Friday, 17 January 2014

Lost in Paris

I wonder if anyone still pops by here every now and then considering the abandoned state that this blog has been in for a very long time...I have had so many intentions to write about the things that have been going on... if only I had more hours in a day! 

Despite being backlogged for quite some time now I'm going to start with my trip to Paris last September. Maybe those of you who have set foot in Paris will sigh and expect to find in this post pictures of the Eiffel Tower and a melancholic post about how beautiful French conversations sound to the ears... Albeit those were without a doubt special to me too, the trip meant most to me because it was a spontaneous decision to venture out on my own out of my comfort zone into a country where I can barely pronounce words without being as awkward as can be. 

The only phrases I equipped myself with were:

Cest mon premier fois ici
It's my first time here

Ou les toilettes?
Where are the toilets?

Je Sui Desole, mon francais et tres mauvais
I am sorry my French is terrible!

Je Voudrai un...
I would like a... 

and one or two more that I've forgotten, mostly to prepare myself in any case that I needed help.

In Paris I came across the so called 'rude' Parisians-- mostly agitated and rushed in the metro, but I also came across wonderful people, one being a jolly old man who approached me after I kept going back and forth the same street and stared at a street map for a good 5-10 minutes (because I have no sense of direction, of course!). He tried his best to explain to me in French the directions to the Luxembourg Palace, pointing animatedly while I pretended to understand. I stayed with two sisters whom I found off Airbnb in a lovely Parisian flat that had my dream windows opening out into a little balcony overlooking the street. They were more than accommodating, telling me the best view point for the Eiffel tower, talking animatedly about my day when I got back...

My journey was not all a bed of roses as I also ran into a group of gypsies who cunningly and swiftly robbed me off 20euros in front of Notre Dame. They are, unfortunately everywhere in Paris... if anyone approaches you with the question "speak English?" please pretend you don't! Just remember that Parisians are proud of their language and will always speak in French first, so anyone attempting to attract your attention in English is probably not doing so with good intentions!

 I do find it amusing now that I went to the nearest policeman and asked if he spoke English? He said no, so I proceeded to type out my misfortune on Google Translate, (thank God for smart phones) to which he read and enthusiastically told me (in French of course) "Yes yes be careful with your monies! They are Roma gypsies and they are everywhere!".. I guess he won't be helping me then! That evening while admiring the Eiffel tower I was also approached by someone too keen to take the city of romance too seriously... an odd day that was.

On one of the days, twenty minutes after setting out into one of the arrondissements I gave up and put away my map.. again I cannot stress enough how terrible I am in directions. But after that, my journey became an adventure as I walked and walked and walked, totally consumed by my surroundings as I had no clue where I was heading to, but it was pure enjoyment to have everything just pop out into a surprise, new streets, new sightings. I noticed that French women tend to go au naturale with make up, definitely a note to travellers (mostly female and well, to the male ones if this is your kinda thing) to relieve themselves off taking hoards of make up with them, and my favourite street was probably St Germain where lots of food was happening! Did anyone say macaroons? 

Honestly, coming face to face with Mona Lisa I couldn't help but feel a tad bit ripped off--
she is smaller than the store-bought painting that hangs above my fireplace.
I was expecting something extravagant! And to think people were shoving and pushing like animals to take a good shot of her (my crooked picture is a result of not being bothered to push for a frontal view).. Just goes to show how movies and books hype up our expectations a little too much at times! (Dan Brown you are to blame!)

Given the time I would do it again, just run away to a foreign surrounding for even just a couple of days, let myself be lost and be in awe of everything only to come back and appreciate my bed and my home a little bit more.Sometimes it's good to just disrupt your cyclical routine to give yourself a bit of fresh air... 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Fatigue

Constantly tired regardless of what I do or do not do.
Could it be.. 
Age? The weather? Stress?
At this point in my life I thought I would be full of energy ready to take on life.
But no, I choose the comfort of my bed instead.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Still alive

Hello Hello,

As you might have guessed uni has sucked the life out of me again.
Things have been crazy since the very first day, and I very much doubt that things will calm down until Christmas break. I'm just taking one day at a time and trying hard not to get overwhelmed by everything these days. Everything feels uncertain at this stage and there's a lot of pressure knowing that this is the final year, but luckily I have the mental ability to block unnecessary things off in my mind..

I'm still trying hard to be on top of things, but it's a slow learning curve for me.

 One thing that has improved though, is that I'm valuing my well being more this year so that means no all nighters unless desperately necessary (I've only pulled one as of yet), and less time at work so I have more time to spread out my uni work and have some time for my own sanity. I'm still keeping my job because it's the one day that I am really forced to not think about my course work so I am really taking a productive break, and it also helps me keep in check with life outside of the architecture bubble. Yes it's sad that I have to resort to justifying this, but it really is impossible to not think about the course 24/7.. even in my sleep my ideas develop lucidly-- yes we are sad like that. :( Hence why it's nice to have a change of environment interacting with unknown people whose lives are not corrupted by architecture!

I'm learning to listen to my mind more now that if my eyes refuse to stay open then I should just call it a night and go to sleep, rather than forcing myself to stay awake and do nothing anyway because I'm too busy trying not to pass out on my keyboard. I've come to the point now where I have to acknowledge that age is just catching up and this body just cannot handle sleep deprivation the way it used to at 18.

I guess I'm also learning to just throw myself in the deep end without hesitation this year.
 Previously I would avoid doing drawings like the plague if they overwhelmed me, but this year 
even if I have a little bit of fear I'm going to just throw everything out there with the expectation to fail anyway. I know, it's not exactly the greatest motto in life, but at least if I cared less about what criticism I would get at the end then I think I'll be more adventurous and experimental, and less scared about this imperfect outcome that I will produce..The aim is to f*ck not fret about it and just do it. :)

Hopefully, these little resolutions are going to help me get through the year with a positive outlook! 



Monday, 23 September 2013

whims of a server

Having waitressed for a few years now in the UK,
I always think that I've managed to get to grips with the usual and general demands of the fussy public.

No ice/ no lemon in my drink. 
OK.

No tomato/lettuce/onion/ or anything green-looking in my plate.
  Sure.

Make sure my steak is cremated/moo-ing on the plate. 
Got it.

Can I have a skinny latte?
Sorry we only have full cream milk.

Every now and then though, someone will come and throw me off guard with particular requests:

Can I have a mint chocolate milkshake, but with no mint?
Um... we use mint ice cream as it is...mint chocolate milkshake.

Can I have an ice tea, with no ice?

Can I have an ATM (avocado, tomato, mozzarella) burger, with no avocado?

Most recent of all..

Is your cheesecake vegetarian?
Sorry, wha-? Um (confused) I would think it is! There's only the usual milk, eggs and cream cheese in it which should be fine unless you're a vegan...?
(My colleague told me that I should have said "Of Horse!"- an homage to last year's horse meat  scandal found in beef in most UK supermarket products)



Thursday, 19 September 2013