Sunday, May 31, 2009

Being a kid for one more day

I have one day left before I turn 25. I feel like today has so much pressure associated with it. Today is the last day I will be in my young twenties. When I wake up tomorrow I will be in my mid-twenties. Really, I will be no different tomorrow at 9:15 a.m. than I am at this moment – but I feel 25 has different expectations than 24. No more being a kid. Time for full on adulthood.

When I was a kid 25 was old. You could still be cool at 25 but you were definitely old. You had a job. You were married. You had usually had a baby. And most importantly you had a cool car and clothes. I am not the 25 yr old that I thought 25’s were. I have a job but no where near the married or baby thing (which I am okay with at this moment) and I am thankful to at least have a car and clothes.

It’s just funny to me the thoughts we conjure up of what we are supposed to be at a certain time in our lives, and the reality of what it actually is when we arrive. It seems like today should be one of great freedom and carelessness to utilize every last moment of my young twenties. Though I fear my last carefree day will be spent taking my friend to the airport after her 10 day visit, going to dance practice, and then cleaning my apartment and doing a lot of neglected laundry and French homework. Boring. They are all things that must be done for me to be able to have nothing to do tomorrow the first day of being 25.

I loved my young twenties- and thus I can’t imagine that my mid-twenties can have anything awful in store. I have to say 24 pretty much did rock. Lots of great things happened this year- it had it’s up’s in downs but I have landed on my feet, I will not be drug across the finish line to the age of 25. Thanks to this great year filled with love, support, prayer, and encouragement from family and friends I will be able to walk boldly, brightly and confidently into the year of being 25.

I may not exactly be what I thought I would be at 25 but at least I have one last day to play in my young twenties. Maybe all that laundry and homework and remain neglected for a few more days…

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Oak Tree Stands Alone

My iPod goes with me where ever I go. At work it helps me get through the day of processing paperwork, drowning out other peoples phone calls, and keeps the day up beat. At home it wakes me up in the morning, it creates an atomosphere fun to cook in, and is blasted loudly to dance and sing with, at the top of my lungs. But the greatest use of my ipod here in France is listening to my tunes on the metro.

To get to the center of Paris usually takes about 30 minutes. Listening to my iPod is the perfect solution for passing this time. I love all of my music. I have music that can make me dance in my seat, music that relaxes me, or music that makes me get lost in the moment. My iPod is always set on shuffle to keep a variety flowing throughout the day. So when I was listening to my music the other day while traveling from my dance class to the Champs Elysees and a familiar friendly voice came through my ear buds- I was greatly comforted to what the random shuffle brought to me as a surprise. It was the lyrics and voice of my friend Scott.

Scott is currently pursuing his dream and moved across the country to be a folk musician. At the sound of the first note played of, “Summer time dreams,” a smile immediately spread across my face and warmth filled my soul. I miss hearing Scott play Scott’s music. Listening to Scott that day took me back to another place and time.

Scott’s music is so much more than the beautiful songs he sings. Scott’s music is filled with many memories and simple comforts that goes along with each tune he sings. After hearing the first melody I decided to switch from shuffle and listen to all of Scott’s songs on my iPod. As I continued to listen with a smile spread across my face, I was taken back to many days of sitting in the Stewart lobby with my best friends as Scott nonchalantly strummed his guitar as a peaceful background sound.

As I was nearing my exit Scott’s “Oak Tree” song came on and I slowly began to touch the face of my iPod to be taken back to the place where this song has so often been sung. I could hear all of us begging Scott to play the song just one more time, and that each time during the middle pause of the song our friend Tony getting excited for the burst of rejuvenation that would come in the next cord of the song. This time rather than a burst of joyful shouting a small tear of joy came to my eye for the special memory was shared with me on the metro that day.

Through Scott’s lyrics and melodies I was taken back to a place that felt like home. Where my friends were near and everything was still the same. For the brief moment I was not sitting on the metro but I was once again with my friends hanging out in our old lobby passing the time of the day with nothing more to do than to be with one another.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

you've got mail

The much anticipated day has FINALLY arrived! Ready wait for it, wait for it, wait for it...


