Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two Wrongs Do Make a Right

Friday night, I went to a Julian Perretta/ Inna Modja concert with a good friend of mine. Since they're both much more popular in Europe, I'm providing links to their most well known songs for those of you who are interested.

Julian Perretta: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlRcLU3gBy0

Inna Modja: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdnGfzzk18k

Marie and I were determined to be in the first row for the concert, so we decided to go early and arrived at 2 P.M. The only person in sight was a casino worker. In order to make sure this completely deserted area was, indeed, where the concert would take place, we asked the lady.

Lesson #1: If someone of almost seemingly highish authority asks if you're an artist performing that night, say yes. 

Unfortunately, we told the truth and said we weren't. This led to us wandering around for over 3 hours in the middle of a town built for people turning into vegetables.

After the 3 long and completely uneventful hours had passed, we went back to the casino to see if any other people had arrived. Two girls had waltzed in to wait for Julian during the time that Marie and I were doing nothing, so we waited with them. A little over 5 minutes later, in walks Inna Modja, just as calm and cute as can be. She had such a welcoming vibe that I just had to go talk to her.



After that nice little moment, we went ahead and got in line, even though there wasn't much of one. As we're sitting there, listening to Julian rehearse through the walls, we start thinking, "Well, we probably won't meet Julian. At least we met Inna, right?" This was a slightly disappointing thought, for we absolutely adore Julian.

When the doors finally opened, we raced in and got standing spots directly in front of the microphone. Even at this point, there were only a roughly estimated 50 people or so. It wasn't until a few minutes before he started that more people came in. Even then, there were less that half a thousand. 

Eventually, Julian started singing in his captivating English accent. It was beautiful. He was beautiful. The atmosphere that the spectators were creating, however, was not beautiful. Every time I turned around, I saw the rest of the crowd standing in the corners of the room with their arms crossed, completely unaffected by the magic Julian was creating. 

For the first time ever, I was utterly disappointed in Luxembourg. Julian must have been equally disappointed, because, although was really nice about it, he made multiple references about how we weren't giving him much to work with. 

The concert finished, and everyone cleared out. The band started to pack up the equipment, and because Marie and I were still hanging around, the guitarist gave us a set list and talked to us a bit. He then went back to packing up and Marie and I went outside for a walk. We discussed whether or not we wanted to go watch Inna perform, or be obsessed fans and wait for Julian to come around. We chose the latter. 

We were sitting near the entrance of the casino and noticed a huge line. We spent a good 10 minutes trying to figure out why everyone was standing in this massive line and came to the conclusion that it was for the bathroom. Then I realized that Julian probably wouldn't be walking out this way because there were too many people. I got up to go to the back of the building, but Marie just stayed where she was. 4 footsteps later, I make the grand discovery that the line was not for the toilets, but for Julian. Way to go, Cayenne, he was merely a few feet away from you this entire time. I signaled Marie over and we waited in line to meet him.



He promised Marie that he'd take a photo with her if we waited a few minutes for everyone to kind of scatter out a little. While waiting, I had an excellent conversation with the keyboardist who found it "cute" that I'm from Arkansas. It was during this time that I lost Marie. 

Lesson #2: Never leave Marie's side.

I don't handle getting lost very well, so I paced in circles and panicked for half an hour until her dad showed up. We looked everywhere, but had no luck in finding her. Inna was in the process of playing, so her dad told me to go watch the rest of the concert.



Right as Inna was wrapping up, I received a text from an unrecognized number. 

"Hey, I'm in Julian's cabin. Wait for me by the doors."

Lesson #3: Seriously, never leave Marie's side.

I went around and asked various staff members to lead me to these supposed doors, but each one told me they weren't accessible to the public. That is, until some super nice lady told me I could be an exception and led me not only to the doors, but directly into the room of Julian, Julian's overwhelmingly attractive brother, and his band members. Keyboard Boy (who was well on his way to the happy land of drunkenness) greeted me with a big shout of, "Arkansas!" Normally, people forget I'm from Arkansas 5 seconds after I tell them, so this provided a surprisingly nice feeling.

Due to my tardiness, I missed out on picture time, so I don't really have many pictures of us together. I'm trying to convince myself that it's okay. Despite my relatively unreliable memory, I'm pretty positive I'll be able to remember this. If not, I still have the signed ticket, set list, and a piece of his candy....




So many little things went just wrong enough to have wonderfully positive outcomes. For this, I'm going to consider Friday night to have been a hectic, panic-inducing success.  







Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Yellow Car Prostitutes

During the Carnaval vacations, I went to Amsterdam with a friend and her family. Typically, I'm not a fan of large cities, but Amsterdam proved to be an exception. I'm not a hipster, but if I were, Amsterdam would be my heaven-- bikes everywhere, weed and magic mushrooms in every other shop, and thrift stores all over the place. 

Perhaps being the offspring of two hippies gives me an automatic liking for these types of things. DNA, baby. 

We started the three day vacation by visiting Anne Frank's house. I've read the book and done my own research (I have a sick fascination for the Holocaust and Anne Frank), but this visit proved to be more informative than anything Google or Wikipedia has ever offered me on the subject. Seeing the pictures she'd put on the walls to liven up the place and the emotional pages of her original journal was a powerful experience that made everything seem so much more real.

We visited two museums. One, of course, being the Van Gogh museum. Being surrounded by his artwork made me overly giddy. Pointillism for the win.

After exploring the city and taking a boat tour (during which we saw one of the narrowest houses in the world), we spent a portion of the night doing some prostitute window shopping in the Red Light District.  Originally, I expected a small street of girls behind lit up windows, but the district is actually quite huge. There are streets of girls, followed by a couple of blocks of sex shops and adult theatres, then a few more blocks of girls, and so on. Obviously, the prostitution business in Amsterdam is nothing like it is in the United States, but, even so, I didn't expect the rooms and the girls to appear to be so clean. Please notice I said "appear." I have absolutely no idea what the actual level of cleanliness is. Surely it can't be too awfully high.

I'm sure a large majority of you are wondering, "Cayenne, did you smoke some weed?" The answer is no. I apologize if I disappointed you by going to the "weed capital of the world" and not consuming cannabis. However, I did purchase some weed-flavored products. Yes, suckers are one of those products. And what surprisingly delicious suckers they are! THC free, too, though I recall laughing a bit more than normal while ingesting the goodness....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Holy Saints of Mystical Muffins, the Girl's Alive

I'm reintroducing bubble baths into my life. When I was younger, I preformed the greatest science experiments in the bath tub. About the time I was in fourth grade, I developed the opinion of "baths are for babies." The younger we are, the older we want to be. Less than a year from legal adulthood, I'm proud to say that I've rediscovered the happiness of bath time.

I spent last week in Paris with my school. These are the three things I think of (apart from the much earned reputation of the rude Parisians) when I reflect back on my time there:

     1. Romeo and Juliette. In a tiny, over-heated theatre, we watched a group of young actors preform the famous Shakespeare play. I've seen quite a few plays before, but this one, in my personal opinion, was the most stunning of them all. The enthusiastic energy of the actors, the haunting tones of the music, the slight pain I felt in my heart when it was over.... It was perfection.

     2. The Eiffel Tower. For most people, this is an expected favorite. I, however, was quite surprised by the legitimate beauty of the structure. Back when I'd only seen it in pictures, I never understood why people always talk about how magnificent it is. After all, it's just a load of industrial metal, no? I'm going to give the rest of the world a bit of credit and say that the Eiffel Tower is, indeed, breathtaking.

     3. Vomit and mafia. After resting on a low wall for a while, I decided it was time to get up and let my feet die a little more (we did a lot of walking). The very moment that I stood up, a boy I go to school with walked in front of me and spewed his lunch all over the place. It's been a little too long since I've been on YouTube with my cousin, so my tolerance for vomit isn't necessarily at its peak. I grabbed my friend and walked over to a seemingly safe area. It was there that a man of bizarre character approached us with a piece of paper. We waved him off, but he was persistent, and started throwing in lip-to-paper gestures. After a long period of said persistence, he finally left. Immediately after, a couple of friends came up and asked me, "Cayenne, why were you just talking to the mafia?" And there you have it, people. I've directly spoken to the mafia without knowing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

We've Found the Mute Button

My voice, like me, enjoys traveling. It has strolled through the mountains of pitch, and the valleys of tone. Typically, it finds happiness in considerably safe travels. Wednesday, my voice decided to embark on a journey unlike any of the previous ones. One that would present grave danger and risks. My voice, being quite ignorant, ventured on without giving the journey much thought. It had hoped to make it to an undiscovered planet far from this solar system, but its mental GPS led it straight into a black hole. My voice is no superior creation, and was forced to abide by the laws of nature, vanishing into a void of nonexistence. 
For the amusement of others and the embarrassment of myself, here is a video of me [trying] to speak. Due to the difficultly of understanding what I’m squeaking about, I’ve added subtitles. By recording this video, I learned that I don’t think before I speak. You can tell by the way I heavily question my word choice near the end of the video. 
I’d also like to point out that this was the best I sounded all day. Most of the day went by without even being able to make the squeaky noises. 



