Sunday, December 28, 2008


I have the ticket. I am on the way. I am officially leaving again. Currently disconnecting utilities, packing my bags and weeping about leaving my dog behind. This is one of the most thrilling and terrifying phases I have been through in a long time. This blog will be a go-to place for me to update and inform on the developing brilliance of my move. SO, here is the deal:

I am moving to Casablanca in February of 2009. For the past 7 years of my life I have been here in Atlanta trying to figure out a way to get back to Paris. While I was pursuing my university degree that was fine. I was in school, I had a plan. After graduation, the international jobs were not exactly pouring in so I fell into a pattern of thinking that it was impossible to leave, that no opportunities were there for me.

And then I started applying...

2008 was supposed to be my grounded, happy, "I'm okay where I am year". I finally let go, I opened my heart, I accepted my life and honestly tried to move on from my desperate longing for a different life than what I had. In other words, I settled. I was happy that way, I really was, kind of. My relationships deepened, my community roots grew like squash in June.

And then trauma (or more accurately - drama)...the atom bomb, the ultimate betrayal. In the course of a five minute phone conversation my life flipped completely upside down. I was shown a side of humanity that I will never fully grasp. That was July 14th, 2008. (Queue in the foggy fade into present day, me having a plane ticket BACK to Paris in hand)

It has been one hell of a ride recovering from the betrayal that I endured this year, and one day I will tell that story in it's entirety, when I am ready and able (not too far into the future). I have spent the past 5 months in turmoil for the most part, boredom for the rest of it.

A lot has happened for me this year. But even still I consider 2008 one of the best years of my life.

This blog will not turn into a travel log. This blog will remain a chronicle of my brilliant life. I am assuming that once I am far enough away to breath again, the memories will start flooding back in and I will need to write about them. This is where I will do that. Stay tuned.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~

I feel very hopeful, confident and happy that Paris will be so much closer to my life. I will have the opportunity to speak French probably on a daily basis in Morocco and that will ultimately aide me in my goal to be in Paris.

The decision to move to morocco was made for a number of different reasons. Paris was on that list. High on that list.

p.s. If you want to know more about where I will be LIVING my brilliant new life, click on the picture above.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The seat of your soul

Sometimes You think you have made the final decision, you are the captain of your ship and the coordinates have been entered! But then wham, not so much anymore. I am going to come clean with you people. A lot has been going on in my life in the past 5 months. More than any one person should have to endure. I have endured betrayal and heartbreak that could have ripped me into two pieces never to be reconciled again. I went into survival mode, I prayed without believing in prayer, I took sleeping pills to sleep at night. I was destructive with my friendships. I reached out to quell the pain physically regardless of the consequences. In other words I haven't been this screwed up in a long time! And then I decided to leave. America. For good. (well at least for a year, actually make that three years) I found a job, I had the interview I made announcements, I DECIDED. Or so I thought...then one day (last week) I received a write back on a position that I had forgotten that I applied for. Then I received a request for an interview. Then i had the interview, then I received the contract and now I am looking for plane where you ask? Is the suspense killing you?

I'll give you some clues:
I will be able to speak French there
It is MUCH closer to Paris than Seoul
One of the largest themes in my life
For my linguistics peeps or even just those who know me well, can we say Sociolinguistic wet dream????? ringing any bells anyone? Still don't know...

~How I feel About Paris Today~

Way closer

I reserve the right to change my mind about this at any point as this job search process is twisting and turning every single day. I will post with more details when things are more finalized. but so far it has been like this:

In the past three weeks I have (mentally and with job prospects) gone from:
South Korea to China to Prague to South Korea again and now to the above alluded to land. Who the heck knows where next!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's a Sad and Beautiful World

I named this blog a brilliant life for a reason. Well – we’re getting back to that. The brilliant life thing. It is a little too early for me to scream my proclamations from a mountain top but let it just be known that there are major effing changes on my horizon. And I feel better than ever, totally ready for the next thing and the next thing is something that nobody, including me has really seen coming. There are times in your life when you try so hard to make something happen (like leaving you country) and it just won’t budge, you just won’t budge. And then there are times in your life when the powers conspire to give you no other option than to leave your country. Hello World, here I come again.

