Everyone has anxiety dreams of walking through identical bland hallways, running into the same faces like a sick broken record. For some people, this is where they wake up. For me, it was the first day of middle school in suburban Houston, Texas. I’m what people call a TCK – third culture kid. My father worked for a major oil company and for all of my childhood, home was wherever we laid down our posessions. Before I arrived in Houston at age eleven, I’d only lived in the United States for two years before elementary school. Not even American by blood – my parents are Brasilian and Greek. This is the complicated pedigree I’ve lived with my whole life, and I wouldn’t change it.
But that first day in Houston, looking at a sea of American kids who’d grown up together, I wished with eleven year old fervor that I wasn’t so different. I wished that the teacher didn’t introduce me as, "A girl who’s lived in Africa!" and I wished my classmates didn’t translate that into harmlessly cruel middle-school-speak as "that African girl". I wished I didn’t have to explain that no, I didn’t ride elephants to school. I wanted desperately to be back in the relative safety of overseas International schools, where everyone has a different skin, religion, language, and where conformity was impossible and thus not in high demand.
But I wasn’t. I was in suburban Houston. And when my incredibly generous and understanding parents saw how hard it was, they told me I’d have to learn to adapt. It sounds like an easy concept, but everyone learns by trial and error. How I adapted, indeed how I always adapted in the seven different countries and schools, was more of a mutation than anything. After being teased about my glasses and my precocious reading habit, I started wearing contacts and joined theatre. After being called a geek, I spent more time at malls than the museums of my childhood raptures. In the three years we lived in Houston, I passed as a remarkably well-adjusted American teen. That is, bratty, self-involved, a little lost and bordering on flaky.
When we got the transfer to Kenya after ninth grade, I remember feeling a secret relief that I could return to the "other" me. The younger, more innocent girl who loved books, talked to her dogs, made friends with everyone, and dragged her parents to every temple in Greece, blabbing into the video camera about which god or goddess had been worshipped there. So what was adaptation, I asked myself later? Which me was me – the mall-hopping American teen, or the gregarious geek? Was it both? When I returned to Houston for senior year of high school after two refreshing and life-altering years in Nairobi, I started to grasp the difference between adaptation and mutation.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my relatively unique childhood, which I often have to trot out begrudgingly for bewildered newcomers to my life. Yes, it was marvellous and hard. Yes, I learned about cultural tolerance from such a young age, it’s a natural language to me. Yes, I can travel almost anywhere in the world and feel at home. But I’m not comfortable with the idea that my father’s career as an accountant has made me more culturally aware than any brilliant American who’s never left the continent. After all, I didn’t choose to go overseas and live a different life. What I learned about myself overseas had nothing to do with language or tolerance or riding elephants. Rather, I learned that life is tough and it’s not going to be comfortable. I will not always be surrounded by the familiarity of place, and my character cannot be sustained by geography or conformity. Living a life as mobile as I did offers the temptation to sleuth out the modus operandi and toe the appropriate lines. But I learned by trial and error that place, and character, are what you make of them.
Adaptation is not about staying true to your surroundings, or molding your character on those around you. That’s simply mutation, a trait exclusively claimed by chameleons. True adaptation, and true character, is about staying true to yourself perhaps in spite of your surroundings. Understanding yourself isn’t something handed to you at birth, not even for the carefree and stable children whose life I coveted everytime I saw my life in boxes and a plane taking us off to another strange place. When I was younger, I used to tell my parents that I’d give my own kids a home whose walls they’d known since infancy, friends they’d grown up with. But even those children need to learn what standing firm means, and I was lucky enough to have a strong dose of that reality from an early age. That is more important to me than languages or exotic countries.
My life, having not chosen it or the places it took me to, doesn’t make me better than anyone else. I’m loath to accept that interpretation. I’m often bewildered by the impressed reactions my background garners. Coming back to the States, finally seeing myself as an American, and choosing to continue my life here on almost foreign soil, was a difficult decision for me. I had the opportunity to go overseas again after graduation from college and I chose this country, over all the others I’ve lived in, because I’ve learned how to adapt here. How to appreciate its culture as much as any of the others I’ve seen. But I wouldn’t have come to that decision without realizing the value of what my other life gave me.
