Sunday, April 26, 2009

I live in a disney movie.

I was a magician's assistant for two different events on Saturday. It was so fun. Now I know secrets of magic and escape artistry. Yes, I was handcuffed; my ankles were shackled; I was put in a locked bag and I escaped. It was pretty bad-a.

After the first magic bit, which was for an outdoor adventure race. We got to just play. Romuald, my magician friend who is currently in Circus School, asked if I could ride a bike. I was like, psssh yeah, and when I got on and started riding he said "WOW!" haha. I wonder if "teaching your kid how to ride a bike" is not that big a deal here. Either way, he got on another bike and we rode away from the water fall our station was under. We weaved down the path through the sugar cane field, the sun blazing. Then I started to peddle faster to pass him, laughing. Then he passed me, and I couldn't pass him again. When we turned around I changed gears and went for it, shouting and laughing between the tall stalks of green, I shot past him. The sky was big and blue and it felt like summertime, for sure.

We made it back to the waterfall, Cascade de Niagara, and took a canoe. It was a two man canoe, so we both carried it to the water at the base of the falls and hopped in. The water was cool and felt so good on my feet. I was a pirate all day and bare-foot in the hot dirt. After shoving off, I realized Romuald was definitely the brawn in the boat and sometimes it felt like we were flying. There was bamboo 20 ft high and vines with yellow flowers all over the shore. Some places were wide and it was like a river; others were tight and quick and we had to use our oars to keep from hitting the shore, which we inevitably did. I had to lay down in the boat to not be hit in the face with roots. All I did was laugh and try to not eat dirt. We came upon a bridge that had a hole only big enough for the boat. We yelled directions, "gauche gauche! non, droit! DROIT!" And then our canoe was lined up perfectly and we pulled our oars in and laid down and slid through the little tunnel. It was awesome.

We thought we had gone too far, and Romuald said if we got to the ocean, we'd be in trouble. Instead of freaking out we talked about how Pocahontas was much more graceful than us at canoeing, and of course we then broke out into song. "Just around the river bend" and "Colors of the Wind" in simultaneous French and English while we drifted closer to the sea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

An excerpt from an email I wrote

I went surfing today, and as your quick-witted brain can tell you: I'm alive. I live and I breathe and I've surfed. I stood up, albeit half-assed, once. It's rather difficult and I'm not sure who thought to put the new girl on the shit board, but they did and it wasn't waxed and there wasn't a grip in the back, so I was sliding all over the place. Paddling is tiring. Getting thrashed by waves is tiring. But I persevered and got a wave and rode it until the sea pushed me off. (See? not my fault. It PUSHed me.)

After I ate a bangin' sandwich and hitched-hiked back, I only had time enough to jump in the shower and run off to class. (Mental picture of me in soapy, soaking-wet clothes running through campus with my backpack and wide-eyed? Good.) I got my test back and I got a 16.5 in my grammar course! Hell yeah! A 20 is 100% and since it's impossible to get a 20, 16.5 is bad-A. Well, A-. Anyway, I was happy and hot and tired, so I took a nap.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Monday

We had a day off school yesterday, so of course we went to a volcano.  

My dad told me it's one of the most active volcanoes in the world.  I'd like to believe it, but I haven't looked it up to verify. 

"Most active" or not, it was super tight.  I looked INTO a volcano.  I walked across a field of cooled lava, climbed from base to rim, walked to the edge and looked INTO a volcano.  I felt I needed to throw something profound into the abyss of ash and steam, but as I was all out of rings that would effectively save Middle Earth, I settled for a shiny volcanic rock.  But instead of throwing it into the volcano, I put it in my backpack.  Rocky Mountain National Park would disapprove, as they've taught me to leave everything alone, but it was miniscule, and it seems France employs no one to work in their parks to keep tourists like me in line.  

Standing on the edge of a enormous hole in the earth, seeing rock so hot it was flowing, looking out: only seeing ocean all around me going on and on until it bumped up against the sky, standing above the clouds, above any birds, above any trees, any houses, seeing nothing but rock, hearing absolute silence, I felt incredibly small, and it made me feel so much better about everything.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Instead of doing my homework,

I will blog about toilets.

Public restrooms here generally look like public restrooms of the states, except they aren't as much "stalls" as little rooms with full doors and real locks.  You also have to turn on your very own tiny toilet-room light.  Most of the time, the lights don't work and you find yourself peeing blind.  In my opinion, the personal-sized pee rooms stink more than stalls because there is no air-flow.  What's more is they smell like tuna, which I accredit to the fish-rich diet here.  

Toilets don't have toilet seats, so I assume everyone squats.  I've also been in a public restroom here that was just a hole in the ground like the toilets you hear about in India.  That was a trip.

Also, even though they have rolls of toilet paper, half the time you will find the toilet paper is really tissues.  They dispense like tissues, feel like tissues, ARE, according to me, tissues.  You flush with a button, not a handle, and the water DOES spin the other way.  Thank you for this mild entertainment, Southern Hemisphere.  It's hard to tell though, because there is very little water in the bowl, not like the US that are half-way full and roar when flushed, usually spitting onto your skirt and make you say "Ew."  

It is a genuine and happy surprise when there is soap.  The faucets aren't handles either, but the you push down and slowly raise and turn off automatically.  Reminds me of elementary school, to tell you the truth.  

Everyday is an adventure when you have to pee in public.  And now I will close on a quote;

"Why do you Americans call it a 'restroom?'  I mean, I don't go in there to rest;  if anything, I go in there and struggle."  -anonymous Brit

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Being quiet, stayin' still

I read on that 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of 2008.  That is an incredible amount of jobs.  I can't even comprehend how many people that's affecting.  On the flip-side, my friend Derek just turned DOWN three jobs because he already accepted a kick ass 'forest fire fighter' position for this summer.  I guess it's nice to be an able-bodied twenty-something male who wants to work a dangerous job. 

But what's neat for everyone is now that the job market is not really the place to be, maybe more people will join Americorps, the Peace Corps, or Green Peace -- organizations that inadvertently instill goodness, humility, and the drive to "help" into their members.  With a new sensitivity and world view, these folks can be fed back into the job market.  Then they, along with the creative innovators of the the next generation, will propel the whole world into a future that is based in humanity and not economy.  Nations will be connected by the humans that inhabit them perhaps more than the money they possess.  Wouldn't that be neat?  So cool to have such an obvious opportunity for change.  It's impossible to Not take advantage.

But here on the other side of the world, it's hard to Feel the hardship.  I'm lucky because I can step back and see the big picture without having to worry about losing my job.  MY job is to teach tiny French five-year-olds English.  I sing and play and I am repetitive as hell to drive in some vocab.  MY job hugs me, begs to hold my hand, literally and figuratively looks up to me, and laughs, like really laughs.  My job description is Simon Says.  I'm a lucky bugger, for shiz-nit.  

It all just makes me feel like it's a good thing to just stand in the dirt and look around at the things that are flying and buzzing and changing around.  I think when you can see what is changing, you can just move, instead of flying up into all the gears that make you feel small and out of control.  Either way, you can only control what's inside you anyway.  No sense in getting stressed out trying to go up flying with the rest of them.