Friday, December 30, 2011

The Tragedy of the Hawaiian in the Snow

True to form, Christmas came and went. And, contrary to previous worry and despite not being in my warm island chain, I'm mentally sound. I gave TMI a Nintendo 64 after discovering it was his habitually unfulfilled childhood Christmas wish and had my mom mail over all of my old games in a flat rate envelope. He was totally beside himself with excitement even though the games didn't make it time for Christmas day. When they finally did, however, TMI regained his old broken faith in Santa when we discovered so very downheartedly that the games from US don't work on the system from France. welps, thats how the Christmas cookie crumbles :/

As for me I got a French edition of my favorite read, Zorba the Greek, along with a ring with pressed flowers and some oh-my-gosh-the-goodness-of-this-gift-is-awkward-because-you-arent-my-family fabulous red ankle boots from Kookai.

All in all I was holding myself together pretty well until the Wednesday after Christmas ski trip. Dear God, the horror. Let me remind you all that I am from Hawaii; my time to polish my Snowboarding has been.. limited, to say the least. So! There I am, on top of the mountain in the French Alps, strapped into the only Snowboard the resort could dig up for me and escorted by a pack of experts on skis. As if I all ready didn't feel enough the outsider, I was now the American on a snowboard. Naturally, even though he had been reassuring me all month that he was no good at Skiing, TMI was beyond competent and whizzed off down the mountain and over little jumps while I literally rolled down behind him.

The day was mortifying. TMI and a guy pal, his sister and her friend, all having to wait for me every fifty feet as I slowly made my paranoid turns down the mountain where they just whizzed along happily. Finally, half way through the day, I fell one time too many trying to keep up with their speed and hurt my butt. I cried like a pathetic child and insisted I stop.

That night and finally back at home, I peeled off my snowboard pants to discover I had a very unflattering blue butt and an inability to sit. Thrilled with all of this and feeling particularly great about myself, I cried in the shower. I can only hope this weekend in the Alps goes a little easier on my self esteem.. and my rear end :/

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Into the Woods

I've been in quaint little Sauzet since Sunday mentally preparing for Christmas with someone else's family. It was a little rough the first day, but things are settling and I'm managing to get into the spirit. It's tough spending a Christmas cooped up indoors with the cold, rain and snow outside when I'm used to sunny mornings, tea on the porch, and Saturday beach trips between present wrapping.

Did you know that in France it's tradition to put your shoes under the tree for Santa to put candy and... oranges in?? Everyone here thinks I'm crazy for not knowing about it.

Today TMI and I went foraging in the cold winter woods above the village to take some clippings from pine trees and red berried bushes to decorate the home. While we were out there I'm pleased to say we couldn't resist the primal urge and made love like the cavemen before us pressed up against a frosty tree; keeping an eye out for mammoths, or.. hikers.

Also TMI's sister shares her brother's good looks and is making me very self conscious about my own physical appearance as she breezes around the house ever day. I think it's karma from how persistently indifferent I was to my brother's girlfriend the first several Christmases she spent with our family. The "I know she desires my approval but I'm going to stay completely smug in the knowledge that my brother is my brother regardless of what ladies may come in and out of his life" syndrome. For the record, she's now prego with my first and future nephew and I love her as part of the family, but still, I didn't make her acclimation easy. I can only hope TMI's sister accepts me without me having to pull the parental card just yet.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wish Whisker

I have always been a firm believer in wish making. At 11:11, on every dandelion and every lost eyelash, I very seriously and with an honest conviction, make a wish. For example, TMI, amongst his dark roguish scruff, has a small tiny hair near the corner of his mouth that has a white tip. Naturally I immediately ascribed it with terrible wish granting power. I kiss it gently with my eyes closed and beg, beg, for happiness; for a successful lasting relationship; for a visa, for a way back to France..

Here in Dijon there is a famous landmark called the chouette. It's a little misshapen image on the corner of the Notre Dame cathedral that sort of looks like an owl. It's famous for its wish giving powers if the wish-maker remembers to follow the proper protocol: to place their left hand on the owl and face towards the front of the church. I walk by this beautiful cathedral nearly every day and I almost always find reason to make a very serious wish. I've also managed to convince myself that every wish I've ever made has come true and the owl's power is indisputable and without question. And for the really big wishes, the ones that take more than a few moments, I've decided that you can actually go into the church and sit down to make it. This summons such incredible wishing magic from the chouette and the greater powers that be that there is no way the wish will go unheard.

Today was one of those days. I placed my hand on the ice cold chouette, and, afterwords, just to make sure, I went inside. With every ounce of my being I wished to be happy. I wished for my relationship to make it even with all the obstacles ahead of us.
But then, tonight, something overdue occurred to me. Regardless of what you believe of higher powers, a Goddess, a God, a wish granting chouette, the idea of a higher power of any kind is that it is omnipresent. The same power that I have given to the little owl on the Notre Dame cathedral exists inside of me as much as it exists in eye lashes, holy relics, and ancient cathedrals. I can make a wish on me. And, unlike the stone chouette or TMI's wish whisker, I can do something about it.

So tonight, for the first time, I started a wish with my name. And I asked myself to see me through the storm. And, unlike my other wishes, this time there was a response. "Yes."

