Little Miss Awkward

I just can’t help it!!

What does your blogroll say about you?

scroll.jpg There is that old saying, you can tell a lot about people by the company that they keep. I have found this to be mainly true. You can’t choose your family but you sure as hell can choose your friends. I think your friends are an extension of who you are and sometimes who you want to become. In my ‘real’ life I think my good friends are a true reflection of me, as they have qualities and personalities that I like. My friends are either really funny or they love to laugh, they are open and interesting, and they are not mean people. Like me, they can be trying at times but that is all part of the friendship merry-go-round but more importantly, they think I am okay 🙂

In the virtual world of blogging, the blogroll/links is in a way our list of friends. By having their links on our pages, we are declaring that we like what these people have to say. We find them and sometimes they find us.  We find them interesting enough to keep revisiting them regularly. We think their lives are fascinating, they make us laugh with their wit, we share common interests, they captivate us with their stories, you notice when they have not been around for a while, or disappear (usually temporarily) 🙂 . They give advice without having ulterior motives. So back to my post title, ‘What does your blogroll say about you?’. Okay since I brought it up, I shall start.

My blogroll is quite short compared to some of the ones I have seen, which says I am a bit lazy and should make a conscious effort to get out there and make some new blog buddies. I am too comfortable in my own small blog world and should broaden my horizons. Which I think is quite reflective of me because I love people, love talking to people, love being around people but at the same time, extremely comfortable in my own company. I am also way way wayyyyy too interested in other people’s love and sex lives. What does that say about me? Well I know what that says about me but not sharing that 😉 I like to think a bit of voyeurism is healthy 🙂   I like humour and sarcasm. I have quite eclectic tastes. (Took so long to write this paragraph) So now over to you………………

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May 31, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

The Lord Is Watching

praying-hands.jpg One of the many constant sources of friction between my mum and I, is my attendance at church. Every Sunday without fail, she would ask, ‘Did you go to Mass today?’  and most of the time I would lie and say yes just to prevent an argument. This question used to annoy me when I was back in the UK and living on MY own, in MY flat, which I bought by MYSELF, as an ADULT. The question is equally, if not more annoying when I am in a different country, and my church going activities are still being monitored. Okay putting my mum and my annoyance with her to one side. I really wrestle with this one.

Born and raised in a Catholic household, I have always been dragged to church. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in God, I really do. But from what I have seen in my not so short life, the really hardcore church goers are the biggest hypocrites I have ever seen. They are the ones that behave in the most un-Godly way. They can be mean, they can be so judgemental, did I mention hypocrites but by going to church on that one day or in some cases several times a week, they believe it absorbs them off the wrong that they pepertuate in everyday life. I believe in God and I do have faith in him but I don’t believe that you have to go to a particular building to worship him. Like the bible says, God is everywhere, so I should be allowed to pray and talk to God anywhere.

Also part of what prevents me from going to church is I feel like one of those hypocrites I mentioned earlier. I feel a fraud because although I try to be a good person, try not to hurt others, try to be respectful, thoughtful and kind to my fellow man, as a human being I do fall short. I do things in my everyday life which if some were to be believed, means I have bought myself a first class ticket on Concorde to hell!!!  I have views and opinions that does not align with The Bible’s teachings like I curse, I have very impure thoughts and I have fornicated and I am not yet married 🙂 , and I actually don’t think homosexuals will or should burn in hot hell fire.

My sister called me the least religious person she knows. This I really resent. Just because I am not hollering the Lord’s name at every opportunity does not mean that I am not religious. It is not a competition to see who ‘looks’ more religious. If you are a religious person, show it by your deeds and actions in  everyday life not for just an hour or two on a Sunday.

May 28, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Family, Rant, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

You Gotta Love The Old Folks

canada.jpg Was on my way to meet a friend to play basketball. Yes, my short ass was going to play some b’ball with a girl that would need to bend to kiss my forehead. I was still gonna show her who the daddy was. Well best laid plans…

On the bus, I got into conversation with the driver who was friendly, but he quickly realised I wasn’t from these parts when I kept saying, ‘bien’ and ‘d’accord’ in between his questions. So he asks where I am from, I tell him. He points to an old lady of about 80-something sitting nearby and says she speaks English, that I should go and talk to her. I look over at this woman with CoCo-the-Clown make up on. Her eyebrows were so thickly and jaggedly painted on, I looked twice to make sure there weren’t two caterpillars nestling on her face. I wondered if she has ever worked at a MAC cosmetic counter. Because most of the people I have seen working at a MAC counter had similar makeup on. Does the employee manual specify they put all the products they sell on their faces, at the same time? I am just talking about the men here. Back to the old lady, her face was  a work of art – a picasso to be precise. I look at this guy as though he was taking the piss because of the way she looked, but he kept insisting that I go talk to her and I kept refusing. As I was not going to partake in the mickey taking of an old dear, who might not be able to afford a mirror in her house.

