Monday, April 21, 2008

The "L" Word

Saturday was another big day… B and I finally said “I love you” to each other.

B’s mother was in town for the day so he left my place around 8:30am to pick her up from the train station. They spent the afternoon together and he came back to my place around 7pm after dropping her off. It happened to be one of those rare warm and sunny days in Paris (this so-called spring weather is ridiculous!) so we planned to go bike riding. Naturally, all the Velib bikes were taken (the second the sun comes out of hiding, every Parisian in the city decides they want to go bike riding so unless you get to a Velib station by sunrise, there are never any bikes left) so we decided to go to a little cafĂ© on Canal Saint Martin that B knew about where we could watch the sunset. We got there and, of course, all the outside seats were taken (gotta love Paris!). There was a supermarket next door so B suggested we grab some food and have a picnic along the canal—there were tons of people sitting along the edge of the canal drinking beers with their friends (totally illegal, but then this is France, the police don’t care). So we picked up a baguette, some saucisson, a bag of chips, a few beers and some cookies and found a spot along the canal to spread out and watch the sunset. It was lovely.

On the way home, we decided to stop by a little Irish pub called The Cork and Cavan and have another round. We hung out there for a few hours, chatting about lots of random stuff—from religion to football to Henry VIII—and at one point we were just making googly eyes at each other. He smiled and said, “What are you thinking?” Now, he always asks me what I’m thinking, and if it happens to be about him, I just laugh and say “Nothing” and he eventually lets it go. But this time, he wouldn’t let it go. He was like, “Whisper it to me” and we were whispering silly things back and forth to each other and then suddenly he whispers, “I love you”. WOW.

I said it back and he just kissed me all over my face, repeating “I love you” over and over again. It was so completely out of the blue and so HUGE, but oddly, really easy to say. Now to hear him call me “my love”… it’s just so exciting and weird!

It’s funny, because as close as my mom and I are, we never really had that kind of relationship where we said “I love you” to each other every day. Except if I was going off to college or moving Paris or something, we aren’t the type to say “I love you” at every parting. Plus, I’ve never loved a man before (except for those silly little crushes I was prone to every once in a while where I thought I was in love… but let’s just forget all about that shall we) so it’s totally new for me (and for him) but its really nice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Training Day

I remember my mom talking to me about the quirky little things that men do and how there are certain instances where you just have to bite your tongue and look the other way. I had no idea what she meant… honestly I couldn’t imagine any situation where I wouldn’t tell a man exactly how I felt—and if he got pissed that was his business, he could just fu*k off. And I’d be damned if I would close my eyes to something as insane as infidelity. But for the first time, I’ve finally understood what she was talking about. It’s not about being a stupid woman, it’s the little, inconsequential things that men do that may annoy, but since it isn’t really hurting anyone, a girl should probably just let it go.

Case in point:
On Sunday night, after cooking a dinner of spaghetti bolognaise for B and I (I’ve been doing a lot of this cooking thing lately, who would have thought!), we paused The Sopranos DVD to make some hot chocolate. The two mugs that I own were dirty (as were all the dishes and pots from our dinner) so B said he would do the dishes while I heated the milk. So I’m minding my own business, preparing the hot chocolate and what do I see out of the corner of my eye? B washing the dishes… WITHOUT ANY SOAP! I mean really! What’s the point?! How does a person think its OK to wash dishes without soap?! Are they supposed to be clean? Is someone supposed to drink out of that glass afterwards?

But I was thinking of what my mom said: When a man tries to do something nice and gets criticized for it by his wife/girlfriend, he has no desire to ever do it again. So if I told him he was doing it wrong, that I’d just do the dishes myself, he may get annoyed and never take it upon himself to wash my dishes again. And Lord knows I hate to do dishes but I hate to see dishes left in the sink … a bit of a catch-22, someone’s got to do it… aka B.

Let me tell you, it took every ounce of strength I had to not snatch the sponge out of his hand and do the dishes myself. I love the guy but it was dawning on me that every time B washed my dishes they were probably never totally clean! Finally, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, I just gave a little chuckle as I stirred in the chocolate. B turned to me and said, “What?” And I put on a big smile and breezily said, “Oh nothing… it’s just funny that you’re not using any soap”. Thankfully, he didn’t hear the strain in my voice. He just laughed saying, “Strange, I thought there was soap on the sponge already” and added more soap.

I had to do it. I would just end up having to rewash the dishes later, and from every moment thereafter, and then what would be the point? And in my defense, I completely ignored the fact that he didn’t rinse the dishes completely and there was still a bit of soap on them when he put them in the rack to dry. Hey, you pick your battles, right?

So. I’ve learned that the training process with men is also important and can be utilized in just this type of scenario. And as long as you’re not really criticizing but kind of masking your frustration as trait you find cute/endearing/funny, they’ll never even notice that you’re being an anal-retentive freak :o)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

An Expat Wedding

On Saturday afternoon, March 29th, my Brazilian friend Christiane married her Frenchie in a civil ceremony in Paris. They got married at the Mairie (Town Hall) in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris which was absolutely lovely (the rule is you have to get married in the Town Hall of your district and apparently some of them are pretty sh*tty) so they lucked out. They have the wildest love story: they met on a beach in Rio about 2 years ago when he was on vacation with his friends. A year later she went to Paris for vacation and decided to give him a call (they hadn’t spoken much throughout the past year). They spent 2 weeks together last March which was enough to convince her to move to Paris in September to give it a shot. By December they were engaged. Technically they got married now so she could live in France legally, but obviously it’s much deeper than that. If I didn’t see them with my own eyes I would give them about 6 months, tops. But they have this relationship that you can’t help but believe in the commitment and sincerity of. You can really see how happy and in love they are and even thinking of an “appropriate length of time” seems silly.

So around 9pm that night B and I went out to Enghiens Les Bains, a wealthy suburb about 15 mins outside of Paris, to the groom’s parents’ house for the wedding party. We spent the next 3 hours eating sushi, chatting with the other guests, dancing to the music on their iTunes playlist and getting drunk on champagne, then left around midnight to catch the last train back to the city. And with the weather finally deciding to cooperate, it was a fantastic day.

This Wednesday is me & B's 6 month anniversary… every month I’m shocked that we’ve arrived at this point. I mean, me? In a serious relationship?! Absurd. We go to sleep together and wake up together nearly every day now, and I still feel as though I can’t get enough of him—I miss seeing his face when he’s not around and it feels weird sleeping alone. It’s so strange because I’m the type who ALWAYS gets tired of people if they’re around too often, even if it’s my best friend… I think it’s only child syndrome. But with B, oddly, it’s different. On the one hand, we have our separate lives and I go out with my friends and have a good time without him and I love that. But on the other hand, if he’s away for a weekend, sometimes I prefer to just stay home watching Rob & Big reruns than go out and party—and yall know me, that’s just unheard of! I don’t know what will happen at the end of my Parisian run, we don’t like to talk about it, rather just enjoy the moment. But if at the end of the summer I only get to package the memories into a nice little box to take home with me, I’ll still be happy that it happened.