Sunday, December 22, 2013

When today was only an aspiration

Here we are. 2014. With a little over a week left to 2013, I sit in revelation. This year truly was a blur. I was just in Mexico with the lover, digging my toes into the Caribbean sea....that was in April but I remember every moment like it was last night. And now I await my flight back to the Bay to escape the winters of the east coast. In between, more revelations. 

I realize that I am heartless and selfish. But these traits are not my flaws. They shield me from negativity, they protect me from caring too much. I wear all my traits like armor. Sometimes heartlessness is required to say goodbye to a relationship that does you no good. Sometimes a tie must be severed because you refuse to be complicit to their self-wallowing. There have been a few goodbyes. Some explicit and some said with distance. I do not fault people for our failed trials, I know it is really me. I have really low tolerance for bullshit.

Sometimes selfishness is required to figure out what make you happy. Really happy. Selfishness requires bravery. The courage to turn away from your own content and comfort is one of the biggest challenge you will ever face. 

I've cut my circle down and have become more outspoken. I missed this part of me the most. The one that always calls out an inconsistency, the one that's not afraid to ruffle some feathers for the sake of honesty. Ruffled feathers are good. If they aren't ready for it they will hate you, but if they are truly intelligent, well, you've found yourself a kindred spirit. 

The lover and I are two sides of a coin (I ruffle his feathers everyday and he is the strongest person I know). We couldn't be more complementary to one another. I have never followed a formulated path, whereas he has been on track since grade school, boarding school, college and business school. Oh how day and night we are and how we converge so brilliantly into something akin to dawn; a drunken moonlit stupor full of love, emotions and promises. If I were to fall asleep in the road, I can rest assured knowing we always reach our destination. 

He affords me the freedom, precious freedom, that many do not have the luxury to give themselves. I admire the housewives, the suburban mothers who are the same age. My bliss is different. It comes in the form of a photo shoot by moonlight on the shores of Cabo (nope, I'm not a model and do not fancy myself as one...wickedly blessed opportunities for fun), running from one exotic place to the next with the lover, an esquisite evening walking back to our villa from Florence then rushing to make our train to Venice, exploring all the different shops around our apartment in Shanghai, unexpected kindness bestowed on me from friends near and far, feeling my pulse race backstage at New York fashion week, and soon, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge light up at eye level as we descend the second steepest hill in San Francisco to our corner apartment. Having that as my back yard. 

To the friendships that I've let go, I will cherish you from the shore. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I can no longer do anything for you nor do I want to. To the new ones that have form, I have but the best hopes for us, though years of jadedness may hinder me from giving too much, caring more than I dare, or expressing less than I truly feel. I am still growing and learning how to be my most honest self and being OK with how other may perceive me. 

Everything else is a mystery.

I don't know what the next five years will bring, but if the last five was any indication (four continents, three different addresss, over 13 different cities all over Asia...) I know we will get exactly where we want to be. We always do.

xx




Monday, October 21, 2013

recording our history

My grandfather was an obstetrician. My mother was the first to hold me, after the nurse, my father was second. My grandfather was in prison at the time of my birth, the communist had gone after any bourgeois family that threatened them. Imprisoned for six years. He was freed when I was one year old, and from then stuck by my side devoutly.

When my mother was little girl, maybe seven or eight, she witness him save a life. They were walking down our neighborhood. She remembers him suddenly letting go of her hand and running across the street. He had caught a boy, with his bare hands, who had fallen from the balcony of his house, two stories up. Motorcycles screeched to a stop, people cried out and some screamed, while my mother bursted into tears from the commotion. They lauded him as a hero that day. He accompanied the boy to the hospital and overlooked his care. He stayed with him until he was in stable condition.

The boy grew up and went on to fight in the Vietnam War. When he died his mother came over to our house and they cried together.

He used to take me to grade school with on his bike in the mornings, and wait to pick me up. It was tradition to grab a banh bo, a sweet rice cake, on the way. We always get it from the same lady who sells them. One day I was walking to school with some friends and thought it perfectly acceptable to take one for myself since they were mines to take anyways. The lady made a note and stopped my grandfather on his way to pick me up that after, to cover the cost of my rice cake.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

the world is getting re-written everyday



As much as I do not feel like an adult, it must be accepted that I am one, whether I like it or not. I'm a quasi-adult. I had a 9 to 5 that I responsibly attended every weekday. And then I decided on a life less ordinary and went about living off the taken path. Another birthday approaches and I find myself more introspective than ever (that's unusual). I am thinking of the past and of all those I have encountered.

