Saturday, April 23, 2011

So This is Where I am, World

Alright, so my time in France is coming to a close.

What can I say? I will surely miss it.  I've had a great year, I have met awesome people, I have decided that this will not be the last time that I live in France.

I was reading through my little yellow journal of this year and I have realized that this year, I have grown and incredible amount.  I love the improvements I have made to myself and they were completely not expected.  When I first arrived, I was scared as hell.  I thought I had made the wrong decision in my life.  I hardly could understand anything being as it was the first time that I had heard French spoken from real French people instead of professors.  Let me tell you something, they speak quickly!  I had no idea what was going on half the time.  My first day in Limoges, I met some random guy and girl (turned out to be a Spanish professor and the Spanish assistant) and he took me to some random place, told me to fill out a form, and told me to pay the lady 30€.  I had no idea what I was doing, 'look there' surprise picture, and that is how I got my bus pass. 

I hardly understood anything for about the first month.  I was so scared, walking to the post office freaked the living shit out of me.  But one day, something just started to click.  I understood pretty much everything and could form complete phrases without much difficulty.  I made real French friends.  I made English friends.  I met people, I went to plays and understood what was going on.  I have no problems anymore, with the language.  I am constantly learning, but it's awesome.  I have learned so much since I first arrived.

But even more than just the language, I have learned so much about myself.  I am not that little scaredy cat who showed up at CDG airport jet-lagged beyond belief.  I am not scared to speak to someone if I have a problem, I am not scared to speak my mind, I don't care what other people think anymore.  I think that is one of the best things.  I don't care if you think I'm weird.  I know I am weird.  I have a funny accent and I am loud and I smile.  Get used to it.  And if you don't, that is seriously your problem and not mine.  Oh yeah, and don't pretend you can't understand me and squint your eyes in confusion.  I know what I said! It was just said with an accent!

I've travelled on my own. I've couchsurfed on my own.  I really feel like I have become a more independent person during my time over here.  I like the Callie that I am.  I guess that is all I can ask for.

But let's go a little deeper.

I think I know what my future holds.

Intrigued? So am I.

I truly feel like I can't stop moving.  I have this desire, but it is more than a desire, it is more like I feel like I am being called to do this.  I am being called to live in other parts of the world.  I am being called to work in other parts of the world.  I am being called to experience, to live, to work, to be scared, and to adapt, to love, to be loved, to help others, to discover myself, to discover others' cultures.  I feel like the worst thing that I could do right now is go home and have this year be 'the year I lived in France.'  And I don't mean that I want to travel like the majority of people travel.  I need to live in a place for an extended amount of time.  I need to learn the language, culture, the people, etc.  I don't want the tourism, I want the life.  The world is full of life, I want and need to discover it and live it.

Right now, I am researching ways to live in Vietnam, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and a few other places.  And I am determined to make it work.

So, I guess that is where I am, world.  Bouger, bouger! Move, Move!

UPDATE! Just discovered a quote that would go perfectly here.

"To live in the rarest thing in the world.  Most people exist, that is all."
--Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some Memorable Quotes from My Time Here

So, I have a little yellow journal and I have written down some memorable quotes from many different sources.  Enjoy!

And sorry, sometimes I don't remember where I got them from.

"With my eyes closed, I would touch a familiar book and draw its fragrance deep inside me.  This was enough to make me happy."

"A monk awoke from a dream that he was a butterfly, then wondered whether he was a butterfly dreaming that he was a man."--Buddhist Parable

"Waiting for the perfect love?"
"No, even I know better than that.  I'm looking for selfishness.  Perfect selfishness. Like, say I tell zou I want to eat strawberry shortcake.  And you stop everything you're doing and run out and buy it for me.  And you come back out of breath and get down on your knees and hold this strawberry shortcake out to me.  And I say I don't want it anymore and throw it out the window. That's what I'm looking for."
"I'm not sure that has anzthing to do with love."
"It does.  You just don't know it.  There are times in a girl's life when things like that are incredibly important."
--Norwegian Wood by Murakami

