Friday, April 19, 2013

Discount Waxing is Not a Good Idea

Today I learned that finding a salon which advertises a brazilian wax for 15 euros isn't always a find worth celebrating. Now, sitting delicately on the couch of my future parents-in-law's apartment, I'm slowly coming to mental terms with having lost at least as much skin as hair and how I'm going to face the next weeks of life with a butchered bush. 

The waxing took place on the top floor of an eclectic old world building where I was met by an INSANE frizzy haired gypsy French woman who lead me into a room divided by a standing screen. On one side she was apparently in the middle of doing another woman's nails. The other side had a table for waxing. She told me to take of my pants while she returned to her nail painting. I stood feeling nervous for a bit and then called, "..should I cover myself with something.. er??" 

"No no!" She called back, already back in idle chat with her other customer. Things were already looking a bit sketchy, but I did as she said. Next to me and on the other side of the screen, she tells the girl to "wait ten minutes." Then, coming to my side and without even so much as washing her hands or donning a pair of gloves, she attacks. She doesn't even bother tie her hair up and I watch, rather startled, as strands of it get caught up in the wax she's spreading haphazardly on me. She exclaims that I have thin skin and I look down (against my better judgement) to discover that I'm bleeding in several places and looking like a diseased desert animal with the mange. I resist the urge to face palm. She finishes up, sprinkles me with talcum powder, and again without washing her hands, goes back to working on the other woman's nails. 

My lesson learned is that cheaper doesn't always mean better. ouch ouch ouch

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Great Dress Drama

Welp. So much for avoiding shameless shopping. The dress that I posted about a week ago arrived, was too big and more brown than cream, so I returned it and bought an open back from ASOS; too modern, not so flattering to the figure, and returned it as well. I've since GONE INSANE  trying to find the prefect little white dress for a spring civil union with cocktails apres, and I'm driving my postal service, credit card company, and boyfriend insane. Do any of these speak to any of you??

Cream, Lace Back Bodycon From French Connection

White, strapless with bow back from PromMagics

Lace Open Back Dress From Lipsy


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Red Tape of Love and Marriage

Getting married in France is, well, fricken' complicated. My birth certificate arrived from the land of aloha-style, (aka three weeks late in all directions,) and A and I faced the challenge of getting it translated IMMEDIATELY so that we could dash in the city hall and reserve a date. (Everything is happening in high speed, I remind you, so that we can submit his green card application ASAP.) The only official translator we could find in Dijon was expensive, old, unfriendly, and clearly insane. 

On the day it was supposed to be ready for pickup, I rented a street bike and ventured far and away in the freezing rain to find her hermit-like dwelling. When I buzzed, her wrinkled face appeared peering around a lace white curtain in a window above me. She had tapped on the glass to get my attention. She looked suspicious, so I waved. She disappeared for a moment, then opened the door to demand what I wanted. I said I was there for the birth certificate. She responded with a blank expression. "..The translation? For the birth certificate from Hawaii?" I added meekly.

Finally, signs of recognition. "-I told you after 10am!" 

"...It's 11..?" I offered delicately. She sized me up a few more moments before allowing me in to sit beside a giant, stuffed elephant to wait for my documents.

Couldn't dash away from there fast enough. Then, meeting A at the city hall with our hundred-page dossier, we are told that our attestations of residence, a bank statement for me and an insurance statement from A, were no good. Too old and they don't accept bank statements. We run home and scrounge up a phone bill for me and and a newer insurance statement for A. Then back to the city hall, where we hold hands in the seats across the desk from the mairie, panting. -She tells us they don't take phone bills either and points out that there were two addreses on A's insurance - one ours and one his parents - (which was "confusing,") so no good. We're told to go the office of electricity in town and get one there with both our names. We gather up our dossier once again and run across town to find that the office is closed uniquely that day for re-decorating. Awesome!

At that point we were out of ideas and returned to the city hall defeated. We ended having to photocopy every piece of identify in existence for A so that I could return the next day without him after going back to the electricity office and getting an appropriate attestation. Far from a walk in the park, this business! Luckily, I got it done this morning and we now have an official date: the 25th of May. (-Three weeks after the date we wanted, but beggars can't be choosers.) 

The one enjoyable part of the whole effort was putting a heart on the calendar.  That part felt good. 

(Dijon's city hall) 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Dad, Overcome with Sentimentality, Plans to Cross Two Oceans to Attend a Civil Union

When dad first heard I was having a semi-secret civil marriage in mere weeks, I heard from the family that he more or less retreated into a few days of mumbling and non-communication. Word on the family grape vine was that he was "sulking;" -expected, maybe, of any daddy when he hears the news second and it's that his youngest kid is tying the knot. But, as is the usual pattern with my dad, what is first rebutted usually resolves into agreement with time, and, a few days after the news broke the headlines, daddy called waxing poetic about who would give his daughter away at the ceremony- "out alone into the open seas, no longer under the watchful eye of her father?" 

For some context, daddy's a gruff old naval captain from the times of yore, a sea dog, so the ocean-themed sentiments were all very touching and.. salty. 

Day before yesterday I received an ominous one sentence email saying that I was going to meet daddy in Paris, "9:45 in mrn on 2nd." Initially I was filled with terror. How was I going to get up there and fetch him? How was I going to guide him through the airports and onto the metro if he tries to go into the city without me? Where will we put him up? How long is he staying? What will A's parents think? How will they communicate?? 

That said, like my dad, what was first met with rebuttal has since metled into acceptance. The above questions remain unanswered and he's been very secret and vague about his travel plans, but all n' all I'm glad he's coming. It will be hilarious watching A's parents try to communicate with him, in a few words of English and daddy's few words of comically self assured island-French which he picked up in the 70's in Tahiti with a crew of vulgar sea dogs. :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Successful Sublimation in Greece

They say it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. But, now that I'm wallowing in the pain of separation, I have (undoubtedly as many before me) come to doubt that statement. Now that I have known Greek food in its native land, the pain of returning to the country of cream and butter bland-ness, (yes, that is my assessment of French food after three years here,) is almost unbearable

Coming from the land of meat in abundance and veggies far and few between, I found myself in a haven of vegetarian dishes, all cooked with an astounding medley of flavorful Mediterranean produce. We visited the morning farmer's market in Chania, (pronounced "hhhhania,") and bought raki, honey, mountain teas, a mouth watering assortment of veggies, and some excellent herbed goat and sausages. I had a traditional spanikopita for breakfast almost each morning. Holy crap, the ones in the states can't hold a candle to the ones you'll find in Greece. Oh and the yogurt and cheese! herbed pita breads and fresh, minty sauces.  Heavenly! 

Needless to say I had a wonderful, tremendous, time. I was so sad to leave and to have booked the adventure for so few days. Beth and Perry, my old middle-school teachers I was visiting, were an engaging, silly, adventurous and optimistic couple. They spoiled me with my own studio with a view of the sea in a eclectically dirty, colorful, friendly, and cat filled part of the old town. We cooked and sang and drank raki and munched olives and visited a new and titillating archeological site each day, including Knossos and Aptera. I dug up old pottery at a dig site and danced on Zorba's beach at Stavros. It truly fed my soul. 

It was so good I almost managed not to notice the photos and videos arriving on the facebook Oenopiades of students drinking, dancing, partying, puking, pasing out, and even a video of A, the boyfriend and fiance in question, crowd surfing. -On a bus. Seriously. But the sublimating, all in all, was a success. 

I returned home laden with raki, herbal teas, and nostalgia.

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