Panorama of San Bernardino

Sunday, May 19, 2019


“Oh California, I'm coming home.  Oh make me feel good rock n' roll band.  California, I'm your biggest fan.  California, I'm coming home."  California by Joni Mitchell 

I am home and it feels good.

In the morning, I walked the dogs and got the mail. Eyes squinting, I marveled at the blue sky and palm trees. I watched television with my feet up (Game of Thrones) and told my mother in law about our trip. I called my best friends and sorted clothes and souvenirs. In the evening, stomach rumbling, I went to get fast food for dinner and went to bed at 8 pm with a sore throat. Snuggling into the warmth of my dogs and my (unfortunately) sick and coughing husband in our own bed, I sighed in contentment.

I awoke to my husband watching the Barcelona soccer game. “Can you make bacon and eggs?” he said in a gravely voice, eyes watery from his cold. “Of course,” I said and put bacon in the defroster and grabbed the last three eggs from the fridge. As I cooked, I made a grocery list and waved him away when he tried to watch me cook.

In short, I was home.

It felt surreal and real. The spoiled shih tzus whined. I fed them and gave them medicine and walked them. The sky was grey. It was drizzling and it reminded me of our first day in France.

Maybe, I thought, beauty is everywhere and in everything. Especially, here at home.

Monday, May 13, 2019

An IE Girl in Paris part deux

We’re here. In Paris. Adrian is sleeping while I write this. I can hear the traffic beginning outside, but because it is six am, the city is still sleeping and is quiet.

The Eiffel Tower is outside our window. Literally. We are staying at the Pullman, an English hotel. I chose it for the view.

We checked in yesterday after a whirlwind of a trip with my first cousin Pascale and her son Xavier. They treated us so well. We stayed with them in a small town called Quincampoix. They picked us up from the airport on Friday and it was a two hour drive back to their beautiful home in the countryside where we drank wine and ate cheese while getting acquainted.

On Saturday, they took us sightseeing in the stunning medieval town of Roune (where Joan of Arc burned). We saw the Notre Dame Roune (a smaller version in their city) and the gothic law court building.

The next day (Sunday), we went to the beach town of Dieppe. It was so picturesque that words won’t do it justice. That night, Pascale and I had a nice talk and connected both as family and friends. She felt less like a cousin, and more like a sister.

Yesterday, after a fond farewell, Pascale and Xavier drove us to the train station in Roune. It didn’t start out auspiciously. The tickets machines were all broken so we had to stammer through broken French to try and buy tickets from the conductor who, it turned out, spoke English. We barely made the noon train and sat on the steps of the train rather than dragging our luggage to look for a seat. About thirty minutes in, the conductor came by and directed us to leave our luggage and took us to seats. The train was more Bart like than train like, but after a little more than an hour, we were in Paris.

We found a taxi and zipped through the Parisian streets. The traffic was like New York on steroids. When I saw the Eiffel Tower, I lost it. Completely overwhelmed I looked at Adrian and with tears in my eyes said, “I can’t believe we’re here.”

What I really meant was (to quote the Talking Heads), how did I get here? As a young girl, I used to dream that one day I would travel to different countries, but I always thought it was just a dream. And to be here, in the city of love and sophistication is unbelievable. But believable too. And I know that I am privileged to be here.

Yet, I still have to be myself too, so sophistication aside, today I will be wearing my Ramones shirt and I am going to walk Paris and remember I’m still me.

JEM is in Paris!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

An IE Girl in Paris

We did it. My husband and I got on a plane and flew to France. It wasn’t easy. My husband had to close his dental office. I had to take a week off and make arrangements for my mom to stay with my 85 year old mother in law Orieta that we care take for. I had to set out my dogs’ medicines and a list of numbers. I made up the guest room for my mom and our master bedroom for my nephew who might visit while we’re gone. It seemed insurmountable at first. I literally screamed while packing, frustrated that I couldn’t fit my boots in the suitcase. 
But, it finally all came together. We flew ten hours and arrived at Charles De Gaulle at 8 am. I didn’t sleep on the plane. Instead, I watched a movie with Julia Roberts about a family struggling with addiction, a BBC David Bowie documentary, and then a Joan Jett documentary called “Bad Reputation.
My first cousin Pascale, along with her son Xavier, picked us up at the airport. They live in a beautiful and quaint town called Quincampoix. It took about two hours to get there. We drove on highways, and then on small country roads, passing the lush green countrysides of France. We drove through many small towns with cute fairy like houses. It felt surreal. 
Still on fumes from no sleep, I managed to stay awake. We spent last night drinking wine and munching on bread and cheese. We talked about our fathers and families. And marveled that we’re together in France. I never knew Pascale’s father, my uncle. He died a few years before I was born. I kept thinking how happy my father would be to know I’m here.
The town is lovely. There is a wonderful Parisian bakery, a gorgeous church, a small little library and a cemetery. I know it’s a cliche to say as a goth girl, but I love cemeteries. Their headstones are different, longer, all marble and ornate. 
This morning, we got up early (it’s 9 am now) and walked to the bakery. We bought croissants. They melted in the mouth. 
I felt alive as I walked in the drizzle. The sky was grey. My mood was not. I felt alive. In love. And happy. This American girl is in France and on Monday, we are taking a train to Paris.
Life is fucking beautiful.