Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tribute to an Early Monday Morning in Mustard-Town

Chère Dijon:

I sit this morning on my bed and feel quite numb. I am still trying to come to terms with the reality that I will have to leave you once again in a matter of days. I begin my task of sorting documents with half-hearted interest, deciding which papers are far too important to simply cast aside in a recycling bin.

The original copy of my work contract? Keep it.

Pay stubs? Keep them.

Older editions of newspapers that caught my interest? Place one in the pile, toss the others on the floor. The floor shall be my temporary garbage can.

I open some folders that have holding more documents hostage. I know that they have to be emptied. I come across my OFII and MGEN papers. I need to sort those as well.

Keep. Keep. Toss. Keep. Toss. Toss. Toss.

I soon have five piles of paper resting on my bed. Original documents, pay stubs, CAF, OFII/MGEN and second thoughts.

Second thoughts? Why would I need to give trash a second thought?

Why can't I just throw away the violet Teaching Assistant handbook that was given to me back in October? What about the letter that joyfully welcomed me to a new job? Train tickets and city maps that remind me of all the places I've been to? The stubs to the shows and events that I've attended?

In some manner, I just feel that it is unfair to throw those away. Perhaps its some desperate way for me to deny that the past is behind me and that's how it should be. Perhaps I just wish to live a little longer in my sheltered reverie of being an independant young woman in France. Perhaps I just can't come to grips with the fact that I really am going to leave...

In my messy room, I try to repress angry thoughts of packing two years' worth of belongings into one suitcase. My scarves, my dresses, my shoes, my music, my books...

My books! What will become of them? I cannot possibly take them all with me. They alone weigh 17,8 kilos. That's 39 pounds. I'll have to leave some behind. I can't go on with them. This is starting to resemble more like a shipwreck than a move. I won't have enough weight left in my suitcase to bring back a couple of bottles of wine or chocolate.

I feel a sudden sting burn in the back of my eyes and my throat starts to dry out. I've experienced this before.

No. I refuse to cry. I can't cave in now. I can't start crying now.

I need a brief distraction. I gaze out my window and just stare at your lovely blue skies and feel a crisp breeze seep into my home. The sunlight kisses each emerald leaf on the cherry tree and I see its crimson fruit dotting the steady branches. It just stuns me to think that just a few months before, there was a blanket of freshly-fallen snow covering this tree's naked frame. The view from my window has altered so much within two years. The insouciant chirp of a bird echoes in the silence. Summer will soon be here.

Dijon, for the past two years, you welcomed me and tolerated the burgeoning French wannabe that I am at heart.

Thanks to you, I have had a taste of what an idealized adult-life should be. I had a job teaching some rowdy good-humored teenagers and worked alongside some of the most wonderful and kind-hearted teachers. I've met the most amazing group of teaching assistants that Burgundy has possibly ever had. The friends I've made...

I did not wish to say good-bye to any of them, nor do I wish to bid you farewell.

"Don't worry. You'll be back eventually. You are meant to be here," so said my friend Florence.

A part of me truly believes her. That gut-feeling part.

Dijon, je t'aime. The distance can't diminish the fervent love I have for you. I'll eventually come back to you.

But, right now, I need to keep sorting my documents. Toss, keep, keep, toss, keep.

Barb the French Bean

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I can't bring myself to saying it, I am still in shock as to what I got myself into. It happened rather quick and unexpectedly. Since last Wednesday, I became someones girlfriend.

That's right, I said G-I-R-L-F-R-I-E-N-D. The very word I have to spell out because I am still in shock that I now have that title.

Anyone in my position would feel happy to be in such a great relationship, but for some odd reason, I am having trouble accepting it. Sure, I was hoping for the day we would be "official," but the very word boyfriend sounds weird to me.

Perhaps, it is the fact that I have been single for about a year now or maybe because it feels "too good to be true."

Maybe it's because it is just recent or most likely it could be the fact that I had gotten so used to bashing my ex-boyfriend, crushing on random boobahs, or getting hit on by a creeper. Either way, I still can't bring myself to saying the damned word without stuttering.

Hopefully with time, it will get better.

Hanny the coffee bean

Monday, May 16, 2011

Broke-Ass Broke

Okay. What's the last thing that you should be doing when you are broke-ass broke? Spend what little money you have left in your dirty clutches.

Yeah, well screw that. I'm a strong believer that the world should be explored when you are young-ish and carefree, so that is why this broke-ass broke girl is currently blogging from Murcia, Spain. I needed a real vacation before my eventual return to Miami.

Of course, my mean of transportation involved a 20-hour bus ride from Dijon, France to Alicante, Spain. Perhaps hitch hiking shall be my next endeavour into broke-ass broke travelling. Meanwhile, I'm going to see if I can catch some rays and eat some more chicken paëlla, because that stuff is just AWESOME.

Barb el frijol frances

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's Get Physical...

Forever in my dutiful quest to finally obtain Shakira-hotness shed those pesky and stagnant 30-something pounds off my frame, I decided to engage in something that I have despised since I was an obese 8 year-old in P.E. class: running.

I can't express how much I hate running. I loathe it. I abhor it. Running brings back not-so-fond memories of how I was always mocked for being the last one finishing a lap, huffing and puffing in a pathetic fashion. If running were a person, I would rejoice when it kicked the bucket and I would immediately rush over to the cemetery to dance on its grave.

