Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Life in a Korean Drama

Lately, I have been having a few problems since I got back to the wonderful city of Orlando. It seems as if I entered the twilight zone, and no matter how much I try to stay away from drama, it always seems to find a way back to me.

To keep myself from crying at nights, I tend to distract myself and when all else fails I go directly to watching Korean drama.

Yes, Korean drama. Not American, Chonga, Hispanic, Irish, Dog, Cat, Fish, or Porno Drama, but Korean drama. Every time I tell someone I watch Korean drama, I get a surprised stare and 50 questions, which usually leads to the question "are you Korean?"

The answer is no, I am not Korean and do not have a Korean background. I also do not speak Korean, but I am learning with all the K-dramas I watch. The way I understand the K-dramas is by reading the subtitles they have in English.

Does this look like a Korean face? Well I'm not.

Anyways, since my return back to Orlando, my life has been a disaster by far. Nothing gets me more unhappy than a few rumors, lost friendships, backstabbing, and guys who cause drama for me. As a result of my unhappiness, a good friend of mine came up with the idea that I should write a Korean drama based on my life.

Why a Korean drama? Well, not only would the drama be in Korean (I don't think I had to mention that) , but the men are extremely handsome and they know how to dress well. Some of the K-dramas are also just plain silly and funny to watch. Since my life is full of guy problems and I am the type to make a joke out of my problems, then K-drama seemed to be the perfect way to portray my life.

The only problem to the making of the K-drama is that my characters do not live in Orlando. They all live on an island somewhere, and though it is based on my life, there is no girl in the K-drama.

No girls. I do not exist in my own K-drama that is based on my life.

At least that is how my friend explained it to me. The idea of the drama is to have a whole bunch of handsome shirtless young men on an island somewhere with no girls on the island. When I asked where I would be in the drama that would be based on my life, the answer was guys only.

I do like the idea of a K-drama full of gorgeous men, but if it is based on my life, shouldn't I at least be in it? As my friend and I kept day dreaming about the K-drama, the idea of having a shower scene entered our interesting conversation...

Sounds great, but I think I would miss the idea of two people saying 'Saranghae' to each other, which in English means 'I Love you' and there is no way in hell I would want two guys saying it to each other.



Hopefully, if I ever decide on letting anyone base a K-drama on my life, it will not come down to guy on guy romantic scene.

Hanny the coffee bean

(credits: Photoscape and some random site where I got that nice Korean picture from)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coming Soon To a Theater Near You...

(No, it's unfortunately not French Bean's Grand Adventures in Dijon. )

One thing that has amused me ever since I lived in France is how the French consider English to be a chic, foreign language. To them, things just sound and look cooler in English than in their native tongue. However, that does not mean that the French automatically know how to use this language correctly...

Don't get me wrong. I am very well-aware of how some French words are misused in English just to present a slightly more elegant touch to things: à la mode for brownies with ice cream, à la carte when you look at a restaurant's menu, ménage à trois for a kinky threesome. (In case you were wondering, ménage à trois translates more as "love triangle" for a Francophone.)

Still, I've suffered for my mother tongue over here. I've had to become accustomed to stop cringing at the mere sight of the French attempts to anglicize English words by adding an unnecessary possessive apostrophe S. I purposely avoid McDonald's to not catch a glimpse of the phrase "Maxi Best Of" on the menu. And don't get me started on George Clooney and his Nespresso "What Else?" campaign...

I've even resigned myself to just accept the stupid Quick Burger posters that annoyingly use English words with an asterisk and then, in smaller script, translate said words back into French.

Like so:

Apparently, in the 1980s, there was a law passed that by politicians fearing the encroaching menace of foreign vocabulary corrupting the beautiful French language and as a method of fighting off this evil scrouge, businesses have to comply with this law and translate ANY non-French words into French.

Fine. I can accept that.

I have seen some exceptions to this law, though. Two words that come to mind are "brushing" and "re-looking." Now, these words clearly sound and look English, but I assure you, THEY ARE NOT. Rather, their meanings are far from being correct English and the French are often surprised to learn that said words aren't really real English.

Brushing: French noun. The expensive process of a French hairdresser styling someone's hair using a hair-dryer, a ceramic iron, a nuclear warhead, etc.

In other words, it means getting your hair did at a beauty parlor. This is a far cry from the gerund which means to brush one's own locks.

I really shocked the kind hairdresser who altered my 'do last week when I educated her on the proper meaning of "brushing."