I may be more versatile with foreign ground because of my childhood. But that’s a surface benefit. Fluency in French doesn’t make me a stronger person, or provide me with the character and backbone I’ll need to succeed. What most prepares me for the world, as I embark on law school and life, is the benefit of knowing the difference between fitting in, and fitting into yourself.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
so everybody put your best suit or dress on...
beth, east village, march 2003 // my brother and i, rio de janeiro,
brasil, march 2003
JW, gray's papaya, february 2003 // JW, me, and mike, retro party,
astoria, april 2003
fulminous, retro party, astoria, april 2003 // stephanie at the high line,
chelsea, july 2003
kate and i, rockefeller center, october 2003 // shiv and ful, halloween,
jason and i, halloween 2003 // the troika, christmas party, december 2003
happiest new year, everyone. now go get drunk.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
nb... since girls-in-arms kate and karen have taken to sharing their uncovered "Art of..." files, it seems only appropriate that i should share my own discoveries in the world of londonmark-imitation. i'm sure he'll take it as the sincerest form of flattery. funny i should mention flattery, as today we will be approaching the subject of...
the Art of charm
you might think that charm is simply a false, pandering method employed by politicians, ballroom dancers and martha stewart. you’re wrong. charm is an almost forgotten art, like the art of courting and sewing. the art of charm serves a delightful double purpose – while it manages to bring joy to the world around you, it’s also a ragingly effective way to get what you want, all the time. hence, "living the charmed life".
now - while I may be a simpering dilettante in many other arenas of life, I pride myself on being effortlessly, ruthlessly, and meltingly charming. as such, I’ll go ahead and call myself an "expert", since you’re more likely to listen to me if I have credentials. now, there are a few basic areas we need to cover, and then you’re ready to go into the world and emit charm. today, this panel will address …
charm and the stranger
let’s face it. unless you live in a tiny, particularly friendly village in the wilds of canada or some other godforsaken province, where you’re related to everyone and no one has grueling 9-to-5 jobs and mortage payments, chances are you’ve had unpleasant interactions with strangers before. I will use an important and universal example to briefly demonstrate how charm can come in handy in a pinch.
situaton: you’re standing at your local deli counter and you quickly mumble a grumpy tired request ciggies and coffee, like this: "mumble mumble camel lights and coffee black with sugar, three". you’re not particularly being grumpy to your deli man, you’ve got nothing against him. you’re just bloody exhausted and your mother was nagging you on the phone this morning and you couldn’t find your favorite black shoes so you had to wear brown ones that throw your whole outfit off-kilter. for whatever reason, you can barely stumble out a decent human greeting to the man providing you with two of your most treasured addictions. when you reach into your pocket, you realize you’re 50 cents completely short. your deli man shrugs, takes back the hallowed cigarettes, and dumps your cofffee. what’s it to him that you don’t get your fix(es)?
alternate situation: go back to the point where you come in tired and grumpy looking for your cigs/coffee. leave in the bit about the mother and the shoes, but this time, when you open the deli door and the deli man looks up at the jangly noise (for there’s always a jangly noise), do something different. smile at your deli man. you can smile ruefully, as if to say "isn’t it sodding early in the morning?" or you can smile cheerfully and imply "I am genuinely happy to see you, man who serves me coffee, even though I don’t know you". doesn’t matter how. but smile at him. open your tired, grumpy, spoiled mouth and say "hello!" when you walk up to the counter. now your deli man will respond with, "hello!" in return. now say, "I’d like a pack of camel lights and a black coffee, three sugars please." don’t simply mumble the product names and make the deli man feel like nothing more than a robot retrieving sellable goods. use the inbetweeny words as well. now - when you dig around in your oversized bag and realize you are fifty cents short, the deli man is more likely to agree when you promise him to swing by on your way home and give him the requisite small change which is admittedly not keeping his business afloat. you will walk out of the deli establishment with BOTH your fixes intact.
