just another American bumbling around Paris.

Category: personal

pause glace.

This is not a good day.

So we’ve decided it’s time to repaint the inside of most of the house, but when we were picking out paint colors at the shop, the man said:  “are you doing the ceiling, too?”  My mom and I looked at each other.

I got all enthusiastic.  “Yeah!!!  I mean, WHY NOT?!  Who knows the last time it was painted?!  While we’re painting, might as well do the ceiling!”

I am so. STUPID.

I spent the morning putting the protective tape on trim and wallpaper edges and felt all accomplished.  I was in my Professional Amateur painting outfit:  rolled cutoffs and a tank top that I (very badly) tie-dyed when I was 12.  My little sister came home and said, “well look at you,” as I stood teetering on the chair with my tape, bottom sticking out in all its glory.

She then retreated to her room.  Hm, okay.  No help.  I didn’t really expect it anyway.

I finish taping and vacuum the ceiling.  I go over it again with a Swiffer rag rubber banded onto my wheely paint roller.  I put the plastic tarp over everything in the room and cover remaining edges like mantel, etc. with big rag towels.  I am ready to go.

So I go to my designated paint-pouring area (laundry room) to pour paint into the paint tray thingie.  SLOSH.  Spill some on rag towel.  “Oh well, that’s what it’s for!”  Grab more rags.

Emerge from laundry room to room I am painting.  Thanks to my research (entered “paint bumpy ceiling” into Google), I know that when painting a popcorn ceiling, you roll one way, not back and forth.  Cool.  I do my first roll past.  Oooh, nice.  Nice and white and clean.  Not so different from the old paint, but I exaggerate the difference for myself.  “This was totally worth it!”

I do the next one.  Hm.  Why is there a line there?  Try to go over it.  Tell myself it’s better.  Is it?  I still don’t know.

My arms are already tired.

I continue.

As I go about my business, I realize that Google’s advice telling me to wear goggles was actually pretty sound.  I know from the last time I chopped really strong onions that my science-y older sister’s goggles no longer occupy their old spot in our art supplies cupboard.  She told me she thought Little Sister took them.

Little Sister has woken up from the nap she was taking and I find her brushing her teeth.  “A, do you have J’s goggles?”  “No.”  “Oh,” I say, rinsing paint spatters out of my eyes and off my face.  “Because she said she thought maybe you took them for a chemistry class or something.”  “Yeah.  But I dunno where they are.”  “Oh.  Well do you have any swimming goggles or anything?” I ask, since she was Most Valuable Swimmer on her swim team like every single year as a kid.  She goes to rummage about in her room and comes back empty-handed.  She then disappears into garage telling me she’ll “have to look through all [her] school stuff to find the other goggles,” and comes back 3 seconds later with the goggles.


I put goggles on.  I start painting.  ‘Well this is better!’ I think.  Wait. No.

Why can’t I see??

They are steaming up because it’s hot as hell in the room.  I am very very hot all of a sudden.  I hadn’t even noticed my face was on fire.  My stupid face is perspiring like there’s no tomorrow.  Wtf.

Then things really pick up when our really floofy cat walks by with his floofy fur flying out all over, threatening to stick to my wheely brush thing.  “GO AWAY!!!”  I scare him behind the couch and notice that the edge of the plastic tarp covering the couch has made its way over the air conditioning vent and is ballooning up above it, selfishly trapping all the cold air.  Great.  Also, the ballooning has lifted the cover, uncovering part of the suede couch so it’s exposed to my paint splatters.  Fabulous.

So I’m done with the first room now.  I had a spoonful of Breyer’s Mint Chip and I’m sitting her listening to Lily Allen crankily.

I hate painting.


kids in america

Back in the US of A (like the Beatles song but not quite).

It’s tough, but I’m not here to complain.