~How I feel about Paris today~

I expect to one day, in my near future run into Paris’ open arms as a refuge from a very distant land. It’s all for Paris baby, all for Paris.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

09.26.08 – Paris, France, 11th arrondissement

Old, young
Green vests
Colored scarves.
Bicycles, scooters
Little cars, big trucks
Dogs, children.
Friends, suitcases
Hair salons, tobacco shops
Businessmen, coffee shops.
Boulangeries, fromageries
Art galleries.
Clothes shops
People on cell phones
Couples, families…
Paris moves as such
The city lives and breathes
Waiting and welcoming with abated breath.

I have always likened Paris to a demanding, jealous woman
Of whose beauty one never tires.
Whose streets and alleyways are to be
Discovered over and over again.

I have heard no less than six languages in the past 24 hours.
Portuguese, Spanish, English, African tongues,
Arabic, Farsi, Hungarian, Romanian
And the French…
Oh the French.
Everyone’s accented shameless French.
Little snippets of “ohhhh oui” pronounced like “way” – or
“mais attende, ce n’est pas possible” or
“Putan, c’est quoi cas??!!”

Every interaction must begin with a bonjour and end in a merci.
This is of utmost importance
For Paris is polite and her
People are kind.
Paris is small but her possibilities are end-less.
The sun peaks through in rare moments.
The grey rests toujours,
Cold, hot, dry, wet –
All exists all the time.

Stinking metro stations and dusty bread.

In the morning I wake and run to the window in the bathroom,
Allowing the cold to rush in over my bare arms draped only in my nightgown.
I search through the mist, straining my eyes until they rest upon her.
That beautiful ornament in the skyline,
The Eiffel tower rests and greets me each morning like the smile of a trusted companion that has seen too many of my ups and downs to be fully comfortable with.
Like this I remember where I am
And recommence the day,
Trying to figure out
how to stay here forever.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fall Fluttering

I love this time of year; the crisp mornings, abundant produce and promise of the holiday season. Fall in Georgia usually means bonfires and crushed yellow leaves under heavy boots in your friends’ backyards.

This fall, I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to be thankful for. I have been waiting for the summer season and all of it’s suffering to fade into a memory. A memory I will never escape for certain, but a memory on it’s way to distant never the less.

I am hoping that next summer will not hold the heartbreak of this year. This 2008, this end of an era for me, I want time to pass in between that and now. It is well on its way. I am almost at the 3-month mark since Hugo and I broke up. Before long it will be the six-month mark, then a year, then two, distant…memories…so the turn of the season, the new fall, brings that for me. I am thankful.

I am ready to make my cake again, run my half marathon, meet my sister’s baby, visit the vineyards in north Georgia, document the colors with a new camera, make soup, spend time with friends, drink red wine, fall in love again…

Yes I am ready to be in love again, in love with my life, in love with my freedom, in love with another human.

I love fall and all of its abundance, before the harrowing winter months. The word autumn replaced the word harvest as a descriptor for this season. The great harvest; the hearty jewels of the “growing season’s” last offering. The pumpkins and squash, the late bloom fruits such as the apple and pears. The time of the year that you dig up the orange sweet potatoes hiding underground, cooking in a semi-warm earthen over of heat retaining soil.

~How I Feel about Pairs Today~

This year Paris brought me an early taste of fall. It was only one week ago I was walking her streets and speaking her language. Riding her busses and shopping her shops. Sitting in her parks and traversing her streets.

I still love Paris, this will be a life long love affair, I am certain. I still feel great there, I still know that I can go there and thrive, inhabit her beauty and forge a new existence if that is the choice. I have never quit Paris. I have never kicked Paris either.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Je sais

I know, I know - it's totally screwed up to have a blog with an entire section dedicated to how I feel about Paris, be in Paris, and still not update this blog. I need to be flogged.

~How I feel about Paris Today~

This is, incidentally, my last day here. (for now)
So I guess I feel sad about Paris today. happy to be off of French keyboards, but sad never the less. Paris is still Paris, open armed, jealous woman always trying to seduce me back into the whirlwind of cafes and stinky metros. She is of course more beautiful than ever, and her inhabitants chicer and nicer than ever as well.