"I want to know more about you."
"I'm just an ordinary guy-ordinary family, ordinary education, ordinary face, ordinary thoughts in my head."
"You're such a big Scott Fitzgerald fan... wasn't he the one who said you shouldn't trust anybody who calls himself an ordinary man?"
"True.  But this is no affection.  I really truly believe deep down that I'm an ordinary person.  Can you find something in me that's not ordinary?"
--Norwegian Wood by Murakami

"How much do you love me?"
"Enough to melt all the tigers in the world to butter."
--Norwegian Wood by Murakami

"It is vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.  Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot.  Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth.  Women are supposed to be very calm gernerally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged felloy creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to plazing on the piano and embroidering bags.  It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex."
--Jane Eyre

"It is madness in all women to let a secret love kindle within them, which, if unreturned and unknown, must devour the life that feeds it; and, if discovered and responded to, must lead, ignis-fatuus-like, into miry wilds, whence there is no extraction."
--Jane Eyre

"We are all Federalists.  We are all Republicans."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Peut-etre c'est cette nuit seule."
--a friend

"I will have one mistress here and no master."
--Elizabeth the film

"You're free to leave me but just don't deceive me and please believe me when I say... I love you."
--Moulin Rouge

Monday, March 28, 2011

The American Dream

So, I have noticed quite a few differences between France and America on a basic sort of level and there is one thing that I keep coming back to as a reason or as a source for the differences.

Socialism versus Capitalism:
the war is waged!

The American economy and the American way of life is centered around capitalism, just as France is centered around socialism and these lead to two very different viewpoints of life.  Disclaimer, this is only what I have perceived and have no tangible proof to give. 

To start this off, I will give tell you a story.  This story was told to me by a friend named Landry Digeon, a French  man who is currently living in Barcelona.  He was told this story as a child by his parents.

There were three mice sitting at home playing together when their mother comes in.  The mother mouse says to the kids "I have to leave for a little while.  I love you and you need to stay here and be good, whatever you do, don't leave the house.  It's dangerous out there."
"Yes mom, of course we'll do what you say"
As soon as the mother mouse had left the house, the oldest brother mouse says to his brother "I want to go out, see what's out there."  And he leaves.  Soon after he leaves his little hole in the wall, the cat of the house sneaks up on him and kills him.
The second baby mouse says to the smallest brother, "I'm going out, I want to explore the world, see you later."  He gets a little further than the first mouse but gets struck down by the orange tabby a little further away than the first brother.
The last mouse, says to himself "I wanna see the world," he leaves the home and sees the bodies of his two older brothers on the ground and quickly scurries back to his house.  He waits for his mother to come home and when she hears the story of the other two brothers, she says "they should have listened to me and stayed home."

When Landry finished telling me this story, he said that if it was an American story, it is sure that the mice would live happily ever after, but after finding their dream on the outside. 

It really amazes me, the French children are taught from such a young age to obey and not deviate from the standard while American children are told to "Be what you want to be, if you want it enough you can achieve it."  And this is what I am finding here.  Children don't care to succeed in school, they only care about doing the absolute minimum because somewhere along the way, they can get some mediocre job that they will hate (most French people hate their jobs) and retire at 62 and they are "content" with that.

Americans are always told to be the best, be better than the other person; it is a competitive society and so we strive to earn good grades, we strive to get the best job, we strive to be better than we previously were.  Maybe, I am totally biased, but a lot of what I see in the educational system here can be contributed to this.  The kids are never asked to be creative.  In America, we have projects, quizzes, tests, group work, so that each student can be challenged to be creative and inventive and unique.  I don't see that here.  Students aren't supposed to think, really.  It is more like regurgitation of the information that they have learned.

I think it is so interesting that some of the major differences that I notice between our nations can be linked to basically to the government and economic way of life.  Do I feel a thesis coming on? Maybe.  Just in time to apply to Grad School.

And We Meet Again

I know, I know, I never update this thing.  Working on it always.  Sorry, world.

Ok, now, I am sure that everyone out there is wondering what has happened in my life recently.  I'm living in France, the country with the most romantic reputation in the world: the French, French men, French wine, French cheese.  All of those seem quite romantic, well, except for the cheese--let's face it.

When I was younger; I thought of France and I thought of chateaux (castles) and romance, like every girl in the world probably.  I thought in the back of my mind that something terribly romantic would happen. 

