Today Gabe is wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown boots.
I bought new running shoes! And then I took them for a run.
After Gabe’s dad told me a year ago that I needed new running shoes, I finally decided that the foot and leg pain I’d been complaining about a year ago when he told me I needed new shoes was bad enough that maybe I actually would buy those new shoes.
I walked into the local running shoes store (yes, the, because there is only one) and asked, “My ankles are getting all wobbly when I run. What would you recommend?”
He told me his best seller, I tried it on, he showed me that it came in bright pink, and I walked out in under about 4 minutes.
Possibly one of the best transactions of my entire life.
In case it matters, he was un-ironically sporting a wonderful mustache. And we all know how I feel about a guy with an un-ironic mustache. So I guess he has my business for life now.
Because I love a mustache, and I absolutely don’t have the time or knowledge to buy a shoe online.
Earlier this week, I went over to Gabe’s parents’ house to celebrate his grandmother’s 94th birthday.
I brought over some work to do before dinner, but just as I was sitting down, the power went out. Which meant the internet went out. Which means no work.
And also meant a candlelit dinner, which was tres romantique for a 94th birthday party.
We ate enchiladas and delicious chocolate cake, while rain poured down outside. Since Gabe’s grandmother is French, we spoke French all through dinner, which meant I nodded along politely, reacted about a second too late to everything anyone said, and contributed a lot of “Oh!” and “Oui!” sounds to the conversation.
After hauling out several old candles to light the room, and after cutting off the lumpy, melted, knocking-this-candle-over-so-it-can’t-stand-up-straight wax off a couple of particularly old ones, Gabe got the brilliant idea to make a candle.
And so, because we had no electricity, we did.
It was beautiful, and difficult to photograph.
Also this week, Gabe finally completed the whole entire floor of our new apartment! Which he has been building for us, in the middle of the woods, and which we’ll be moving into together in like 2 weeks!
Here is Gabe midway through his work on the floor. (How about that stove, btw?? I can’t wait to crank it and make it so warm all the time forever in this new apartment.)
Other than these photos, nothing interesting has happened. I am still a Twitter robot and I spend my days either staring into the Internet or trying to chat people up at 94th birthday parties about WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON ON THE AMERICANS!
Today Gabe is wearing a brown t-shirt, khaki pants, and his outdoor slippers.
Yesterday, I touched down in Seattle at 11am and looked out the airplane window at the pouring rain splashing down on the tarmac. I wondered why I bothered to come back.
The day before, in Peoria, Illinois, it had been 80 degrees. The day before I had been watching Jurassic Park with my dad. The day before I had been sipping a latte in an alarmingly hip coffee shop downtown, in a city that hasn’t had anything close to hip in it since…ever.
So why did I come back to Seattle, land of rain and cold? I am not sure.
But luckily, it’s sort of registered with me recently that I don’t have to be here at all, if I don’t want to be. I have a job where I work from home, and my cofounder Kate recently made the remark that I could work from Bali if I wanted to.
So…why am I not taking advantage of this?
Well, money, for one thing. I recently wrote a post for popforms about why I work a job where I get paid less than I am worth, so part of the trade-off for getting to work a job I love is that I get paid less than is necessary for jetting off to wherever I feel like whenever I feel like.
But besides that, there’s not really a good reason for not doing some traveling right now. Gabe and I are still planning on moving this year, though recently I’ve been making a push for — not California, as was previously mentioned — but FRANCE, because why not?
Gabe is French, I speak French, I can work from anywhere, so…this is self-evident, no?
Plus I think it would be great for the blog, since if Gabe were a resident of France, I think he would be required by law to start wearing a lot of horizontal stripes and tight black pants. And now that this blog has been live for almost a year, it’s really about time to shake things up, don’t you think?
Today Gabe is wearing a beret, a mime’s costume, and two baguettes as shoes.
So anyways, this blog might start coming to you live and direct from a few random places around the Pacific Northwest, since I am bound by finances to stick close to home, but am not bound to stay exactly at home.
It’s exciting! I love possibilities.
Oh and one more thing I love:
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, a white t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
And today is also my last day in my little French village. At times this trip felt endlessly long — I was here for three weeks, after all — but now that it’s nearly over, it seems like it went by in a flash. In just a few hours, I’ll be boarding a train for Paris, spending a few hours strolling around and eating crepes, and then I’ll be saddling up for the epic journey back to the United States.
I’m going to miss a lot: the smell of the thick, country air. The long, meandering dinners and the many smelly cheeses available for sampling. The pasture full of sheep who, over the last three weeks, have come not only to not be afraid of me but to almost almost almost eat out of my hand when I feed them leftover lettuce and baguette.
