Random Wa/o/nder, part IV

Throwback Thursday: Carcassonne, France

Sometimes, the destination doesn’t get all the deserved attention, because something more important is happening during the trip. When it involves Jack White, I’m not even apologizing.

Continue reading “Random Wa/o/nder, part IV”

Random Wa/o/nder, part III

Throwback Thursday: Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled is, for me, the perfect example of how wonder can loose its wonder for our minds and eyes. Sometimes, we get so used to the sight, we barely like it anymore.

Continue reading “Random Wa/o/nder, part III”

Kings and vagabonds

Thursday Doors: Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Perhaps there never was a monument more characteristic of an age and people than the Alhambra; a rugged fortress without, a voluptuous palace within; war frowning from its battlements; poetry breathing throughout the fairy architecture of its halls.

Washington Irving, Tales of Alhambra

Continue reading “Kings and vagabonds”

Putting the puzzle back together

Finally, after two years of almost nothing, I went to a real concert.* Pretty much right after the first couple of seconds, I felt like I was coming back from the dead. Those dimmed lights, the smell of beer, the warmth of a crowd and then the groove that can only really be experienced live. Soon after the head, my shoulders, hips and feet followed and started a timid move from one side to the other. Yes, this is what being alive is, among so many other wonderful things. And it makes me feel so lucky …

Continue reading “Putting the puzzle back together”

Traveling light, but not quite

reflections after my journey to Spain, march 2022

It’s difficult being an emotional kind of a person. Not just in relationships, especially with people who counter you with their rationality as if it’s the truth. (Hint: it isn’t, not the whole truth, anyway.) It’s just as hard when it means carrying everything you feel with you, no matter where you go, no matter how far from your life you try to escape, and no matter if the only person you have to deal with is yourself.

And there is nothing like solo-travel to make you realize and face your greatest weaknesses and the heaviest burdens. But luckily also your strengths and the joys when you can try to feel them, little patches of hope that spark here and there.

Continue reading “Traveling light, but not quite”

Music to wake up to

I’m not a morning person. Ask anyone who knows me. Still, that only means I find it extremely difficult to wake up early on a normal day. I do absolutely love mornings, though. Give me a cup of coffee in time and there will probably be no grumpiness at all (lesson well learnt by people close to me, luckily).

But, I largely prefer easy solitary mornings. It is my moment to slowly get my brain to functioning mode, my spirit down to Earth, and to give my heart at least the minimum of strength to bear the world – by not dealing with it right away. Which is why I thank the universe for my current freelance status and no rush to get to the office !

Continue reading “Music to wake up to”

Winter joys, part II

Throwback Thursday: Piran & Portorož, Slovenia.

People and places do have something in common. Some you never get tired of visiting. When the two come together during the last days of 2021 at the tiny Slovenian coast with your sister, it almost makes you believe last year wasn’t so bad after all.

Honestly, a part of me still believes that, looking back now …

“We believed everything was going to be beautiful and now we know it won’t.”

I hesitated a lot before publishing this for fear of being misunderstood, but here it is. Please, bear with me. The pain is real.

Continue reading ““We believed everything was going to be beautiful and now we know it won’t.””

My go-to anti-anxiety songs

In future, I’ll try to make this blog my happy place (again?), not in a “good vibes only” style, but as a collection of moments of being that make life worth while. And music always is my happy place, so why not start there… Not just with the typical feel-good melodies, no, there are songs that work like magic (even sometimes is good enough, I’m not even aiming for always here) in those midnight moments of heavy breathing, heart beating out of rhythm and mind swirling out of control. Those save lives.

So, I’m sharing my top choices of the moment.

Continue reading “My go-to anti-anxiety songs”

Narbonne.

It’s been three years of going back and forth between my two homes in Slovenia and France, not doing any kind of other real travel. And it’s been a year since I moved to the beautiful and warm South of France I once dreamed of. A difficult year, considering half of it was in confinement and the other half spent calculating all my expenses. So, here I am, trying to satisfy myself with crumbs, little day trips in the region, even though the borders are finally open.

Continue reading “Narbonne.”

I (almost) forgot

I almost forgot the warmth of the September sun, its gentle rays that stopped burning our skin some time after the last heat wave (now, I’m sitting here, sunbathing with the usual lateness, offering up my outside to its caress).

