July 20, 2014

 

The pilot announced we were landing soon and I awoke from my unexpected nap.  As I descended the plane and we walked onto Tunisia soil I said audibly to myself and Amel “ I wonder if I was supposed to have a Visa to come here..”

I think we were both a bit nervous as I walked up to the customs counter and handed over my passport.  Without even glancing up the agent grabbed it, flipped through and gave it a stamp. Relief.

 

Two years ago I was standing in the downstairs neighbors kitchen reading the odds and ends stuck on her refrigerator. She was a journalist for a paper and I had come down to share in a impromptu potluck with random friends. There was a “how to write a good short story in ten steps” clipping and still to this day I think of #4 – “Make your character go through hell so the reader understands what they are made of”.

I can only give one instance in my life this title of “hell”.  Everything else that falls close can only be titled as maybe “purgatory”.  This odd space of “in between”.

 

Elation – Italy, Sicily, Tunisia.  New countries, memories and experiences.  I really am addicted to this life and travel.  I just want more time in each space.  It is never enough.

 

Yesterday we spent the day walking through the medina.  Once the shopping started it couldn’t be stopped.  I think for sure I will have to buy a new suitcase just to get home. Haha.. Oh well, I did need another small one anyway.  Amel’s parents are delightful.  More than actually.  As I shop I purchase things for my someday home.  I will have it at some point, no?  I ask myself if I should leave it in Paris? Or take it “home” to Ca.  Or will I just have to transport it back to Paris If I ever am able to get a visa there.

We are with Amel’s mom who has spent her whole life in Tunis.  She walks through the city and knows someone every corner we turn.  She tells us stories of her childhood and gets the best prices for us.

 

I sat and watched the fireworks over the Eiffel tower for Bastille day with FrAlex and friends.  Our view was mostly obstructed because of the trees.  We passed around a bottle of champagne each taking a swig from the mouth.  I had my camera of course.  The photographer in me knew I should have staked out that “perfect spot” days ago for that “epic photo” to say “I was here and look at what a great photographer I am capturing this moment in time”..  but the human in me just wanted a moment with friends as “Sarah” and laughter and the experience of that memory shared.  And so I did just that.

 

It was my last day in Rome.  I had finally found a place to rent a vespa and and ride around the city.  I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face as I gripped the hand bars with terror.  The insanity that is the traffic somehow just makes sense. Within the chaos of cars, buses, motos and pedestraians there is a flow.  Amazing.  I walked home after my 3 hour drive around Roma and happened upon a boutique selling handmade leather goods.  I fell in love with a small bag.  It was more than I really wanted to spend though after looking at it for 10 mins I left and decided to think it through before making a hasty purchase.  I walked the Trestevere and after stopping for some Melon and Buffolla I made the 30 min walk back because I had decided it would in fact be a good purchase.   The lady was moved that I came back for it and gave it to me 10 euros off.  We parted ways with smiles.

 

I landed in Paris and messaged Eloi to let him know if he needed to leave he could just hid the key for me.  He said he would be home that evening and was waiting to welcome me with wine.  I changed my outfit at the airport and took a taxi.  He had made dinner as well and we chatted for a bit finishing the bottle.  He proposed we go out to play ping pong and before we knew it the time had passed and we were stumbling home at 4am after a crazy night drinks and dancing nearby.  As I passed out in my bed I sent him a text thanking him for the fun evening.  My heart was so happy.

 

I had purchased tickets online for the night tour of the Vatican. After ordering the most expensive beers ever at a café near the entrance, Jerroid and I made our way around feeling like we had broken in.  I loved this feeling of having the entire place to ourselves.  The guards were bored and unexpectedly one gave me his number. HA! It felt like a movie more aptly titled “a night at the Vatican”.

July 2, 2014

Paris  part —  I’ve lost count

 

 

I found my note of my premier voyage a Paris from 2012. What a life time ago.  A side by side comparison then/now makes me smile.

 

I’m dressed in tennis, pont pants, a comfy tee hoodie black leather blazer combo.  I think I am the example of chic comfort.

 

My luggage has shrunken in size.  Finally a carry on.  I’m beyond amazed at my ability to pack what I have.  Gear, formal wear, beach wear, workout clothes as well as dressing as a classy dame.  This is what being an adult looks like. Oh and 5 pairs of shoes.  Not to mention gifts for dear faces I will be seeing again. Success.

 

Roller coaster of a week.

Visa information that leaves me wondering what I’m going to do for the fall.  I need to create a income plan for all the weddings I’ve turned down in order to be in Paris.   I’m tired of playing Russian roulette with my finances.  Sigh.

 

Arrived in a delayed plane and took the RER B to Gare de Nord to line 5.  It is an easy transition now and one that doesn’t take much thought.