I have had a great time here. I have been happy here. I have felt like myself again. After such a dramatic few months I was not sure how I would receive and be received here, but I'll be damned if it isn't the same old thing: I feel great in Paris, I love everyone, I love the French language, I found a new bar that is my FAVORITE, I found a new restarant that is my FAVORITE, I forgot how much I love Gouloise lights, I swear I would by a bike if I lived here, holy crap I MUST have those boots, blah blah blah... just like that.

Something did change this time though...something felt different. Paris is no longer an unaccesible dream in my head. I realized this time, that it is just a city. It happens to be the most beautiful city in the world in my opinion. I happens to own my heart, but really Paris is just a big, international city. My point is, it's accesbile. Of course I can live in Paris if I want, or anywhere in Europe for that matter. It is simply a matter of going. I just have to go. SO there it is, no more excuses. It's on me now to go.

I thought Paris was such a huge unaccesible dream because of the time I spent here; the anorexic, alcoholic dementia of many nights passed as a 22 year old. So being here now, 29, not anorexic (at all), short hair, life just having slapped the shit out of me, someone that works everyday, someone that takes ther friggin lunch to work with them...I realize that yes, I still want a life of markets and walking and people, close and everywhere. Yes i still want it, I am willing to desperatly long and pine over south georgia everyday, my father, my family, my piedmont park, but to live an ocean away. So again, I choose that. Thank you Paris.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's over - The non-homage

What a long sejourne from the truth...
I have been avoiding this one people.
Hugo and I are over...for good.
I can't say I am filled with regret but this final gesture is simply to update and inform those of you that love and share my life and my updates through this medium.

~How I Feel about Paris Today~
We almost made it. It was obviously something never meant to be. We were never meant to "always have Paris". I will always have the Paris of before and afterwards. I am leaving for the beautiful city on the 13th of September. With a bruised and heavy heart I will re-evaluate, decompress and hopefully above all else heal a little there this time. Closer than ever, closer than ever.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Midtown Me

Sometimes I feel as though I am seeing my neighborhood through my own eyes…deep huh?
As I was driving out of TJ’s parking lot today these were my thoughts, :”Modern Urbanism as experienced by me. I live in these streets not on them. I walk in between these tress not through them. I don’t really attend the festivals and larger city sponsored parties. My gatherings happen more on the sidewalk crack side if things.
I feel separate from the all of the perceived baseball hat clad assholes who feel like they are a part of midtown and live near piedmont park because they are “part of the scene”. I am much more akin to the strung out older gay men that take their vodka tonics with little tonic and have death defining roller blading stories on the hills surrounding the park. I too have had my suicidal, down in the dumps, inhabiting this neighborhood before it was like this stories.
But this is the thing…
Nobody gets it, believes it. Top all of the rest I am simply a white girl in her late twenties paying too much rent to live by the park and go back and forth to my job which is no longer in the food service industry. I guess I could pretend to truly be one of these women…except I’m not and I would always feel inadequate (or superior) when listening to their laments of over paid corporate jobs and joy if their proximity to this park.
This park, this piedmont park is my heart and soul.

What started out as my in between has slowly become my…life…twenties…college years and adolescent memories. It is my everything. I am fine like that. I will continue to represent, proverbially dressed in black for the poor and beaten down, living in what USED to be the hopeless side of town.

~How I Feel About Paris Today~

More than ever baby, more than ever. The more I become comfortable with being an adult that is from the land I inhabit, the more I feel closer to affecting my dream, living my authentic purpose and getting the fuck back to Paris.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Basics