By the way, here's the result:

Re-looking: French noun. A trip to a beauty institute in which you are advised/taught how to completely change your wardrobe, hairstyle, the way you put on make-up. Does not involve plastic surgery. After the session is over, you sometimes end up looking worse than what you did in the first place.

Regular proper English term: a make-over.

Fine. I grudgingly accept that common English words in French have nothing to do with the correct meaning. The same thing happens to the French language across the pond.

I have even, with teeth clenched and veins dangerously pulsating across my temples, ceased to complain about the stupid choices to change a movie's original title into something else. Rather, if you absolutely must alter a foreign film's title, at least translate it into your native tongue! For example, The Hangover's French title is Very Bad Trip, which suggests that the protagonists either had an unfortunate odyssey or went a little overboard with their use of hallucinogen drugs.

Okay. FINE. I acknowledge that English speakers changed the Edith Piaf film La Môme to La Vie En Rose for U.S. audiences. At least the American title alludes to her most famous song.

But THIS really just takes the cake:

Sex Friends.


Seriously?! "Sex Friends?" What native English speaker is going to watch a film that is bluntly titled "Sex Friends?" There is no way that title would be on a regular American movie poster back in the States (unless it was perhaps a porno). A quick search on the internet reveals that the proper title is No Strings Attached. I still think that sounds far more palatable than, say, if the French were to just call it Le Plan Cul.

This movie title is clearly a victim of the French concept that English is a cool language and, therefore, movies that are titled in English are just so infinitely awesome.

Okay. Rant over. I still love the French language even if I sometimes wish I could discipline it like the badly-behaved child it is. I just have to take the Franglais as she is spoke.

On a different note, I apologize in advance if I don't post as often as I normally would these next few weeks. I am very occupied trying to get all my shit together to find another job here in France plus to apply to as many universities as possible. The real world sometimes beckons for me to join it...

Barb the French Bean

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ready? Get Set...SOLDES!!!

Well, it's that time of the year again! The most anticipated time that is like a second Christmas, only for adults!

French stores everywhere have been preparing for this moment like a carefully executed war. Stores closed to the public on a couple of working days so the employees could organize the interior and arrange the items for the oncoming hoarde of customers that were going to barrage their shelves and aisles and form a stampede to the checkout.

Yes, I'm talking about the month-long experience known for steep discounts on quality items like clothes, shoes, CDs and clothes.

And when the French mean soldes, THEY ARE NOT KIDDING.

I decided to take a walk down Dijon's Rue de la Liberté, which has effectively become a sea of red and white posters stating why you need to shop NOW:

This is André. Isn't he yummy? I thought that he was supposed to be on soldes as well, but apparently he is only interested in selling shoes. Darn it. I would have bought him...

I'm assuming that this is André's sister, Andrea. It seems that she needs to go shopping for some pants so she doesn't freeze to death this winter.

Looks like Andrea is not the only one who lacks proper garments to cover her body.

By the end of my stroll, I have been brainwashed by all the advertisements that I am honestly expecting to see la Porte Guillaume to go up for sale at some time this month.

It's too late. The urge to shop has been planted in my mind. I begin to think about all the posters I have seen and the messages they convey to potential consumers.

This informational overload, for my female fashion-centered mind, is far too much for me to withstand. I am not immune to all of the posters proclaiming sudden monetary joy and I get lost in a Soldes Wonderland in which bankruptcy is non-existent and my Carte Bleue (French bank card) goes ballistic contenting my heart's every desire and whim.

Oh, God. Just the thought of clothes-shopping makes me giddy!

Okay. I have to calm down. When I hear that a store has a sale, I spend my money faster than a girl with $100 in a shopping mall.

No. I have to pace myself and make a plan. I can't just buy everything that I lay my hands on!

I need to make a list of things I've been aiming to own.

Priority Items

New Dress
New Coat
New Jeans

The jeans are especially important. I've lost so much weight that the jeans I originally brought with me from the States no longer fit.

Not-So-Priority Items (But It Would Be Nice to Have Them)
New pair of gloves
New shoes

Nice cheap jewelry

Hm. On second thought, chocolate is quite a priority item. Dark chocolate ensures my happiness and love towards other people. Without it, I turn into an unpleasant, chocolate-starved grouch with the charm and appeal of a cold wet towel: no one wants to touch it.

If I spend my moolah, I also need to make a limit. No more than 200 euros because I honestly don't need to buy so much crap. Clothes, however, are my dire need.

