He thought it was all b.s but didn't mind receiving phone calls wishing him well giving him an excuse to express how much he hated this fabricated holiday. To say he was a bit salty would be an understatement but that's what I loved about him, he could be such a grouch! 

Putting our drama aside, I received a text from Monsieur Flâneur saying that he was thinking about me, that he knows that my father is proud and whoever invented Father's Day was an idiot. I guess its true what they say, you really do end up dating your father. 

Bonne Fête des Pères.

Update (June 16th, 2012): So I was drunk when I wrote this. No really, I was at La Perle drinking rose where Eric the bartender kept filling up my glass before writing this post. My dad who was in AA for 20 years would have been so disappointed! Not that he was a 12-step nazi, not at all. And furthermore, MF is NOTHING like him! He is a jerk that didn't even follow up to my text message when I told him that I was sad that day. I went to sleep at 7pm day to escape. Those were some dark days...

Day 36: Get Gorgeous and Get Out!




It's Saturday night in Paris and here are my three options:

1. Stay home and be sad.

2. Drink a bottle of wine while watching The Golden Girls.

3. Go to an art opening with Kamal.

Tough call here. Upon reflecting deeply on my options, I opted to go with choice three. Inspired by my newly titled summer jam of 2011, 'Back it Up' by Caro Emerald, I'm doing a bouffant (dirty hair plan b), liquid eyeliner, a Dior mini dress and my favorite Marc Jacobs Spring '07 'Mickey Mouse' peep-toe pumps. Oh là là! 

Bon week-end!

Day 35: Relapses Happen.


Sketch by Michelle Lau

I woke up this morning and decided to choose happiness over regret and doubt. Yes, I had a less than stellar night with Monsieur Flâneur that left me feeling empty and sad for our love lost, but set backs will happen and he was participating in the evening just as much as I was. So why am I beating myself up? Why does it have to be entirely my fault? It doesn't. Today I choose to exhale it out and blow it off to being two people suffering from the residuals of a break-up and besides, it's Friday which means one thing. Belly Dancing class!! I totally just shimmied my shoulders...

The class went well and I'm certainly improving and feeling less of a Bollywood poser but there is still work to be done in order to reach my goal and dreams of Belly Dancing bliss. Appropriately, my friend Kamal who gets a kick out of my new hobby had invited me to get some Indian food to celebrate my progress. We met up in the 'festive' 10th arrondissement after my class, a neighborhood I haven't frequented since I first arrived in Paris almost two years ago. I stayed in this area because my first apartment in the 15th wasn't be ready for three days so I stayed in the spare room that a guy named Davide rented out that I found on the internet. When I type it out, that just sounds insane and was an idea that my mother naturally loathed. In her thick New York accent she kept asking who David was, and didn't understand why I couldn't wait until my apartment was available to leave for Paris. In hindsight, she was probably right, and I suppose that I could've hung around New York for a few more days but if my memory serves me correctly around this time before my departure, my family was annoying me to epic levels and just needed out. Fast.

The 10th can be a bit overwhelming for a newbie freshly arriving in Paris who has thoughts of romance, La Tour Eiffel and croissants bouncing in their head. My, have I grown since those days, I've replaced the croissants with baguette cereale with butter from Bretagne and romance for a good vibrator. The area is heavily condensed with immigrants (including myself!) and with my weak level of French at the time was terrified to speak. Not wanting to expose my American-ness, I bought random things at the near-by Mono'p and lived on processed salads from the take away fridge. Basically consuming anything I could buy that I didn't have to ask for. A vast difference from today where I can't shut up, I love gossiping with my local grocer.

Excited about Kamal's Indian food proposal, I kept asking if I could wear my newly purchased belly dancing costume so I could feel part of the culture while we eat nan and gossip about our former friends. Kamal said 'non'. Dis. We went to Sahil, a no frills, cheap and good dive for Poulet Tikki Masala, cheese nan and Strawberry laisses. Kamal has become and even better friend to me during this transition and was of the few friends of mine here who helped a girl who was in the merde! It's a fact that in a time of crisis is when you learn who your real friends are.

