I don’t know if you’d have guessed it from my wildly creative post title, but I went to the Salt Lake Arts Festival on Sunday to watch my friends KILL IT with their junk percussion group, SLAPercussion. They’re some kids I’ve grown up with or met in college who got into bucket drumming a few years back and have now turned that into a well-known, money making, groove-inducing ensemble.
Friends, I actually KNOW these guys! Such an honor.
Look at that crowd! That is, like, a tenth of the people who turned out to see them. It was nuts!
And the people sitting around me kept having murmurs of agreement, like “Wow, they’re REALLY good,” or, “Did you see what that guy just did? Cool!”
I just felt really lucky to know these guys, to have seen their group grow from a hobby to a must-see event at one of Utah’s biggest annual festivals. That’s all. That’s all this is. Just a big fat shout-out to my homies.
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In other news, I’m a little backed-up in posting what’s left of my adventures in France, as well as some long-ago-seeming adventures (Portland, last March) that I’ve been dragging on. But hopefully I’ll be caught up by week’s end. Thanks for reading, friends!
A big dinner at a fancy restaurant (Au Lapin qui Fume) with the whole group of Utahns.
Silly times with new old friends.
Delicious toasties with chevre, followed by rabbit (I ate rabbit!) and fresh pasta.
Then down to the Guingette, one more time. Spontaneous art creation.
Looking up at the night sky, deep in this valley.
And drinking, of course. Celebrating, really.
Saying goodbye. Adieu.
Last night was a very special night. Not just for me, but for the entire city, all of France, and, really, the whole world. It was La Fête de la Musique, an annual, national music festival started in Paris in 1982. Basically, all the streets of France are filled with music. And people. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and definitely unlike anything we have in the US. The closest thing we have is Record Store Day, and that does not compare, in terms of scope and global participation.
Seriously, the whole town was out. There was music everywhere–classical, jazz, traditional–as well as not one, but TWO samba groups, parading through the streets of Tours, at least 30 members apiece drumming and dancing.
Also there was lots of drinking, naturally, and a band where one guy played the bass while the other guy played the guitar with his hands and the drums with his feet (he’d set everything up with pedals, even his symbols) and also sang. Awesomeness.
It was a gorgeous night, especially owing to the fact that the sun doesn’t set in the Loire valley until AT LEAST 10pm, and for the most part people were festive without being too rowdy. My only complaint was the garbage.
See, when Chase and I went to that outdoor concert/festival, I noticed that everyone was being really conscientious to keep things clean. When you bought your wine or beer there, the first cup was 50 (euro) cents extra, to pay for the hard plastic cup that you’d use for the rest of the night, which was great because not only did it mean a free souvenir (it had a picture of the event’s spokes-dude on it), but also that people were way less likely to throw used, disposable, cheapy plastic cups all over the ground. And I liked that.
But last night was more like the big parties/festivals/concerts we’ve all come to know and love, where the ground is basically a giant pile of trash after. Example:
Okay, so Spain is particularly bad on this count, but STILL. I expected more from you, France. I expected Plus.
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(Speaking of garbage, Chase and I definitely finished off the night by eating THIS):
I lost toutes mes affaires yesterday. My school book and workbook. All of the beautiful notes that I’ve been meticulously copying and re-writing (the subjunctive, en and y, future anterior, etc.). All of my writing assignments, marked and corrected. All the little texts we’ve read in class. Everything. Tout.
And friends, I was disheartened, to say the least. I went out to preview the sales (les soldes, which start tomorrow) and at some point realized that I still had my purse, and my jacket, and my lunch sack, but not my binder with all my school stuff. I went back to all of the shops where I’d stopped–Carrefour, the patisserie, H&M–but they’d seen rien. Nothing.
And then of course I had a class starting RIGHT THEN, to which I was late, and without anything to write on save my pocket notebook, and on the verge of tears, thinking “What’s the point? Why even bother taking notes now, when they’ll be so horribly incomplete?” And thinking, “Why does this happen to me–why do I always have to be the fuck-up, and do things out of order, and make a big mess of everything?” And feeling guilty, since I lost invaluable intellectual property while out oggling material goods.
But I didn’t cry, friends. Almost, but no. I went home, took a short nap, went out for a run. Ate dinner with the family. I mean, it could be so much worse (I consoled myself). I still have my passport, my wallet. My camera. I had been wondering whether or not to take all that school stuff back with me, anyways, if it would be even worth it. So that’s a decision that’s been made for me.
