lundi 28 mars 2011

Setting the wheels in motion

Woah... it's all happening. My life is about to start a brand new chapter very soon. Meanwhile, I am so exhausted I can't even think. My brain and body are totally fried. I've had very little sleep all week because I've had insomnia thinking about all this 'stuff' and I've also been out every night which is so unlike me. Plus I've been in many long car rides on winding roads and after 6 months here, I still feel car sick every time...

• Wednesday night, got back at 8:30pm which isn't that late but considering I left at noon it was a freakin' long day.

• Thursday night, went and saw my new friend in town that I made through Couchsurfing (for the second time). Brought along one of my other friends, C, here at the school and the 3 of us had a great time/dinner. Got back at around 9:30pm.

• Friday night, one of my crazy friends M invited C and I to go out with her and her brother. The 4 of us had the best time! We had dinner in a gorgeous restaurant by a lake (at Aix les bains), and the waiters were all amazing with their service and smiles. The highlight for me were the glowsticks in our aperitifs and this hilarious dessert menu cover!! La sensualité de nos glaces. The sensuality of our ice cream. How 80s does that photo look? Is she supposed to be seductive?

Noone else found it as funny as I did. Probably because I was the only anglophone there! Another highlight for me was asking for ketchup for my fries. I am obsessed with ketchup but French people don't really use/like it so I'm always stuck using mustard (which I hate) or nothing. The waiter told me (jokingly) that I would change the taste of the food and make it worse but he still brought it to me with a smile (and not in the bottle but in a small glass shot-glass type container and with a spoon!). I'll also add that in this posh restaurant, the food wasn't even that expensive. And it was top notch.

After that we played 10 pin bowling which I really appreciated as I mentioned it's something I've been wanting to do for months. One of my other friends kept promising me he'd take me but he never did and M knew this, so she and her nice brother decided to take us there. C had never played it in her entire life (!!) so the 4 of us had a jolly fun time and then after that we went to the casino where I got stopped and wasn't allowed to enter :( because I didn't have any ID on me! It wasn't actually for age (France doesn't care too much about that) but because they need to verify you're not someone on a list for people who are banned from gambling! Oh well. I didn't mind. I don't particularly like gambling and poker/slot machines (machine à sous) anyway. The building was exquisite, opulent and gorgeous. There was also a charity auction going on and everyone coming in and out of there were dressed to the nines. Didn't get back till 1:30am.

• Saturday night, M suggested I should go out with her brother (again) and his friend from the Casino. She couldn't come though. I was a bit hesitant since I don't know him that well and had never met his friend. M tells me that this guy is really rich and will pay for everything and just go along and have fun... er... ok... so I did! I had no idea what he'd look like and how old he'd be. According to my guess, he was quite a bit older than us. Probably 45 or so. Oh well. I had a brief flashback to Le Divorce like what the heck am I getting myself into here? I'm going to have dinner with a rich, older man. OKOK it wasn't like that at all. Actually, it was NOTHING like that. For one thing, there was my friend's brother who was with us and it was just like 3 friends having dinner. Nothing more. I had a fun time teaching English to them and I actually believe that over the course of the evening they had improved! And yes, they both paid for me. Not that it was a super extravagant/expensive dinner anyway. But still, it was very nice of them. After that we went to a pub and they wanted to stay out later but I said I needed to get back since I had an early start on Sunday. Still, I got back at around midnight.

• Sunday. OK, so a few weeks back I met this guy through Shared Talk (a foreign language exchange website). From our very first chat we just got on like a house on fire. It's very rare that that happens but it happened for us. Then, he invited me to come over and check out his town. Even though he is on Couchsurfing as well, I still hesitated and cancelled because of some stupid articles I read about CS being dangerous and whatnot and then I got this stupid idea and re-read our chats over and over again and overanalysed EVERYTHING till I scared the crap out of myself for absolutely no reason to at all. Then I told myself I was being an idiot. So when he invited me the second time, I decided I HAD to go and put my fears aside. They were unfounded and it was just my imagination running away with me.

So, he picked me up at the station. Yes, what was I thinking? Getting into a car with a complete stranger? Well, first of all I have to say that the majority of people have a 'sixth sense' and if something doesn't feel right you can feel/sense it. I didn't feel there was anything scary or wrong about him or the situation at all. According to our chats I felt like I knew him quite well too. The first thing I did when I saw him was laugh because... he was wearing a beret and a blue/white striped shirt. He looked so ridiculously French and I asked if it was deliberate or not and he said no, and that he only bought the beret a week ago... in London!