video


It’s also been requested that I write about the chocolate. How does one describe such a magnificent creation? Take every single positive comment you’ve heard about Belgian chocolate, add them all together, and multiply the outcome by pi (that one’s for you, Adam). Now, take your result and throw it away, because it doesn’t even begin to live up to the delicious goodness of the chocolate. Yes, it’s true. Belgian chocolate absolutely deserves all the hype that it gets. 
Even the American chocolates (Twix, Crunch, Snickers, etc.) are one hundred times better here. After going an extended period of time thinking my increased love of these chocolates was due to psychological influence, I realized they, too, are made in Belgium with Belgian chocolate. Never again will I truly enjoy chocolate in America. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yes, You Do

I broke the zipper on my favorite pair of jeans. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this.

Tomorrow marks my third month here. Every completion of a month comes with a victorious feeling, yet a bittersweet one all the same. I've been considerably proud of myself, as I have yet to have a problem with homesickness. Granted, I do sometimes look forward to doing certain things again in America, but nothing that makes me want to jump on a plane within the next five minutes. I've predicted that one of two things will occur:

     1. I will continue throughout the rest of the year without experiencing a bad case of homesickness.
or

     2. I'm subconsciously shoving any sadness I have to the deepest corners of my mind. One day, an evil imaginary creature will decide it's time to organize my mind, and he'll drag out every single piece of sadness. His organization methods will cause an incredible, outrageously long-lasting breakdown. 

I'm hoping the first one is the winner, but I have been noticing that I'm a very subconscious person. I've found that I'm oblivious to the majority of the things I do. Yesterday's walk to school alone consisted of two subconscious actions. The first one was creepily walking behind a guy and munching the air like a dinosaur. The second was flailing my arms and yelling, "CABOT." Once again, I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about this. 

Seems like I've got a lot of pondering to do.

Monday, November 14, 2011

She's Not Foreign.

While riding the train back to Athus, two girls standing next to me were attempting to prank phone call people. "Attempting," because they were doing a rather terrible job of it. Regardless, I found the situation amusing. At one point, one of the girls received a text message. I assume it was written in English, because she read aloud with choppy pronunciation, "Do you speak French?"
She asked her friend how to say "tu es" in English. This is the moment where I stepped in with, "You are." My unexpected response initiated a brief French conversation that resulted in me successfully convincing both of the girls that I'm a native, French speaking Belgian who learned English as a second language in school. Highlight of my week.

Although I'm the only person who thinks this, I've been doing quite well on my tests. Under normal circumstances, I would enter an intense period of depression if I received a 1.5/20 on a test. But considering all I had to do to earn that point and a half was draw a picture of Jesus in Mexico, I'm quite proud of myself.
Now, this isn't to say I completely blow of every test that's handed to me-- I only do that with math tests. Usually, I do provide a lazy attempt at answering the questions. The relative amount of effort I put forth for my chemistry test, for example, earned me 4 points and a high-energy praise from the teacher.
The only teacher who refuses to praise my low (though existent) grades is my physics teacher. After getting a single question right on a test, her only comment towards me was, "You get to choose three exams to take, correct? Please don't take mine." Oh yes, I'm feeling the love.

Since my arrival in Belgium, I've been craving American Chinese food. This statement has no story behind it. It's simply a statement of sad truth.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Oh Happy Days, Here Comes the Sun.

I went to a volleyball club practice today. Let me begin by giving a rough, general description of the actual practice:

I had initially expected the two hour practice to consist of an hour of warm-ups, and an hour of competing. Unlike my expectations, it was actually just two hours of warm-ups. During these exercises, I discovered how horribly out of shape I am. By the time the second warm-up had started, I was having trouble not collapsing. For those of you who say Europeans aren't athletic, you're wrong. 

Besides the lack of competitive game-playing (and the large amount of chocolate that the coach distributed during practice), it was eerily similar to my old volleyball club in Arkansas. This mostly had to do with the group of people that were there. The coach uncannily resembled Coach Hal, there was the one overly serious and controlling player, and there was the girl who was constantly singing and dancing in her own little world. 

