Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do You Speak English?

Rushing through the metro station, I was late for a meeting, which is becoming increasingly normal. I'll set another goal to be on time or early. I think to myself.

Just as I'm running up the stairs, I see two women staring at the large metro map as if they were trying to memorize each stop. As I hurry past, one woman catches my eye and asks: "Excuse me, do you speak English?"

I slow my pace for a minute to reply quickly, in perfect English, "A little bit."

The woman looked surprised and happy to hear my reply. I on the other hand just looked surprised to hear my reply. "Uh, I mean, Yes, of course I speak English!...I'm sorry." I corrected. We all three laughed at my reply for the next few minutes, as they complimented my English while I gave them perfect instructions on which direction they needed to travel.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Walking down the Street...

As I turned down a random street while out shopping, it felt as if I walked onto a Hollywood movie set, but it was just a regular side street in Paris.

These are just a few more reasons, I love Paris more and more each day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Come to Marseille...

"You're kidding right?" seems to be my usual reply to invitations that seem so wonderful in France.

"No, no, I'm not kidding. Of course you are welcome to come to my home in Marseille..." I hear in reply to my question. "I'm flying down, but be sure to book your return train for 10 AM, so we can travel back to Paris together."

And just like that, once again I'm going to spend a few more days back down in the South of France, this weekend. At least this time, there's more than 2 days to pack.

For my younger sister, who seems to think that Nice is located in Spain, and the French Riviera is in Italy, I must clarify that Marseille is actually located in France, about 3 and a half hours (by fast train) south east of Paris on the Mediterranean Sea.

I also promised her I would include myself in more photos, after her comment about my Nice photos, "...don't 'cha want people to see that you were actually there?"
She says the cutest things. "Of course I was there, I took all the photos!" I thought to myself.

Here are just a few reminders from Nice as reasons to look forward to visiting the South of France again.

Photo taken by as I stood on the balcony of an apartment for Sale

(makes a great screensaver, if you'd like to feel like 'being there')

a nice day in Nice, taken on a walk to to beach...

another photo taken standing on a different balcony of an apartment for Sale in Nice

Ahh, the Mediterrian waits for a return visit. Memories of the cubical world, timesheets, vacation leave hours and a government job are fading quickly as I transition into a new relaxed and free way of Life.

A Rose from my Sister

My older sister sent me a beautiful Purple Rose today...isn't she wonderful!?
Purple Rose

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paris Soiree Dinner with David Henry, Photographer

This evening was another wonderful Sunday evening shared with interesting friends, and guests of Patricia's Paris Soiree Dinners. Photographer David Henry, made a beautiful presentation of his artistic and creative photography.

After a wonderful display and presentation of his work this evening, I am inspired to take better photos!

Have a wonderful week!

'Materialistic Shopping'

...wearing Designer Dresses

Trying on dresses by Yves Saint Laurent , Givenchy, and CHANEL can make even an ex-military girl who's worn combat boots for the past several years feel like a lady.

Givenchy designs were perfect for my body, amazingly following each curve, hiding flaws and falling at exactly the right length everywhere. The dresses are 'casually sexy' and if I had to pick a personal favorite, it would be Givenchy.

CHANEL jackets are the amazing construction of fabric into clothing. Like magic. CHANEL is a work of art that should be framed. I almost cried when I had to give the jacket back to the sales lady as she hung it on the rack. The CHANEL jacket now sits lonely on the rack, waiting for me to save Euros for 6, maybe 7 months and return for our more permanent reunion.

A Louis Vuitton handbag also waits for my to return, but this time, not via following a strange Asian woman zig-zaging 2 NYC blocks into an abandoned school yard to make a cash purchase hidden inside a black garbage bag. An experience only a childhood friend like Marilena would follow me through to make a 'special price' Louis Vuitton purchase. No, this Louis Vuitton handbag waits inside a Paris boutique.