Now that may not seem like much but to put into perspective I have lived in France for almost 6 months now and just received Internet this morning! I went to the Internet provider two weeks ago to sign up for the Internet and it has taken two weeks for all of it to be activated. The last two weeks have been a ticking torture of anticipation, like a leaky waterspout just slowly trickling drip drip drip. Everyday I would check my mail to see if I had been given the secret codes and to no avail everyday I was left without a connection to the rest of the world. But no longer- I have the passwords and I am fully logged on.

I cannot wait for the freedom this is going to bring to my life:
- On Sunday's I will not have to drive to my work office at 11:00 pm at night to call friends and family at home, I can now use skype on my own couch whenever I want.
- I can type and post my blogs at home rather than typing and post later.
- I can watch U.S. tv shows online like SYTYCD
- And when people come and stay I can let them stay connected to their friends and family too.

I am so happy to have the world wide web back in my own personal life!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today is another holiday in France. Third one of the month and one more to go. I like this work schedual. But even better than having the day off- was my friend Alyssa arriving in town. She will be here for 10 days and we will have a blast gallivanting through Paris together.

Today’s weather was perfect for the occasion of her arrival and what I had planned for the afternoon. After picking Alyssa up we headed into the city and enjoyed a relaxing picnic by the Eiffel Tower. Croissants, grapes, cheese, a good friend from home and the Eiffel Tower, What more could a girl ask for?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance!

While most T.V. shows go away for the summer, this is actually the season when my favorite T.V. show begins. I am a lover of the show: So You Think You Can Dance. I have watched every episode faithfully the last three years after I discovered the amazingness of this show, and was bummed I knew I would have to sacrifice watching a season of the show while living abroad. One solution I had thought up to avoid missing episodes, was to have my wonderful, beautiful, kind mother Tivo, record, and mail me the episodes for my viewing pleasure. Yes I am that desperate to stay updated, and yes my mom is that amazing to me.

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) premier’s tomorrow night. In anticipation of the show, today I was doing a bit of research and discovered that this year for the first time SYTYCD will be posting full episodes online! Whoo hoo! I am so excited that I will be able to get my weekly double dose of SYTYCD.

I will no longer have to go a week without seeing the adorable Cat Deeley in her fun and funky dresses.

Each week my ears will be pierced by the screams of Mary Murphy.

I am excited to see the choreography of Mia Michaels.

And most importantly each week I will be inspired by the dancers who work the stage during their performance.

I love getting to know the dancers and having favorites. I become attached to the dancers I love. I feel like I am on the journey with them. Cheering them on and hoping they are able to reach the end. Many times the most difficult part towards the end is they are all so good- how is a girl supposed to decide. I wish they could all stay and just dance for me, for forever.

thanks to YouTube I have my favorite dances always there for my viewing pleasure.

What I am not looking forward to are the times when America makes mistakes and votes off the best dancer or my favorite dancer. Many times last season, I was quite angry, for several days, after the airing of the results show. And I am not someone who is easily upset. So please America I beg you- for the sanity of me, please vote the correct way. Which of course any way I would want you to. Because we all know who and what I think deserves to win- most certainly does deserve to win, without question. I would hate to see another mistake like last year when people voted to keep Comfort over Kherington!!! I still don’t think I am completely over that, I may still need more time.

So for all you SYTYCD lovers out there like myself! Hooray for another season of all new fabulously inspired 8 counts, memory vignettes of when dancers are dismissed, and 3 hours a week of hearting Cat say, “Welcome to So You Think You Can Dance.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's a small world

Aaah aaah Aaaah! Aaaah aaah aaah! Giselle sings into the forest at the beginning of Enchanted and all of the birds and forest animals come flocking to her side. Arial counts her gadgets and gizmos as she wishes to be part of another world. And Belle walks through her French market with her nose stuck in a book and then becomes trapped into a magical world of the Beast. Each of these girls had hopes and aspirations of living a life of greater grandeur than the life they were currently leading.

These movies lay at the heart of every little girl and these stories have turned dreams into realities for some. This week Disneyland Paris brought in their American recruits’ from California to be their fantasy princess crew. Who would have thought that Disney bringing in people to play characters would be a dream come true for me.