Continue reading “I (almost) forgot”

… this happy white woman who is constantly shoved under our noses, this woman we are all supposed to work hard to resemble – never mind that she seems to be running herself ragged for not much reward – I for one have never met her, not anywhere. My hunch is that she doesn’t exist.

Virginie Despentes, King Kong Theory

Music I gratefully discovered in Paris, part X

Yes, I’m not lying, I discovered these while still living in Paris, I’m just showing them a little late… (insert angel emoji)

Yseult: One comment on youtube says she is French Lizzo. I love them both and would gladly attribute such awesomeness to this French lady, but I must say I find her too different to actually say that myself, her voice, the way she sings, the open dark note to most of the songs… Anyway, decide for yourselves. I will always appreciate an urban take on la chanson française, to whichever side of the spectrum she takes it. I discovered her with the song below, right now though I’m all into Corps and 5H (hint to the song of the week widget on my blog).

la réalité me rattrape au réveil je suis dans tous mes états il n’y a pas de place pour les regrets

Hollydays: This one song was on repeat after I left Paris, actually, altough it is not new. It’s just so soothing. Like, you can dance, but you can also just lay down on the couch and do nothing but listen.

tu peux peux tu peux éteindre la lumière

Bagarre: These guys are something. I remember reading an article about them with all those superlatives on how different they are, in their sound, but also in their approach to pretty much everything, it almost made me not listen to them, because, you know, when reactions are exaggerated, they often lose me. I still did, I’ve come to trust the label they’re at for unique acts and their name means fight in French, so … ok  …  Anyway, they still intrigue me and they wrote a couple of songs I could sometimes (more often than I would admit) decorate with the #currentmood hashtag. I never saw them live, so here’s to one more reason to go back to Paris. For more, just listen. And, bye bye!

au revoir à toi la fin du monde au revoir à toi la fin du mois

I’ve just finished watching the French pop show on Netflix which I never should have watched…. bad idea, Ivona, bad idea. It’s happening in Paris of course and too many scenes take place near my old home. So, for reasons totally obscure I now love this song, joining the second one above for to dance or not to dance dilemma.

The title is lying now and don’t care. (insert devil emoji)

Ptuj.

The hopes will gather

Like kids around

A pot of stew.

Ilija Trojanow, Straddle

I think I found one way to live in an ideal world for a few days.

It was my first time being in the backstage of a festival ever, at the end of August in a charming little Slovenian town. I only had a distant childhood memory of this medieval cuteness called Ptuj and it didn’t fail the reality of its completely not pretentious, but will-win-you-over streets. And when most of them are devoted to poetry and wine, well, what else do you want? Continue reading “Ptuj.”

One has a moral obligation to take responsibility for one’s actions, and that includes one’s words and silences, yes, one’s silences, because silences rise to heaven too, and God hears them, and only God understands and judges them, so one must be very careful with one’s silences.

Roberto Bolaño, By Night in Chile

The whole rainbow of grey

Saint Malo.

If it was my last trip in France this year, it sure was the best possible. (I do still hope for another week or two of what would be the first actual holidays after a while in this country – there are at least some perks to not living there.) Not just that the walks were simply magnificient, it reminded even more than Strasbourg a few weeks before what a difference a couple of days of escape can make, just 48 little hours, the sun and the flowers… all that. Continue reading “The whole rainbow of grey”

This isn’t goodbye.

So, it’s done. I left Paris. After four and a half years of hell and wonderfulness combined (hint to the postcard below) and two weeks of intense stress. A few days ago I moved back home, sort of, at least for this year. I say sort of because I still don’t feel that way in my own head, although everyone around me seem to be certain of it. And I moved for the funniest of reasons if you know me, me who never in her life made a decent career decision. For a job. (Yeah I know not funny, probably another purely internal thing.) Maybe, that is why it’s one of the hardest heartbreaks, too, the hardest decision I ever took because it’s the first with actual consequences I have to bear. Some sort of sacrifice I had to rationally convince myself into. It hurt so fucking much I really doubt I made the right choice and miss my old what-is-a-career-anyway me. I need to remind myself of why I took this job and why all the old ones were (partly) wrong, often transforming me into a brain-dead zombie. I don’t really care about all that now, though. I can only miss. Till now, I didn’t know grieving over a place is just as hard as over people. You’d say, like everyone around me, ”But Paris is still there, a two-hour flight away, you can go whenever you want!”. But I think that what I’m grieving is far more complex and not repairable with just a vacation. It’s the life I built, the relationship to a home I finally found and then tore myself from. I know it wasn’t perfect and that I’ve been preparing for this for a while, yet it still doesn’t make it easy. I’ll live, I’ll give this a try, because maybe I have to give myself a real try, and then maybe France will have me back soon. Now, just give me some time to digest everything.