 

I climbed the 6 flights of stairs with luggage and then ate and showered.  Amel and I ran errands and then caught the end of the France/Nigeria game at the rush.  It was a riveting game and so fun to watch a game like this in Europe.  Every café, resturaunt and pub had the game on. People were piled in watching.  I loved it.

 

Spoken word, then caught another game Germany vs Algeria at the rush again.  Before I know it its 2am and my alarm will be going off in 5 hours to catch my flight to Sicily.  Another 6 hours of the gypsy shuffle and I’m finally in Italy for the first time.  My first impression of the island reminds me of a combo of mexico and spain.  Everyone is friendly and I quickly shed my two layers from Paris to embrace the delicious sunshine and warmer weather.

My apartment has an incredible view. The blue blue ocean and brown rocky hillside. Small towns nestled against the base of volcano that erupted just two weeks ago.  Smoke still flows from the tip of its mouth.  I was photographing Manalo Blahnick’s as the sunset and chatted wedding details with bBetsy.  It’s good to be here.  A communal dinner on the terrace and cards against humanity until midnight.  A good day indeed.

June 21, 2014

One week until the next adventure begins.

 

I’m house sitting at the top of the hill.  I awoke to the sound of goats baa-ing out my window.  My view is rooftops and golden grass and oak trees.  one of my favorite landscapes.  This is home.

Tonight watching the sunset over the valley, the wind blew softly and I sat, content.

Conversations with Rob this week.  Unexpectedly heeling.  I feel lighter.  I feel free from that weight I had been carrying.  Bitterness, anger -  Feels so nice to set those down.

Maybe now I can really move on.

 

I feel almost ready to hop this plane.  No freak outs yet.  I still have 7 days to go though.. so we shall see. haha…

 

I started making a list of things that I’ve experienced that have given me inexplicable joy.

I look forward to adding to it.  I’ll keep it remind me when I have my sinking moments.

 

 

Words collected recently –

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. – Robert Stevenson

She may be going to hell, but atleast she’s not standing still. – EE cummings

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

“Dreams happen with the continual, consistent, commitment to show up to our days.”

“The edge.. there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”- Hunter Thompson

When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”  Nelson Mandala

 

 

June 17, 2014

Some downtime.

This week has nothing (much) on the calendar.  A wedding this weekend, a wedding next weekend.   An inbox full of emails and a to do list a mile long.

I donned my bright blue maxi and grabbed coffee with a lone wolf (an older gent that’s trying SO HARD to get into my pants)..  for kicks and giggles I suppose.

I saw Rob. Again.  Thank glory to be I was dressed WELL and felt HAWT.  He even remarked how vibrant I was. I said it was a good hair day, he said it was a good everything day.

I needed to hear that. From him.

Good. Hard. Heartwrenching. and somehow healing.  Completely familiar. A complete stranger.

I guess that is how things are sometimes.

 

 

My french lessons are coming along.  My body is responding to is beatings. 10 miles on the bike yesterday on top of an hour of weight training.  two more days of that this week plus yoga this weekend.

2 weeks until EU.  I miss it so much.

 

 

I’m struggling so much lately with feeling “stupid”, “uneducated”, “lower middle class”.

How do these things define me or participate in my life.  I can only read so much, have time for self development  and life within my means.  I always feel this way after being at my parents for a while.  Or being around people who are overly educated. *ugh*  I just don’t know what the answer is.

 

6 weeks until I submit my visa application.

*say a prayer for me*

 

 

 

June 16, 2014

In order for things to change or to create progress I have to become obsessed. It has to become your life. It is the only way in which to see results. Which is why my life has recently revolved around – French lessons, fitness training, executing my to do list.
Allez!

I went on a date with a boy that left me swooning so hard that I never wanted to see him again. We watched the France vs Honduras game at an Irish pub in soma. Everything about him was attractive. Half Scottish /aka duel citizenship. Lived in 7 countries, works as a counselor for recovering sex workers. I could go on. But I won’t. Because I don’t want to remember him. I don’t want to remember how I felt when I left. Like I was il educated, unrefined and like a child in comparison.

I am not perfect, but I have a lot to offer. But I’m not done working in me yet.

But I love dating solely for the purpose of my world expanding in a new way. Discovering a new world of – Joe Purdy, World Cup games, new bars and acquainting myself with the city, and again putting myself out there. Je ne regrette pas rien.

I found my layer of bleu has immortalized itself on me and won’t let go. I am determined! Does it not know who it is messing with?

Je suis Sarah Dawson. Je vous mon plasir.

June 6, 2014

Reprieve.

Magic.

A resettling and I feel myself again. Focused alive and put together. Oh and like a grown up that has something to offer.  SF/Paris.  This is where I belong.