So first thing we did was go to a pâtisserie to pick up something to eat, and then he drove me to this gorgeous look out place that we had already talked about during our very first chat! (there seems to be a lot of them in my (Rhône Alpes/Savoie/Haute Savoie) region).  Luckily it wasn't crowded at all even though it was a Sunday. The view looked down to Geneva and it was pretty impressive. We were at around 1200m altitude.

After that we went back to his place for me to drop off my bags and we were going to check out the Water Festival in Geneva (Fête de l'eau aux Bains des Pâquis). However, after my exhausting week I was too tired to go and said I just wanted to do nothing. Besides, it was really overcast and looked like it might rain. So we talked for a bit and then went out for a walk just around the local area which was exciting enough for me. And with all the flowers blooming for spring it was really beautiful. There was a beautiful park with an oriental style setting. After that we came back, talked some more and then went back out to pick up the 2 pizzas we'd ordered for dinner (by which time it really was raining). If there's one thing I've learnt about single people (including myself) is that they almost never cook. It is just such a pain (and washing up too) and it's expensive, and who the heck wants to eat alone all the time anyway?

We watched a DVD during/after dinner (the pizzas) and then stayed up till 1am and I had so much fun talking about life and random stuff I didn't want to go to sleep. We talked about so much stupid stuff, in both French and English.

That afternoon, he introduced me to a French herbal drug called Euphytose because I said I had been having some mild problems with insomnia because I was thinking too much about this 'matter' and then that night he introduced me to Limoncello, an Italian alcohol that tastes like Lemonade, and both times we joked that he was trying to drug me... Yes, I admit there was a tiny tiny part of my head that was still skeptical about WHY this person was being so nice to me???

He refused to let me help with or pay for anything. He was so unbelievably nice, just like all the other French people I had met on language learning websites or CouchSurfing and stayed with. Even more so. He said he wanted to show me "French gallantry" (and no, he wasn't charming in a fake, superficial way either. He told me he treats all his guests well). He even insisted that I sleep in his nice comfortable bed while he slept on the couch (which isn't long enough) despite me protesting about 10 times. There was nothing underhanded going on at all I'm pleased to say. He never acted inappropriately. I just feel so lucky to have met someone who would treat a 'stranger' so well.

On male-female platonic relationships

After recent events I've come to the conclusion that I really like being a single girl. It's so much fun. I can hang out with as many single men as I please and do whatever I want, really. And who doesn't like hanging out with someone who treats you so well? And not just one person, but several! Noone is going to get jealous or hurt (as long as no one develops feelings)... Plus, I'm still surprised that there are so many wonderful, kind, chivalrous men who do and pay for everything without even wanting anything in return. Yes, I was skeptical too but it's true, but they do exist. I have met many of them.

I guess this kinda explains some sentiments from women:
When a man is a gentleman to women (holds doors open, pulls our chair out, walks on the outside - like "whenamanloves" stated) women are either a) upset that he "doesn't think we can do it ourself" b) left in shock or c) think there is some ulterior motive.  They react like a, b and c because it's not common for men to be this way these days and if he does or says nice things to you then he "must be attracted to you in a romantic way" (he's not, if he is, he will tell you) or we're just simply blown away that this type of gentlemanly behavior actually still exists among some men. Or maybe we think they have some ulterior motive, maybe they just want to get in your pants? Well, that's not it either. Did you ever think that maybe their parents just raised them with high morals and values and they were taught to respect each other? Or if you react like "a" then you're probably just stuck in that "I'm the same as you, so don't treat me different" mentality.
I think most people have a funny idea about male-female relationships. Many people tell me they don't believe a platonic relationship is possible but I beg to differ. I have many male platonic friends and I don't have feelings for them or vice versa. If I did happen to have feelings and it wasn't reciprocated (or vice versa) I believe that that would be the end of the friendship and we'd have to stop hanging out otherwise it'd get too difficult and someone would be bound to get hurt.

Some people also have the idea that if you see a single male and single female hanging out there must be something going on between them. I think that is crap also!! I think the people who can't have an adult platonic relationship with a member of the opposite sex are just immature, frankly.

I don't particularly choose only males to hang out with but it just so happens that since I arrived in France and at this school I get along with them much better and easier than with females (even though all my good friends back home are female).

(picture from here).


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