I’m making the best of things and the most of my time.  I go the gym nearly every day for an hour; I usually swim afterward at home to cool off.  I’m taking tennis lessons.  Today I even hit some good ones.  I’m learning to cook things other than pastas with different sauces and soups.  I’m going to start fiddling with my sewing machine one of these days.  I’m studying Polish.  I’m trying to get a dual citizenship that would change my life.  I’m trying to go back to school in the fall to do another degree.

The future is still scary, but I’m trying to keep things under control and take everything one week, or day, or hour at a time.

11 juin 2012, Orland Park: before and during the trip home in a friend’s mother’s convertible.

déj chez ma famille française

Nothing is harder than saying goodbye.  And so we will say see you soon.  Because we will.

Had lunch today with my French family.  They are amazing people; I can’t wait to come back and visit them.  And when this man (Monsieur H.B., and yes he wore his pants today) opens his own school or his own little business in Bretagne, I will work there.

I love these desserts, but not as much as these people.

20 mai 2012, mon dernier jour (pour l’instant)…

See you soon, family.  See you soon, France. xoxo


today marks one month exactly of vacation.


chez K at Strasbourg-St Denis, 14 mai 2012

le soleil => nouvelles taches de rousseur

I’ve got some freckles.  I don’t have loads of freckles, I’m not covered in them or anything.  I have a small splotch of what looks like mud (my “beauty mark”) on my right cheek and freckles along the top of my nose.  I’ve been told a number of times by freckly people that I “don’t have any freckles.”  I’ve also been told a number of times by not very freckly people that my “freckles are so cute!”  So which is it?  I clearly have a couple.  I don’t know why we base assessments of others on how they compare to ourselves in some unimportant aspect of our physicality.  But we clearly do it.  Especially when it’s regarding something we’re proud of or sensitive about.  Whenever a girl complains or brags about the size of her chest, almost every single time I am bigger, and I always think silently, “pfft, you think those are big?”  I don’t mean it in a proud way.  I’m the least competitive person in the world!  But it almost makes me feel irritated.  And why?  I’m sure she also has trouble finding clothes that fit properly.  “But I have more trouble,” I think stubbornly.

Anyway, I’ve got some new freckles from walking around in the sun every chance I get, and my nose is looking rather dirty at this point, if you ask me, but I had my group of male engineers in class this week, and they all told me that they were “charmant!!!” and very beautiful.  D’aww.  Thanks guys.  I love that class.  Some of them don’t speak much, but some of them are quite bright, and they’re very boisterous and funny and one even invited me to Carnaval in his neighboring town a couple of weeks ago.  “We go in the parade!  We will be en déguise!  Dress like women!  And we drink!!!”  I didn’t go, but I’m sure it was a partay.

Here are my freckles (I apologize for looking so deathly serious.  For one thing, I am a bit blue, and for another, it’s really really hard to take a picture of my big nose that doesn’t break through the screen of your computer and poke you in the face).  I had lunch with my old roommates in their new garden last weekend, and when I came inside it looked like someone had splattered mud on my nose.  They were so dark!  They’ve stabilized a bit now.


Faces are so weird.  I’m not actually sure what I look like.  I always look different, and I regularly get really surprised when I pass a mirror or see a photo of myself.  “Is that what I look like??”


This is the bench where I kissed the first and only boy I have ever loved.

Rue Ordener, by Place Jules Joffrin

This bench will probably be here for a long time; I wonder how many years.  I will never forget it.

sarah kay

I was getting my second coffee of the day from the vending machine in the salle des profs this afternoon when this lovely woman who always gives me the warmest of hellos told me quite out of the blue, “oh, que tu es mignonne!”  She said that I had such an air of “fraîcheur,” that she thinks so every time she sees me, and to never change a thing.  My grandpa once told my mom and me to never change, and my mom says this is the greatest compliment someone can give you, if you think about it.  And she’s right.  This woman made my day.

She said I reminded her of the Sarah Kay drawings, so voilà.

sarah kay 



I dig all the kitties.  Also her freckle-faced red-haired boy: