Please also visit my Miami blog, ¿Qué Pasa, Miami?. Gracias.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


When I purchased you at the airport moments before embarking on my first trip to Paris, I could not have guessed the immeasurable impact you would have on my life, nay, the world! The following year, you traveled with me to the City of Lights once more (in the form of your fourth installment, hardcover). Now I venture to France yet again, but this time I travel alone. I must come to terms with the daunting reality. It is over, all secrets revealed, the candle extinguished. What have I left to live for? Sure, I have family and friends and Cuban food. But what does it all mean without Harry Potter? I knew this moment would come, knew with the turn of each page that I was one page closer. But, like a blinded Hippogriff in mid-flight, I sped on with reckless abandon. And now it is done. Goodbye Harry Potter Book Series. I am off to France, and, as you rest in the graveyard of my bookshelf, I will try to soldier on … and read some Proust.

* book eulogy © 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quarter-Life Crisis

I'm 25. Help!

Fatigued, Bemused, and Elated

11:00 a.m. : “Has the mail arrived yet?” 12:30 p.m. : “How 'bout now?”

My eagerly anticipated placement letter would surely find its way to Miami while I was out of town, right? Wrong. Or so I thought until I returned from New York City on July 11 at 3:30 a.m. (a few hours after my birthday), exhausted and peeved by a thrice delayed flight. I found birthday gifts on the dining room table and, magically, a mid-sized brown envelope from France!

A Very Merry Unbirthday To Me.

I opened it up with ravenous enthusiasm, spotted the word Angers somewhere, and jumped for joy. A sizeable city one hour and a half from Paris, young, vibrant, and gorgeous by all accounts. I happily opened my presents, took a shower, and went to bed with my envelope in hand. Now I could meticulously read every detail.

My school is not in Angers after all. It’s in Segré, a tiny town 40 km from the city, population 7,155. According to the official website, it’s name comes from the Latin “secretum,” which means “isolated.” I figure moving across the ocean is isolation enough. So now I’m looking at an hour-long commute because, while the town does seem very charming – see it for yourself by clicking vue 360º on the website – I don’t think I could cope with the boredom.

If all goes to plan, I will get to experience small-town France while living in a lively city. And – *nerd alert* – think of all the novels I’ll have read on busses in the seven-month span!

Here is the website for Angers. Click on En 360º (bottom of left-hand column) for virtual tours of the city.

Oh, and wish me luck.

Monday, July 2, 2007


Here's what I do know: 1) For seven months in France, I'll be teaching English conversation to middle school and/or high school kids. 2) I'll be somewhere in the Nantes académie, which is one of the 24 French school districts and loosley corresponds to the Pays de la Loire region, a map of which you can find here.

The French bureaucracy is conducting its first test of my patience. It may be late August before I can point to a particular spot on that map and decidedly say, "this is the city/town in which I will gain ten pounds on butter and sugar crêpes." Or it may be tomorrow. It's absolute torture. I would humiliate myself at an American Idol audition for that precious letter. Perhaps the postal workers in Nantes are on strike. Or the school administrators have decided they are overworked and underpaid. Who do they think they are? No one is allowed on strike until I am paying French taxes and can join in on the "protest" (vacation).

The waiting is playing tricks with my head (ME : WAITING :: PARIS HILTON : JAIL). Once freed from this Sadistic purgatory (de Sade was French, naturally), I will post pretty pictures of my pretty town and rave about how perfectly picturesque my life in France will be. I'll spare you the alliteration, though.

So, here's hoping I get my letter some time in July. *Sprinkles anti-jinx dust*