I spent this weekend with my friend Emily who was brought in from Disney to play the part of Arial and now Mary Poppins in the parade along with other costume characters throughout the day. I had the best time with Emily and it was so fun to hear all of the exciting tid bits of things she is learning at her job. While we were hanging out in Paris on Saturday we were going to meet some fellow cast members under the Arch de triumph.

When her cast members approached I saw a beautiful girl who will be playing the role of Sleeping beauty and her real life prince charming walking hand in hand. When they approached and introduced themselves, and I heard words that always ring home in my heart, “you went to Biola right?” Yes! Someone from my small Alumni from school. As it turns out we have a similar circle of friends and were connected through people but never knew either one existed. And there we stood- under the Arch de Triumph connecting our true homes to our new homes in Paris.

Each one of us have come to Paris for a different reason. I came with a mission’s agency with the dream to fulfill the Great Commission. Emily came though the means of facing her fear of auditions and landed the roll of a princess in Paris, and Mary came with the excitement of a new experience and needing to take a year off from school. No matter what reason or dream it is that brought us to this place in the first place we all stood there knowing that we each had a place we could recall as home and know similar people- but that our futures are an unknown adventure that lyes ahead.

The best thing of having Emily here and meeting Mary and Andrew is they are a dream come true for me. First arriving in Paris, I didn’t know anyone my age- or who spoke English. Through their arrival this last week I feel like I have an instant family. I am surrounded by people who love people I love and in reciprocation to that, we innately by design love one another.

While standing under the Arch de Triumph with Emily who knows my Oceanside group of friends and meeting Mary and Andrew who known some of my Biola friends- I thought to myself, “It really is a small world after all.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me Monday

Not me Monday is a group of people who shamelessly post incidents that occurred throughout the week by accepting full responsibility through 100% denial that it actually occurred. It was started by McMama and you can find others like me who did absolutely nothing wrong this week.

I am not at all excited to have my friend Alyssa come and visit for 10 days starting this Thursday. Alyssa asked if she could bring anything for me from home. I surely did not request that I would be able to use her second allowance of luggage for my mom to send me some requested items. After Alyssa said that would be okay I definitely did not e-mail her and my mom several times changing my mind and switching what I actually wanted. I would be more organized, and thoughtful of the kindness of others rather than being indecisive and forgetful. Also my bag is definitely not heavier than the one she is bringing for her own- I possibly couldn't’t want or need that much.

I most surely have not decided that I need to re-join weight watchers but put it off everyday because the bread, croissants, and cheese are so delicious. I do not feel guilty about that one bit. I am not deciding that the day to start is Wednesday the day before my friend arrives. I know that would only be setting myself up for a difficult beginning and one I would likely give up on day two. And while we are on the subject of food,I surely have not eaten avocado's everyday for the last two weeks due to feeling the great depravity of good Mexican food here in France.

I did not feel upset about not being able to blog everyday yesterday. I was glad I took responsibility over writing about my daily escapades in town. And it did not take me 5 months of living in France to get a bank account and Internet set up at my apartment. I wouldn’t drag my feet on two important facets living. I am also now not waiting a week for a security password before I can actually start using both my bank account and Internet system. I love administrative driven societies.

I did not spend my Sunday evening watching several Disney movies after spending a weekend with different girls who are here in Paris to be Disney characters. Spending time with them wouldn’t make me flee back to my childhood dreams of looking for a “true loves kiss and a prince to go with it.” I would be much more sensible and not so easily influenced and manipulated to the Disney childhood dream.

Finally I was not excited one single bit by the gift Emily brought for me from the States. I did not crack up laughing and find it hysterical that she saw this cup and thought of me. I do not look at it and just smile and feel a bit of home every time I have taken a sip out of this cup today. I wanted a good plastic starbuck's cup and Emily most definitely did not deliver the perfect cup.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The magic kingdom

It’s all a journey. Everyone is one different paths going in a direction of their choice. Sometimes your paths cross and you travel together for a while hopefully a lifetime. Others you pass right on by. Strangely you don’t realize how far you have walked down that journey sometimes until you have the opportunity to meet up with someone entering the same road as you.

Yesterday I met with my friend Emily. Now Emily is my friend Mike’s little sister- and Brigitte’s soon to be sister in law. Whoo hoo. I have known Mike for about 8 or 9 years. I have always adored Mike and felt like he was a brother of mine. When I first went to college, and my parents dropped me off at the dorms, we said goodbye on the Sigma lobby and I went up to my empty room (311), sad and thinking I had just walked away from all that I knew and all who loved me. When I got to my room I signed on to Instant Messager. Mike was online and is the person who initially told me it would all be okay and helped me get through that first night all alone. Mike may not remember this night but I have often thought of the kindness of Mike that night, and how blessed I was by his encouragement. I never would have imagined I would have the opportunity to pass that kindness down to his sister 7 years later.

Emily moved to Paris last Thursday, to work for Disneyland Paris. Super cool! But naturally as going through any major transition for the first time, (let alone in a totally foreign country) has had a trying transition. I have been anticipating Emily’s arrival and greatly looked forward to spending time with her. I took the metro up to the Disneyland stop and when I got off the metro I honestly felt like I had been teleported back to California. It was the strangest feeling in my life. It was comforting and at the same time fully overwhelming. You get off the metro and you are in Downtown Disney. It looks exactly what it would look like if you were to drive to Anaheim and get off The 5 fwy on Disney blvd and park. It was crazy. It didn’t fit. This is France dark, petite, quite- Disney is bright, big, loud.

Seeing Emily we ran up to one another and gave each other a huge hug of relief and excitement to have someone familiar around who understood who we were, where we come from, and what we are going through. I loved sitting and listening to Emily. Listening to her and watching her process all that has happened the last week was like being taken back into time 5 months ago when I first moved here. All her questions, all her exhaustion, her missing friends and family, and mostly the strength she knows she has to do it, but the struggle it takes sometimes.

I loved my time with Emily and even today it just makes me smile for so many different reasons. I smile because thanks to Emily she was able to show me how far I have come the last few months. That I am not still fully lost – I am lost but I have figured a lot of things out. But the biggest reason for me to smile is knowing the journey that Emily gets to go on. She is so lucky to have this opportunity to work for Disney and to daily see and make children smile. She is going to grow and find a God given strength within her that she never knew existed, and she is going to have the opportunity to look back at this experience and see beauty in a place she may never have imagined it.

I went yesterday to comfort Emily- bring her a peace and comfort that can only come from someone you know. However, I think I was greatly blessed just by Emily’s spirit, her strength, and her courage to keep pushing forward and to make the best out of each day.

Emily I know you can do this. This is your journey and for the next 8 months we get to walk through it together. It’s all unknown to us but in time it will all be a story for us to tell. It's just like Mr. Toad's WILD ride!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the lord “and will bring you back from captivity.” – Jeremiah 29:11-14

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

VH1 exclusive

We are going to play a game called Name that Celebrity. I know you are so excited for this! Right?

This weekend I went over to a families house for a group dinner. While sitting around chatting someone asked me if I had ever seen Mary’s high school year book? My answer was obviously, No. But I would love to because I love looking through yearbooks.

It was then revealed to me that the reason they asked was because Mary went to high school with someone famous. They told me the name and I shrieked with excitement. Not because I adore this person, but because this person is so famous I would have never of guessed.

Naturally the first thing I did was pull out my camera in anticipation of the year book to arrive. I then snapped shots of the famous female to share with you all today. I will show you the series of pictures and then in the end reveal who the mystery woman really is.

Setting: The year is 1974 and 1975. The state is Michigan. The location- High School.
Here is the cover of the high school year book.

Here she I believe on homecoming court based upon the pictures tag line with two children.

Go Fight Win- you can spot her on the top right of the pyramid.

Here is her first school pictures- she is three rows down, first one in the row.

Finally we have her senior picture. Looks like she cut her hair from last year

So who is our mystery star…

Friday, May 8, 2009

Home Work

Today is another French holiday. Victory in Europ day Essentially the end of WW2.

But, unlike the hard working nurse pictured above, I am in the midst of this big project for work and needed to work all day today, and will probably work the majority of the weekend. Oh well, it happens. But- the special part of working today was that I worked from home.