I've discovered, with a bit of frustration, that the only clothes that manage to fit my body in France are dresses. That is fine by me because I am a girly-girl at heart, but I would like to wear something that offers my legs some proper protection from the cold!

The downside is that I am still having a difficult time finding the right pair of jeans in France. I went to several stores and tried on some jeans that were clearly designed with the notion that women are creatures with no thighs, boobs, or butts, roughly a pre-pubescent girl.

The way my body is formed, for me to fit my thighs and lower abdomen into a pair of French jeans is equivalent to testing out to see if a snowflake stands a chance of not melting in Hell.

Still, I try them on. I figured that it was at least worth a shot, right?

I slip one leg into the denim tube and then the other. I do an all-too-familiar clothing ritual of dancing as I yank and twist the blue restraints upwards on my frame. I keep yanking and yanking. My upper thighs and bottom become ensnared by the top that gapes open across my body.

It felt as if I were being eaten by a snake that had unhinged its jaw and discovered far too late that its prey was simply too large for it to consume.

My thighs, abdomen and butt will never fit into French jeans. Even the soldes posters mock my demise:

After consulting with some adult French friends, they recommended that I try shopping at stores that feature clothing that were designed and cut with women in mind. Perhaps I shall continue my quest for pants after I lose a few more kilos...

Still, I've more than made up for this annoyance. I already took advantage and bought a dress that I had been eyeballing since the month of November. Yes, since November. I'm not kidding about this.

Every time I walked down Rue de la Liberté, I made a beeline to Manoukian to drool in front of the window display and stare longingly for a few minutes. Then, as a way to snap myself back to reality, I would look down at its hefty price tag: 149 Euros. Yes, it's a pretty dress, but not a very practical one, ma chérie. You have no where to wear it and you would have to break your account to afford it, I reasoned with myself.

Then, while on my Christmas trip in the South of France, I went to a mall and saw the same dress. I cracked and decided that I should at least try it on. I mean, what's the harm in just trying it on, right? Ha. Ha, ha. I only got the desperate urge to buy it!

Thankfully, my friends Mimi, Sophie and Alain advised me that it would be better to wait for les soldes. I'm glad that I listened to them because when I went to Manoukian last week, the dress was half-priced! From 149 Euros, the dress went down to 74, 50! ZOMG!!! The downside is that I was only able to find it in a smaller size from what I had tried on and what currently am.

It almost fits me, but the zipper doesn't quite close all the way on the back. Rather than disappointedly putting it back on the shelf, I took the risk and bought it. Consider it my thinspiration motivation to burn off those pesky 14 kilos that remain steadfastedly on my frame.

I also found two other dresses that were just miracles.

This one, I bought in Paris on Saturday from the store Mango. It was also 50% off and a Medium! Rather, in France, it is a Large whereas in the States it is a Medium.

Just let that sink in for a moment: what is a Medium in the States IS A LARGE in Croissant-and-Baguetteland. No wonder I feel like a beached whale next to the slim and elegant Françaises who can wear jeans.

And this dress came as a bit of a surprise to me. Before trying it on, I glanced at its price and size tags. 50% off and French size 40. "I'll never fit into that," I thought.

Still, I decided to give it a shot. AND IT FIT ME.

IT ACTUALLY FIT ME! This just had to be a fluke...there is no way I am a French size 40!

For those who are not in the know, a French size 40 is roughly an American size 8 or a UK size 12 (according to my English friends).

As a minor update on my Shakira-hotness goal, I am glad to report that I've nearly burned off the 2 kilos I gained during the month of December.

I remain nevertheless quite impatient to finally surpass the 20-kilos loss that I had back in November and despite all the walking and healthy eating I've been doing, the number has not dramatically shifted. I do, however, notice some subtle changes on my body. My tummy seems flatter. Fingers run across the base of my neck and feel the collarbone bumps underneath. Those same fingers are slowly leaving bony imprints on the backs of my hands. The outline on my face becomes more defined with each passing day.

Even though the number on the scale doesn't budge, it is obvious that something clearly works!

Today, bought a coat at H&M that cost me 34.97 Euros. The three dresses cost 74.50, 29.95 and 19.95. So far, the total is 159.37; I still have 40.63 Euros left to spend from my set limit! That could go to another dress (or two). Vivent les soldes!

By the way, here is some Parisien eye candy from Saturday's trip.

Yes, that is indeed the size 40 dress on me. Aww yeaaaaah...

Barb the French Bean

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Alien That Got Away

Inspired by a true story (no aliens included).

Hanny the coffee bean