Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Day


"Joshua," he remembered his mother saying to him, a very, very, long time ago, "One day we'll go to Europe.  You, me, Daddy, and Kikay."  She looked back to the TV screen, where a young cartoon woman began to cry as she reunited with her long lost grandmother.  He remembered not taking his mother seriously, only being interested in finding another peanut butter jellybean somewhere in the bag they bought earlier that afternoon.

"Aye, my god.  Paris...  London...  It's always been my dream to go to all those places before I die.  We'll go.  One day.  Maybe.  When we win the lottery."

Many, many years later, as he pedaled his way past the Arc de Triomphe, past the Louvre, and past la Bastille, this tiny fragment of a memory, however minimally detailed, surfaced to his conscience.  Almost colliding with a parked car, he pulled into an alley and locked his bicycle.

He had fallen in love with the City, that much was obvious.  Throughout his travels, he never regretted any of the places he had gone, but was always asked,

Why did you choose to go there?

His initial answer was simple:  I want to touch each continent before I die.  Upon further consideration, he realized that different reasons brought him to different countries.  India:  where he would experience sensory overload.  Uganda:  where he would learn to appreciate a much more simple life.  Australia:  where he would find how much more he needed to grow.  Argentina:  where he would experience passion, firsthand.  But France?

Where he would live a dream - his or his mother's, that wasn't clear - at the end of a dream year.  Why the rest of his family never made it to Europe, he couldn't exactly understand.  He had made it here without the lottery [although the definition of lottery was now in debate], accomplished before the end of the first quarter of his life.

"Don't worry about your mother," Betty said in Argentina, "If she didn't travel somewhere, she had her own reasons."

As he walked past the patisserie full of macaroons and tartelettes, he couldn't help but think, How fair is it that I got to live her dream before she did?  A tiny pang of guilt tugged at his stomach.  

In Australia, Philip had once expressed hesitation in becoming a parent.  "I think the real challenge in being a parent," he argued, "would be to help my child find happiness.  And if my son or daughter could say one day that they found happiness, I know I'd have done my job."

Later that night, he would take his camera out of his bag and snap a picture of himself with a flower-shaped cone of gelato.  Maybe it was the mix of raspberry and chocolate, or maybe it was the first night that felt like summer, or maybe it was just the good company with whom he had dinner.  Happiness had been sitting there with him so far this year, and he was sure that it wouldn't leave afterwards.

Maybe knowing that would be enough for her.

[Living There TOday]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The Boy achieved several accomplishments, acquired copious skills, and experienced many a happenstance since He had last written from the City of Lights.  Not that He had scheduled himself into a free-time-less existence; it was as if the Boy was hit with the sudden awareness that he had less
than two months.

His 'free time,' or the time spent outside of His project, had become a series of moments when He 

Out of guilt, the Boy would come down from the clouds - or the steps of a church, or from a particularly wobbly or lovelock-encrusted bridge, or a wine-included picnic - and realize that many family and friends around the world had no idea what He lived through.  Instead of attempting to write detailed pages upon pages of those adventures [later, in due time], He compiled a list of highlights recapping the past few weeks.

This was what He had done, in no particular order:
  •  Navigate Paris.  Namely, above ground, and on a bike.  This involved learning to go in and out of roundabouts [particularly around the Arc du Triomphe], getting lost until 1:30 am and having to bike 25 kilometers/15.5 miles [after experiencing a brief ten minute panic attack], and being guaranteed at least 3 hours of rigorous exercise everyday.
Public bikes?  Genius program, Paris.
  • Lived with two ballroom dancers from the Czech Republic.  These two were the youngest competitors at the same-sex dance competition, and they won third place in the advanced level for men's latin.  SUCH A PROUD ROOMMATE!
  • Somewhat related, He also started to learn choreography taught by middle-aged men for the upcoming Pride Parade.  Yes, He would perform.  Excited maybe?
  • Moved to Puteaux.  New host, new scene, and new lifestyle.  Interestingly, Host 2 cautioned how to pronounce the suburb, as the sounds making it may translate to "dirty water" or "dirty whore" in French.  Or, as Host 2 likes to translate, "dirty whore water."  Also located next to la Défense, the business district, or the place with a lot of glass buildings that reflect each other.
  • Rid Himself of His only pair of jeans.  Sad.
  • Continued Argentine tango classes.  Interestingly, one of His teachers from Buenos Aires would come next month...
  • Further developed His culinary skills.  Between His two hosts, He learned to cook quiche lorraine, boeuf borguignon, rhubarb ice cream sauce, and crêpes.

  • Roadtripped to Lille, where the macaroons and pastries were cheaper, the weather a bit colder, and everything much more country.

  • Realized that Parisians aren't fantastic dressers [as is the popular belief], but are just incredibly comfortable and confident with what clothes they have.  It was all in the attitude in which they wore clothes, not the price tag that made the citizens so attractive.  Maybe.

  • Got spat on by a Frenchman whilst driving through the suburbs of Paris.  He should have known something was wrong when the Frenchman opened the car door and started yelling, but He had only assumed it were typical mannerisms outside of the city.
  • Wore shorts that rose above the knee.  Contrary to the style he had grown accustomed to in the 90s, the Boy's thighs had felt a new freedom never experienced before.
  • Saw the rat trap shop from Ratatouille.

  • Attended a house party in Bures-sur-Yvette, in which most of the attendees were either musicians or singers.  To compensate for His lack of either skill, the Boy whisked around a young 20-something singer in Argentine Tango.  Many older women sighed longingly.  'Twas also at this party where a wonderful french woman who bore a red-headed resemblance to Meryl Streep spoke to [and thus taught] Him only in French.
  • Found places that reminded him of friends from long ago...

  • Picnicked many times, either alone or with friends.  During the summer, the picnic culture skyrockets and everyone saves money from going out to restaurants by buying food from markets and eating them along rivers, canals, in parks, or just on benches.  Ah, romantique.
  • Met with friends from a long time ago, from another lifetime.
  • Had a Groucho Marx sighting in Notre Dame.

 [Terribly Late]

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In Translation

A very special edition of wewillgotogether, in which I translate French using English, Spanish, and relatively poor etymology skills!

Seductive service?  Going down?

The most legendary road I've walked, "The Epic Road"

The Rich...  Richard?

Products of Terror Souvenirs!

Well bend me over, it's The Montmarte Butt Gallery!

The Grevin Museum, a fantastic cabinet and Palace of Mirages!

Moon Road.  And for those who can't read, a fun little picture of an alien and a ball to go with it.

Sweetie, could you pick up some venom, arsenic, and cyanide on the way back from work?

The Coffee Mix, where single Java, Mocha, and Espresso come to mingle.

Oh hey, Evan Bouche! 

The Crotch of Small Champions.

Cat in Hat Road!

Lingere Passage, or the Way of Underwears, or the Path of Unmentionables.

March of the Rogue Babies?!?!

Museum of Poop!

Can't travel without Voyage Biscuits...

The Epic Market of Terror?