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Showing posts from June, 2009

Playing Hard in Pink Shoes

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I'm way behind, yo. We've been to Cinque Terre, now we're in Rome. We fly back to Paris tomorrow and then home to Boston the day after that.

I've gotta say, we've had a lovely lovely trip, but we're SO glad to be heading home.

Here's my advice: if you make it to Italy, the place to go is Cinque Terre. It was probably our favorite place throughout the whole trip. It's an area along the Northern coast, a series of five colorful little fishing villages. We went swimming in the Ligurian sea (which is very very salty, it seems to me), ate the best food of the trip (bruschetta, foccacia, pesto, pine nut gelato, chili pepper herb tea, etc), took a boat to a few other towns, lounged on the beach in fancy beach chairs and read books. A man walked down the beach carrying a big basket full of huge tropical leaves and chunks of fresh coconut shouting, "Coco, bella coco!" Oh how I loved that man. And each little town had a few friendly kitties lo…

I may have bought a pair of pink Italian leather shoes.

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Okay, I did.

Okay, I bought three pairs--one hip, pink (ish), pretty, heeled item (you'll see, once I'm back to real Internet access); one pair of shockingly comfy blue sandals that Sam had a crush on; one pair of more conservative, lovely deja-esque mary jane-ish dark brown ones. We were in that store for about ten years, Sam trying to convince me to get all three, me squealing at the impracticality of it all, but not being able to put any of them back. And the Italian woman who runs the place mounting in irritation. In the end, they were a steal--much less than I would have paid in the states. And they'll make perfect school shoes. Plus, I'm in love them. It was the kind of purchase you take out of the bag and box as soon as you get home, even though it's too rainy for leather shoes, but you just have to look at them again, to hold them and snuggle them to your face.

One other happy thing before we do laundry: We ate dinner at a little place overlooking the …

Catching David

So I got sick. Real sick. I'm feeling better enough now to be out and about, but yesterday I slept and slept. I'm pretty sure I was feverish and my throat closed and ached; my nose hated me. Sam spent the morning tracking down vitamin C and orange juice in little Italian pharmacies where they luckily understood the phrase "wife sick" and were willing to help.

I finished reading Poisonwood Bible (which I adored until the last 100 pages or so) and read all of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (which I absolutely did enjoy--quick and delightful, if full of some unrealisticly lovely dialogue). I can also recommend The Cellist of Sarajevo, mostly. I found it to be rather, slightly, oh, dramatically written? May I say that when it was about such a terrible event? I think I can. I was in a swoon for it for many many pages, but then it seemed the characters thought thoughts that were too similar, ultimately too simple or something. Nevermind. I'll do a…

I Have Seen the Clothes of the Future, and I am afraid

Okay, so much to say, but the clock's a'ticking at the old Internet Train Cafe, and so I must be brief.

-David is one sexy beast.

-Uffizi Gallery gives you the history of art in under 2 hours, but by the end you want to kill yourself.

-Pizza is yummy, even without cheese.

-I bought a black leather purse, thinking I would be practical because I don't have one, then remembered I DOOOO have one. I should have bought the pink one after all.

-Lemon gelato. Pistachio gelato. Coconut gelato. Chocolate gelato. Minty chocolate gelato.

-Sam stepped in a big pile of crap. I tried to say, lookout lookout! But he didn't know what to look out for. Next time, we have a code word.

-I have a fierce cold and sore throat. I blame this on the gelato.

-Italian people hate me. I can't speak Italian, so they either look at me like I'm a moron or ignore me. It's depressing.

-The truth: we wish we could say we were enjoying Florence more. It is damn crowded and damn hot and sometime…

Safe in Italy

Florence, to be precise. It's magic. But we don't have internet at our place this time, so posts will probably be sparse.

Here's what I think so far:

*It's a bit warm here. What I mean to say: Good golly it's hot.

*There are people on little scooters (mopeds? vespas?) everywhere. And not just hip young teenagers, but middle-aged men and women, business people in suits, and the young folk.

*I just ate a pizza at a place called MaMMaMia. Among more traditional veggie toppings, it had thinly sliced zuchinni and carrots (!) on it. Sam was afraid of the carrots but they came out all roasty and sweet. Yummmmmm.

*Time for gelato. Caio.

P.S. Thank you for sweet comments on my last post. I was afraid to say it. You made me glad I did.

Kid, Bad Kid

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A few notes on London.