The driver speaks to the old woman and points to me, and it transpires that she used to be an English teacher. So he wasn’t taking the piss after all, he must have known her. As more passengers get on, I get pushed nearer her and she starts talking to me in English. She was very pleasant and nice, telling me she has a sister in Canada, who she does not get to see so much as she can’t get about as easily. It was all going nicely and from left court came something that left me open mouthed. She told me that there are too many Africans in Canada, way too much. She looked deeply unhappy as she said it.  I look at her open mouthed. Typical me I do the same thing I always do when something goes wrong or is uncomfortable, I laugh.

I mean, what the hell am I supposed to say to that comment? Why did she feel the need to say that to me? Does she expect me to agree with her? Any idiot looking at me can tell that my origins are rooted in Africa. I found it really, really funny because you might think it but you must be really dumb to say it out loud especially to a stranger, who happens to be black. That is why at her age, I guess she can be excused for that. The lady next to me who happened to speak English because I had asked her directions before I boarded the bus looked clearly embarrassed for the old dear. She was very concerned about my feelings, which was sweet. I was shocked but I found it hilarious. I could see the funny side of it because it was somewhat so random and really unexpected. I know if she was not her age, I would not find it as funny, in fact I would find it deeply offensive. It is deeply offensive but when you look at who said it, what can you do?

I came away thinking, ‘Are there a lot of Africans in Canada?’ To me Canada is like an enigma 🙂 I have heard it exists, and they have mounties, and lots of French speakers especially in Quebec. Oh, and it gave us Ben Johnson, Bryan Adams and of course the big one – Celine ‘My-Heart-Will-Go-On’ Dion.

Old people can get away with so much. They can voice their opinions and not give a damn about its’ impact because they will never be challenged. I guess that is the privilege of living for a long time.

May 25, 2007 Posted by | Battle of the Bulge, Blogroll, France, Rant | 8 Comments

Thank You For The Music

cowbells.jpg Music is extremely important to me, as it’s for me the ultimate mood enhancer. It makes you feel things, takes you places, and it is so universal.

I was introduced to the song ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’ by the ITV2 ads for the TV series ‘Supernatural’. Don’t know what grabbed me about it, but I had to find the original version and listen to the song in its’ entirety. Boy was I glad I did! A song has not knocked me for six like this in a long time. The song is beautiful and at the same time it creeps the hell out of me. I can’t stop listening to it. It is so beautifully written, so poetic, so romantic and still so darn right creepy. However the song has a fairly upbeat tempo, which is a great contrast to the lyrics and I like ‘The Mamas and The Papas’ inspired harmonies.

The song is by 70s hard rock band called Blue Oyster Cult. It was written and sung by the band’s guitarist Donald Roeser. When I first heard the lyrics, I thought it was about suicide and from what I have read so did an awful lot of people. Apparently people used to protest outside their concerts because they thought the band were satanic. There are different explanations for Roeser’s  inspiration for the song, one was he was inspired by his thoughts on what would happen if he died young, and he would meet all his loved ones in the afterlife. Another was that it was about love lasting for eternity. With lyrics like;

Come on baby…Don’t fear the Reaper
Baby take my hand…Don’t fear the Reaper
We’ll be able to fly…Don’t fear the Reaper
Baby I’m your man..

It is definitely open to interpretation. The song took on a more comic slant when it was parodied on Saturday Night Live in 2000 by Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken. Where Walken’s character, a music manager insisted on more ‘Cowbells’ in the song. If you hear the song, ‘cowbells’ (an instrument), is quite a big feature within its’ composition. Unfortunately they have removed it on You Tube due to copyright issues (spoilsports) but this is a high school re-enactment of what happened on SNL (bless em). Just imagine Will Ferrell playing the cowbells with his stomach hanging out and you get the idea.

All things aside, I really love this song, as I can see the romantic side of it but like horror films, I only play (live version) it during the day 😉

May 22, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Romance, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

What possessed me?

couple.jpg Back home, I have never been much of a kebab person. It would be last thing I would want to eat, as it just doesn’t look right to me, especially the donner variety.There is not much I don’t eat (which isn’t doing me any favours) but for some reason I drew the line at kebabs. I don’t know what it is about the stuff that puts me off, maybe it is the way the meat is unidentifiable, or the way liquid used to drip down when it was being cut. However since arriving here it seems to be the equivalent of what curries are back in the UK, as there is a kebab house on every street corner.  Early on in my stay, I decided to take the plunge and order one as I would see families sitting down munching away, and it didn’t seem to have that grottiness which I have always associated with kebabs and kebab houses in general.  I tried one and I was instantly hooked. I think what got me was the bread. It was not your average pitta, this was something special. It reminded me off a toasted panini, really crispy and firm. So yummy!

Just a few short steps from my appartment is a kebab house. It has gotten to the stage where the kebab boys know me well enough to wave as I walk past the shop (which is not a good sign). But I think I have only been in there three times. They are so sweet, they make such a great effort to say something to me in English whenever they see me. I especially love the way, the old guy would yell “Good Evening’, as though he was trying to communicate with someone in Canada. There is one guy in particular at this kebab establishment whose English is better than the rest, and who is exceptionally nice to me when I go in.

The other day I went past, and waved to him, he smiled and waved back. On my way back later that evening, decided to grab a kebab, walked in and there he was. He made some serious eye contact, and I realised that it might have been a mistake coming in that night, as I think the wave I gave earlier might have been misinterpreted. We have made small talk on previous occasions, regarding where I was from, that sort of thing. By the way why do people think all English speaking people are American? Anyway this evening he asked me what I did, told some porkies and said I was an English teacher. I didn’t really want to to go into details regarding why I am here and my unemployed status. There was something different about the whole kebab ordering process this particular night. He seemed really intent on having a conversation with me, and he was really really making serious eye contact. You know the kind of eye contact that says ‘I can give you my special kebab and sauce’. Being very aware of this situation, I try to look everywhere but at him.  Bent down and was surveying the contents of the display cabinet and asking stupid questions like ‘Is that houmous?’, and ‘Hmmm that is interesting is that cous-cous, oh really, that’s taboulleh, wow’. I could feel his eyes boaring into me , and I then became conscious that by bending over he was getting a pretty good cleavage view, and I am sure he must have seen a nipple. Oh God, I quickly stood upright and was even more flustered. He must think I am trying it on. Waved at him, came into his restaurant and now showing some flesh. Crikey, could it get any worse?

He then told me that he would like me to teach him English, and that he was serious about it. I knew full well, he didn’t give two flying friggs about learning English, but I played along. I asked him several times if he was serious and he was adamant he was. How could I say no, what would be my reason for saying no? So I said well I can teach him English, if he helped me with my French.  He was well chuffed with the suggestion. I thought it was one of those things that I would say yes to and then just walk away and avoid him and the restaurant like the bubonic plague. But then he asked, when? I look at him like a deer caught in the headlights, gosh he is clever (and keen). I said whenever it is convenient for both of us. He gives me a pen and paper, to write my number. As I have no choice, I write it down and hand it over. I tell him to call me and we can have lessons in the restaurant.

The thing is this guy is sweet, and very cute but I just don’t know. When I left home this morning, I had absolutely no intention of picking up the kebab guy. It has nothing to do with the fact that he works in a kebab shop, I am no snob, if anything that is an advantage 🙂 , I am more disturbed that he is right on my doorstep and I just don’t know. I think it is totally my fault, I gave the wrong vibes or did I?

 ps: Two food posts in a row, I have issues!!

May 20, 2007 Posted by | Battle of the Bulge, Blogroll, France, Romance | 8 Comments

Raw like Sushi

sushi.jpg I have  previously written of my love for the raw fish and rice combo, and there was some slight panic that the French might not be suitably sushified for my liking. I don’t know what I was thinking, because it appears they love the stuff too. I have seen more sushi restaurants per square mile than I ever saw in London. Damn, even the supermarkets sell the stuff and I am not talking about your ‘faux sushi’, that you get in Boots or Tesco. You know the type where the corporate big wigs are afraid of getting their asses sued over the raw content, therefore replace the raw fish with tinned salmon, or tuna with mayonnaise, smoked salmon and of course cream cheese and chives (wtf)!! No, supermarkets here have the balls to sell the proper stuff with raw fish – wow.