Man I love working from my apartment. I feel like I was able to accomplish so much and fully concentrate on everything that needed to get done. When I needed a break I could get up and clean up my apartment a little bit- because seriously who wants to work in a war zone. I could fold the laundry that’s been drying in my living room since the flood incident on Monday. And I was able to listen to music without earphones and lay on my couch in PJ’s as I added to and edited my progressively growing 100 page report. It was fabuloso working from home.

The only down side of working from home was I needed to get my work to other people. And I needed to ask others clarifying questions to finish up the project. So once my productive day was over I needed to drive to the office to access the internet. It’s one thing to write these blogs at home and post the next day at work. But the use of internet is much more of a necessity when working from home.

This might just be the tipping point for me to take the plunge and get internet at home. Cause I surely don't see any sailors roaming the streets in Paris celbrating and wanting to wisk me away.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

La Police

You know that moment when even though you are completely sober but you are pulling through a DUI check point your heart drops because you have to speak to a cop. Or when you are driving on a highway and you see a cop with their Radar gun, you may be going the speed limit but you slow down just to avoid being pulled over. There is something about cops and being in a car that make us all extra cautious. It could be that if they do stop you, you are generally stuck with a few hundred dollar bill and that’s never fun.

Well last night I had my first personal encounter with the French Police. Fun times. It is actually the third time I have been stopped by the French cops but this was the first time I was the driver. Whenever you are stopped by the French police it’s never just one man or woman stepping out of their car asking for your license and registration. It is always a swat team of men usually 4 approaching your car to check out the scene and investigate. It’s like every car is an immediate drug bust. You can imagine the intimidation factor of going through this process when you know you won’t even be able to explain yourself cause you don’t speak their language. I pictured myself getting to see what a French prison would be like. I am sure my parents would appreciate that phone call.

Now first let me say I didn’t get pulled over for speeding. No, I stumbled upon a check point. I of course was pulled over. It reminded me of when I was in college I took my roommate down to San Diego and when you drive back up to Los Angeles you must go through a check point. My best friend is a U.S. citizen but she is Mexican who has never been through this check point. As we approached she became very anxious and said, “I know they are going to pull us over, they are going to send me to Mexico.” I laughed and said, “Ashly don’t worry- this is normal, no one ever gets pulled over.” Well thanks to her face written with guilt and anxiety we were pulled over and questioned. We were released and she didn’t get deported to Mexico. Last night as I was being pulled over I smiled and thought of Ashly and this memory.

Last night getting pulled over to the side, I laughed and thought- I may be getting kicked out of France again. As I pulled over the first thing I told the police, “Je Parle Anglais.” I speak English. But as I was being questioned I learned something fantastic. What I learned is that, “I SPEAK FRENCH!” Okay not really but… I was able to go through all the questions and interrogations and not only understand their basic questions but also reply and respond in French! I was so excited. This was the first official all French conversation I have had in France.

In the end I was released. Thankfully, I am not an immediate threat. I have to admit after going all the way to Pennsylvania to get a drivers license. I was quite pleased to pull it out and have it checked. I would have hated to have gone all the way to Pennsylvania to get a license and never have it be recognized.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One Month Countdown!

“Ooh Ooh Baby!” am I excited to tell you this news today. After all the years of “Anticipating” seeing the one and only Britney Spears perform live – my two best friends and mom “emailed my heart,” That they have pitched in and bought me a ticket for my birthday!!! It’s so “Crazy!- I just can’t sleep, I am so excited I’m in too deep- Crazy but it feels alright” I know this is going to be a show to rock all night.

There is so much controversy over Miss Spears, but for all of us 15 yr old girls who fell in love at the first beat of “Hit me baby one on more time” and have stayed faithful to Britney ,waiting for her to come “out from under” and back on top and “Do something,” “Bombastic” and show that she is “Stronger than yesterday.” She is back and her new tour shows, she is a “Brave new girl.” This is one show that is sure to be “Bombastic” and “Outrageous” to say the least.

“There are only two type of people in the world, the ones that entertain and the ones that observe.” While Britney was, “Not yet a girl and not yet a woman,” K-fed tried to make Britney his own personal “Cinderella.” Brit was sure to let him know that he was a “womanizer” and a “Freakshow” that should get his act together because she is, “Cold as fire, hot as ice” and their relationship was broken like “Shattered glass.” After their breakup Britney decided, “The beat goes on” but the world quickly believed that, “what you see is what you get,” and many abandoned their adoration for Brit. But she remained a “put on a show kind of girl” weather in public or on stage. “Extra Extra this just in, She’s too big, now She’s too thin.”