The cure to a post-break up relapse is belly dancing, good food and better friends. I'm shimmying again..

105 rue du Faubourg Saint Denis
Paris 75010

Day 34: Take Time.

After yesterday's setback, I'm not feeling as strong as I was before. I'm sad and miserable, in fact. How can someone who was so love with me act so tortured by the idea of sleeping next to me? It really hurts.

My dear friend Paul keeps telling me to not take it personally and that this is all a reflection of his insecurities and incapability of being a responsible partner in a relationship. He's right, it's just harder to see the clarity when you are in the fog. 

Will bounce back tomorrow. Until then, thanks for hanging in there with me. I simply cannot write today...

..and in the nurturing words of my mother: "shit happens".

Indeed it does...

Day 33: Ahhhhhhhh!



It was a cozy Tuesday night, I had just gotten back from the gym and was running a hot bath. The plan was to catch up on some old emails, make some Skype phone calls, and to relax. The obnoxious text message ring on my phone went off as I was standing naked in my kitchen, it was from Phil. 

"Hey, I'm going to get a drink over by Bastille. Join me!" 

After a long day at work and going to the gym straight after, a drink sounded fantastic but I decided to just stay in and do what I had set myself out to do. I had the remainder of a bottle of wine that would give me a little more than a glass and some frozen salmon that I splurged on. My night was set.

A few hours had passed, dinner was digesting and I was nursing my glass of wine while perusing the internet when my text ring went off again. It was Phil, this time he was at La Perle, a bar that is down the street from my flat. He was enticing me with a drink. Okay, okay. I thought, why not? I could head downstairs for a break. I was just going to run out with no make-up and Monsieur Flâneur's soft dove gray American Apparel t-shirt that I swiped in the "settlement," but thought better of it. During a time of a break-up, you must leave the house effortlessly fierce and fabulous at all times. With that said, I had laundry to do, so it was his t-shirt or my dumb fitted blue button down that I was saving for work the next day. I put on a coat of mascara, some bronzer over my cheeks, added a dab of Rosebud lip balm and fluffed my mound of hair and was off. 

When I got to the bar, Phil was there and in rare form. He was celebrating an important meeting that had gone well with the opposing business school that is currently trying to woo him into joining their faculty. In other words, he was drunk. He ordered me a glass of Côtes du Rhônes and we tchin-tchin'd to my 30 Days of life sans my ex, and to his meetings. One glass turned into two and we were laughing and gossiping. I was glad I came out, the music was good, our favorite bartenders were there and upon turning around so was Monsieur Flaneur - and we were face to face. After ghosting my ass for 30, disappearing and feeling empowered, there he was. And I was wearing hi st-shirt. 

He had just walked in with his brother and some friends for an after-work drink. We stood there almost in a daze, smiling at each other. And in typical Phil fashion, he said big hellos and ordered them a round of drinks. I guess I was hanging out with MF tonight, I thought to myself. 

Awesome. Cheers to my 30 days of break-up sobriety.

This was bound to happen at some point but I had wanted just a little more time to pass to exude my effortless evolution and growth so he could see the obvious error of his damn ways. But no, there he was when I just wasn't ready.

Everyone else wanted to avoid the obviously uncomfortable situation and kept spirits high by drinking more. MF kept wanting to stand closer to me but I preferred talking to his brother and his friends, I didn't have much to say to MF, because again, I wasn't ready. I had stepped outside for a second and he followed. "Tell me everything you've been up to, stop playing your games!" he demanded as he lit his cigarette. "I'm not playing anything," I told him and it was the truth, I'm not playing games, I just need to clear my head. 

I then briefly filled him on my life, my new job at the tax office and some new acquaintances I'd made. I then asked him what he had been up to and if there have been any new changes in his life, considering that that was the driving force behind his decision to end things. I was expecting him to say that he has been moving mountains and changing the world but his not terribly surprising answer was that nothing had changed and that he still hated his life. How lovely. Glad ya dumped me. I took a big swig of my wine.

After resisting from the initial shock of us seeing each other, I foolishly let my guard down and it was as if no time had passed. We were laughing, joking about songs we love to hate and catching up on funny stories. 