But I’m excited to be going home too. I like my house, I like my bed, I like instituting quiet alone time whenever I feel like it. I like having stores around, and the beach, and normal doorknobs, and the million other little things that make being at home so comfortable, even though you’d never notice them before you left.
When I go home, there will be lots of work to do. But it’s work I’m really excited to be doing, and it will be nice to have so much uninterrupted time to take care of business.
I’ll be less rugged when I’m there. Have you noticed how much stone is in all these pictures? I mean, everything here is made out of stone (because everything here was built in like, 1200) — including this wall that made a great venue for view-looking and down-climbing, since it overlooks a huge expanse of land perfect for hiking around in.
But I’m okay with being less rugged. I’ll be a little less rugged in Paris today, and even less rugged in Seattle tomorrow. By the time I get back to my house, this trip will feel weirdly distant and almost like it didn’t happen. But it did happen.
So au revoir, France. It’s been super real.
Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, a while t-shirt, red shorts, and brown flip flops.
You guys! I completely forgot that a few days ago I ate pigeon.
It wasn’t on accident, and I didn’t kill the bird with my own bare hands and decide to go ahead and eat it as long as it was here, either. I ate it in a pigeon pie. From a restaurant. And while I didn’t order it myself, I definitely did try it when someone else at the table did and offered me a bite.
(And in case it’s never been mentioned here before, I am a vegetarian. But maybe once a year I will break if there is something really special and if eating pigeon doesn’t count as special then I don’t know what does.)
And as it turns out, the pigeon was actually kind of delicious. It had so much flavor! It tasted somewhat like chicken, though it’s been so long since I’ve had chicken that this is only my best guess. Either way, it didn’t taste bad at all, as you might think such a gross, weird animal would.
I had no idea this was something French people ate, but apparently it’s a thing and apparently it’s also great.
So that’s one thing that happened. Another is that I spent the 4th of July not barbecuing or blowing things up, but swimming serenely in Lake Annecy in southern France, whose water is the kind of piercing aqua-blue that never translates to photos and therefore makes all your stories about it slightly unbelievable. But believe it.
Even though it had rained the day before, we guessed that the water would be warm enough to swim in and we were determined to jump in it no matter what.
Gabe and I walked down from our rented apartment, and before we could lose our nerve, jumped off the end of the dock and into the shallow, crisp water. I shivered at first, but swam and bounced around until the chilly water felt not-so-chilly, and soon I was tossing a ball around and being delighted by the many tiny French children shrieking and jumping into the water all around us.
Gabe did some dives, and swam to the outer limits of the swimming area. I stayed closer to the dock, but felt very adventurous nonetheless.
It was amazing — and I say this as someone who is generally pretty unnerved by the idea of swimming in a lake, what with all the fish also swimming around there at the same time, who have a tendency to brush up against your legs when you least expect it.
After splashing around for a while, we got out and sunned ourselves on the grassy patch near the water. We talked and took photos until it was finally time to walk back up the hill for dinner.
And today I am back in my home away from home in our tiny village, feeling tired but refreshed and happy to have the memory of the lake fresh in my mind.
So all in all, I guess my summary of my recent trip to southern France would be this: if someone wants to buy me some property there — nothing fancy, though if all you’ve got is fancy, then by all means — I would live there happily for the rest of my life. Eating pigeon and swimming in cartoonishly blue waters from dawn til dusk. Yes, I think that would do quite nicely.
Today Gabe is wearing a grey sweatshirt, khaki shorts, and no shoes.
Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night, not fully awake, and in your haste to get to the bathroom or the kitchen or wherever you thought you were going, bashed full on into a heavy, sharp piece of furniture?
I have. Last night. It was a radiator. And I cried.
Is that the worst way to wake up? Today, I am saying yes. In the fullness of time, probably not the worst. But to me, today — yes, it is the worst.
This is one of my least favorite things about being in unfamiliar places. Just when you think you know where you’re going day-to-day, your sleep self reminds you that you actually have no idea where you are.
So my energy today is…bad. But I hope it turns around. I have a very exciting errand to run in a few minutes, which is to go to the neighborhood post office (open for two hours and fifteen minutes every weekday, and not a moment more) and mail a postcard home to my parents.
The postcard is very ugly, but seeing as there is nowhere to buy anything in this tiny, tiny town, I think it’s pretty lucky that I found it at all. It’s an advertisement in the form of a postcard for some kind of bike race that was hanging in a small office in town. So I took it, and here we are.
Can we take a second to notice how rugged Gabe has gotten in his native land of France?
I’m not sure the photos accurately depict how high up he is (though it does show how barefoot he is. very rugged.) atop the wall that defines the edges of the courtyard we live in. If you climb down that wall — using very slender stone stairs part of the way, then scrabbling down the stone face of the wall the rest of the way — you get to where the sheep are. So naturally, in spite of my fear of heights and fear of being rugged, I have gotten pretty good at climbing this wall.