Needless to say, there's a huge, huge difference between the fit and flow of the designer dresses and my usual wardrobe selections. It's as if the French designer clothing are making love to the body that wears them but only the wearer and the clothing really know whats going on as others only see the beauty and flow as they walk by.

My usual everyday clothes and I have a mutual agreement, "You just stay on me, keep me warm, and protected and I'll keep you clean." is all I ask of my wardrobe. None of this French make love to me, make me feel good like a lady kinda fashion. Now I see, there is a difference.

Maybe I'm too far fashion gone, but 'Materialistic Shopping' feels nice in Paris and soon, as pictured above, I will be ...wearing (a few) Designer Dresses.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Parler Parlor Rentree (Return) Party

Today we celebrated "La Rentree" at the Saturday, Parler Parlor Conversation Group. Rentree (the return) is a celebration held after the French return from their various August holidays.

From early July, many shops and cafes are simply closed for several weeks. Except for a few boulangeries and public services that must stay open by law, there is little that cannot await the return to Paris in September. This is just one more reason to celebrate, as life in Paris resumes it pace again a la rentree.

Elisabeth, me and Adrian

Many more than expected showed up for the Party!

Please help yourself, Soft warm Croissants or Warm and sweet Pain au Chocolat... Happy Rentree!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Conversations with Pierre

"I don't understand what kind of business you could possibly have to do so late in the evening!?" I question Pierre.
"Last night, I wanted you by my side, but you are a busy woman, always working. So it is impossible to have you next to me." He explains.
I'm frustrated with our friendship. I'm sure he's saying again, he wants me beside him in bed, but we have so many French-English mis-communications, I have to ask. "Where Pierre? Where were you last night?"
"Yes, okay, I do not work late into the evening, but it was Dinner. Dinner with the Minister of Japan. I wanted you beside me, but it is impossible for you?" he's asking me. I know from the tone of his voice.

I answer with silence. Could this be the reason I need a dress by Dior or Yves Saint Laurent?

Next time, I will be available, and i will go, and I will take photos for my blog.
Nothing is impossible after all.

Today I've decide to change a few things in my life for the better, change how I think about possibilities, and change the way I look at the world.

"Perhaps I will see you tomorrow or Sunday?" he wants to know.
"Maybe." I reply, and the conversation ends.

A Night at the Movies

Looking UP at the Movie Screen?!

Tonight, I decided to see Julie and Julia after dinner and shopping on the Avenue des Champs Elysees. I went 'solo', since Pierre did not want to go with me, and it was too last minute to invite a girlfriend.

To my surprise, the theater was old and odd. The seats were slopped upwards towards the high screen. Amazingly backwards! I suppose the design might have been based on drive in theaters where the screen is high. Who knows? I took a quick photo buried below the high seats looking up at the even higher screen.

The movie was great. I laughed out loud, alot and now want to cook French food everyday. I completely forgot about the awkward seating.
I am happy, inspired and motivated more than ever to succeed in Paris and achieve my goal owning a beautiful apartment in Paris.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dating and French Men

Pierre called and wanted to meet for dinner, so I said "Sure." Who else (for now) is going to take me out to dinner in Paris?
"You are obliged to wear a dress or a skirt, no blue jeans.", he added after I accepted his invitation.
Arriving a few minutes late to his apartment, he opens the front door, smiles, looks at my feet, then my legs, my waist, etc, etc, then smiles again saying, "Ahhh, you are beautiful. Lovely, lovely." We greet with a kiss on each cheek.

"Okay, I want you to understand something." I say after a few minutes of talking and catching up from the weeks that had past. "How about, I pay for my own dinner so you won't expect me to be your girlfriend and we can be friends."
"Yes, yes, of course you can be my girlfriend!" he replies to my English, which was obviously spoken too fast.