Time was passing and before I knew it, it was just MF and I, as the bar was slowly thinning out and our company had long gone. Looking at the time, and the desolate bar that had chairs on tables and the lights on, I told him that I was ready to call it night and was heading home. He wanted to walk me to my door but since were going in opposite directions, I didn't think it was necessary. After the third time of his insisting, I finally agreed and we walked together down the motionless Paris street in silence. We got to my door and stood there, once again staring at each other. I didn't want to say goodbye and against my better judgment, offered him a cup of coffee - upstairs. Apparently, he didn't want to say goodbye either and had accepted my invite. 

He walked into to my tidy, lived-in apartment with touches of me everywhere. I put the coffee on, he played some music and we fell into being "us." I guess our chemistry will never fade. Or will it? We are two people that truly get along quite nicely with each other which was always our strength, so why couldn't we make it work?

Three hours later, I woke up in my bed, fully clothed, on top of the covers with MF curled up and snoring on my shoulder. We had passed out while talking. How did this happen? This wasn't part of the fierce and fabulous plan. Then he woke up and we were staring at each other in my moonlit room with eyes half open. He realized that he was in my bed, in my apartment and jolted up while mumbling that we can't do this, that it was wrong and bad for both us. He put his shoes on and had bolted out of my apartment at 4:00 am. In about 30 seconds flat, he was gone and I was alone and crushed - again. 

I lied in bed, staring at the ceiling with my hand resting on my forehead angry that I had let this happen. We weren't physically intimate, so why do I feel so awful? I feel like I'm starting back at square one...

Awesome. So, what, day 1?

78, rue Vieille du Temple
75003, Paris

Day 31: Recognize.


I'm starting to feel myself again these days. After yesterday, when I wrote that I haven't whole heartedly laughed in a while, that has changed a bit. Lately, all of that pent-up laughter that has been stored up for over two months has been pouring out like honey. I'm starting to see the humor in things again. From getting weird e-mails from my boss that doesn't quite make sense, and chuckling with my co-worker Allison about the receptionist who likes to boss us around and think we are both really stupid. They are little things but that is who I am: someone who loves to laugh.

I have broken out of my isolation and am chatting with friends from back home again, and the trauma of the past two months is no longer the subject du jour. I'm becoming interesting again! 

30 Days works like a charm. It can only get better from here....right? I am now choosing to be the girl who I was pre-relationship. Someone who perseveres, someone who doesn't play the victim, someone who goes after what she wants in life, someone who is brave, someone who is actually fun to be around. What a concept! Well, I'm pleased to say that this girl has been coming around more often than not and all I have to say is 'Welcome back'.

Day 30: Celebrate...


Woopee. Day 30. I made it. I'm not dead. I didn't fall into a black hole and die sad and alone like I had imagined a mere 30 days ago. Good news, I suppose...

What are some improvements in my life that I have made in just 30 days? Let's recap. 

-I laugh again. Not quite the gut-wrenching roars of laughter (unless it's of me Belly Dancing or doing something else totally ridiculous) but I am seeing some humor again. I would still like to laugh for real again. Next 30 days...

-I have clarity and realize that I was not living my life to the fullest when I was in the nook of my relationship. I'd become so complacent with my goals and dreams. Who was that girl? 

-I'm not angry with Monsieur Flâneur, although I never really was but I am in a place where I am practicing distance with love. 

-I'm in a loving relationship that is built on honesty and understanding with B.O.B, my Battery Operated Boyfriend. Grossly, I got this acronym from my Mom who after reading my post about my trip to Passage du Désir insists on asking how 'he' is doing. I prefer thinking that my Mom has no idea what a vibrator is and what their purpose is for. 

-I lost 6 pounds of depression weight and am experiencing the joys and wonders of fruits and vegetables. Yes, joys and wonders.

-By default, I'm learning how to cook because of how broke I am these days. Going out to eat will not be an option for a while but in the meantime, a fresh garden salad never killed anyone, eh?

-I'm building new friendships (with caution) and surrounding myself with healthy, happy people who support my goals and vice versa. 