There were a few others out there, like me, who saw all the crazy media dubbed “oops I did it again” stunts as a cry for help. Most thought her life was very “chaotic.”

But I saw each mistake as a way of saying, “love me.” She may have looked to the wrong answers, such a few “toxic” “boys” but she openly admitted on an MTV interview that she was “lonely” and said, “Sometimes I Run, sometimes I hide, sometimes I’m scared of you, when all I really want is for you to hold me tight, and treat me right, be with me day and night, baby all I need is time.”

“It’s been a while”, but Britney is back on the “’radar’, and when you walk and when you talk” you hear the “Satisfaction” of all the Britney fans, singing her latest hits on the radio. Britney is “Lucky” and thus has made it her “prerogative” to get back on to the stage and get back “in the zone” to being a star performer.

To my great friends-“Every time” I think of Britney I will now think of you! Know that though I am far, “I will be there” whenever you need me. Thanks for not letting me, “be the last to know.” Of the great show! “I’m a slave for you” and forever indebted to be able to go to this show it’s a small bit of happiness like “heaven on earth.”

“mmm Papi!” I get to see Britney Spears in concert on June 6th- I cannot even tell you “What it’s like to be me” in all of this excitement for this show. She’s got that “Boom Boom” to make the “boys and girls” at her show go crazy and want to be a part of the “showdown.” I cannot wait for someone to “kill the lights” on stage and to hear the words, “all my people in the crowd- let me see you dance.” This is one show that will be “outta this world.” I am sure the costumes will be fantastic some with “lace and leather” and the music will make all the fans want to “let go” and at the end scream “Gimmie more!”

This will be one “Circus” event I am glad I won’t miss. The fact that I have tickets is still so surreal I think I need someone to bring me back into reality and “Hit me baby one more time.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just Laugh

Well- it couldn’t be a week in France without something going kirplunk and haywire for me. So I am happy to report that this week’s mishap is over and done with before the first day of the week. Lucky me. After the whole crazy electric bill incident I gave myself a pep talk that these little moments are what making living here interesting, quirky, memorable and most importantly a good blog. So rather than stress out or start crying on the floor- I told myself I just have to laugh it off. So let the laughter begin to roll…

Last night I decided would be a nice calm evening. Do a bit of Pilates, maybe a small glass of red wine, do a facial, paint my nails, and a pedicure. All those nice calming and relaxing girly things we gals enjoy. I also decided that I could multitask this, along with my need to do laundry. So I threw on my sweats, pulled my hair up, did my Pilates, and started a load of laundry.

After feeling relaxed from working out, I decided I would watch an episode of “Friends” while I painted my toes- but first I wanted to put on my face mask. As I walked down the hall and stepped into my room my carpet made a “squish squish” sounds while my feet were suddenly drenched in water. I immediately started to laugh and then looked down to find my very own homemade pond. This must have been what Noah felt like. However, I didn’t have time to assemble a boat and pair off a bunch of animals. My mission was to find towels and find them quick.

While literally standing in 2 inches of water that covered from my bathroom to my bed room door (probably about 10 square feet) I quickly grabbed the closest towel as a method to mop up the heinous mess I stood in. All I could do was laugh. I found it hilarious. I mean seriously how do you flood yourself out of your apartment while doing laundry?

I’ll tell you how… My washer requires that you feed a hose from your machine to a sink to assist in the draining. I always leave my hose resting in the sink, to avoid a situation like this. Well on Saturday, I had company coming and I thought, “Oh I should take the hose out, so my sink doesn’t look mess.” Well that thought and gesture, created a much larger mess 3 days later when I forgot to put the hose back in the sink. Can we say Oops.

So while I am in about 40 minutes of cleaning up this flood my doorbell rings. My doorbell NEVER rings. No one knows me or where I live, why would they ring my doorbell? Hesitantly I open the door. I am hesitant 1st because I have a flood in my apartment, 2nd because I don’t speak French, and 3rd and most importantly I look like a hot mess and completely disfrazzled, when this could be my first opportunity to make a friend in my building. I have my priorities.

