April 30, 2006

Ma vie sans moi

Imagine a world in which things are what they are. There is silence and weight in each and every moment. Music only serves to carry the weight through the words that are spoken and those that never will be. Imagine a film that shows people as they are, broken, shattered and torn; every single one.

We went to go and see the 'Secret Life of Words' this afternoon and all four of us were left emotional and awake. It was incredibly poignant. The things that we hide from and the things that find us, whether we think we deserve them or not.

This was a film from a Spanish film maker, set in England and starring an American. The story, the characters, so strong in such a quiet way. I feel like I want to talk about it forever, understand how it they all became what they were. It was a bizzare choice, based on what was showing at the right time. It is a beautful thing to find something that speaks to you, tugs at your heart and makes you remember that we are all lost in one way or another. The right place and the right time, D, L and Ally.

April 28, 2006

A weekend in the life of a traveller

No sooner has she unpacked from two weeks in Warsaw, but Ally is now packed up again and ready for a few days in Paris. This being her five billionth trip here, we will skip the Louvre, D'orsay and all the big stuff and think about things to do when you are not rushing through Paris trying to see the Mona Lisa, Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur in the space of 24 hours.

There are big plans for talking this weekend. There is lots to discuss. I have an interview for the school in Italy. There may have to be a purchase in the interview outfit area. We want to go to one of the other Flea markets. We also have a date with D, L and some Fondue that is set in stone, no changing I promise.

Only three more hours until the freedom of a long weekend beckons.

April 27, 2006

This garden is mine.

With the sun here to stay most of the time, the Jardin du Lux is teeming with people who have nothing better to do than wile away the time sitting on the green chairs and watching the world go by. I have loved taking photos of this place and never get bored of looking at my endless pictures. I like the quiet corners and now that Winter is gone, I don't think I will ever get my Jardin back.

L and I spent nearly every Sunday of the Winter sat outside the little cafe with a creme to warm our hands and bundled up against the cold. It was still great to be outside. Ok, the Jardin may not actually ever have been mine, but scrapping for a chair in the shade is just not my bag. Maybe just one more Sunday afternoon. Just a little one.

April 26, 2006

Climbing up or down

I have handed in my notice at work. At the end of June I will leave Paris. I don't have a job, don't have any interviews and am frantically applying for all sorts of things. I do know that I feel calmer and more settled in doing this than I have the whole time I have lived here.

"It's easy to fool the eye but it's hard to fool the heart"
Al Pacino

April 25, 2006

The market de puce

Off the metro at porte de Clignancourt and under the bypass that is plastered with posters for reggae nights and hot R n B clubs. Coming out the other side, you walk down the street that holds a flea market. As S and J pointed out, not sure why is is called a flea market. One would imagine a flea market to be filled with great seventies stalls or cheap modern antiques.

This flea market is more like the place where fake Nike trainers and incense selling Tibetan clothing stalls are put out to pasture. There is still a great atmosphere though, and the opportunites for strolling along and nabbing some bargains are endless. We spent a couple of hours buying leather bags from the guy who had designed and made them, trying on 10 euro shoes and trying not to get drawn into that street game where you find the card with the thing.

I am always fascinated by the people that roast chestnuts over an old oil drum. I am not yet so confident in my picture taking that I will take a photo of some-one I don't know so I daren't ask for a pic. The smells of the charcoal is enough though. I like the sounds of the market, the men trying to sell you fake Louis Vuitton, the sizzling of fresh donuts. There is another market in the city, but when Ally comes this weekend, I might just have to take her back to Porte de Clignancourt.

" You can't fake quality, any more than you can fake a good meal"
William S Burroughs

April 24, 2006

Photo back beat

Here are some of the photos from my last two weeks mincing around Yorkshire and Paris. Including one of yours truly...oh dear. Click on the photos to see a bigger version.
Sunset through the train window
Fountain in Place de Vosges
The Bridge by Notre dame
Me in the Louvre

April 23, 2006

Shuffle on my Ipod

It has become quite warm in Paris over the last few days. My Ipod is uploaded with loads of Ks tunes from when I was home and Paris has found its summer beat again, feels like it did when I first arrived. Everything comes full circle in the end. School starts again tomorrow and brings with it the beginning of a new term, but the last one of the year.