There are strange moments, where time stood still and some sort of truth is exchanged, moments that I still like to relive once in a while, reveling in the memories. That really did happen, didn't it? 

Tonight I am thinking of Paris and how my  mother can speak perfect French and I cannot. Missed opportunities.

This past summer, I was in San Francisco. I am sure some of you wondered what I was up to. The truth is, I have always been transparent about my life (if you go far back enough), yet as I get older, I find myself guarding the factual details of my life like I would to a helpless dear child. I am starting to feel like the adult world is a politically correct world and if I am to make it there, I have to hold back a little. I have a tendency to be too honest, too real and too intense, or so I have been told. So I was in San Francisco this summer, working at a top start-up that is growing faster than eBay did in its first 3 years. It will likely go public next year, and it was truly a great learning experience. I am now back home, in a waiting terminal or just finishing up my degree, however you want to look at it, with 18 credits this semester. I am teaching myself Python (coding) and contemplating what to do with the glorious freedom that I will have next summer. Should I volunteer? Should I just travel? What could top what I did this past summer? My picture was in TechCrunch!


xx

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Value yourself

How to make me lose respect for you as a woman:
• You invest in your relationships with and prioritize men over your female friends. This sometimes applies to significant others, but it refers mainly to the women who will drop everything at a moment's notice for a guy. He could be someone random they met at a bar, a ambiguous flirty friend or husband-like boyfriend. The thing that I've learned about women like these is that they don't make very good friends. And when they do not have very many friends because they so easily drop them, they become all focused on their relationship with men. Some of them are catty and some of them act like groupies to the boy's club. The thing is, ladies, you will never truly be one of the boys and after your relationship ends, you will be left alone. Men come and go, but it takes a very intelligent and confident woman to understand that having a healthy set of non-competitive and supportive female friends is the key to getting through your darkest days.

• You gossip or try to commiserate by getting others to whine with you. Here's a quick way to form a bond: complain about something you both hate. That's all well and good when it's about grad school or the weather, but when it's about people or significant others it becomes destructive. When a person could be using advice to help them out of a rut, you bringing them down or emphasizing with their misery will only make the situation worse. What you are is a bad friend. Not only are you not interested in their well-being, you are only digging for gossip as commodity. And if you gossip to me about others, I will believe you also gossip about me to others. Trust is a tricky thing that you do not seem to have a handle on.

• You don't have to guts to be honest to my face. It is impossible to please everyone and I know I certainly do not try. Not any more; I've paid my dues and the last thing I will do is brown nose to win someone's approval. So I know some of you will dislike me, but you better own it or risk getting called out in the most honest, yet civil, way possible. I am a lady.

• You can't admit when you are wrong and do not possess the self-awareness to change it. Life happens. We all f*ck up. But to be able to admit fault or defeat take a lot of courage. But it takes real brains to acknowledge that a change needs to be made within oneself. That earns you mad respect.

• You still have yet to master social etiquette. The other woman you do not know standing right next to you? Yes, the one 2 feet away in the group that you walked up on, swallow your ego no matter how much you realize that you are judging her based on social conditions and say "Hi" like a human being. That's the polite thing to do, that's the proper thing to do. It's part of being a grown-up.

• You use your sexuality to get things. This one is tricky because as a woman we have all learned to mold ourselves to fit certain societal expectations, whether we are aware or not, to get what we want. I know I am pretty and I know that that gains me certain privileges that others may not get. Beauty is a commodity, but it becomes cheap when it's your only tool. Why? Because beauty will fade and you will be left with an ugly personality. Because when they are lead to believe they will be rewarded something for their efforts, they will expect it or feel cheated. You will have to give in or deal with the consequences. Men should know better right? But they don't and that's reality. Using your sexuality will burn bridges when friendships can forge longer and safer bonds. It is a commodity but don't cheapen it by forgetting to use your brain.