I couldn't help but to look around and think of America. I love volleyball, but it's what I loved in America. Because of this, I kept experiencing a strange feeling within my self that I am unable to properly describe. I don't believe it was homesickness, but I'm sure it was a relative. For that reason, I wasn't thinking I'd want to continue playing here. I would like to avoid doing things that could potentially trigger nostalgia. 

However, things changed immediately after practice was over and I walked outside. The lovely endorphin rush was finally kicking in and I became so overly happy-- I felt as though the world was drenching me in a shower of lollipops and gumdrops filled with happiness and appreciation for all things around me. For the next hour, I couldn't shut up. I just blabbered, and blabbered, and blabbered some more. I'm pretty sure this threw my host parents for a loop, because, although I try to speak as much French as possible, I hadn't spoken that much since being here.

And now, with my swollen fingers and sore legs, I've decided I should continue attending volleyball practices when convenient. Although the practice itself wasn't quite what I was expecting, the amazing amount of happiness I had afterwards was so brilliant that I'm afraid I may have already become addicted to it. 

To add a little variety to this post, Michelle Duggar is pregnant with her 20th child. Welcome to Arkansas, folks!




Monday, November 7, 2011

Il a tombé dans les pommes.

My friend, Jésus, is pretty nifty. He lets me pronounce his name without the accent and add some southern flair to the pronunciation. Today, Jésus "fell on some apples" and crashed into the lockers, resulting in unconsciousness. This incident caused geography to become three times funnier. Praise Jesus! 

This is Jésus. He's so cool. 

I took a math test a couple of weeks ago. The teacher seemed so depressed that day, so I decided happiness was more important than math. In attempt to cheer him up, I wrote cheesy, inspirational phrases all over the paper and drew pictures full of love and harmony. He seemed to really appreciate it, and proceeded to show the entire class what I had done while they were busy calculating various equations. Today, everybody got their tests back except me. I've decided it's because the teacher framed my "test" and mounted it on a wall for never-ending happiness. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Check.

To those of you who take the time to comment on my blog posts, I would like to genuinely thank you. I apologize for never giving you written responses. If it makes any difference, I do provide each of you with mental responses.... Reading your words truly makes me very happy, and I hope you can all forgive me for never commenting back.
While we're on it, Mrs. Wittenberg, there's a boy here from Nevada. I talk about you and the incredible time I had in Ruby Lake every time I'm with him.

Today, in geography, the teacher was talking about drugs and whatnot and proceeded to ask me what the first thought is that comes to my mind when someone mentions drugs. My only response was a noise of confusion. I must've given the impression that I didn't know what drugs are, because she went on a small drug explanation rant. I interrupted her to tell her that I understood, but didn't know what I thought.
See, when people ask me what I think about something, I tend to freeze up and zone out. It's not because of nerves or anything rational like that. Rather, I temporarily forget what it is that I think about something, so I start thinking about what I think but that only leads me to thinking about how I'm thinking about what I think that I think that I have forgotten that I think. It's really just a vicious cycle of pointless thinking.
So, eventually, she gave up on me and asked another person. Said person didn't get a chance to respond, because I erratically (and subconsciously, I might add) slapped the table and shouted, "PSYCHEDELICS."
For anyone who was present during the "my nipple!" incident in Algebra II, this was kind of comparable to that.
I attempted to retreat to my little mental corner of comfort and assurance, but failed when I started laughing hysterically at the person who answered with "Bob Marley." There I was, choking on my laughter, being stared at intently by confused Belgians. I'm not getting enough sleep.

On a side note, I'll be 17 in seven days. Also, today marks my two month anniversary in Belgium. Huzzah!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

SPAZZ.

Remember when I ranted about the lack of thrift stores in Belgium? Well, I lied. Yesterday, I found a thrift store. Even better, said thrift store is walking distance from my house. Holy speculoos, praise the water-filled millipedes that scurry with frenzy to the dark pits of doom. THERE'S A THRIFT STORE THAT'S WALKING DISTANCE FROM MY HOUSE. 

The insane amount of excitement I contained when I entered the store may have caused my sweat glands to go into overdrive. There I was, spazzing, sweating, and trying not to scream. I do believe this is the greatest Belgian discovery I've made so far.

I came across a super ugly sweater with a giant, sparkling flamingo plastered across the center. I don't think anyone will understand how difficult it was for me to convince myself not to buy it. I carried it around for an hour....

I did, however, buy two scarves and an oversized men's sweater. I'm not sure how, but I failed to notice the words "UNITED STATES" written largely across the center until I got home. Huh.