I am listening to Jimmy eat World and I am also loving Fallout Boy, two new albums that I got from K. Along with a good dose of the Alkaline Trio and New found Glory, music makes me happier than anything else in the whole world. The power to change my mood before you can say snap. I have also uploaded Aimee Mann, who I have never really listened to that much and the Buffy soundtrack. Sometimes when the pod is in shuffle mode, it makes me laugh out loud when the theme tune comes on.

The whole world deos turn into a music video, you provide your own soundtrack. There is such a rhythm in the way that people walk down a street. Now that the sun is here, there is also a marked reduction on clothing. I am sure that a load of the women in the park are ready to shake their booty in a 50 cent stylie.

"When you play music you discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed"
Bill Evans

"Music and rhythm find their way into secret places of the soul"

April 22, 2006

Musee Picasso

I think that this is one of my favourite museums in the city. For a start, it is is a huge old house that you have to really find, there are always people on the corners of the Marais turning maps the right way up to figure out where they are. You have to walk past countless cafes and restaurants, little sqaures filled with flowers and sunshine.

Inside at the moment is an exhibtion filled with Dora Marr photos and memorabilia. She was one of Picassos lovers and the museum is filled with his portraits. She took photos of him working, relaxing and it was cool to see him at work amongst the body of his work.

The Museum is relaxed, cool and quiet. There is a gorgeous garden out the back, yesterday was such a sunny day that. I can imagine many more touristing days to come, each filled with the promise of sunny courtyards after the culture. The stairs are cold, old marble and as you walk through the museum, you walk through the artistic periods of Picassos life as an artist.

The Musee Picasso is tiny compared to the Louvre or the Orsay. But it is a much more pleasant art experience. It is up there with the Rodin Sculpture garden. I will definately take more guests there. L and I only went there for the first time a few weeks ago, but I like to think that it may be my spiritual art home. Mind you, for me York Art Gallery with its huge collection of William Etty is hard to beat, Hero and Lysander was the painting I used to sit in front of.

April 19, 2006

Jobs on hold

As S and J are here until Sunday it is nice that I can put the thoughts of jobs and the future to rest for a while and get on with the buisness of enjoying Paris. I don't like the fact that I have been swimming in circles on the job front, no new scenery there.

The next few days brings with it the promise of Paris through the eyes of a first time tourist, my favourite kind. Today, we went to the Champs Elysee, it was fun to see that Paris was everything that S imagined and more. To hear her gasp, see her eyes sparkle is good fun. I like that she wants to see everything, go everywhere. Even seeing the Eiffel Tower light up at night was new and astounding, the light that leads me home every night.

We ate good food and drank red wine while we talked and talked about nothing in particular. The evening is mild outside and there are people walking home in just T shirts, laughing because they know that there are many more evenings like this one to come. I want to take pictures of their faces, capture that perfect moment of calm that they excude.

I have enjoyed having the time to take pictures again. There are lots of new ones in my archive, too many to post. I will do some special photo blogs next week when I have access to computers other than in the internet cafe.

"I like to think that the moon is there, even if I am not looking at it"

April 17, 2006

Greener than green

I just met C in the Jardin du luxembourg for a little break from my constant Buffy watching. It was great to be outside and I have to say that Springtime has slapped me round the face, how can so much green have popped up in a week? It is mild outside and the only people floating around are tourists, all the Parisians are gone for the long weekend to their country houses and family places.

The weather is still cloudy, I didn't see that coming, when I left summer was well on its way. Now it looks like we are all still waiting for the sun to arrive again. I have been thinking of D in the Bahamas, she must have seen some sun already. What is it about life that always has us wishing for something over there, instead of what is right here?

One whole week of freedom before work looms large. S and J arrive on Wednesday for five days of paris fun. Maybe then I will be able to blog about beautiful things, amazing days, intense friendship and the Paris that I love. That would be better than this inbetween place, where everything is about the other place, the place I want to be but am not.

"There are only two tragedies in life; one is not getting what one wants, the other is getting it"
Oscar Wilde

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for"

April 16, 2006

Harry Potter and the Yorkshire girl

It was six years ago that I first discovered the Harry Potter books. I read solidly for a whole week, unable to tear myself away from the story of wizards and magic, and I have been hooked over since. I have seen all the movies and read the books over and over again.

When I finished book 6, I was a mess. I couldn't believe the death of such a major character and cried. This was replaced by a whoosh of excitement while waiting for the writer to tell us how this will all end. I Love hearing stories about book 7. I like the gossip that surrounds J K Rowling and the possibilties of where Harry will end up, after the party is over so to speak.