I explain my idea again in broken French and simple English. "If you pay for your dinner, I still want you to be my girlfriend. What is the difference?" he asks, making my brilliant idea suddenly seem juvenile. I don't have an answer as I stare at a Paris fashion illustration book on his coffee table. "Is this from a fashion show?" I ask, changing the subject. "Yes, it's for you." he says. "Did you go to the show?" I wanted to know. "Yes of course." he replies. "Why didn't you call me to go with you, like last year?" I ask. He mumbles something entirely in French as he rolls his hand in front of him. "What did you say?" I ask again. I think he was cursing me under his breath in French, but I'm not quite sure as he continued to mumble in French. "Let's go, my lovely." he finishes in English.

As I stood and looked in his full length mirror, I asked, "Do I look fat?" observing the results of eating too much wonderful food in Nice. "No, no, you are beautiful." he said standing beside me resting his hands on my hips. Just above the three layers of the soft ruffled skirt that makes my hips look wide. "But next time you go shopping for a dress, I must go with you." he says. "You have a lovely body, long legs and a small waist. Your dress should follow your body to show your curve and your skirt should stop here." he explains as he points just above my knee. "...and your shoes shall be like the stilettos." he finishes. "And I should be standing outside on the corner with a fur coat like the other ladies (french hookers)?" I add. "No, you shall be like the ladies in Hollywood, you shall be like a star." he answers without a second thought. "I must shop with you, to show you." he softly demands.

"Okay, I can take you to where I shop." I said, interested at the thought of shopping with him again. "Do you know the store 'Camaiue'?" I ask. "No." he replies. "What about Promod?", again he replies "No." followed by, "I know Christian Dior for women, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent,....(followed by a few other French designer names I don't even know how to write) " he explained sympathetically.
"I will take you shopping at Dior, and you shall try the dresses. One dress is very expensive, so we must find the right..." He says as we leave for dinner. I realize that since Camaiue and Promod are the French equivalent to The Limited and Express, he and I are once again not on the same sheet of music.

Why is it impossible for me to be his girlfriend? Pierre has great taste in fashion and he makes me laugh, he always pays for dinner and will buy most things I ask for, but he also does not believe in dating one woman. He's more than 20 years older than me, and he currently has two girlfriends, which he explains later in the evening, asking me what's wrong with that? I don't have an answer, he's French after all.

"I don't understand why you don't have a boyfriend." Pierre continues our conversation. "This is impossible for a woman like you." he says. "I don't know." I answer, "Maybe there's something wrong with me on the inside." I try to explain as we walk through the gay district of the Marais where there are bars and restaurants filled with handsome gay men and a few pairs of women overflowing onto the sidewalks.

"Look at all these places, filled with the gay." he points out. "It smells terrible. The smell of only men." he says frowning his face. "I love the smell of men." I say without really thinking about the comment until he stops, suddenly, turns my shoulders towards him and asks, "What did you say?" "I said I love the smell of men." I repeat. He looks as if he wants to kiss me but instead says, "You are very special indeed."

I explain that maybe the reason I am not dating anyone is because there are so many gay men as I point to all the men in the streets walking together and coupled outside the bars and restaurants. "I would date every one of them, if they were not gay!" I told him. Once again he stops to look me in the eye as he says, "And if all the women resist men like you, this is what happens." he laughs pointing at two men holding hands in front of us.

We had a nice dinner outside in the perfect night air as we laughed and talked about dating and French men...him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Happy All the Time...

Is anyone really happy ALL THE TIME?
Leave the recipe in a commment below if you are.

I am happy and greatful most of the time, especially here in Paris, but sometimes not. Leaving out blogs on an unhappy day, will result in a life that appears to be happy all the time. But that's not reality.

Today I am not happy.

I could say that I don't know why, but I do. Being in Paris for 3 months now and still feeling unorganized is the dark cloud that wants to rain from above. Organizing and re-financing personal real estate, Re-establishing an International Business, initiating a research project and improving my French all threaten to rain down on me if not given the time and attention they need.

I am a 'natural organizer', it's what I DO...very well! But not with my own 'stuff'.