Leaving Paris is never easy. Sadness shows you it meant something, that every bit of it was worth it.

Saint Malo.

Is it a consolation to feel there are so many places in this world where you could easily live, even though you know quite well you never will? The consolation in seeing the richness of this world, I guess, feeling like home is a moving concept, even for those of us who aren’t constantly moving. Why so many of those seem to be in France for me?

First, I fell in love with Paris, of course, then came its Mediterranean coast, but in the last three years I’ve discovered a whole new territory on the Atlantic. Normandy is my regular getaway, La Rochelle was a sweet haven, and now there is Bretagne. Maybe, it’s the magic of the tide that has something to do with it : so weird for an Adriatic girl like me to see an island in the morning and walk to it in the afternoon, the subtle danger it implies. Or the wind, stronger here, so much every thought flies right out of your head, and even reading seems impressively challenging. If the delicious galettes de blé noir and cider weren’t enough, perhaps I could be fed by those views, the long promenades and hidden beaches, the nature whose character is somewhat rebellious and wild here, in a heavier sense than in the South (it suits the drama queen part of me).

So, the old town itself was the last thing I did here, although I appreciated its streets immensely, because the surroundings were calling loudly. I’m not sure I broke my record of kilometres walked per day, but I think I came quite close the first day. Aren’t those the best – lovely little towns, beautiful in themselves, where there is an awesome walk waiting for you, no matter the direction you choose, or almost? That’s where I would want to live.

To another life, perhaps.

Blue is the colour.

Saint Malo.

Looking through photos of my recent trip (first and definitely not last!) to Bretagne, I realized those of blue doors were among my favourites. First, I wondered why, then I remembered blue is the colour of the sea and of the sky. And that is exactly the sight I was looking for on my short escapade to another French region I can now be in love with, for love at first sight it was.

Ce toit tranquille, où marchent des colombes,
Entre les pins palpite, entre les tombes ;
Midi le juste y compose de feux
La mer, la mer, toujours recommencée !
O récompense après une pensée
Qu’un long regard sur le calme des dieux !

This quiet roof, where dove-sails saunter by,
Between the pines, the tombs, throbs visibly.
Impartial noon patterns the sea in flame —
That sea forever starting and re-starting.
When thought has had its hour, oh how rewarding
Are the long vistas of celestial calm!

Paul Valery, Le cimetière marin (The Graveyard By The Sea)*

 

*Not this one, but a writer was born and has a grave by the sea here (a spot all for himself on a little island with the best possible view) that made me think of this poem. (Hint hint to the last door.)

An evening walk in Paris is always a good idea.

For Friendly Friday Challenge, hosted by Snow.

”… and Paris is always right where you left it.” (E. Jong, Fear of Flying)

This is something I should remember, but keep forgetting. And when I do it, one late March late afternoon, motivating myself with a lack of English books on my shelf (I mean those I haven’t read yet), making a familiar circle around Saint Michel, Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts that never fails to take me back to home-like feelings I first experienced when this wasn’t even my home yet – gosh it seems weird it’s now been more than ten years ago – so, when I do it, I’m most gently reminded by these magnificent views in the most beautiful light (which is for my amateur phone camera very hard to translate into photos). And I honestly don’t care a single bit they are a Paris cliché and I end up looking like a tourist again, stopping and admiring them.

Thank you, Snow, for another challenge that allows me to share photos I would otherwise keep for myself … oh and my Instagram I guess 😀

 

Strasbourg.

Flâner. Maybe one of the most important words I’ve ever learned in French. It must have made a lightbulb effect in the moment, the discovery of that territory beyond just marcher or se promener. This floating feeling to it that makes it sound so free – and that’s exactly what it is. The space it leaves in your spirit for it to really roam.