-I'm getting more comfortable in my Belly dancing class and starting to feel more 'official'. Well not really, I still look pretty stupid, but it is the effort that counts! 

-And I have you! My loyal reader(s?). Duchess, thank you for following me on my adventures in finding myself again.


Pas mal. It's been a true spring cleaning. Looking forward to the next 30 days. What's next on the agenda?

Day 29: Make Cocktails!


Last week, my boss treated us to the swanky Shangri-La Hotel for cocktail hour to thank us for a successful quarter end. The hotel 'bar' was more like a salon for the rich and fabulous with its decadent gold crown molding, crystal chandeliers and plush quilted couches. The clientele consisted of the upper crust of Paris elite who were casually nibbling on seasoned olives served on three prong toothpicks and fois gras tapas. You know, the norm. 

Moving forward to my true reality of a futon and folding chairs, last night, I tried to echo some of the creations I had shamelessly stolen from the hotel's menu. I invited Phil over who was more than happy to come over and test my cocktail copying skills. For snacks, I put out warm blinis, creme fraiche and oeufs de truite (poor man's caviar) as an attempt to be fancy. 

The cocktails didn't come out quite as polished and clean as they did when made by the professional elixir specialist at the hotel so I compensated presentation with adding more booze. It worked. 

Here's what is giving me a Sunday morning hangover:

Le Suez
1 oz. Whiskey
1/2 oz. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon honey
Garnish with Rosemary stalk

Le Marco Polo:
10 Leaves Basil
1 oz. Vodka
2 oz. Strawberry Juice
1/2 oz Lime juice
Muddle basil first, then add vodka and juices. Shake well and pour.

Here's what is curing said Sunday morning hangover:

L'Asian Bloody Mary: (I actually don't think this is the name...L'Asian? Doubtful.)
2 oz Vodka
3 oz Tomato Juice
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
Sprinkle fresh ground pepper on top
Garnish with Celery stick

If it weren't for my break-up I wouldn't have had to find an apartment where I had to pay rent. If it weren't for my slightly over priced rent, I wouldn't have had to find a job to pay for it. If it weren't for a stressful financial quarter, I wouldn't have had to work so hard to get everything done under the wire. If I hadn't worked so hard, I wouldn't been rewarded with a trip to The Shangri-La Hotel and if it weren't for the Shangri-La I wouldn't have discovered these amazing drinks. Do I see a silver lining here? I think I do. 

Cheers!

Le Bar at the Shangri-La Hotel
10 Avenue d'Iéna
75016 Paris

Day 28: Don't Read Into It.

This morning, I forced myself awake as a result of a terrible dream. Instead of staring at the ceiling to recap the what Mr. Sandman had brought me, I rushed over to the kettle to immediately put the coffee on. Coffee, coffee was good, anything to confirm that I was back in the real world.

As someone who has never really believed in the power of dreams, I hate discussing them with people, hearing about other people's, and think that they are just a random melange of our subconscious. But I couldn't help it, last night's dream really pissed me off!

One minute, I was doing laundry on Long Island with my Mom and bleach scented suds were exploding on to our less-than_thrilled neighbor's lawn to being transported to Paris, sitting on a café terrace with a friend, and seeing Monsieur Flâneur across the street with a girl. Blonde. The opposite of me. They were window shopping like we used to do. She was making him laugh, like I used to. He was kissing the top of her head, like he used to do. He was wearing sunglasses. She was wearing stripes. It was awful. 

It felt so real. While new and exciting things are on the horizon and with each passing day I am feeling stronger, this dream brought me back to reality. The reality that I still have some more work to do with moving on. I'm strong enough to feel comfortable by myself and not let the loneliness sting like it used to, but being able to brush off the fact that I have been replaced with a vanilla version of me would not sit well, not quite yet. Unfortunately, this very well could be the current state of affairs (grrr) that I'd have to accept (double grrr).

In all fairness, I also went back to 11th grade Algebra in this nightmare, so this should sort of put things into perspective. Dreams don't exactly mean reality.

Will I ever get over this break-up? This one is taking way too long!

Day 27: Get Lucky.