I often find myself trying to fool myself into seeing my life in the simplest of terms as possible. I mean to say…the good things are simple things, like bread and olive oil kind of stuff. The most entertaining things are the free things like a night of love to be shared with your closest friends and a bottle of your favorite wine. And the worst things, the things that hurt the most are also the simplest of all as well – like being lied to and excluded from things. My whole point about the basics is that I only ever understand those pleasures for what they are – after they pass. In the middle of making a beautiful cake, I never feel like I am living the most beautifully simple and domestic part of my life. In the middle of the walks I take in my neighborhood I never feel like I am “WALKING” and it is a beautiful and simple pleasure. Most of the time I manage to understand these things for what they are after they have already come to pass. In the middle of these moments everything is always more complicated and over processed. The only time things really slow down for me is on the beach and even then sometimes my idea of what I should be feeling interrupts the simple pleasure of what I am actually living. I am planning a party – a brunch if you will – for Hugo. I intend for it to be filled with the best of the simplest of pleasures. I even intend the time to be simple and non-complicated. I intend sunlight and baking and open air. I see myself wearing braided hair and a sun dress – (you see how I over think these things) but most of all – I hope to see him smiling and hopefully feeling loved and cared for by the people in his life. That is the simplest, the least complicated, the most basic gift I can give him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The highlight of my life

So I left you last with a cliffhanger of sorts...what do I regret the most was the question du jour. I haven't really been able to pull myself back here to the keyboard to type out the answer to that. Mostly because it seems so...trivial...juvenile...and...outdated.

I guess I'll just be out with it then. But first, I think a section change would be appropriate right about now.

~How I feel About Paris Today~

I regret leaving Paris. I know, I should be zen and accepting of my life in the past 7 years. And I am...for the most part. I understand the monumental importance of coming back here to the states and more deeply planting my roots. Sometimes, however, I just can't help but wonder about the what-ifs. What if I had stayed and taken the job working for the American family in St. Germain...what if I had not gone off my au pair visa and moved on into a student visa and then graduated and become a grown-up in between? What if I didn't comeback and eventually end up driving around in my big red truck and I didn't own a slate cheese plate and have to order lavender products online because I went to the south of france in the summers and picked my lavender up there? What if??????

This is the regret cycle I find myself in the middle of. To answer my own question...If I had stayed, taken the job and the studio, moved on to the student visa and eventually a different job...maybe some guy...I wouldn't have the slate cheese plate or the big red truck or the moments I've spent with my father in south Georgia.

I wouldn't feel so close to my sisters and mothers. I wouldn't have Hugo or Harmony or Kate or Marian or Bianca or Branka or Fernando or all of the other names.

I wouldn't have been a bride's maid in Marie's wedding. I wouldn't have left Paco on the eve of Kate's wedding. I wouldn't have raised my dog into her old age or been present for the birth of Atlas or Riley.

I wouldn't have ventured to see Coleman in the hospital and Kate in that hospital gown. I wouldn't have planted the garden with my father and maybe never connected my love for produce back to him.

I wouldn't have eaten at Trois with my mother and probably we would have never done that Sunday brunch at the little pizzeria, drinking mimosa's in the Late February morning sun in Atlantic Beach.

Hugo would have never told me that he felt so lucky because out of all of the people in all of the world he got to choose exactly the right one to fall in love with. We would have never traveled to Mexico or Miami together and I might not have ever dragged anyone else to see that castle in the Alps or get stuck with me on standby in Frankfurt.

I wouldn't have zipped through a jungle in Costa Rica or cooked that one precious dinner of plantains and rice in Puerto Viejo with Cayla.

I wouldn't have been the one to take Chelsea to the airport to take leave of us all. I wouldn't have known what it felt like to come home to an empty apartment with only a note from my older sister waiting that read:"I stopped by and walked Shaka, you weren't here. Call me later, I love you."

So many things I would have never known or loved or done in my life. I do realize that there would be a million other, different ones in waiting for me. None of those imagined, regretfully lost, moments that were simply not to be my twenties in Paris, feel even half as good, not even in the imagining, as all of these ones I've lived here.

My regret in all of it's shades, is something I can handle...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Got to have a little patience

Not you readers, me. This seems to be the theme of my discord right now. Every single blaring roadblock of a sign in-between me and my ultimate happiness is blinking – PATIENCE – PATICENE YOU WHO CAN’T WAIT NO MORE, PATIENECE BE THE FOOL THAT HAS NO OTHER CHOICE THAN TO LIVE IN THE NOW. PATIENCE WILL HELP, HEAL AND RENDER YOU DISPLACENT. PATIENCE, PATIENCE.

