27 July, 2009


I knew this morning when I woke up that it was going to be a LONG week. I spent the weekend in the hospital emergency room (more on that later), and today was no less dramatic.

About an hour ago, after playing tennis, my roommate and I came back to the apartment and decided to play badminton outside the alley next to our house. After a half hour of throwing the birdie around, we happened to glance at our neighbor's apartment and noticed that the window screen was broken and laying on the patio, the door was open and all the lights were off.

We immediately went back into our house and called our landlord. Our landlord attempted to call our neighbors, and, when they didn't pick up, he advised us to call the police.

We did so, and proceeded to lock ourselves up in the upstairs bedroom with an assortment of knives and other sharp objects by our side...just in case (I watch too much CSI...in any case, better safe than sorry!).

The police showed up, walked up to the apartment and walked inside. It turns out our neighbors were indeed home. They were sleeping with their bedroom door opened and hadn't even heard the burglar enter the apartment.

By the time the police came, the burglar was long gone, but there were definite signs of a break-in.

What is most disturbing is that we live in an extremely safe (or so I thought) neighborhood. It is one of the most desirable neighborhoods of Chicago. The police, however, mentioned that there has been an increase in break-ins in the neighborhood, many occuring while the tenants are home.

Something tells me I won't be sleeping much tonight.

24 July, 2009

Next Stop: Costa Rica !!!

It's decided.

I am going to Costa Rica December 12-20th. Alone.

With the price of a round-trip ticket being cheaper than one to California, a night at a hostel cheaper than an average meal here....and those GORGEOUS rain forests, how could I resist?

It's been a dream of mine to go for years now. I've finally tired of waiting for someone to go with me and have decided to go on my own.

Already, I am getting the usual "you are traveling BY YOURSELF??" and "won't you be lonely??", "is it safe???". It never ceases to amaze me how appalled people are when I say I am traveling alone.

I LOVE being solo. Between the new people I meet and the sightseeing, I don't have time to be lonely. Just the opposite...I enjoy the occasional feeling of solitude, of depending only on myself. My memories are my own, my itinerary open and there's a certain satisfaction in planning and going somewhere completely new without anyone's help.

Costa Rica, here I come!!!!!!!!!

23 July, 2009

Life Brewing

"Something is always born of man and woman lying together and exchanging the essences of their lives. Some seed is always carried and opened in the soil of passion. The fumes of desire are the womb of man's birth and often in the drunkeness of caresses history is made, and science, and philosophy.

For a woman, as she sews, cooks, embraces, covers, warms, also dreams that the man taking her will be more than a man, will be the mythological figure of her dreams, the hero, the discoverer, the builder....

No man enters woman with impunity, for where the seed of man and woman mingle, within the drops of blood exchanged, the changes that take place are the same as those of great flowing rivers of inheritance, which carry traits of character from father to son to grandson, traits of character as well as physical traits.

Memories of experience are transmitted by the same cells which repeated the design of a nose, a hand, the tone of a voice, the color of an eye. These great flowing rivers of inheritance transmitted traits and carried dreams from port to port until fulfillment, and gave birth to selves never born before....

No man and woman know what will be born in the darkness of their intermingling; so much besides children, so many invisible births, exchanges of soul and character, blossoming of unknown selves, liberation of hidden treasures, burried fantasies..."
(Anais Nin)

22 July, 2009

Boyfriends Past

L’amour, pas pour moi
Tous cestoujours”,
C’est pas net,
ça joue des tours,
Ca s’approche sans se montrer,
Comme un traître de velours,
Ca me blesse ou me lasse selon les jours
Pourquoi faire ce tas de plaisirs, de frissons, de caresses, de pauvres promesses ?
A quoi bon se laisser reprendre
Le cour en chamade,
Ne rien y comprendre,
C’est une embuscade.

I was walking yesterday and bumped into someone I used to date. I can't say that he broke my heart, or that I was devastated after our break-up, but I put a lot of time and effort into the relationship, and when he decided he couldn't commit (this way to Baggage Claim) I was left hanging.

The meeting was awkward, and in between empty promises to "get together sometime", I felt a rush of nostalgia for all my previous relationships.