• You gave up your career or passion for him. I don't care what you say, but there is more to you as a woman than the ability to cook and birth a child. Do not sell yourself short by not giving yourself the chance to see what your true worth is. Do not diminish yourself as an individual for others. Ever. 

• You don't own your choices. So what then if you did become a housewife or if you hate me? As long as you own it and can back it up with legitimate reasons no one can fault you. If you don't own your choices, someone else does.

• You use others in manipulative and false ways. 

How to make me lose respect for you as a man:
• You cannot think for yourself. Your opinions are that of the alpha-male in the group and if you had any objections, your internal voice quickly shuts it down. If you are the alpha-male, I feel even worse for you. You're in a prison of your own making; having to live up to what others expect of you. Good luck with that. You are actually not a rebel but a slave to societal pressures. Sucks to be you.

• You haven't made mistakes or taken any risks yet you judge others severely. You know that phrase about those without sin can cast the first stone? It's bullsh*t. Those who have made a lot of mistakes and have been through the trenches, they can say all they want because once they have been there, they know better than to pass judgement. If they still do, then their mistakes were in vain and they failed to learn their lesson. Don't ever judge. And if you do, prepare to take heat. I never back down.

• You don't own your choices. See above.

• You don't defend her honor. Any woman's. That's failure in the worse sense. That's disrespect to your mother and all the women in your life. That's neglect to your own daughters.

• You slut-shame. This is classic deflection and sexism. But to understand the more subtle forms of slut-shaming requires a man to really look inside himself and give his dark psyche and very long and hard look. Why do you get angry when a woman rebuffs you? Why do you think your daughter needs to cover up more? It's acknowledging the biases among your peers. It's acknowledging the biases within yourself.

How to make me lose respect for you as a person:
• You whine but do nothing to proactively change your circumstances.

• You contribute nothing useful or good back to the communities that you are involved in.

• You do nothing to confront your biases and preconceived ideals.

• You hold others up to impossible standards that you yourself have failed.

• You lack self-awareness.

• You lack an open mind and heart.

• You cannot emphasize with others no matter how different.

• You think you're the best at what you do.

• You possess no humility.

• You do not pay your dues.

• You cannot take responsibility for your own shortcomings.

This list is only partial. This list is in itself a contradiction, but not incorrectly. I judge and I possess the awareness to judge. But I will point it out and I will say something. I own my biases and I strive every day to prove myself wrong, to grown and to learn. I am lucky enough to say that I have friends who I love, admire and respect. They inspire me and push me to better myself. They hold me up and without them I would not be where I am today. Speaking of which, I will update you all (all 3 of you) on what I am up to in my next entry :)






Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Ex

He called me out of the blue one day a few weeks ago. Well first he reached out to me through Facebook, "thanks for sending my journals back btw. i appreciate that...sorry for being a dick," the history of our last message from 2010 sat above this new one. I had his personal journals from high school which he gave to me as a gift when we were dating for two some years. The last time we talked was three years ago if you even count that talking. The last time we were a couple was 7. Yep, 2006. This was The Ex. The first love, the forever soul mate who knew me inside and out. I was his first everything and he broke my heart. The first and the only one to ever break my heart.

It took me almost three years to get over him. Through one whole relationship I was still in love with him and I probably will always love him. My parents had accepted him as their future son-in-law and would accidentally call two subsequent boyfriends by his name at times. His mother cried when we parted. His dad had made me a home made birthday cake and home made ice cream once on my birthday. We would go to this parents vacation house in Cape Charles in the summer. We had a passion that was unmatched, unimaginable. "You two had a language of your own," my good friend would tell me. "Wow they are a perfect couple," strangers would say out loud at the sight of us. That really happened.

It was a defining relationship that laid down the scars in which I would try to mend through subsequent relationships. It taught me I was not good at dealing with heartbreak and how I should avoid it. It lead me to someone with a good and kind soul, who would never hurt me and loved me for all my flaws, who didn't have the same flaws, who pushes me to be a better person every day despite my whining; The Lover.

When The Ex broke my heart on that summer night (2AM) in 2006, I knew what he was in for. "You will never find another girl like me and you will never love someone like you love me ever again." Those were my parting words to him. And they are my parting sentiment for every ex I've ever had, but for The Ex, especially. What we had was lightning in a bottle. And he was foolish enough to give it up.