I answer the door to a girl about my age. She lives beneath me and Ut-oh there is water leaking into her apartment. But! But! But, Not only is it leaking into her apartment, water has OVERFLOWED all into my hallway! How the heck did this happen? I look out and see two giant puddles of water where my walls connect with the outside hall way. At first I was confused thinking, “how did the water get out there when it’s not in front of my front door?” Duh it went through the walls- it has powers I lack. And secondly I momentarily felt relief thinking that I wasn’t the cause and that my whole floor was being flooded. Nope. Definitely just me.

After two hours of cleaning up a mess- and not relaxing one bit- I was left with a bunch of soaking wet towels, what I call “towel burns” on my hands, and exhausted arms from ringing out all the wet towels. I cleaned up my floors, cleaned up the hallway, and ensured the girl downstairs was not getting rained on any longer.

While cleaning up the crazy abundance of water I could still hear “Friends” playing in the background. At the start of each episode while playing the theme song, I couldn’t help thinking about the lyrics and how true they were at that very moment. “So no one told you life was gonna be this way [clap clap clap clap]” But rather than four claps it would be a bout of laughter coming from me. If anyone had told me I would be living alone in France flooding my apartment- I would have laughed at them and said, "yah right!!!" Guess the joke’s on me today. But that’s okay because I am laughing through it all. I know it will all be okay and that in spite of these mishap’s I am really overflowing (literally) with blessings.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cinco De Mayo!!!

Oh I love this day in California- it's always a good day to be had. So enjoy lots of good times and delicious Mexican food for me!


On my way to French lessons each week, I pass through a beautiful forest area. I usually do not have time to stop and take a gander at the surrounding area, but since I had unexpected time off last Friday, I decided to go and take a look at what was there. I was amazed at what I found. I knew there would be beautiful trees and nature – but I did not expect what I had actually discovered.

I found a boulder forest. There were tons and tons of giant boulders in this area and all around people were climbing them. I was amazed. I had heard of rock climbing before, but never had I thought of such a thing as climbing boulders. The people gathered in this area were rather eclectic, all pretty young and coming from all different regions of Europe.

When first entering the boulder park I saw a guy who looked like a hippie carrying a mattress on his back- my first assumption was that he was backpacking through Europe and that’s what he slept on. Nope! I was wrong!

The pad this man was carrying was actually an accessory I found at the base of every rock people were attempting to climb. They were pads for the climber to fall back upon in case they lost their grip while climbing the rock. Other accessories included- special shoes that assisted in having their feet form to the rock. A tooth brush to clean and define a rock’s crevice. Additionally, they would carry powder and dust their hands before beginning their climb to aid their grip.

I was seriously amazed at the skill of those climbing. The strength and flexibility required to climb these rocks is just insane to me. Some rocks looked like a completely flat surface, while another would have a sharp cliff, causing them to practically be upside down while attempting to continue to move upward. All the while they would need to be thinking of where to best extend their grip, without losing their balance and falling from any progress they potentially may have made.

There was one group of friends that I watched attempt to climb this one particular rock for over an hour and a half. In the end, only one of the guys actually made it to the top before they moved on to the other side, to attempt a different face of the boulder. It was fun to watch them work together in thinking through the best strategy to scale the rock, while at the same time using their own technique to get them to the top.

Once I realized the group spoke English I found out that this group had come from Holland on an extended weekend. They said that France has the best place in Europe for bouldering and advised me in taking bouldering up as a hobby because this park in Fontainebleau is one of the best. I could tell by the vast amounts of people and languages that people were traveling from all over, to come to a place that I drive right on past twice a week.

Upon taking their advice, I decided to give one climb a try. I think I’ll be skilled like them in no time. But let me assure you that this one climb was quite the challenge and pretty much took me all afternoon. I tried and tried but I kept losing my balance and grip. My legs kept shaking, making me feeble as though I was going to fall to a pit of despair with no pad underneath to catch me. Thankfully though, I did make it to the top. I was out of breath and completely exhausted. I am so thankful I was able to get a picture to capture this moment of great perseverance and strength on my behalf. Phew.