Considering I am meant to be staying away from all the evil whites; white bread, white pasta, white rice and milk, well dairy to be exact. On a wet and miserable day, I couldn’t resist popping in to a sushi place on one of my jaunts to town. It was one of those with the conveyor belt thingies. They were closed for lunch, but were still open for takeaway. I walked into this place that was deserted but with a few members of staff meandering around. The waitress behind the counter looked a bit wary as I approached. In my head I was thinking “settle down luv, black folks eat sushi too”. Walk over to the refrigerator, where an array of beautiful colours and shapes greeted me. I wanted to just stand and take in this moment, to be at one with the sushi. Decisions, decisions, should I go for rolls, or sashimi. I was doing my best to ignore the inner voice in my head that I call ‘bastard bank manager’, who was telling me, “listen you unemployed bint, you can’t afford it, put down the sushi and walk away from the counter….slowly, you have some wilted salad and ham at home you can eat-hmmm”.  I was also ignoring the waitress, next to me who had come round the corner and began to wipe the already gleaming marble counter. Woman I am not going to steal your sushi for crying out loud.

Being Miss Indecisive (as well as Awkward), I just couldn’t make up my mind, do I want a mixture of tuna and salmon or predominately salmon. I do prefer the salmon but it might be nice to have a bit of variety. Hmmm that tray has more ginger than that one, but those rolls look bigger than that one and I want to get value for my dough. After making a not very confident decision, I walk over to the counter, clutching my tray of sushi like a new mother cradling a much longed for baby, I come face to face with  super clean herself.  Hand over my card. “Tut, tut, tut, tut, naughty, naughty” says Bastard bank manager. Before I leave, I accidently on purposely wipe my wet dripping umbrella all over the marble counter. Now THAT ought to  give her something to wipe 🙂

As I savoured every mouthful of ginger, wasabi and soy sauce dripping sushi, the stuff had never tasted so good as it did at that moment.

May 17, 2007 Posted by | Battle of the Bulge, Blogroll, France, Rant | 4 Comments

Eurovision Song Contest, Not as I know it

mike.jpg Like the sad madam that I am, I sat down on saturday with a tub of icecream (the diet is going well, by the way) to watch the annual cheese fest that is the Eurovision song contest. The contest where countries within the European Union, trawl through their cess pool of entertainers and put their absolute worst on  display for others to see.  As much as I would like to scoff at this brazen display of lack of taste by approximately 24 members of the EU. Like an accident, I know I shouldn’t look but I can’t bring myself to look away. From start to finish it is bad, bad, bad, bad. So bad it is good!! The presenters are corny, the costumes are scary, the songs are abysmal,  the singers just slightly more abysmal and the judging is (not) surprisingly tactical. What is there not to love about this show?

For me this year was so different, as I didn’t have the sacarstic, piss taking commentary of Eurovision veteran Terry Wogan. It just didn’t feel the same, and when I saw certain things, I knew good ole Tel would have said something about it. Anyway the UK entry was ‘Scooch’, with ‘Flying the Flag (For You)’, class!!

It might be hard to understand but this entry came second from the bottom, which is pretty good considering there was a time when it looked like we will get nil points if it wasn’t for the kind intervention of Ireland and Malta (God bless them) who awarded the UK the maximum 12 points. However to put this in context this act from the Ukraine came second in the competition. But my personal favourite was this entry form Armenia (look out for the dramatic blood stain on his shirt towards the end of his performance), Hasselhoff eat your heart out! I think this guy might be some kind of sex symbol in his neck of the woods.

May 14, 2007 Posted by | Battle of the Bulge, Blogroll, France | 7 Comments

8.5% unemployment rate, hmmm

money1.jpg I knew finding a job was never going to be easy in France with very limited French. I was not looking to set the workplace alight,  I am just looking for something to put a roof over my head and food in my already fat belly 🙂 Also the urgency to get a job pretty soon was to reassure my dear mum that I was not going to reach the point of desperation that would see me becoming a ‘working girl’. And each passing day that I am unemployed, means (in her head) that I am edging ever so closely to that life. With daily phone calls which consists of her telling me if things get bad, I can always come home (love her!!), and constant reminders to be careful – finding a job was going to be an act of compassion for her. Besides I have run out of Frasier DVDs to watch.

Emailing out my CV to lots of agencies and making phone calls was not coming up with the goods, so I decided to do some pavement pounding. Did some research on the net, made sure I looked respectable enough to be taken seriously, armed with my map, mp3 player, chewing gum, pen and bits of scrap paper, off I went.