So here it was. A warm contact after years and months of hearing how people I know had run into him, or from strangers I just met who would tell me they knew me already through conversations with The Ex. He still talked about me after seven years. I was still on his mind. Was the feeling mutual? I will get to that.

I responded with a nonchalant, "No problem. All is forgiven," and a smiley face emoticon. I left it at that.

"you ever think you and I were made for each other?" He wrote right back. I couldn't make this up if I tried.

"I honestly don't know. I know it was powerful and special. But I think we were too young (and there were a lot of things I did that I regret) and still learning. I'm still very flawed and working hard in my current relationship. It's not all love. I def think we loved each other and it was very real but to make things work it takes more than just love. Why the thought? I'm just curious. Are u doing ok?"

"I'm not doing ok but i've never been able to shake the thought," he responded. We conversed like this for a little bit longer. I was intrigued and curious. After seven years here was his comeuppance for all those scars.

There was a phone call, initiated by him. He did not seem to be in a good place. We talked for a bit and I asked more questions out of concern. He kept saying, "You won. You won."

I've waited so many years for this moment. And I thought it would feel so good. Instead it just felt surreal and sad. After seven years, here he was, defeated and just as lost as when we parted that night in August. I don't know why, but I felt hopeless for him. Throughout the seven years we had made various feeble attempts to be civil, to mend things because we both knew a friendship with each other, if not a romantic relationship, was still better than any friendship with anyone else. It never happened. There was so much baggage, so much pain left behind. I let myself fall in love again, and the pain fell away. I never got the closure I wanted but I realized I didn't need it. I just let it all go. He never did. So we chatted and I tried my best to give him his closure. I apologized for deeds of the past and told him I was grateful for everything we went through. There were many good things, beautiful things in our relationship besides the bad things that ended it. They carry just as much weight, if not more.

I told him I still cherished all the memories, that it made me who I am today. That I am happy today because of him and what we went through. I don't think of him negatively. I forgave us for our naivety. We were foolish, we were stupid and we found each other too soon to know what we had. Or maybe we found each other at just the right time?

I still smile knowing that a love like that can exist. One where the person can read you before you even speak. One where the person is practically the same as you and things only make sense in nonsensical ways and a million of inside jokes that end in sore stomachs from laughter. We had our moment and what a fine time it was. 

I haven't spoken to him again after that day. After our call, his Facebook status read "forgiveness is forgiveness." I wasn't sure if he was referring to his forgiveness of me or vice versa. It didn't matter. Forgiveness is forgiveness. 

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

I have an addiction to good books like some people have an addiction to Korean dramas: It consumes my mind and it's hard to concentrate on anything else except when class will end, or when can I finish work so I can have some quiet time to read. I stayed up until 5am this morning to finish Gone Girl by Gillian Fynn. Her androgynous first name made me think she was a male author at first. The book opens up with the point of view of the husband and the voice is captured so perfectly; the right amount of carelessness, apathy, and integrity of a handsome but oblivious American male. It is a love story, but not your typical love story at all. It is an extreme version of real love, though. It captures the nuances of real, quirky, intense love. One of those loves with a lot of personality and idiosyncrasies. And we catch the lovers in a state of numbing deterioration. When you reach the point where the little problems have added up and become a mountain and you both have no more energy to fight.

It is what happens after you say "I do" and run off into the sunset. It is a new perspective. I applaud the author for her self-aware narrative. Her characters become so real that I almost know them, like know how they would react, know how they are like how I know my friends. But you are still left surprised and reeling from the twists, still trying to resolve with yourself how you feel about this. Is this ok? Is this how it should be? I'm still making up my mind if the roller coaster was supposed to end this way. Either way, it was one hell of a good ride.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

H&m exclusive Conscious collection today

Coveted and drove all the way to DC after class to snatch up two lovely dresses from this much anticipated collection (I posted full collection and price on my other blog).

