Dear fellow Babblers,
It’s been a longgggggg past couple of weeks, let me start off with that kids. I have been from place to place, couch to couch, appointment to appointment, idea to idea. Not to mention I have been without my laptop during this trek, hence my absence from the blogging community. but I’m back and the only reason I am starting my post like this is because I want to let all my fellow babblers out there that I’m back, fully energized and ready to get back in my blogging game! But then I always say that until reality decides to come back around and kick me out again. But until then I thought I just may share my life these past few weeks, what I’ve been reading (this is a book blog after all), as well as where I’ve wandered.
Soon To Be Masters Student
First off, if any of you have been with me on my journey before relocating to France you’ll know all about my crisis: UCLA GRADUATE…. NOW WHAT?!!?!?! This only partially explains my decision to head over to France to get my sh** together. It’s scary, really pretty daunting to not know what the “next step” is. Since graduating 6 months ago I’ve held one publishing internship, said “bye bye” to a guy I thought cared, moved halfway across the world for the time being, began work as a teaching assistant, and have visited just over 10 countries with several still lined up. All this self discovery has kept me busy and kept my mind off of the real question: what am I doing with my life…? I mean, all my wandering, endless dreaming and nightlong ‘book and tea’ marathons has to be met with some sort of balance. Even I, Delphine the Babbler, will admit to that. And this is why a couple months ago I sat my itchy hyney at my kitchen table and got down to filling out apps to master programs. Having applied to four rather competitive schools with really no back up rather than becoming a nomad and wander through the Atlas Mountains for the rest of my life, the waiting time has been just about as hard, if not harder than sitting in the waiting room of a dentist office. Yup, it’s been that horrid. Well kids, here I am to tell y’all that I’ve been so far accepted to two of four: History and Philosophy of Art in Paris and Publishing: Digital and Print Media in New York….
And that goes to the teachers that always asked me “what are you doing with your life?” Yup, enough said there.
So LA Really Was ‘Home’
I went back to LA for 10 days. The place I said I would never return to. Yup, this hypocrite headed back there. It’s only after being in France and many other places in the world that I can really come back to this huge metropolitan mess and say “so this is what it felt to have a home.” I’ve been bouncing around a lot lately, so being able to call a place “home” is sort of a big deal for me. Nowadays, I rarely stay in one spot whether it be within France, within Europe or within the depths of my own imagination.
So getting off the plane at LAX was almost a surreal experience for me. My dad was waiting for me with a bouquet of flowers and although I shrugged it off in the moment as being a melodramatic gesture it really touched me that he remembered how much I loved wildflowers which is exactly what he brought me. That with a heft bottle of coconut water which he correctly recalled as my favorite and sadly quite unpopular in France. The whole ride from LAX to my parent’s home was a great whiff of nostalgia as I sat watching all the drivers at each others necks on the 405, breathed in the warm polluted winter air, remembered what it felt like to hate this city, agreed to everything everyone was saying to me without hearing really anything.
The next ten days went by in a blur as I took on LA as a tourist exploring each and every place that TripAdvisor ‘advises’. But I also wandered a lot through old neighborhoods, allowing myself a chance to reflect on everything it is I left behind. When all is said and done, I’m not sorry to have left this place that I only now could every think of as “home.” Exploring the world like a gypsy, meeting new people and discovering new places, going through transformations I never thought possible, watching myself develop, all of this probably would never have happened, at least not in this way, had it not been for this first step out of “home”.
Wanderings: Cyprus & Israel
Cyprus, not exactly the sort of place that comes to mind when one thinks “travel.” But, I mean, like I said, I’m a gypsy. It runs in my veins to touch every soil on this earth and this also includes tiny islands lost in the Mediterranean. From the southern, unoccupied side of Cyprus and through the Northern, Turkish side of Cyprus I originally believed it was the beaches that I was after. However, as a Cali girl, I’m used to golden sand beaches and upbeat music drumming through my ears. Cyprus is all about quiet, brown dirt, sometimes stone beaches. Still beautiful, but not exactly my cup of tea.
It’s really the northern end that I found myself head over heals for with all it’s mountains, surrounding water, and history. During my six days in Cyprus I managed to visit four of the major cities: Larnaca and Limassol in the south, and Nicosia and Kyrenia in the north. Cyprus is a low key and chill place for one to clear their head, all the while taking in the fresh air and calmness that can still be discovered in the world.