 

Client meetings for weddings in NYC.  A bit of shopping for Sicily. A bit of shopping for myself.  I feel less disheveled.  Lunch dates with dear friends, magic forests with french guy. Paris emails.  This is the life I have been looking for.

 

 

May 31, 2014

It continues to be a breath of fresh air. Even 6000 miles away.

Even the spinning wheel of despair cannot reach me when I am reminded of you.  Who I am in Paris…  The life I have there.  The people, that life.  This is what I want.    Do I “deserve” it? No.  Who deserves such things.  Are we ever “good enough”?  no.  It’s not about those things.

Tonight I need a reminder of who I am. What I’m capable of, and what it is I am pursuing. In the pursuit is the reward.  Isn’t all about the journey? Look how far you’ve come Sarah.  You’ve come so far.  Don’t lose sight.  Don’t give up.  Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

 

 

May 27, 2014

Oh summer. You are here.

6th day in a row hitting it hard at the gym.  I was so tired today.   I added swimming laps to my regime and fixed up the bike.  BRING IT ON.

My editing load and to do list is insane.  Just how I like it.

My mother accused me of being goal oriented and motivated person.  I’ll except her compliment.

 

My thoughts lately have been on ..  leveling up. For photography, personally, etc.,  I need to be pushing myself harder for things further than I’m reaching right now.   Learning french, trying new photography techniques.. It is time.

 

Words collected lately..

 

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center. – Kurt Vonnegut

Something in me vibrates to a dusky, dreamy smell  of dying moons and shadows. – Zelda Fitzgerald

She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together. – JD Salinger

 

 

May 19, 2014

Serendipity.. the theme continues.

The day started off with Amel and I attacked the morning and went to Kooka boora Cafe.  I wanted to show her “my Paris” and there was the potential of man eye candy there.  We spent a couple hours there working on our laptops and then parted ways.  I ended up meeting talking with this dutch/american girl for the following few hours about international tax law of which is her specialty.  So perfect!  I walked south from Pigalle to connect to line 9.  The weather was nice and I bought myself a dress that I couldn’t resist.  As I was about to get on at Bonne Nouvelle a man stopped my and proceeded to tell me his life story in the ensueing 2 minutes follow by a request for my phone number. I was flattered, but confused my the abruptness of the moment.  He was italian. Curiosity wins out and I gave him my card and french mobile info.   I dressed and headed out to meet the Betsy and girls for dinner.  I talked wedding stuff with Betsy afterwards and then decided to walk home from there since the weather was still so lovely.  As I was walking near Odean I passed a bar – L’avant Comptoir – and heard men singing inside.  I kept on walking only to have a man run after me and invite me inside insisting that I didn’t want to miss this.  I guess there was a choir from the south of france performing at the olympia the next evening and they were out enjoying the city tonight.  The man managed to request that the men serenade me. Next thing I know I am in the middle of the group with the entire bar looking at me .  It was comedic. Amazingly beautiful. I was three shades of red and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I attempted to speak french/english/spanish with them and their wives afterwards to no avail.  The man that had orginally chased me down requested my phone number but I managed to get out of it and thank him for the experience.    I again started home and as I was passing notre dame a group of woman stopped me and asked me to wish their bride to be some sort of silliness.  I gladly gave them some ideas for shenanigans since I had just done this the week prior in Spain.  They were so excited about my games that they invited me to join them for the rest of the evening.  The bride was Tunisian and insisted that I come shoot her wedding there.  Sadly I was already booked that date.  haha..  I finally finished my walk home and was in bed by 4am.  Le sigh.    Just a regular day in Paris….

 

 

May 19, 2014

 

The weather was a confusing tease. But aside from the random warm days and contradictory cold rainy evenings..  everything about Paris felt so right.  Home home home and ease of having a repetition and familiarity.  Faces I love and adore.  Yes, this is home.

Everyday was jam packed with people. Down to the very 2 hour increment.  I did manage a few dates with some cute boys, a French movie with no subtitles, a visit to my favorite haunts, quality time with my dear Amel, brunch with Bretsy, Girls night with new faces, girls dinner with new faces, Italian birthday party for 1 year old twins, a live performance on my ukulele, Meetings with clients for more potential wedding work, plenty of surprises with random strangers and ensuing adventures, brunch and an awkward exposition with a cute boy.  Yes, a successful time for sure.   It ended perfectly with dinner with my favorite boys and an evening of music and dancing.  My final day was spent at Merci with my dear Amel.  I love our conversations and appreciate how much we share in common in our life paths.

I just fucking love this life.  This is the life I want. This one.  When I feel alive, happy and free. When I can work hard, play hard and feel like I belong. This this this…  Can I have it please?  I know it won’t last forever. I know the people will change (they already have) but I need to experience this and have this as my life.