I much prefer these capsule collections from H&m than their designer collaborations which have turned into a gimmicky fiasco over the years. It's like signing up for early torture before Black Friday (h&m designer collabs usually drop around Nov. 11-ish). The items are overpriced, super trendy; meaning they become outdated fast, and the crowds are hungry and shrill. These kind of events makes me worry about humanity sometimes. But the Conscious collection was quietly launched today and when I arrived at around 2:30pm, all my sizes were still available (2-4). Everything was quality made and timeless. Not to mention the price point was extremely reasonable.

With 2 weddings ahead of me, one in Connecticut and one in LA, I am more than prepared!

Xx







Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wedding season is here

I have just come back from my first wedding (+ one bridal shower) of this spring season. There are still 2 left until summer. On Saturday, I practically left the house at 11 am dolled up for a wedding, in full make up and hair, carrying my bridal shower gift along with more make-up so I can touch up for that evening's 5PM wedding at the Ritz in DC. If you could have seen me...

Needless to say it was such a beautiful and festive day and I felt so blessed to celebrate such special moments of some truly amazing people.

The bridal shower was of my long time girl friend that I have known since high school. She was a few grades above me and we did not start off on the right foot, to say the least. Or that's what I remembered. It wasn't until we spent some quality time together in college that we got a chance to bond. Her Type A personality perfectly suited mines as we were forced to work together on some team projects. Let's just say our hard work and determination practically carried the team.



The wedding is of another friend of whom I had the pleasure of watching the relationship blossom from the very beginning. And a few years later, here we are.




It's been a hectic few months with Paris, school and now wedding season in full swing. I am traveling to Mexico at the end of this month and then San Francisco/San Diego at the end of next. There is a wedding in between there somewhere and another one at the tail end in LA. After that I've set myself up for a fun 3 day of music at Governor's Ball in New York. Will try to capture the moments as best I can.


The other blog that was mentioned in my previous post is for purely professional purposes. I've got a bit of ADHD and have no idea what to post on there that's PC and not too personal besides my nerdy love for technology and chronicling non-personal outings. Suggestions are welcomed!

Always,

SL

Thursday, March 21, 2013

moved

Hi guys,

I've moved my blog over to a new address. This blog will still be here, but not as active. After having it for years, I realize that my purpose for having this blog has evolved. It was started as a form of self expression of personal thoughts. My new blog will stay true to this but will be more professionally done but with the hopes that it will have more relevance.

Thank you to my loyal readers for your time and support.

xx

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gwyneth, still hot at 40

This is a photo from her Bazaar cover back in 2012. Look at those abs. Can you believe she's 40?

Aspirational.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guestbook Globe

Being a self-proclaim nomadic of sorts, I found this image of a guestbook in the form of a globe on tumblr and immediately thought how perfect it was. It's a great keep sake that you can display in a study or on a side table. I have never liked the idea of guestbooks in the actual sense: a book that store on a shelf or in a box, never to be seen again. This is a great and witty alternative for the restless wandering soul-mates.


Monday, February 4, 2013

In Love

Continuing this February's theme of love, I found this post from the Paris Review's tumblr and thought it was worth a share with you sweet souls:

theparisreview:

“In Love, by Alfred Hayes, is a slim novel from 1953 that deserves to be better known. The cover of the new edition features an Elizabeth Bowen quote in which she terms the book “a little masterpiece,” and I’ve rarely seen the breakdown of a relationship, in all its banality and pettiness, evoked more vividly. It’s tough, fresh, very lovely, and will stay with you.”For more of what we’re loving this week, including Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, The New York Review of Books’ fiftieth anniversary, and Romanian concert pianist Radu Lupu at Carnegie Hall, click here.
“In Love, by Alfred Hayes, is a slim novel from 1953 that deserves to be better known. The cover of the new edition features an Elizabeth Bowen quote in which she terms the book “a little masterpiece,” and I’ve rarely seen the breakdown of a relationship, in all its banality and pettiness, evoked more vividly. It’s tough, fresh, very lovely, and will stay with you.”

For more of what we’re loving this week, including Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, The New York Review of Books’ fiftieth anniversary, and Romanian concert pianist Radu Lupu at Carnegie Hall, click here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Love Aesthetics: Get Shit Done Calendar

I just discovered this amazing blog full of diy's and so much minimal aesthetics your nose will bleed. Make your own GET SHIT DONE calendar from Love Aesthetics' blog here.

xx

Friday, February 1, 2013

Magical moments

I made these gifs on Cinemagram of videos that I took during Paris. Enjoy.

