Je suis ici!

And although my French is shy, awkward and stuttering, Paris is as smooth, soft and sexy as the voice of a French lover whispering in my ear. The problem, really, with my French, is that I know just enough to begin any conversation, but can’t comprehend enough to respond to the answers my questions may have summoned. I’m disappointed but relieved when my question in French is responded to with English. And I fluster up a curious mix of Spanish, English, French, obscene sign language and red-faced silence when the conversation changes into fast lanes of French to which I have been blind-sided.

But these words – fluster, curious, obscene, embarrassed, blind – they are good words, ill-fitting only to show me where I can grow. On the couch in the studio of a friend I have not yet met, my stomach grumbling on something I ate that might have been meat, or cheese, bone marrow or bean paste (only in France, for the richness of all foods, could you not know the difference), I count my Euros, which are all now in coin having distributed only large bills in fear of giving anyone exact change for mistake in comprehending the number owed. Oh how I remember this same storm of struggle with Spanish in Spain! But it’s a storm I seek, and dance in. And as if on cue, outside my window, lightening flashes and thunder snaps with a trailing roar. Rain pummels down onto the metal rooftops outside as French accents, food smells and street songs continue to waft their way up. Childish delight festering at every root end and finger tip, I gather up my day’s successes — navigating the airport, purchasing train tickets, steering my way through the maps and maze of metros, meeting two new friends, asking for help and directions, buying bananas and nectarines at a small fruit stand — like I did the small trophies I earned in dance competitions in 3rd grade. And with a smile that insists on staying the night, I curl up on the couch, and fall asleep with them.


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  1. DJ FunkyGrrL September 22, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    Ciao Solbeam!

    Thanks for the great videos!!
    I made a DJ mix of you it’s called ‘Just call me Sol’
    It’s trip hop & downtempo 28 minutes, MP3 & Real audio.

    You can view it on my blogger at:
    (or myspace page)

    I hope when you return to the states you will have time to listen to the mix!
    You’ll love it!!

    Thank you
    dj funkygrrl

  2. Kevin P September 17, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    My grandmother (a Spainsh blood Puerto Rican) grew up in Haiti and spoke Creole. When we went to Paris she left a path of bemused Parisians behind her.

  3. funchilde September 17, 2006 at 4:45 am

    sol! you are my travelblogmother! so glad you are back out on the road (i’m in the states freelancing for 5 months before i can hit the road again) so i’ll be looking forward to your updates. stay safe and have fun!

  4. Melissa September 17, 2006 at 1:46 am

    Glad to see you arrived safely and I’m excited to read about your adventures in France. I long to go back, but for now your tales will have to appease my desires. Have fun! 🙂

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