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Storm

Somehow, in my last relationship, even though the man was completely wrong for me and we had almost nothing in common, in the beginning I managed to convince myself that we were perfect; that he was perfect for me. It's amazing how people can bend their beliefs about themselves, about who they are, and what makes them happy when it could mean having someone love you.

I have to consider this when looking at the current rough patches in my relationship with TMI. Yes, I'm much older now and no, he's nothing like my last relationship: but I know my capacity to convince myself that someone is the one just because I want them to be.

Several nights ago after the Christmas dinner party, I told TMI, finally in a moment of truth, that often being entrapped at parties and wine tastings with raucous 20-21 year olds at 4 am, tired, usually intoxicated, and aching to go home, then being told that I have to leave alone and "I don't know when I'll be back" maybe "tomorrow afternoon sometime" is sincerely not the kind of relationship I want to be in. Maybe I can't explain why, but hearing "you go, I'm going to stay here on the couch" hurts. Like seriously. Hurts.

Then, mere hours after I expressed this concern, I discover that starting in July or August of next year, TMI is expected to do a 5 month internship somewhere in France and probably no where near Dijon. As if my visa expiring and being exiled to Hawaii on the other side of the Earth for 3-6 month weren't bad enough. Assuming I don't get the work visa and have to wait for the student one, that could mean a combined time of some 10 MONTHS apart. Not to mention no roommate when I come back to France.

What gets me is that after all of my effort: the studying for French exams, the paperwork, the job searches, the old people meetings, the tears and stress and money all so that I could get back to France, he tells me that he might be gone for 5-7 months? And he tells me this now??


Why is this happening?

Sometimes I feel sincerely like the universe is doing it's absolute best to keep my relationship from working. It's like maybe in the future he and I would bear a child who would become a warlord or bring forth the apocalypse. Do the international governments and wine education circuits somehow know about this..??? Honestly I wouldn't be surprised after how many obstacles have been relentlessly hurled at two people in love.

I have to wonder if the right thing really is to march into the haze armed with optimism, or listen to the signs and give up. When faced with such a struggle my first instinct is to submit to despair and climb under the table. When does it stop being romantic and start being foolish to stubbornly whether the storm? He's too young; the odds are against us; we face 10 months of separation; our families are oceans apart; what is keeping me clinging on?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

By Hook or by Crook

I have reached the point of complete desperation. Also, I'm completely hung over.

There is a creepy middle aged man with a comb over who comes into my cafe from time to time and has in the past asked if I might be interested in being a translator for his association for old people. Supposedly, they help with organizing activities and outings as well as keeping families in touch, which is from time to time an international affair. He's such a weirdo and so creepy I mainly try to keep my distance from him and serve him his espresso with a wide bubble of personal space, but, as I've said many times on this blog, desperate times...

So several days ago I opened a dialogue with him about possibly working for his association and, essentially, getting a work contract out of him. He seemed optimistic and invited me to a meeting last night at the old person head quarters to discuss the contract. So, hopeful for my future in France, I braved the rain, cold, and unknown and found my way to the office. ...Where I sat for 2 hours listening to old people talking about their lives and families and daughter in laws and heard not A WORD about a contract. Finally I said I was late for something and escaped.

Frustrated and feeling hopeless about my French future, I let TMI drag me to a fellow wine student's birthday party. The activity for the night was presenting bottle after bottle of champagne, white, rosé, and red wines hidden in a sock so the experts could taste and then guess the region, year, etc of the bottle. Since I'm completely ignorant to all that I just drank everything put in front of me until I realised I couldn't stand for nausea. I stumbled into the bathroom and, sitting sick on the toilet, shed a few tears for my state of embarrassing drunkenness. I wish I could say it was the first time it happened to me, but man, dating a wine student is dangerous. Despite my state TMI got me home and into bed where he took off my shoes, watered me profusely, and cuddled me through my sick night. -And morning headache.

That boy loves me. I mean really loves me. It makes me happy even while sitting here at work with a hangover.. and motivates me to never give up on getting this visa figured out. Next time comb-over comes into the cafe I'm getting the contract out of him by any means necessary! ...and now, another aspirin.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Fashionably Punctual

So like a woman to trade a bit comfort for beauty. Prague may be replaced with Brussels and the new coat was replaced by the below Free People party dress. There's a Christmas dinner party this weekend and it is my intention to be absolutely, ridiculously, gorgeous. So I sacrificed a bit of winter insolation and emptied my Christmas present funds on this dress; let's just pray that it get's here before this weekend. Seriously, if it shows up on Monday and misses the party I'm apt to kill someone.

Also I'd like to mention that TMI and I are now living together. ..And have been for some 4+ weeks. The move-in is traditionally a big relationship milestone, and usually is, if you remember to pop the "let's live together" question, but in our case it sort of went unnoticed until his mail started showing up in my box. We share a laundry basket, brush our teeth together, and take turns coming home to one another and kissing each other good bye in the mornings. It's perfect; and I'm actually startled by how happy I am.

While sometimes loving a human can be a scary thing, (loving a cat or a pair of shoes doesn't bear the threat of a change of heart,) I feel an ever-growing sense of gratitude and, cheesy as it sounds, awe; amazement that I could ever have been this lucky. And as I happily complete the transformation from single to settled, I can only hope that my luck lasts. ..Be it for lasting love, or a just a dress in the mail.

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