Drip coffe at Cafe Telescope.

At 9PM, on January 18, 2013.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tea-isms


I love tea. I do not drink soda or juice. Just coffee, water or tea. After my trip to Paris, I came home with over 10 different exotic teas, including one rooibos and orange that knocks me into a deep slumber. If you don't have access to French teas and you get giddy at the idea of cracking open fortune cookies you will love Yogi Teas. They have some lovely flavors including one for detoxing after a weekend in space (this weekend will be one of them, I can feel it). Bonus: Each tea bag comes with some sage advice to meditate over as you sip your tea, wrapped in your softest knit sweater or the button up shirt that you stole from him.







pretty over winter at the moment


On Love


With Valentine's Day just around the corner (OK, two weeks away, but still), this is highly appropriate for all the days in February leading up to that day...all 13 days.


"...two people under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, who are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
George Bernard Shaw


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On traveling alone...









I used to wait for him to plan things. Wait for him to make the call on when, where, and if he would even like to go. Wait for him to make some time for me, find some days out of his busy schedule to make some time for us to travel together. Business school is time consuming, and even the most unaffected individuals will get pulled into the business school social race of always having to be involved in every event, to be visible, and to be seen as financially able because they can attend every trip organized during breaks and holiday (never mind the fact that they are low on savings, have no income, and live on loans... Business school requires you to keep up with appearances. But I digress). Beyond that, business school consumed a lot of his time. I wasn't going to be priority and that's OK, but I shouldn't have waited...

I used to think that the world was meant to be traveled with the one you love.

In an ideal world that would be wonderful. We would all get our wishes granted and would always be with our lover as we explore foreign lands.

But here's the things that you don't get if you travel with a lover always attached at the hips; You won't learn much about yourself or the place that you are in.

Traveling alone immerses you completely into the experience and environment in which you are in. It forces you to step outside of your comfort zone to explore places for yourself, not because someone else wanted to. The familiarity that comes with having someone else there with you almost hinders you from seeking out things you wouldn't normally seek out.

While I was in Paris, I met up with my girlfriend J who was traveling with her boyfriend as he traveled for work. It was J's third time in Paris, but she hadn't explored it much. Her experience of Paris were limited to places that he took her to to eat or sites and shops that she would go to with his friends or him. Beyond that, she has never set foot on a Metro or bus or out to do things on her own. Paris' public transportation is extremely safe and convenient. It was such a shame to me that she hadn't taken advantage of this. Her reason was that she was afraid to go anywhere without him since she did not speak the language, but I think it would be a totally different story had she gone to Paris on her own. The inhibiting comfort that comes with traveling with another person is subtle and sometimes unnoticeable. She noted me for my 'courage' for exploring Paris on my own. To me it wasn't as much courage as it was curiosity and the desire to make the most of my trip, to not hold myself back and to confront my fear of being in a foreign land where I do not speak the language. So as J waited around for her boyfriend to be free to explore Paris with him, she put herself second.

Needless to say, traveling alone is an introspective journey. You learn so much more about yourself than you ever could if you were to go with a companion. Do you have the courage to ask strangers for directions? How strong is your desire to stay in the freezing cold for half an hour just to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower as she begins to sparkle on the hour for only 15 minutes? How do you ask for help when you need it?

I notice more things when I travel alone. I spend more time doing the things I want and less doing the things I don't. I change my plans on a whim and I make more new friends than I normally would. I learn to appreciate my own ability to be independent. I learned to put my needs first by simply attending to them own my own. I came back with a lot more confidence, knowing how capable I could be on my own.

So to the commenter who wrote that she was inspired by my trip to travel to Paris for a weekend, I hope you get to travel alone. I know you will have a glorious time. You have no one else to please but yourself. If you accept that fact you will find it very liberating.


I wrote this a long time ago for a introductory speech about myself, but it is very fitting with the theme of this entry:


 Bucket LIst
Marriam Webster defines wanderlust as a strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.