But I’m still too afraid to stand jauntily on the very very top of the wall like Gabe.
Speaking of the sheep, one of them chased *me* yesterday, which is quite the opposite of how our interactions usually go. At the time, I was a little bit scared and started doing some quick estimates in my head of how easily a sheep could crush me to death if it tried. But then I realized — this sheep is a smart one who now knows I am the one who brings it food.
It wants to be friends. Which means my plan is coming together. Which makes me very pleased.
Aujourd’hui Gabriel porte un sweat gris, un short rouge, des chausettes grises, et des chaussures marron.
In other words, we are in France. We are in France! Et tout va bien. Well — presque tout.
I am writing you at 1:10am in the throes of jet lag. Oh, jet lag, you ruiner of afternoon trips to music festivals and evening barbecues. You, who makes us fall asleep at 8pm and wake up again at 11, wondering when — if ever — we will feel happy again.
(My bet is never. But that could be the sleep deprivation talking.)
I really thought I would be okay. I left my house in Seattle at noon on Tuesday, and didn’t sleep again until 8pm France-time on Wednesday. I thought that would cause my next sleep to be some big reset button, where you sleep for 14 hours after being awake for 34, and suddenly you are on France time because you’re definitely not on any other schedule, so why not this one?
But this is not how it works. Apparently.
So I guess all of this is to say: I wish I had more to say about France today, but I just don’t. It is beautiful here — we are in the middle of nowhere, in a big stone building, with friendly neighbors and delicious food, and sheep who wander the grounds and run away when you try to feed them.
And one of these nights I will sleep without tossing and turning, and one of these mornings I will wake up feeling refreshed. I’ll write a post about the friendly neighbor who — when I told him that I had forgotten all the French I learned in school — reminded me that I was speaking to him quite well in French and evidently hadn’t forgotten everything. I’ll write about how I got lost in Paris trying to find the train station, and how I figured it out just in time. I’ll write about those darn sheep that run away when you try to feed them, even when you say “I am trying to feed you!” right to them.
But not tonight.
Tonight, I’ll be up. Trying to sleep.
Today Gabe is wearing a brown t-shirt, khaki pants, and his outdoor slippers.
Oh man the last few days have been just nuts. And by nuts, I mean terrible. And by terrible, I mean I haven’t been sleeping.
I was getting ready to type out a long explanation of why I think I haven’t been sleeping, and how it makes me feel, and what I’m going to do about it. But then I remembered, hearing about people’s sleep issues is about as interesting as hearing about their dreams. Which is to say, not interesting at all.
It always seems like it’s going to be interesting when you’re the one telling it. And people tell these kinds of stories in a way that makes it sound likes it’s going to be interesting, and it clearly means a lot to them, but sadly it is just not interesting.
We can all relate, but we only tend to care when we are the ones not sleeping. When you’re well-rested, being super tired doesn’t sound that bad. But when you have insomnia, you can’t believe other people are managing to function in the world and that they don’t care how crazy and awful you feel.
But there I go, talking about it when I said I wouldn’t.
Instead, I’ll share this pretty cool stuff that’s been happening.
This website I found just a day or two after my last post (and which my mom also sent to me!): http://stoptellingwomentosmile.tumblr.com/
Another great website is this one: http://popforms.com
Hey, I helped make that! Visit it. We have a blog. I write lots of it. Yay! Right?
Another interesting thing is that I am leaving for France on Tuesday. Tuesday! Can you believe it?
I really cannot. In fact, I think I’ve spent the last few days in a form of denial; the kind where you talk a lot about your trip in the abstract, and you do things like get your suitcase out of the closet or make a reservation for a train you’ll need to take, but you don’t really think about how in 72 hours you will be in the French countryside with your boyfriend and your boyfriend’s family, eating cheese and considering the landscape from sunup to sundown.
So that’s another thing that’s going on. I suppose I should move my clothes from their neat piles on the floor into my suitcase, and sort out which pairs of shoes I can bring.
To be honest, I think I’ve worried so much about how to occupy myself during the flight, I’ve completely forgotten that at the end of that flight, I’ll be in another, beautiful country. On vacation! Well, working vacation. But in the French countryside, isn’t everything kind of vacation? And I will be there for weeks. That’s w-e-e-k-s.
It’s crazy. I can’t wait. In fact, I’m going to start packing now.
PS. Happy Father’s Day to the world’s greatest dad. I found this cute picture of us today. (I have to assume my face is that way because I was in the midst of receiving some kind of lecture on the history of the red t-shirt or the historical implications of those arches behind us.) (Just kidding.)