Sorry romantics of the world, I don't want to ruin any ideals, but France and French life, all of it  is quite normal.  Maybe I have been thinking quite a lot about this recently because now I am single and living in France.  The romantic in me is still waiting for that Prince to ride up on a white horse and instantly fall in love--thank you, Disney for giving me unrealistic expectations. 

And recently, I have been thinking so much about love, attraction, lust, and all things related.  I've thought about love at first sight, can it exist? If it does exist, how do you find it?  And if you do find it, should you act on it?  That whole idea is kind of crazy.  If I can love someone instantly, what is there to say that we could actually spend a lifetime of happily ever after together?  How are couples still together after 35 years if I can't make it through 2 with someone?  Are some people destined to never find a partner? Am I one of those people? Do my ideals and ideas of life interrupt any relationship I might one day have?  But I guess these are just normal questions from a 22 year old single chick living in the romance capital of the world. 

So where was my point?

I don't think I have one today.

Sorry, world.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's been a while

Hey, Everyone.

So, I am very sorry that I haven't posted anything lately.  I have actually written quite a few things, typed them, and have them on a jump drive that is at home.  I am in Paris, not home.  But I do have internet here, so I thought I would share something that I found on the internet today.  It really got to me, and I figure, it is after Valentine's Day.  Why not write about love?  But I, sadly, did not write this, I stole it.  Enjoy.  Promise to post another  original soon.

Love is still wanting to hold someone after you climax. After the initial euphoria from the orgasm wears off, you’re replaced with a sense of calm rather than a panic. You don’t want to search for your clothes, scramble to find your keys and figure out the best way to tell them, “See ya later forever!” You’re fine with chilling out in bed with the person and maybe ordering pad thai later.
Love is unattractive. It can expose our worst traits: Jealousy, irrational fears, heated anger; the gang’s all here! While it can bring out compassion and tenderness, it can also make you behave like the ugliest version of yourself. That can be okay for a little while, but love with real longevity should be like a xanax rather than an adderall.

Love is not afraid to be schmaltzy. There’s a reason why the most popular love songs are so lyrically simple. You can drown it in metaphors all you want but love usually boils down to, “You make me so happy. I want to hold your hand. I just want u 2 be mine 4ever!” You can be a 50-year-old linguistics professor at Columbia University and still find something to relate to in a Mariah Carey ballad if you’re in love because the feelings are so universal. It’s humbling, isn’t it? No matter who you are or what your background is, love can reduce you to Mariah Carey mush.

Love is an all-consuming drug. It gives us these natural highs we’ve only read about in books or heard in songs. It’s addictive. It’s what keeps us going to bars, drinking glasses of wine, going to that stupid house party in Bushwick; it’s all for the possibility of finding love. In the wrong hands, love can be dangerous and scary. If someone lacks a healthy foundation, love can kill. All of these crimes you read about in the newspapers are usually linked to passionate love. “I did it because I loved them just…too much.”

Love is not what our parents had. In high school, you never wanted to think about your mother and father having once slept with people in the backseat of cars and feeling warm and happy. That would make it feel less special and young. It would make love have less to do with you when, EXCUSE ME, it has EVERYTHING to do with you.

Love is getting drunk with your significant other at a party and taking a cab home with your bodies intertwined. You feel safest in these moments, the most secure. Entering a social gathering with someone who loves you is the biggest security blanket. People leave the party as a parade of droopy expressions and sad cocktail dresses. But not you. “Sorry guys, I’m in love! I’m taking a car!”

Love is fucking stupid. Love is fucking smart. Love is about betraying yourself, of compromising your ideals for someone else’s approval. That’s actually the bad kind of love, but I guess it all blurs together when you’re young or when you’re old or when you don’t love yourself.

Love is your significant other telling you about their favorite album and then making a point to fall in love with it on your own. Love is wondering why your better half loves certain things. You think you can find remnants of them in their favorite films, books and songs, but you usually can’t.

Love is finding yourself feeling protective over someone else’s well-being Love is being incensed with rage when someone or something has done your lover wrong.

Love is wanting your partner to cum. And if they can’t, just say, “That’s okay. I’m enjoying this.” It might be bullshit, but they’ll be orgasming in the next five minutes. Trust me.