Last night we had dinner at Wagamama with John, Karla, and Chris Bennion. (John was/is my mentor professor at BYU/life.) It was lovely to see them. I don't even know how to say how lovely it was. Sam made John laugh. That was what I hoped would happen. And it made me happy. I talked with Karla as we walked up to Kensington Gardens to see a performance of Peter Pan. They built this special venue for it that consisted of a big cone-shaped white tent, with a theater in-the-round inside. I can't say it was stellar acting, but I enjoyed myself thoroughly. It's hard to explain this part, but they did stuff with projecting up on the top of the tent, so when Wendy, Peter, Tink and crew took off to fly to Neverland, not only were they were really suspended in the air, but it looked like they were flying over London--THE London, with parks and the National Gallery and St Paul's, etc. I couldn't catch my breath during that part; I felt like I would weep;…

Tiny Orange Trees

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Short Post Today. We heard that taking the bus might take hours and hours, so we opted to stay around here. Here being the same neighborhood as the BYU London Centre, near Kensington Gardens. I know and love this area already, so I really adored showing Sam my favorite places: Embassy Row, the Round Pond in Hyde Park, Bayswater and Queensway and Whiteley's, etc. It was low-key. We read books and strolled about, and, and, the highlight: Eating a light lunch at the Orangery Restaurant at Kensington Palace. I'm pretty sure this is the most beautiful place I've ever eaten a meal. It's at least in the top ten.

When you walk in, it looks like this. Those are small orange trees on each side, and a display of all of their lovely sweets.



We started off with tea. This is what our table looked like. Isn't it perfect? We had our own mini orange tree. (Although ours didn't have any oranges. bummer.) It made me feel princessy. I ordered the Tulsi Mint tea, which I…

Bonjouree, Paree

On a brisk walk this morning, in one last attempt to find something special (your ideas were brilliant/funny, by the way.) before we trained away from Paris, I saw a little old lady walking her dog. And her dog was holding an umbrella in its mouth. It was scheduled to rain today, so this brilliant lady must have trained her dog to hold her essentials.

I wished for a dog like that as we waddled through the streets with all our stuff, heading for the metro. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but I found myself thinking what I always think when I have to carry my own junk: what IS all this junk? I begin to regret packing specific items, like my stack of ten (!?) books, a skirt I haven't had occasion to wear yet, my pair of black shoes, etc.

But we got here, to London, sigh of contentment. The train was speedy and it felt decadent to sit for so long on our behinds. I tried to read, but promptly fell asleep. Sam dithered about writing, worried he couldn't write, then wrote…

Amateur Musings on the French Language

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Today, the Catacombs. I must say I wasn't sure I would like them, and Sam kept offering to go alone, but I went. And, I didn't much like them. Maybe it was just that my tummy hurt (too many raspberry tartlets? nah ... couldn't be.), or that it was cold down there. Or maybe it because we walked through the aesthetically arranged bones of millions of Parisians in the damp darkness? Look at them. Creepy, no?



Sam, on the other hand, was in his element. His favorite holiday is Halloween; he loves zombie and Dracula stories, etc. He commandeered my camera and we went very very slowly so he could take a picture of just about everything. He was a happy happy man. And he got some good pictures.



Overall, today was sluggish. I think we both sort of hit a wall. We love Paris; we want to stay forever. And yet, we don't. Walking around, I started to notice how tired tourists look. Traveling is taxing. Not that we're aching for home. Not yet. We're just…

Holding Umbrellas Aloft

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A very rainy day in Paris.



We were damp and cold. A bad day to wear sandals, which I bravely donned after looking at weather.com, which said it was going to be sunny as could be today. Imagine my horror when I emerged from the metro to a downpour. I no longer trust those guys for international weather.

Still, that didn't keep us from ...

Sacre Couer.



Or even from climbing the 300 steps to the dome so we could see this:



And this:



See? Damp, but pleased (at least I am--Sam was concentrating on taking the picture.) on top of the dome.



And it may have been perfect weather to see l'Orangerie's Monets.



They're in these bright, gorgeous, oval-shaped rooms. This should give you a sense. I took this one at the tail-end of Sam doing a dance. He prefers dancing to smiling in pictures.