I have not been able to re-read boo, six for knowing that I will be upset all over again by the plot twists and turns. As it happens; I was right. I sat for an hour this morning, back in Paris. The silence was punctuated only by my giggles at the romanticf sub-plots, turning into quiet tears as the end inevitably came. I can't wait for book seven, only this will take away the pain.

When I worked in England, I even set up a 'Harry Potter Club' for my students. We would have little quizzes, read to each other, plan trips to the cinema and talk about how much we loved the books. This spawned into a total adoration with contemporary childrens books. Any-one know of any good new ones?

"After being in Harry Potter, I believe a bit more in magic than I did before"
Rupert Grint

April 14, 2006

Bunnies with broken ears

My mum has bought biscuits in the shape of easter bunnies for all the kids that live on our street in Northallerton. Half of them have ears that have broken off and she is carefully working out which child to give the bunnies with broken ears, so they won't fight with their siblings over who got the best bunny.

Leaving tomorrow morning to go back to Paris, early flight should see me there before lunch time. This week has gone fast. It has been a blur of British TV, Yorkshire curd tarts, toasted teacakes, people, interview and trips to Tesco or any other supermarket. Shopping is such a treat in the huge hypermarkets, I missed those when I was in Poland too.

Not for the first time in the last three years, I don't want to leave North Yorkshire. Don't want to go back to my tiny Paris apartment and worry about next year. All my brothers come and go too, the middle one still in Korea, the youngest always out and about. But for that one hour every day when we are all together, the house is filled with laughter and comfort. I still get sad every time I have to leave, but this time is also tinged with nervousness about what I have to deal with in Paris. Another interview? Handing in my notice? Packing up and leaving? Maybe getting ready for another winter in Paris?

April 12, 2006

Chasing the sunset

I spent over five hours on the trains to and from London yesterday and I loved every minute of it. Fast, speeding scenery, I ignored the books and magazines I had brought to keep me amused.I watched the other passengers and listened their half conversations on their mobiles. On the way homee I snapped picture after picture out of the window of the changing clouds and pink sunset.

The interview went very well, but I don't think that I am going to take the job. The process has been good as it has made me really focus on what I want out of the place that I move to next. The Dominican Republic sounds like an amazing place to travel, but compound living is not for me. Basically everyone lives and works on a huge complex that is owned by the company that owns the school, it is attached to a resort. It sounded amazing, for the first five minutes, but I like my space, I like wandering and I think that I would feel stifled.

I am still waiting to hear whether I have interviews for two more places, New York and North Italy. The problem is that time is running out for me. I have to tell the school in Paris one way or another in three weeks. I still want to to know. One day in the future, I will be changing the title of the blog. Warsaw to Paris to....

April 09, 2006

Under the oak tree

I am safe at home in Yorkshire with the family and there is a week streching ahead of me. Blogging will be sporadic as Mum and Dad are having problems with their computer, as we speak, I am writing on a battered laptop with a speed of five letters per minute and a web connection that might as well be climbing Mount Everest for all the effort that it is making.

It is fabulous to be home as always. The weather is appalling and I have an interview on Tuesday that I am worrying about a little bit. I have to try on interview outfits and prepare to be dazzling and witty, yet professional. Should be interesting.Wish me luck.

I hope that you are all having lovely holidays, where are you going for the Spring Break? Is everyone staying where they are, or does everyone have exciting plans for holidays in the sun? It has been great to get on a plane and get out of the city. As soon as I landed, I could feel a hugh sigh of relief unload from my chest.

I will blog again after Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

April 07, 2006

The lost art of being a couple

When I was younger, I used to hate hanging around with couples. They were always so sucky faced and I was above such things. When I was part of a couple I was sucky faced too, but that didn't matter. Friends getting boyfriends always seemed to change your relationship with them, and that was never good.

Of course, as the years go by, boyfriends turn into husbands and you get to know the other parts of your friends relationship. You adore their husbands for the amazing things they do for your friends. You realise that his music collection means you always have something to chat about with him.

I am lucky to have several couples among my social circle, and I have to say I enjoy my time with them very much. I like to watch their dynamic, the things they do and say to each other. I love that my friends are the same, but different within their marriages. When I met Lucy and her husband at the Orsay yesterday it was a treat to just have coffee for an hour and chat to them. Of course, in my world of couples I have my favourites, but I better keep that to myself for now...

April 06, 2006

Packing it in

If you asked me if I had packed for the week I will spend at home, the answer would be no. If you asked me if my apartment was tidy, the answer would be no. If you asked me if all the things I need to take to the UK, were in fact littered around my 20sqm apartment, the answer would be yes.

I am looking forward to catching a plane on Saturday morning. Can't wait to be traveller again, if only for a week. To be in transit, I love it. Why can't I get organised? I have been in a right state all week at home, there are things everywhere. I want to start taking a few things back home to leave there. Big, chunky winter jumpers, my winter coat. But I also need to pack clothes to wear, maybe take back a few DVD box sets, CSI was for winter I think.

Blue skies and chirping birds make me want to throw things away and start cleaning. Only without the cleaning bit. But I want a fresh start, beginning with the bags of rubbish, laundry and piles of stuff to go home. I will begin when I get home, maybe stopping for a cake and coffee on the way...

"Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away"
Ben Hecht

April 05, 2006

Blogs eye view

This is what the scene looks like when I am blogging. I noticed that I have pictures on the wall of Rome, Warsaw and Paris. I blog from my office at work because I don't have a computer at home. On weekends, I blog from the Internet cafe on Rue Soufflot. All the pictures that I out on my blog are on my computer at school. If I am feeling very organised, I put 150 photos on a CD, so I can keep them forever.

I like to blog in a morning, I get a cup of tea, sit down and write my post before my first student arrives at 8.25. I think about my post on the bus journey to school. I think about the title and then make it up as I go along when I am logged into blogger. I hardly ever check the spelling, D says it is awful.

How do you blog? When, why, where?

April 04, 2006

From A to H

Tuesday morning has come and brought with it a Marriage proposal for H. A friend from University, there are now four of us left, still in and out of each others lives. Way back in my archives, there is a picture of us all together on a bridge in Paris. She is engaged, 30 years old and the first one of us to be so.

Throughout our 12 year friendship we have lived together in countless different houses. We have been drunk together, laughed and cried together. We have watched the men, jobs and tears come and go. And now here we stand, she is grown up, owns a house, engaged, settled and happy. I wish her so much happiness for the future, want all the things for her that have always seemed so far away from me.

When the girls came in October, we talked in Cafe Soufflot. Talked about how this man was the one that H imagined she would grow old with. Only a few short months later and they are making a committment to do just that together. Strange, the path that life chooses for us, or the path that we choose. H has chosen him and I chose a life of airports. But we are still linked in ways that we can't count now, there are too many.

On this day that she announced she was getting married, I imagined the moment I see her in a wedding dress. We started so far away, grungy, beer-drinking students. Super noodles at 5.30 after the best party in the world. Endless cups of tea, Valentines for Single girls, pyjamas, night clubs, York and beyond. This is where we are now, I wouldn't change anything about my friendship with her. So much happiness I wish for her, I can't hold it in my hands.

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way."
Pablo Neruda

April 03, 2006

April in Paris

As usual, I spent a good amount of time looking for spring in the Jardin du Luxembourg this weekend. Here are some photos of what I found. Pine cones on the grass, leaves pushing out of their buds, hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine.

The Jardin was busier than I had ever seen it. D, L and K spent 45 minutes waiting for our coffee at the little cafe that we have frequented all winter. Most weeks, L and were the only ones outside, warmimg our hands on chocolat chaud. Now that the sun is out, everyone wants a piece of the action.

I can't give you an update next Sunday, because I will be back enjoying Spring time in Yorkshire. I wonder if Summer will sneak up while I am away.

April 01, 2006

My eyes hurt

The skies are full of fat grey clouds like scowling faces. Even so, every few moments the sun breaks through and when it does it makes my eyes squint. So bright that I can feel the temperature rise in those quick seconds. As soon as they have come, they have gone and the sky shows no sign of breaking now.

I don't know how much longer I can worry about next year. This self-inflicted waiting space has produced much uncertainty, and I think about little else. I'm living with a knot inside, and I can't remember what it felt like when it was not there. The next place I go, I need to stay for a few years, because I can't do all this again.

This craziness I have created seems to have no end. I am losing my connection to Paris in the middle of the waiting space. It is raining now. Heavy, warm drops that turn the grey tarmac black. I will stay in here and watch through the glass that was smashed in the protests last week. What else can I do but wait?