I took a sabbatical of sorts last summer. I went to Paris for a week to visit Pere LaChaise, a famous cemetery in the city where some of the most prominent people in the world have been laid to rest, people like Marcel Proust and Jim Morrison. It was a bucket list item to visit the tomb of Oscar Wilde, one of my favorite writers.

                It was raining very lightly that day, a sort of soft drizzle my Chinese friends would call mao mao yu, which literally translates to mean fuzzy rain. I took my time and wandered through all the fascinating tombs. The place was very antique; tomb doors rusting gracefully with age, graves coated with green moss. It was like being in a library full of books that you couldn't read because the books were now resting underground.

I didn't stay on the cobbled path, but worked my way between the tombstones where there was less foot traffic and more peace and quiet. There was a strange calmness in the air, a stillness of souls resting, a sense of yearning and nostalgia. Time stops here to rest. 

When I finally reached his tomb, there was no one in sight. But the tomb itself was exactly as it looked in pictures, except it was almost glowing red from the many hundreds of kisses that covered its surface. The tradition is to put on red lipstick and lay a kiss upon the tomb. It is to pay homage to the work of such a great writer, who evokes so many emotions, the main one being passion.

I timidly put on a red shade of Chanel and waited until I found another visitor, standing close by looking just as shy. I asked her if she could take a picture, but it was obvious she did not speak English. So I gestured to my camera and the tomb and she quickly understood. As I laid a kiss on the stone surface, my new friend snapped my picture, forever immortalizing that moment of bucket list completion.

Afterwards, this new friend used the same gestures that I had and so our roles were reversed.

At least two strangers had accomplished a lifelong goal that day.
  




Paris: Everyday things


On the metro on the way to see the Eiffel Tower, to my left was a mother in Dr. Martin boots, cradling a new born on her lap and reading a children's book to her daughter with all the enthusiasm of a real story teller. To my right was an old couple (about 70 years old), holding hands. The wife was resting her head on his shoulders and smiling. The husband is telling her something he found amusing as she nods in agreement.

While strolling down in the Marais on Saturday, I spot two grown men, impeccably dressed, having a snowball fight. The Parisians aren't used to getting this much snow and they are making the most of it, even grown men.

Inside a cafe shop, Sabrina, starring Audrey Hepburn who plays a girl who goes to Paris to study, is projected on one of its walls. Customers below are sipping espressos and having lively conversations or contemplating what looks to be profound.

On my way to meet up with my cousins, traveling through Saint Michele Boulevard (near Notre Dame and the Champs Elysee), we drive pass a snow covered Luxembourg Gardens. Its dark gates with golden tips contrasting against the snow covered tree-lined walkways inside. I think to myself as we pass the large ferris wheel and the beautiful bridges on the Champs Elysee, how can you not love this city if these are your everyday sights? I imagine myself as a resident in Paris and hope that I will never be desensitized to all these beautiful things.







 







Saturday, January 19, 2013

Notes on Paris

Day 2 and through the eyes of an awkward American.

•Canada goose is very popular. Have only seen one Moncler for every 10 Canada Goose coat.

•Good news! Everyone speaks a little bit of English.

•Liner and red lips are so simple and classy. Saw a mom at Bon Marche (big fancy department store) with it and that was all she needed.

•Everyone wears headphones while using public transportation. I brought mine but didn't use them. I don't want to tune Paris out. I want to enjoy all of its sights and sounds.

•Thick knitted scarves are wrapped around the whole head and, shockingly, do not look bad.

•Parisienne women know how to wear fur without looking old.

•Back in the states, my winter attire would put most Americans to shame. No offense, but the average American can not dress. Here, I don't even stand out. Everyone looks extremely chic and warm!

Photos: By the Opera and a miniature Russian doll that I won in our almond cake apr├Ęs dinner tonight.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Paris so far

Extremely jet-lagged and have been laying in bed for 3 hours. It's almost 6am here and midnight in the US. I was planning on going to Mariage Freres for brunch, which is one the best tea houses in Paris, but my weird late night cravings have convinced me that I would rather have ramen so Kotteri at 11am it is!

Pictures: plane food (my favorite part!), bought limited edition Chanel palettes at duty free, Paris before snow, Paris after snow, dinner at Frenchie made famous by Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation. Worth every Euro.

Xx



















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