It was in Strasbourg I realized how little I actually do it lately, though, always walking around with a purpose, the modern-day woman that I’m supposed to be. Even when I’m strolling I always do it at least with a bookshop as a destination in mind. But that smoothly clear early Spring day when I left Paris for a day, I wasn’t. And it felt so good. Just walking, even if it’s in circles after a while, until your feet get sore, letting things pop up in your mind and let them go with the next step. Finally feeling the anxiety and the sadness for some really particular reason and let it melt in the joy of wandering. I only once looked at a map and almost immediately closed it because it just messed up my intuitive orientation. The one relying on the high cathedral’s towers and — well those circles I kept on making and which soon started resembling spirals and those eternal 8s, turning into a beautiful flower pattern.

I don’t have the slightest idea what one has to see in this charming but not overwhelmingly beautiful town, but I believe the really important stuff is hard to miss. The cathedral, that is. The absolutely stunningly magnificent one that, as my colleague warned me and I now must sadly agree, is a very serious (winning) competition to Notre-Dame.

The rest was up to the sunlit banks, beer and spätzle. Oh and the friendly dog owners and flirtatious waiters.

 

 

 

Even without fascism, I was dishonest. Even without fascism, I censored myself. I refused to let myself write about what really moved me … Even without fascism, honesty was damned hard to come by. Even without fascism, I had pasted imaginary oak-tag patches over certain areas of my life and steadfastly refused to look at them.

Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

Music I gratefully discovered in Paris, part IX

I need to share some music, before a whole year goes by without it on my blog! So, I’m taking advantage of the recent Victoires de la musique where a few of my favourite discoveries performed and – what would be the newest expression for it – smashed it.

Eddy de Pretto : Probably my last year’s favourite discovery of them all. His music and his lyrics and his videos and his personality and his style couldn’t get more direct and unapologetically him and “poetically violent” as one of the comments says. He has this weird way of making you identify with his lyrics even when your story has so little to do with his. Universality in particularity, isn’t that art?

P.S.: He’s the one writing the song for homophobes, and a song about (toxic) virility.

Angèle : The Belgian girl who wrote the perfect song about Murphy law, then about money and then jealousy and then — happiness, of course. I can’t be bothered by its too evident pop qualities, when at least there is some intelligence in it and the melodies that let you dance to the ironies, or whatever you call it, of life. And then, her brother brings in a new groove and I swing and try to forget – well – everything… except that for me, for now, spleen is still fashionable, damn it.

Camélia Jordana : I’ve known her for a long time, but never shared her music here. With this song, it seems perfect, a beautiful reminder that as much as we like to think of ourselves as enlightened, it’s all just a ridiculous puppet show if we don’t clean up our act and make no exception for our supposed values. There is honestly still a lot I don’t know about French history, or European or in general really, but the first thing we all have to do is educate ourselves. And what I love about music is this ability that shows in the performance below – to remind us just as harshly as any other form of criticism, yet addressing that human part of us we all share.

A Dreamy Road Ahead

Ilha Deserta, Faro.

For Friendly Friday Challenge, hosted by Snow Melts Somewhere.

There are two kinds of dreamy in our lives, aren’t there? The one we can see in our everyday, simple, but meaningful scenes, like that pinkish sky sunset paints for us after a long day at work, almost making us feel grateful we had to stay there till so late, because otherwise we wouldn’t see this view. Beauty is always dreamy for me, even when it grounds me in the present.

And then, there is the other one, the one making us dream about the future, about the open road ahead we might walk someday, even if we already rambled on some of them, even if some of them are circles, bringing us back to where we started. There are still countless possibilities of what might happen in-between the taken steps.

And I need one just as much as the other.

 

 

Revisiting the views

Corsica.

For Friendly Friday Challenge, hosted by Something to Ponder About.

There was a truck driving by the exit door at work today with a huge CORSICA tag on it and yet again I fell back to reminiscing. Must be some kind of a torture device, this vehicle passing our Parisian winter frowns, reminding us of these magnificent open horizons on such a gray day as today. Nah, it’s actually quite pleasant to think some day soon maybe I might go back to this little paradise-like island and revisit its fresh air and pure sea and starry sky. Hell, it’s soothing to revisit all that just in mind, too. To look at some pictures and think about all the good stuff, existing in this world. Do you know I can’t help myself – thinking about food every time I think about this place… It’s an automatic reaction, an associative thought I can’t escape: ”And my oh my we ate so well there!” And that always brings a smile to my face, the grimaces I was making, digging into the refreshing desserts and pizzas with all of my favorite ingredients and grilled aubergine and … ah enough.