Sam risked his life to stand in the rain, in the middle of the Champs Elysees, and take this picture. I was taking one from much further away, and he grabbed my camera and insisted on getting me a…

Bands of Colored Light OR Substantial Piles of Crap--Take Your Pick

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We went to mass at Notre Dame today. On our way there, coming out of the metro station, there was a big line of cars, tons of police, very excited people lining the street. Obama, of course. We arrived just in time to see him drive by. People in France loooovvvveee Obama. Love him. They find out you're American and they want to discuss. And while I don't loathe him, and I confess I did vote for him, I'm increasingly disturbed by the hero-worship I see with this guy. Anyway, I must say that to be so close to the president, and by accident, was sort of cool for about ten seconds. Sam was mostly just worried we'd be late for mass.

Mass was lovely. Different than LDS services, but lovely. I liked the movement, the interaction, the call and answer, the music, the incense, the gorgeous, gorgeous setting (see below). Sam was moved, felt connected to it. And I like to see him feel connected to it.



Afterwards, and after a brilliant lunch in a vegetarian place near N…

Sam and Deja at the Ballet

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Pre-ballet, we went to dinner at a place that decorated with pots and silverware. Think of my fork bracelet. Is this not the perfect place for a Deja? Check out the light fixture above our table. Those are spoons.



Right when you walk in, there's a big tower of copper pots that twists like a DNA helix up to the ceiling. It was just gorgeous. I'd like to do that in my kitchen some day. But don't copper pots cost a couple hundred bucks a piece?



Here is the ballet building. Man oh man was it pretty.



It was even prettier on the inside. I don't think I've ever been somewhere so opulent.




And the ceiling. Loved the ceiling. It was Chagall, and I love me the Chagall.



And us, before we went in. Aren't we pretty, too? This reminds me of a picture we took before going to the Mobile, Mississippi ballet just after we started "hanging out." I'd post it as contrast, but the chubbiness I've acquired would make me weep, and I really want to keep…

Cool Ex-Pat Cats

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I did take pictures but they just seemed boring because no one was in them. My mother taught me that pictures without people in them are boring. So here are some boring pictures.

But first, a picture with a cat in it. This is Sprout's nightly ritual. She's scarce for most of the day and then, when it's time for bed, she comes and flirts with Sam and purrs like a racecar. She loves him. Who can blame her? He's the one who rescued her and her kittens from the rain. I caught their lovefest on my camera before we left town.



Okay, I'm not kidding about the skinny people eating pastries. It's really quite incredible. They're everywhere. I should get a picture. Maybe tomorrow ...

You know what else I should have taken a picture of? This in-cred-i-ble chocolate crepe with chocolate sauce and chocolate powder and whipped cream and happiness on the side. I'm SURE it was vegan. (You try pretending to be vegan when you can't talk and you walk six h…

Paris is Crawling with Very Skinny People Eating Pastries

Hello from France.

I'm sitting on the couch of our little holiday apartment (and I mean little as in cute AND very small.). The windows are open and I can hear cars and motorcycles, dogs barking, people speaking French. I'm waiting for Sam to arrive. His plane should have landed, so it won't be long now. I will be glad to have someone to talk to, someone to kiss on the steps of little churches, someone to speak French on my behalf. I've done okay communicating; it's just exhausting and sort of scary.

I've walked A LOT since I got here. Today I walked for four hours. I could have taken the metro but I wanted to see things and now the city makes some sense. I got lost a few times, but what does lost matter when you're in Paris?

I remembered that travel--particularly when you're alone and in a country where you don't speak the language--boils you down to your essential elements. I am feet, eyes, and stomach. I walk, see stuff, and eat when I'…

News of a Happy Sort

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Remember the car trouble? It was supposed to cost 1000 smackers to repair. I paid 50 bucks.

Special thanks to my father, who, every time I called to give him the scoop said, "Noooooo." He figured out the part should be covered under the Federal Emissions warranty, whatever that means. He's a brilliant, usefully-cynical man.

And special thanks to the garage, who charged me NOTHING for the hours they spent ordering and installing a part, battling with the Toyota dealership on my behalf, etc. I will be bringing them donuts in the morning.

And, on a non-car note, I've been saving a gift certificate Sam's mom gave me for Christmas for, well, since Christmas. This is odd behavior for me. Usually those things burn a hole in my pocket. I just felt a need to hold onto it for something special. Today it occurred to me buy a pretty dress for the Paris ballet. And so I did. A pretty black and white one with shiny silver shoes (see below). What do I need besides shiny silver sh…