It’s easy, I think, to be happy when things are going well. Easier to have a sunny outlook when the sun is shining. And this was a definite threat to my happiness, my stability, even my worldview (I’m moody and dramatic, what can I say?). But it didn’t get the best of me. I got over it, like I knew I would. And that, friends, is a new thing for me–knowing that the worst will pass.
And later: Café des Langues.
Drinking cider and speaking French. And Spanish. And English.
Letting it go. Enjoying myself.
What? I like to limit myself to a certain number of pictures per post so that I can be sure I’m offering you guys la crème de la crème, French-ly speaking. Does that make me a big dork? YES. And you love it.
(Scroll over the pictures for more info, friends; I don’t want to ruin the aesthetic)
Okay, so maybe it was 10 pictures exactly, no more, no less. Whatever. Did you see the part about the secret bakery, though?! It’s like a speak-easy, but for baked goods. At 3am. When I told Kevin this he freaked out as much as I had, and we might have to move to Italy as a result.
One of the biggest bummers about growing up, for me, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to make new friends. This is a perennial theme. I miss the instant, easy friendships from grade school–nervously meeting somebody new, chatting happily, discovering that you have tons in common (you both have Lisa Frank journals, for example, or maybe you both have major crushes on Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Then the next thing you know, you’re having sleepovers, sharing your deepest, darkest secrets, and jumping on the trampoline in her backyard. You know, friendship stuff.
I’m not saying that sort of friendship chemistry is impossible in adult life, just rare. Extremely rare. The last time it happened for me was with Mel, freshman year of college, and that was largely due to the fact that we lived in the same room, practically.
Until…until my uncle got re-married, and I got a new cousin, Misty. And we both lived in Europe. And we both had BA’s in English. We had both gone back to school for a second degree, and we had both played the violin at one time or another, and we had similar worldviews. And similarly complicated family arrangements.
So just like that–click!–instant friends. New cousins. And on this recent trip to Florence (to visit her), we really did just seem to understand each other, to be able to relate well and compare our similar experiences.
I’m not going to lie, friends, it’s pretty fricking amazing.
But not as amazing as how much stuff I crammed into that tiny little Longchamp for a 3-day weekend in Italy.
So just keep all this in mind while you’re looking at my vacation pictures, okay?
*I do not want this post to in any way diminish my already cousin, Emily, and the awesome connection that we have, and our years as pen-pals, secret spies, whisky drinkers, and koala lovers. So now I have two awesome cousins, both of whom speak Italian. Guess I’d better get on that.
Friends, getting to Italy was INTENSE. Let me tell you about it. My flight was at 8:30 in the morning, but it was at the far-out Paris airport (Beauvais), which meant that to get there I was obliged to take a 15€ shuttle at 5:30am, and to get to THAT I had to take a Parisian night bus with drunk Algerians who wanted to harass me (“My dick, in your mouth”), a number of exhausted youths on their way home, still dressed to the nines, and a junky who shook and chattered so frighteningly that I chose to stand the full 30 minutes rather than face him. All that was at 4:40am.
Bright side: I got to hang out with Gianny again! (A sweet thing he said to me in an e-mail: “I’m going to be expecting you at home before taking you out on the town.”) Because OBVIOUSLY I’m going to spend the night in Paris for a morning that starts so early. And by “spend the night” I mean “stay-up-hanging-out-with-Gianny-and-riding-bikes-through-the-city-and-drinking-hot-toddies-with-new-friends-in-an-old-apartment-and-then-walking-around-talking-world-travels-until-3:45-am-and-then-‘nap’-until-it’s-time-to-catch-the-night-bus.”
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I told myself. Here’s some pictures, though:
I forgot to mention that I rode the train from Tours to Paris with Elizabeth, who is has the same home-stay as me, and her friend Sam. Without even knowing it! (A thing I actually said to her: “What are YOU doing on this train?”) They were heading on to Nice on a night train (Harry Potter, y’all), and therefore had wine (naturally), which they shared with me. In the train station. (Also naturally).
Then, on the way BACK from Paris (post-Italy), I was supposed to have gone straight from the airport to the train station to “home,” but my flight was delayed, and then the shuttle (another 15€) had a beeping problem that called for highway-side assistance (shenanigans). So I found myself with 2 hours to kill before the next train.
I entertained the possibility of being grumpy about it, then I realized that I was in Paris, with the worlds smallest carry-on (Mary Poppins, y’all), and two hours to explore the city. ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FRIENDS. Or, re-frame. I walked around, ate a baguette sandwich, took pictures, asked for directions, mailed a postcard, and went to McDonald’s. Yup.
The City of Light at Dusk.