If I were given the choice to walk for 4 hours or just run continuously for 30 minutes straight, I would choose the walking in a heartbeat. Not only would I burn off more calories, I would be neither out of breath nor as exhausted at the end.

And yet running for 30 minutes straight is exactly what I am striving to achieve.

I recently came across something called the "Couch to 5K" program and decided that a lazy bum such as myself should give it a shot. However, before I immersed myself with progressively getting in touch with my inner Usain Bolt, I deemed it absolutely crucial to purchase a pair of exercise earbuds and download a few Glee song re-makes into my MP3.

(Yes. Thanks to France's W9 channel, I have finally caved in and become a bonafide Gleek and in French, no less. Am I the only one with a crush on Artie?)

So, I dug out some exercise clothes. With my navy blue jacket and exercise pants, I looked as if I were sporting a cheap version of the Marseillais-style of Adidas track suits and Nike running shoes. All I needed was some obscure American baseball team cap and an Olympique Marseille scarf to complete the look.

Week One of the program is the starter phase in which for the first 3 days, I would alternate between running for 60 seconds and then walking briskly for 90 seconds. I naively thought that it would be a piece of cake. Not a literal piece because, obviously, that would be counterproductive to my goals.

In this first week, I've already encountered uncooperative technology...

...extraneous noises...

...and, naturally, the actual arduous task of training my woefully unfit body.

To think that was only the first week. Here's hoping that week 2 will be better for me!

Barb the French Bean

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Story of a Striped Skirt

Once upon a time, based on a true story and as adapted from real life, a woman in her early twenties spotted a multi-colored striped skirt in her favorite store.

From the moment she laid eyes on it, she was immediately enraptured by its bold and stark design.

It was a true coup de coeur, this striped skirt, the kind that rendered the young woman into a state of hypnotized euphoria. Combined with its fairly reasonable price and the fact that it was only one left of its kind, the striped skirt was bought in a heartbeat.

However, things were not 100% pleasant between the two. There were a couple of hitches with this potentially budding relationship, specifically the young woman's lower paunch and jumbo thighs. Truth be told, the skirt looked rather unflattering as its intended function. It fit far too tightly around the young woman's mid-section and gave the impression that she was a tightly-strung ham trying far too hard to look hot.

The young woman was crafty enough to sport the garment as a top.

Yet she was not ready to give up on the skirt. In order to make the relationship work, drastic changes had to be made.

One month later, the young woman left for France. In this country, her daily habits dramatically changed by incorporating more exercise and consuming less and healthier food. Though it was not evident to her on a daily basis, her body was certainly making a turn for the better...even if the number on the scale stalled for nearly 3 months.

Several months later, on a warm and sunny spring day, the young woman searched around her closet for something to wear.

All of a sudden, for some inexplicable reason, the skirt called out to her.

So they had. So they had indeed.

Exuberant with the discovery, the young woman ventured out into the French city with her trademark cherry red lipstick and black heels.

At the bus stop, a gallant young man drove up next to her and shouted a cheerful "bonjour!"

"This is new," thought the young woman. "I normally don't draw any attention like this." With slight apprehension, the young woman granted the young man a bonjour and hoped that he would leave her be.

"How are you doing?" he asked, flashing a hungry smile. The young woman suddenly had the impression that the gallant man wasn't really so gallant after all. There was an unbecoming gleam in his eyes and he looked like he would start salivating in a few seconds. Perhaps she had been fooled and the skirt still made her look like a ham after all...

"I'm fine. Au revoir."

"Rôôôô, allez, come on and talk to me. You are a really pretty woman!"

The young woman stared in silence. He probably thinks that I'm a prostitute. I hardly can blame him.

"Au revoir," she repeated with command.

"Are you French?"


"Oh, all right. I promise I'll leave you soon. What are your origins?"

"I am American."

"Oh, yeaaaaaaah," shouted the impressed young man with a mock American pronunciation.

"And now you will leave. Au revoir."

Barb the French Bean

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Early Mumsy Day and Hello Tissue Box

As everyone might be aware, Prince William got married! This has taken quite a toll on me.

To believe that my beloved future (not so future anymore) husband got married to another woman, is causing me to have some very odd withdrawals and eating habits.

This is the one crush I've had since high school. Of course, he had hair back then and he was thinner back then, but he still has the same face...

(Not Prince William...Obviously)

Either way, when I saw him standing next to the bitch who stole my man, I cried...and...cried.

I shouldn't have cried so much seeing as I didn't have my tissue box around...crap I should have been prepared, but am I ever?

Which brings me to my next issue.

I need a mother's day present! I have no idea what to get my mother, I mean she's not the jewelry type and her eye sight is so bad she can't read books anymore (at least not with tiny font). In the past I have given her with spa certificates, creams, cards, dinner, ipod, purses, gift cards, and sweets.

Why are women so hard to shop for? I rather buy someone a pS3 or a nice watch from fossil rather than to figure out what to buy my mother. Usually, she will tell me not to get her anything, but for her hard efforts and for giving birth to me, it is my mission to always get her something.

I even tried to put myself in the place of my mother and as a result, I come to realize that if I were a mother myself, I would like to get a ps3 or whatever system is out when I am a mother. If the child happens to be young and jobless, then I would probably want my child to kick and scream to daddy that he/she wants to go to Hawaii (taking me along...of course).

So of course my mindset is not helping me find the best gift for my mother...

If anyone has any ideas, help?

Hanny the coffee bean