It's not that I miss them, I miss what I had with them. The hand written notes, secret smiles, inside-jokes, flower deliveries, afternoons spent lying in the park, vacations for two, nights filled with passion, others filled with serenity. I miss being in a relationship, having that one person I can call or write to any time of day and know that they are thinking of me also. I miss having a male best friend.

Don't get me wrong...I don't mind being single. I thrive on the freedom and lack of constraints. But there's always a night when, after hours spent warding away all the creepos who frequent the social scene, I crawl into bed and wish there was someone I could text to say good-night, I love you.

After a year spent thinking that I had found this person, it's hard to adjust, to go back to not knowing what, or who, to expect.

I Heart Cavalli

My favorite designer...Roberto Cavalli. Genius fashion, genius advertising.

21 July, 2009

Scratch and Sniff, Part II

Yesterday at the Best Buy check-out counter:

Cashier: Miss, I don't mean any disrespect, but you smell REALLY good.


I need to focus. Take a deep breath, prioritize my life and set up at least a tentative plan for the next year before my move to Paris. I have so many travel plans, cravings, ideas, dreams, that I am losing track of the big picture and what it is I am really working towards (aka PARIS). Here is what I am planning thus far:

August-December: First semester of school (I was originally accepted to the MA in Political Science program, but was recently informed that I've been granted permission to start directly as a P.H.D. candidate in International Relations!). Come January and the start of a new semester, I will be eligible for full funding and a teaching assistantship. However, I need to take the GRE in order to apply for the scholarships. The test date is in November and, to put it mildly, i have MUCHO studying to do. Not to mention dissertation research. I'm strangely excited to be back in the academic world...I love taking classes, doing research, writing papers.

August: CAMPING in Wisconsin!

September: Trip to Baltimore/DC/Atlantic City for my cousin's 21st birthday
Possible trip to NY for my own birthday

October/November: My friend whom I stayed with in Madrid (and met on Couchsurfing...more on that in another post) is moving to Toronto in September and either he will come see me in Chicago or I'll fly up to Toronto and see him. Either way, it'll be a few days away from my job (ahhh...heaven).

December- January: Month long break from school...no concrete travel plans yet. Most likely a few long weekends snowboarding.

January-May: Second semester of school...I will be working, taking (and teaching!) classes and busy figuring out the details of my move (!!!).

May-August: ?????? I have options... My lease will expire in June, so I will be moving back to my parent's house for a few months. I know I want to take a month off before moving to Paris, most likely July. Two weeks to visit relatives in Armenia, and two weeks to travel around Europe (with a few days in Paris for apartment hunting!).

Ahhh, it feels better to have everything out "on paper". Knowing me, these plans will all change, especially since there are a ton of things I want to do that I haven't planned for (i.e. Italy trip, costa rica, scuba diving)...I have this urge to do everything now..I keep having to remind myself that I can't possibly do EVERYTHING I want RIGHT NOW....some things now, others later.

Wooooosaaaa. Just. Keep. Breathing.

20 July, 2009

Why I Travel

“…so many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day, to have a new and different sun.”

-Chris McCandless - “Into the Wild”

17 July, 2009

Italia, Mi Manchi

Maybe its because I am (STILL) going through Europe withdrawal, or possibly because a friend is making a dream-come-true move there--whatever the reason, I REALLY miss Italy. I miss the exuberance, passion and sheer larger than life attitude of the people, the stunning scenery, and, most of all, I miss speaking Italian, feeling like a local.

Needless to say, I am now planning a trip to Italia....most likely for about two weeks early next winter. Between school and work, I'll have to find the best time to escape, but I do know exactly where I want to go: Firenze, Siena, Bologna, and Pisa. If time and money permit, I might head upwards to Spain and spend a few days in Barcelona.....and from Barcelona, Paris is only a short plane ride away. On second thought, probably best to avoid temptation altogether and just stay in Italy!!

I know I should stay in the States, save money for my move to Paris, pay off my debt, etc etc. I know this. But my gypsy soul craves travel and, while I can deny myself material things, I cannot stifle the urge to be somewhere else.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return"

16 July, 2009

Scratch and Sniff

Ever since I was given a sample tube of Crabtree & Evelyn La Source body cream five years ago, I have been hooked. It's nourishing, smells nice without being obtrusive, and, at $10 a tube, is affordable.

Apparently, it is also a man magnet.