Love isn’t always marriage. Marriage is spending $60,000 so everyone can know that someone loves you. You know what’s certainly not love? Debt. In some cases, love can be divorce.

Love is a back massage, a mindfuck, a hard cock, a pair of perfect breasts, of feeling unashamed about the cellulite on your body. Love is someone giving a shit about you enough to argue. Love is not passive. Love is “Don’t fucking touch me right now.” Love is “Who the FUCK were you talking to?” Love is sometimes hating yourself for a second. Love is hate. Period. Indifference is the real killer of love and the true antithesis.

When love leaves you, you should be lying on your bathroom floor with no resolve. You’re smoking cigarettes in the bathtub and crying about everything bad that’s ever happened.

Love is someone seeing the beauty in you and wanting to bask in it every day all day. Love is not guaranteed. We are not owed love. That’s why when we get it, we know how lucky we are and hold on to it for dear life.

So, yeah. That’s what love is. Anyone know where to get some?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Worst Poem Challenge

So, I was chatting with a friend the other day and we were talking about writing. I minored in Creative Writing at Presbyterian College and I feel ashamed because I haven't written anything lately. My friend and I swapped stories of contests; at PC it was the erotic short story contest and at her college it was the worst poem challenge. So I took the liberty to write two short terrible poems.

The first, of course, has to be about Limoges.

Ode to Limoges
Oh, Limoges
L-I-M-O-G-E-S
You are indeed an aquarium
Many fish you have
Many fish you lack
You swim because you are the fish
The one with the big fin on its back
You have false coral and invisible walls
Which makes the inhabitants confused
You are the fish
You are the tank
You are--the Aquarium

Oh goodness, and if that didn't pain me enough, I wrote another of one of the greatest clich├ęs of all time.

Beauty as a Rose
Your face is like a rose
Cheeks rouge
Stem slender but with thorns
Every beauty has her thorns
But yours seem less sharp
Worth the pain to
Caress your supple petals
Supple, ripe, beautiful
Your nose is the center
Perfectly symmetrical
And your red hair I need not compare,
For it is obvious
You are my rose
It sucks that your name is Violet

No lie, that was kinda fun. Any other terrible poems out there? Share!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Everyday French

So there are quite a few phrases here in good ole France that I knew existed, but are used much more than French 1 taught me.  And I suggest to anyone coming to France to get used to these phrases, they are so helpful in everyday conversation.

  1. ou autres choses comme ca--or other things like that                                This is amazing when you're saying anything that has to do with examples.  I cannot tell you how invaluable this phrase is.  
  2. ou quelque chose comme ca--or something like that                                  This is really helpful when you're asking for something or when you're trying to explain something.  Especially when you're talking about ideas, this is really helpful.
  3. je ne sais pas--I don't know                                                                     Pretty self explanatory but usually it gets slurred together by the French and end up sounding like "shaypah."  I have used this so many times when someone asks for directions.  I've only been here a month people, I do not know street names.
  4. du tout--at all                                                                                                 This is good to use with any negative statement to emphasize that it completely negative. Just add it after the 'pas' in the statement.
  5. vraiment, tellement, vachement--really, seriously, truly                              This signifies importance, always used.
  6. je pense que--I think that                                                                              To state your opinion
  7. Donc, alors, en faite, en plus--Thus, moreover, therefore                     These are good transition phrases
  8. Selon a--according to                                                                                   This is really good when you are talking about anything to do with opinions. To state when someone thinks something.
  9. Il faut que--it is necessary                                                                           Use this when you need to do something, you should use the subjunctive after, but if you use present tense people will understand.
  10. J'arrive a comprendre--I arrive at comprehension.                                     This is actually pretty funny, because the French never 'don't understand.'  They might not arrive at comprehension but they never don't understand.   They do not say "je ne comprends pas" ever.  It must be a French thing, in no way would it be possible that they don't understand something.  If something is confusing it is because of you, not them.
  11. Qu'est-ce que c'est--What is                                                                      You'll use this a lot.
  12. truc--thing                                                                                                     This is one of the most important words to know.  If you don't know what something is, use the word 'truc' for it.  Seriously, best word ever to know.
So there is is, some of the most useful things you can know in the French language.  I think my favorite is 'truc.'