From Cyprus I headed up in the sky, over the ocean and over to Tel Aviv. Only a 55 minute flight but wowza-wowie-whoaaaa what a difference in aura, in temperature in, like, everything. Now Tel Aviv, fellas is the place to be, especially for those of us missing the sandy beaches of LA. The people here are as warm as the sun and as beautiful as the sunset. I never had any issues getting by as everyone speaks english and are helpful, being used to gypsies, like me, all year round.
The historic city of Jerusalem is only a 40 minute drive away so it was easy for me to make a quick trip there to explore the other, more conservative (
not really) side of the small country. And not to mention that the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea is just outside the city!
Israel is really a magical place to be and perfect for couples, backpackers, gypsies as well as annoying tour crews. It offers everything from sunny beaches to creative street art to respectable monuments and capitalistic shuks.
My heart still belongs to France
I left Israel already with plans to come back but half my heart was longing to come back to France – to explore other regions and see Paris again with a new love. And this is exactly what I did. I flew back to Paris after my weeklong sejour in Israel and headed straight for Normandy to see the “other France.” In Rouen, the capital of the region, you won’t find shops open through impossible hours of the night, couples gazing late at the Seine or even tourists rushing past you on their way to the museum. Here, it’s pretty, mellow, and dare I say it, exhaustingly cold!!! Rouen is filled with history as it served as a place of inspiration for many impressionists and writers in the nineteenth century including Claude Monet and Gustave Flaubert.
With all the tranquility Roeun had to offer, it’s Paris that I really was missing. No matter how many times I set out for and leave from Paris, I’m always looking for the next opportunity to return. All these romantic and dreamy quotes about Paris, I’m sorry to say guys, really is true…:
“Paris is the only city in the world where starving to death is still considered an art” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“When good Americans die, they go to Paris” – Oscar Wilde
“We’ll always have Paris” – Howard Koch
“She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris” – Gustave Flaubert
“This is but one Paris and however hard living may be here, and if it became worse and harder even – the French air clears up the brain and does good – a world of good” – Vincent van Gogh
“To study in Paris is to be born in Paris!” – Victor Hugo
No matter what anyone says on the dangers of city life and the overly praised Eiffel Tower and Parisian cafe life up in the heights of Montmartre, Paris is really the place to be, at least, for me.
I also managed to sneak away from Paris and head to Auvers-sur-Oise, the site of Vincent van Gogh’s untimely death. This little town is hidden away, about a two hour metro ride from Paris, but well worth the visit for art loyalists like myself. The entire town revolves around Van Gogh as well as many other artists and figures who had an impact on the troubled painter’s life such as Camille Pissarro and the infamous Dr. Gachet. Spending the day in the footsteps of Van Gogh was surreal as can be. From walking by his home at what’s now called the Maison Auberge, to visiting Chateau Auvers for a guided tour, to standing before Vincent and his brother Theo’s grave and even walking through the fields he used as subject for his painting. All was a reverie for me, a memorable walk back in time, during a period when art became more than just art, but life in and of itself.
Delphine’s Reads (or read)
Okay so I’m leaving my reading for last here dearest Babblers. This is only because I have not read as much as I would like to admit. In LA I managed to get through two Silvera’s More Happy than Not and History is All You Left Me (review to be posted soon), which if you read my reviews, will know I am having a secret love affair with and still over the moon over. Since then I have only managed to get through one another novel, despite having a huge line up of ARCs and author requests: Me Before You by Jojo Mayes. I actually got a hold of this one while I was killing time at the airport back in Tel Aviv. I’m years late reading this one but that is only because of the freaking cover – I detest, abhor, grind my eyeballs out when publishers take it upon themselves to replace a perfectly descent cover with a bloody snapshot of the film adaptation. Like… NO STOP HALT GET THE EFF OUT OF HERE WITH THAT NONSENSE!!!!
*Phew* Glad, I could get that off my chest for a moment. All consumerist ideas aside, I would like to say just a simple statement about this book as I plan on posting a review later this week: Please bury my soul with Will!!! If you don’t get the analogy, please head over to your local bookstore and pick up the book yourself along with a box of tissues and a spot of tea.
March is to be a month of full on recuperation for me. I will be laying low in my wanders and devoting myself to bringing my voice back in the blogging community so y’all can be sure that I’ll be sticking around for a while. So if anyone has any comments, questions, book recommendations, cares to tag me to some posts I’ll be more than happy to share my babbling thoughts! Laterzz babblers!
(I own the rights to all photography featured in this post)