Wednesday, April 27, 2011

C'est tout simple

I used to pride myself on being one of those girls who was too busy and too post-modern to be domestic. I dated guys who did the cooking, wore motorcycle boots with my lace dresses, and killed plants with my black thumb and apathy. Well something has changed me, and while those boots are still one of my staples, I'm taking great pleasure is some of that dreaded domesticity.

After watching The Future of Food, a documentary about modern farming techniques that the lovely Gina posted on her blog, I felt even more compelled to take pride in my "simpler" life, as a step forward. In Tunis it's not too difficult to find organic fruits and vegetables, so I've made it a habit of stocking up and making fresh non-processed dishes. Today it was slow-roasted root vegetables with eucalyptus- infused local honey and homemade applesauce. When I get back to Austin I may even test out my black thumb and see if I can't grow a little herb and veggie garden...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I love these big, old, twisted trees. There are these strange, hair-like branches that dangle from them.I see them all over the city. In some places they look like these lonely, prehistoric beasts and in other parts of Tunis, there are children entwined in their long limbs.

I wish I knew their name...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Looking back at my journals from Paris. I don't know what was happening during that time in my life, but I was always writing little words and phrases in my journals. Full entries are interrupted by pages littered with things like, "I am a planet hugged by a rainbow." I went through this phase where I just loved the strange things people said, lines from songs, or graffiti strewn on the sides of metro cars.

Cosmic wonder
Halogen spirit
Pace is the trick
Your face is the place
You're a wise and vulgar man
Plus frêles mais plus vivaces
The message sent was off this continent
If you stay in this hotel, they will definitely cut you in the night.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wish List

Betsey Johnson "Swan Lake" bikini. Though I'm not typically into frills, I can't help but love the ruffled shoulders and the kitschy swan print. I'm a sucker for prints with animals.

Love, love, love the Vivienne Westwood for Melissa wing wedges. Enough said.

3.1 Phillip Lim blue-sequined trousers. I love the weight of anything sequined or beaded. Luxuriously heavy.

I'm not usually a big fan of white clothing or shoes. My clumsy self usually spills coffee, nail polish, or something else that I can't remove onto anything shiny and white. On that note, this summer I'm going to try to pull it together. I want to go a little white goddess, with gold and ethnic accessories, a good tan and some fresh highlights.

I love the white Jeff Campbell wedges for all seasons. For spring, I'd pair them with a gingham dress, and my vintage dot-net slip, with the ruffles peeking out from the bottom.

Could I love this Helmut Lang skirt anymore? No, probably not. High side-slit, ruching, asymmetry... These are a few of my favorite things. I would love to pair this with something backless, big earrings, a silk scarf as a head wrap, and bangles.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Nag Champa
Hand of Fatima

My summer dream - a bungalow by the sea. Open spaces, rustic wood furnishings, hammocks, breezes and incense, lanterns and candles, figs and pomegranates, saffron and rust tones.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sweet and bitter taste

93 years, Floyd Stone.

My grandfather is dying. I skyped my mom when I got home from work and happened to catch her in the middle of calling hospice and her brother and sister to give them the news. His health started rapidly declining this week; he fell a few times, and he's basically stopped eating. Today both of my parents stayed home from work to watch him, and then made the decision to call hospice.

I spoke to my grandmother, and she's just so sad. They've been married for around 65 years, and although he's not the easiest man to get along with, she's loved and cared for him consistently. She told me through tears that she holds his hand every night when they get in bed, and that she's simply going to miss him.

I feel awful for not being in Texas right now, in this moment, during this time. I know that he's lived a long and happy life and has spent the past 2 years surrounded by family, but I feel sad for my grandmother, sad for my mom, selfish for being here and not there... Some days I want nothing more than to be close to my family again.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Market Men

So I'm experimenting in sharing some of my personal travel/life abroad stories. I've kept a series of journals throughout the past 3 years. They're full of what are, to me, quite treasured memories. This one stems from an encounter I had in August 2008, on my first trip to Paris.

One is from Tunisia and the other from Lebanon. The Tunisian man owns a little food shop in Montmartre, and Mr. Lebanon sells highly overpriced cigarettes there in the evenings, when all of the "tabacs" are closed. Mr. Lebanon wrote "Je T'Aime" on the overhand of the Tunisian man's shop.

Alex and I visited their shop during our summer visit. We chatted with them a lot, and on the last night, they gave us each a free soft drink. Upon moving back to Paris, I knew that I'd have those two to go back to. In fact, after unloading my suitcases into Greg's Montmartre flat, that shop was my first stop. They were the only two people in Paris who I knew. I learned that the Tunisian man was called Neji, and the Lebanese guy was Mario.

I passed the store every day on my way to and from work. I always stopped in, talked to Neji for a few minutes in my broken but ever-improving French. One night, Mario called me and invited me to have a drink with them. I assumed we'd go to the café across the street, but instead they pulled up a seat near the register for me and told me to pick a drink. We sat and talked and Neji told me I looked sad. I burst into tears, full of loneliness and winter depression. I didn't have the words to say any of that, so instead I was just some girl crying on a stool in a little food shop. "Je te comprend," Neji kept saying, and he told me to go pick out a candy because "Les filles adorent les bonbons".

Winter turned to spring and spring to summer and I spent many afternoons and evenings chatting with Neji. I sometimes ran into Mario in the neighborhood, wearing striped nautical shirts and a big white beard as he teetered on his red bicycle. And on the nights when I met him in Neji's shop, he and Neji were usually bickering. They got in fights over Mario's lewd behavior toward women, over Neji's strict parenting methods, over politics and gambling and everything in between. Meanwhile my French improved, and I learned how to work the cash register. I translated random tourists' broken English in to French for Neji, steered drunken late night visitors to the alcohol section of the store, and told desperate smokers the price of Marios's Marlboro's. Mario made me couscous dinners when I was sick, and Neji gave me oysters for my family's Christmas visit.

Neji and I talked about religion and philosophy, lifestyles and choices. He used to give me such spot-on advice, which at times seemed strange considering our many differences. It was a strange friendship, but it was really meaningful and it brought me a lot of comfort and stability during a lonely time in my life.

Somehow I came full circle and moved to Tunisia. I took a trip to Paris in September, and Neji was one of my first stops. He and Mario had gotten into some awful argument and hadn't spoken since I left Paris. He had converted his food shop into a souvenir store. The top level, which had once been the kitchen, is now an internet café. I'm sure it brings him a lot more revenue, but I have to say that I'll always miss that old store.

I'm missing someone but I don't remember who

It was a strange day. I kept myself busy with church and lunch and wandering and taking photos and sitting in parks, but even when surrounded by friends and chatter, I felt hollow. My mind was in another place. I kept catching myself throwing in the obligatory "mmm hmmm", as I flitted into my own world, disconnected from the conversation, the people passing, the little boys trying to sell me flowers, the kids screaming from the trees they had climbed.

I guess I just found myself wanting to be back, wanting to be home, wondering what home even means anymore... Part of me is afraid of going back and feeling lonely in a place full of my friends. And an even bigger part of me just really misses them.

"You worry that I will leave you.
I will not leave you.
Only strangers travel.
Owning everything, I have nowhere to go."
-Leonard Cohen

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Follow my blog with bloglovin

So I joined "Bloglovin". I don't really have any idea what it is, but you can follow me on it??

Avril and I are heading to the Medina this afternoon. Gonna see if I can chip away at my wishlist and buy some gifts...