I promised a friend that I would try to make progress with organizing 'my life' by the end of this month, which is only next week. Where does the time go?
Completing my projects won't make me happy all the time, but it will make me happy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling Bored

Life seems to follow a circle. I wonder if the 3 month point is when life in Paris ceases to feel like a perpetual vacation and begins to feel like, 'Just Life.'
"And then what?", I wonder.
Will life fall into a boring routine? even in Paris?
"Not likely." whispers from somewhere.
"Will there be more Adventure? Success? Love?", I want to know.
Silence, answers "Be Still."

Monday, newsletter.
Tuesday, French Conversations Group.
Wednesday morning newsletter and French Lessons, afternoon Conversation Group.
Thursday (new French lessons) more conversations with Luc.
Saturday, Conversation Group.
Sunday, Patricia's dinners.

This life looks boring to me tonight.
"Life is What You Make of It." I hear in a soft whisper echoing back.
(to be continued...)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just in Time for Christmas?

Ah, finally catching up on the blog posts. Sometimes it still feels as if I am chasing after the world and getting NOTHING completed in the process.

The window display (below) is preparing for Christmas, already, in September. They are definitely not trying to keep up with the world, as they are so far ahead. What does it feel like to be 3 months ahead?

After setting a few new personal goals yesterday; this morning feels like the day has begun on the right path towards achievement. One day at a time. Hopefully these new goals and accomplishments will all be in Order just in time for Christmas. (!?)

I wish the same for everyone reading, to accomplish your goals, make your dreams come true, and reach your aspirations during the coming 'magical' time of year.

Now, there's a Holiday Greeting to you all, and it's three months early! Maybe I'm not as far behind life as I thought.

Season's Greetings! (September 2009)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Evening at the Louvre

"Hello Florence, I know you've just returned from Nice, and perhaps it's too late, but would you like to join me this evening for a lecture I am presenting to my students at the Louvre tonight?"

It's a call from my 'mentor', Carol who is persuading me to become an intellectual researcher. She's a PhD professor at the University of Paris and an author with a passion for History. A semi-personal lecture at the Louvre, for free? "Sure." I reply.

"Great, I will be lecturing on the symbols of Power during the Mesopotamia period followed by paintings of Napoleon." she explains.

"Now look closely at each sculpture, who were the artists, how was this created? what does this depict?, why?, when?, where?" Carol asked her students several intriguing questions as she explained each artifact in wondrous detail.

"Look now at each painting. What is the story? Look at the brushstrokes, look at the postures of the individuals. Notice the colors....." she continued to lecture.

The more Carol explained the history of the sculptures and paintings, the more I wanted to learn. Every moment was interesting and fascinating which made the 3 hours fly by as if it were only 30 minutes. I'm sure I will visit the Louvre more often after all.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Last Post from Nice

Tueday evening we departed Nice to return to Paris. One more thing I admire about "the Boss", is that she's a complete 'Neat Freak'. She's so amazingly neat and well organized, we believe it boarders on a disease.

Along with her business savvy, sense of humor and focus, this is just one more thing about her, which I wish would rub off on me, but just a little. Just a little, becuase I never ever want to feel compelled to actually fold my stockings, although it would be nice to be just a little more organized.

The difference between the two of us is obvious, but still we had an amazingly wonderful time working, playing, shopping and working some more in Nice.

'Neat n Orderly' and Me

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday evening Dinner with Friends

Our last night in Nice was spent enjoying a beautiful dinner with beautiful people completely surrounded by beauty! I couldn't help taking so many pictures around their stunning "back yard"!

Can you imagine your dinner guest coming to visit your home with a camera around her neck taking pictures of everything? Yes, sorry to say, that was exactly the kind of dinner guest I had become. The beauty of the surrounding area just had to be captured and I could not help myself!!

The icing on the cake was the delicious dinner, wonderful conversations, laughter, wine, dessert, and perfect weather all outside with the magnificent views.

Our gift to the host and hostess was a delicious bottle of gourmet olive oil pressed in Nice and a jar of fresh olives.

The expression of surprise and amazement of such beauty will always be in my heart.