It is late summer and I am sitting at a small water-front bar in beautiful Sorrento on the Amalfi coast. The bar windows are open, the night air blows a cool breeze, the bartender is mixing me a caipirinha and I am wearing my favorite off the shoulder shirt. I have a slight sunburn, so I take out my tube of lotion and rub a little on my shoulder. Life is good.

All of a sudden, there is a handsome Italian at my side. He sits next to me, puts his hand around my waist and....sniffs my shoulder.

"You smell delicious", he says.

I laugh, roll my eyes and reply, "Thank you, I took a shower this morning".

He shakes his head, adamant. "No, it is the smell of a woman", he says.


I laughed the incident away, but since then, whenever I leave the house I make sure to put on that lotion. I smell it and am instantly transported back to that crowded bar, to that summer full of new adventures, new friends and endless memories. All for $10. I'd say it's a small price to pay...

15 July, 2009

Des Milliers de Baisers

Des milliers de baisers, des milliers de milliers
Un à un de mes lèvres à tes lèvres déposés
Des millions de secondes, instantanés de bonheur
Effacés disparus en un battement de coeur

Des milliers de mots doux sur des pare-brises envolés
Numéros composés sans jamais oser parler
Bouts d'aveux déchirés dans des corbeilles à papier
Les défroisser les recoller, lire et les garder

Des milliers de caresses au millimètre carré
Des milliers de cris de souffles à nos bouches échappés
Pans de ciels effleurés, touchés, sommeils emmêlés
Rayés comme si tout ça n'avait jamais été

Je voudrais tout ramasser dans des grands sacs poubelles
Les paroles oubliées des plus banales aux plus belles
Qu'aucun ne se perde de ces instants si précieux
Ces phrases ont été dites, ces moments ont eu lieu

Tout enregistrer ajouter le son les odeurs
ADN, empreintes, mais que jamais rien ne meure
Ces millions de films de nous, mais pas du cinéma
Toutes les scènes perdues que l'on ne jouait pas

On ouvrirait tous les jours où nous serions moins forts
Tous ces embryons d'amour, toutes ces aurores
Sincères, démasqués, fragiles et vrais de candeur
Nous revoir ainsi nous rendrait peut-être meilleurs

Des milliers de baisers, des milliers de milliers
Un à un de nos lèvres sur des peaux déposées
Des milliers de pensées, de moments d'éternité
De regards échangés dans des gares égarées
Des milliers de baisers en un clin d'oeil oubliés.

(Jean-Jacques Goldman)

10 July, 2009

The Look

The Look is a sensual, almost magical, ingrained part of European culture. It's my favorite thing about Paris, about Europe in general.

Imagine...you are sitting on the metro when, suddenly, you lock eyes with a handsome stranger and, for a brief moment, the world stops around you. For as little as five seconds you stare at each other. He stares at you, an appreciative twinkle in his eyes, an expression that speaks of possibility, of what could be. A warm feeling washes itself over your body. Your cheeks flush, a smile starts creeping across your lips and then....the metro doors open and he is gone.

It doesn't matter if either of you are in a relationship, if there is a wedding ring gleaming on his hand. For a few seconds, sometimes minutes, you are together. A mutual understanding passes between you...and then it's gone. You lift your chin higher, feeling more desirable, and you carry on with your day...until the next stranger catches your eye.

09 July, 2009

Paris, May/June 2009

In my next post I'll write a few memories from the city that holds my heart. But for now, a picture is worth a thousand words.

08 July, 2009

Time flies, liver dies

It is now 04:05:06 07/08/09

That's something that will never happen again.

On a different note, my job (aka corporate slavery) is turning me into an alcoholic. Goodbye, liver. Hello, margarita mix.

03 July, 2009

Il cuore, fa male

Le mani sul viso
Cercano una forza che non ho
Vorrei morire subito

Non sarà giusto ma è cosi
L'alba che verrà
Un nuovo amore non avrà

Il cuore
Fa male
Batte un po' più lento dentro me
È poca l'abitudine
Di sentirmi libera

Con te
Ho speso tutta la mia età
Cosa ne farò
Di quelle frasi scritte sul telefono

Siamo noi la vita che fa vivere nel cuore
Questo amore incancellabile

Cosa ne farò
Le rileggerò
Per poi pensare che

Di te
Solo un messaggio resterà

Tu me manques...il me manque la sensation de t'aimer