As I was heading to my destination, I came across a temp agency, sounds just the ticket. I bounced in all enthusiastic and literally yelled “Bonjour” in my most confident tone. Sitting there were two women at separate desks. The brunette nearest the door acknowledged me, and I go on to explain that I am looking for work, and explained my situation and asked if I would be able to submit my CV. She then tells me in broken english that this was not the agency for me and that I should go to the agency round the corner. I look at her and asked her ‘how does she know this was not the agency for me?’. She apparently did not understand this. The blonde lady behind her tries to explain to me that their agency specialises in technical skills, and then indicated architecture, or something to do with drawing. She then asks me what my background and qualifications were. Which is exactly what the brunette should have asked me in the first place, before being dismissive by telling me this was not the agency for me. The hard nosed cow did not know shit about me, how dare she make assumptions on whether this was an agency that was suitable for me by just looking at me.

To say I was pissed, would be clearly understating matters. She needs to thank her lucky stars that my French was not good enough to curse her out because I was willing to drop every ounce of civility, restraint and the good manners instilled in me from birth to do just that. For all she knew I could have been some hot shot technical whizz (ok a bit far fetched for me but still :-)) I know my way around Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash but she doesn’t know that. I probably had better qualifications than this trollop.

The blonde lady actually looks like she is making an attempt to be helpful. She messes about on her computer, makes a phone call which from my understanding drew a blank. She then comes out of the office to show me another agency. I tell her that her colleague’s customer service was crap, she looks slightly embarrassed, I thank her generously for at least making the effort to assist me. I walk over to the agency she pointed out.

Still spitting blood, I walk into the second agency, where I was greeted by a smiling lady. As I begin having a conversation with her she offers me a seat. She asks my background, asks how long I am in Lyon for, she then proceeds to make a phone call to another member of staff based in their international branch. The person in question is not there but she gives me her card and tells me to email over my CV and she will pass it on to the relevant party. She tells me how nice it is for her to speak english because she rarely gets the chance to practice it. I tell her that her english is near perfect (a bit of flattery and humour doesn’t hurt) and she is pleased. On my leaving, she says “goodbye” and I say “au revoir”, it was all very ‘We are the world’.

Massive difference in approach, I came out of there feeling like I have been listened to, taken seriously and above all it gave me some glimmer of hope. It might all come to nothing but at least I felt that someone had given me enough respect to listen to me.

After giving my new French chum a debrief of the day, he explained that the lady at the first agency was probably too lazy too try to speak to me because of the language barrier. But this for me was not a good enough excuse. I knew the job hunt was not going to be a walk in the park but I didn’t think it was going to be a walk in the jungle either!!

May 10, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Work | 2 Comments

Small Ads

super-friends.jpg The loneliness of being in a new city was beginning to get to me. With no friends or family nearby to get rid of my boredom, I decided to go for it. I put an ad on a website,

 “My English for your French…Young female new to the city, looking to meet new people for language exchange, going out and good conversation”

Whoooooo…nothing like placing a personal ad to bring all the freaks out of the woodwork. The ad was in french but I had to get it checked over by someone to check that I hadn’t put something in the ad that indicated that I was after more than friendship.  Because I received responses from people who wanted to have fun via webcam (wtf!!!), wanted to swap ‘nice’ pictures, one wanted to know if I lived alone (bet this person was sharpening his butcher knife, as he responded),  but my personal favourite was the guy offering me the chance to live in his studio appartment with him for free (shudder). What is wrong with these people?? Did my ad have subliminal messages? All I want is some conversation, people to hang and chill with, Jeez is that too much to ask?

To be fair not all the responses were from crazies, I managed to weed out a few that actually seemed okay. Surprisingy, or not that surprisingly, the majority of responses were from men!! I was a bit disappointed, as I am a bit of a girl’s girl. And with the type of responses I had received, I was ultra suspicious of the male respondents even the decent sounding ones. What were their motives? I hope I have made it sufficiently clear that I am only looking for friends, nothing more!!

However I have met a few of the respondents and weirdly enough going to meet them has been a bit nerve racking. It feels a bit like you are going on a blind date, you worry, if you look okay, Will they like you? Would you like them? Will they be weird? Are they serial killers?. However I have to say that the ones that I have met, have been brilliant, and because I have ended up having a good time, like a date I have come away thinking ‘I hope they call me’ 🙂 

May 6, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Uncategorized | 5 Comments