So, in the spirit of actually trying to write an entry people might enjoy reading I will now proceed to move away from this theme and practice my living in the now strategies. I’ve decided that turning this energy inwards is a brilliant idea (in theory). My new plan is to cook, clean, organize, see my friends and family, you know – all of the typical enjoy your life stuff. Hugo and I go out once in a while and we still talk and love and sometimes fight but overall were happy.

Last night, in a crowded bar we ordered ropa vieja and I got to drinking margaritas ands thinking about regret. Sounds like a sad Mexican folk song huh? (Except for the margaritas) I have known forever now, thus far in my life, that I only have one regret. One real regret. I feel at peace with having one regret, however, due to the nature of regret it kind of sucks on principal BECAUSE it’s a REGRET. Okay so…who knows me well enough to:
#1) read this blog still
#2) Take a stab at what that regret might be

On second thought, I just realized that all of my friend’s might start writitng what THEY think I SHOULD regret…so let’s not do that – I’ll just tell you – but next time…

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Wow, what a difference a year can make. I was just glancing through my life, as blogged, this time last year. It is almost laugh-out-loud different perspectives. And you know…bad different. One thing I can say…I have definitely grown, matured, ripened, if you will. Basically I have seemingly turned into a big ole bitch about a lot of things I used to be pretty hopeful and excited about. I am trying, trying, trying to correct that.

Here’s a snip-it of my manic, across the board, thinking on my life.

As I walk from the Trader Joe’s parking lot to my truck with my milk and eggs (literally) I smile at the mental image of myself buying such basic groceries and heading home after a long day at the office. I imagined the woman checking out in front of me in the market was pretty much in the same boat as me. We happened upon eye contact in the wine section and then I got in line behind her. So I drove home to an empty apartment to be greeted by my puppy. Looking for traces of my Hugo, then remembering he left at the same time as me this morning so I will not find any new messes to comfort me in his absence tonight. I immediately delve into the production of making a dinner / lunch dish for tonight and tomorrow. I uncork my red wine, throw my tofu and veggie lasagna into the oven and walk Shaka around the block.

The entire walk was a freaked out incident of me not being able to stop myself from imagining the bodily pain I could feel if I were to meet my gruesome end on that walk. I am probably in morbid thought mode because of Sweeny Todd. Hugo had me meet him at the movie house last night and would not tell me which movie he had bought tickets to. It was nice to do this. The movie, however, was a total blood fest. An albeit beautiful blood fest with an inspiring musical performance by Monsieur Depp that has had me singing Broadway tunes all day.

Meandering thoughts abounding, I am back here full circle, in my bathrobe, in the living room, finishing off my second (third) serving of my tofu/veggie lasagna and my second (really second) glass of red wine. I am wondering if I still hate my life. I am pretty sure I don’t actually love it anymore. The wine is excellent except that every other sip I have is total crap…do you see where this is going?

I will spare you the rest of it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Now I shall return to my village and there will remain at the disposition of the nation.
- Charles De Gaulle, 1899 - 1970

Sometimes you have to travel all the way across the ocean to realize you might actually enjoy your life. Can I just take a moment to share with you how much I needed a vacation. I needed a vacation the way that the way that a screaming baby needs mother's milk. There is literally nothing else that could have shut me up. For the past 6-8 months I have been all, "I hate my life, blah, blah, blah" and "I am stuck, I am depressed, I wanna run away to a foreign land and live in a tent in the desert and marry a sultan - anything really - as long as it gets me out of this god forsaken city of Atlanta that has absolutely nothing to offer me".

And now I'm all, "I love my life, I missed my friend's and family, I love Atlanta, I love my apartment, I love my relationship, I want to be here and travel and be here again forever!"

It's funny what a little two-weeker can do for one's perspective. The opportunity to immerse yourself in another language, culture, food selection and family is not to be missed. It might just...Flip your script!

"The perfect journey is circular - the joy of departure and the joy of return."
- Dino Basili

~How I feel about Paris today~

Trying again in 2008!