Perusing the internet for creative work, any creative work, I came across a post looking for freelance fashion writers. Unpaid. Meh. Getting paid is sort of the goal here because ever since I have been back out on my own, I have been really tight with money. Restarting your life takes money and people generally save up for these kinds of things. Ahem Monsieur Flâneur. 

Wanting to get comfortable with submitting pieces, gaining confidence in my work as well as having an outlet to get my creative flow on outside my office, I thought why not? I'm not an established writer and I've got to start somewhere. Looking back, I was an unpaid fashion intern for a year before I got my first paying job many moons ago. In most coveted fields, sometimes that's the way it goes.

I received an immediate response and set up a phone interview with Felipe for the following day. Without knowing, I was communicating my experience outside of writing as I was asking what I thought were basic fashion website start-up questions. The result? I was asked to help spearhead this fledgling project on a more senior level. Paid.

I accepted.

Update: (March 2, 2012) Close but not cigar as my grandmother would say. Felipe forgot to budget in a payroll and was hoping that everyone would work for...free! My fashion intern days are long gone. It's a great opportunity for girls wanting to break into fashion and get experience.

He wanted to pay 100 euros a month for over 100 hours of work! I'd rather sit on the couch and watch The Golden Girls.
While it didn't work out professionally, I did meet May through this job post where her and I both said no to working for free, but we maintained our friendship. We still get a kick out of this. I knew something would come out of this! A good friend...

Day 26: Make a To-Do List.


A co-worker of mine, who out of politeness reads my blog from time to time suggested a book that I should check out called A Single Girl's To-Do List by British author Lindsey Kelk. There is an actual book about this?! Excited, I immediately went to Anglo-Bookshop The Village Voice in Saint Germain-des-Prés after work to pick it up. I didn't need to read the reviews or even the synopsis because I just knew I'd like it, and bought it on a whim. 

My instincts never lie and I am devouring it. It's funny, honest and I eerily related to it. It's was as if Lindsey had been lurking in my apartment for research! Wait, was she?

I am enjoying this book so much, I shot Lindsey an email telling her so. Yes, I'm that lonely that I writing e-mails to chick-lit authors. I guess that's just what is meant to be happening in my life right now. To my delight, she promptly wrote back with sincere gratitude, and was just the girl's girl as I imagined her to be. Can she please live in Paris? Since betrayal of my the American girls whom I thought were my friends these past two years in Paris, I'm experiencing a shortage of cool Anglo chicks.

Today's post is inspired by Lindsey and a congratulations on a book well-done. 

Here is my single girl to-do list:


  • Body. Get in shape with toned arms, lifted butt and sculpted abs. I will know this has been accomplished when I fit back into my high-waisted Marc Jacobs jeans.
  • Skin. Get glowing skin. I'm talking teeny pores that reflect light like a summer sunset in Tahiti. This also includes a little color (everyone looks happier tan, right?) and getting rid of the zit that should be paying me rent that has been residing on my chin for what seems like forever.
  • Work. Vigorously look for a new job that challenges and excites me in Paris. Tall order. 
  • Write More. My true passion.
  • Consumption: Drink more water. Drink less wine (Sad face). Eat 2 units of fruits/2 units veggies a day.
  • Improve French - learn one vocab word or expression a day.

In a nutshell, get pretty and improve every aspect of my life. No pressure...

Update: (June 7th, 2012) 
  • I lost some of the post depression weight, but some of it came back after meeting Seb, the master chef, but ça va, I'm not a model, I'm allowed to have an extra 5 to 8 pounds on me. By the way, Barbara Roy stole those MJ jeans. 
  • My skin still annoys me, so that's still a work in progress. 
  • I definitely need a job in Paris. With some changes that will be happening in the fall, I will have more freedom in finding work that I am qualified for. I refuse to be a professional photocopier again! I still really hate that office....
  • I write more than ever before and it's fantastic. It's truly what gets me up in the morning.
  • My water intake is good. It's still a challenge because I'd rather have coffee or wine, but I'm drinking it.
  • A new French expression a day? Okay, yeah, I so didn't do that. Although my French has improved since MF and his potty mouth. I no longer stuff in "putain" every other word, or cap off sentences with "ou quoi?".