see how charm affected the situation? what has happened now is that the deli man understands that you are treating him like a worthy fellow human being. he stands behind that smelly counter all day, dealing with snippy horrible monsters of people who simply come in and bark their demands at him, even though they make four times what he makes and go to the shore on the weekends. but now the deli man recognizes you as someone who treats him well, and it never hurts to have a deli man on your side. my deli man even gave me a starburst when it was my birthday because I’m always so sweet to him and I ask about his wife who was ailing last month.
some other situations in which charm and interactions with strangers collide:
1. smile at people with whom you make eye contact on the subway. if you at least acknowledge that you’re both riding into the bowels of hell on a one-way train, someone might actually yield a seat to you, or not shove you into your own cup of coffee while trying to exit the train.
2. when talking to customer service people on the phone – paying a bill, reserving a flight, solving a retail dispute – be incredibly nice to them. speak full sentences, do not yell, and make it clear you understand that your ripped shirt/unsatisfactory plane seats/high bills are not personally their fault. these people, these disembodied voices, have been known to bend over backwards to help you if you apply the right amount of charm and understanding and speak like a decent educated human being instead of someone barking at a disobedient dog who’s just tinkled on the sofa.
3. don’t mock taxi drivers, their countries, or other taxi drivers. you’re in their car and the doors are locked. this isn’t a matter of charm, it’s a matter of stupidity. if you have a conflict with the direction the driver is taking or the way he drives, simply politely lean forward and address it to him. this will dramatically increase your chances of a. surviving and b. not being thrown in some karmic version of hell for being a nasty twit to foreign taxi drivers.
in conclusion: using simple methods of politeness, mutual acknowledgement of humanity, and a winning smile will take you miles when it comes to interacting with total strangers you’ll never see again. because even people that you may never see again can actually better your life and do things your way. when people do things your way, you're generally happier. this, in turn, will prove to yourself and the world that you do, indeed, live a charmed life.
stay tuned for: the Art of charm and friends, next.
the Art of charm, part two of three
the Art of charm and friendships
you might be thinking, why do I need to charm my friends? I’ve belched national anthems in front of them and held their hair back while they chucked up half a bottle of vodka. but charm can be a delightful party favor and an effective way to keep your friends coming back for more. here are a few do’s and don’ts that will lead your friends to think you’ve sprouted charm virtually overnight.
1. DO make a mental list of 5-15 people that take a high priority in your life. if you’re not the Instant Messaging type, make sure you email/call them at least once a week to keep in touch. if you’re the scattered type, make little notes, like "E has a problem with her mother’s new boyfriend," or "make sure to remember F just started new job", or "listen to T prattle on about the new puppy". remember to ask them about their lives, not just ramble on about yours. this is what friends appreciate – when you call them and ask them specifically about the details of their life. it’s kind of like being some sort of celebrity. only with less paparazzi.
2. DON’T make plans you can’t keep, otherwise known as flaking out, especially with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. while it’s alright to flake out every now and then on your daily/weekly friends by saying, "dude, I’m seriously too beat / dude, I’m going to get laid / dude, I’m dead broke," it’s not okay to do this to casual friends or long-time-no-see friends. since these types of friends do not know your vie quotidienne, they will simply think you are a stupid flake who didn’t want to see them in the first place. this will set you back in their estimation. this is counter to our plan of charming the collective pants off the world.
3. DO play charming host/hostess any time your friends are visiting chez vous. simply flopping down on your couch, kicking off your shoes and turning on the telly is inappropriate when you have guests, unless your guest is the same best friend that watched you tinkle in the baby pool when you were three and break your teeth by biking directly into an oak tree at age fifteen. when you have friends over, DO make sure they’re comfortably seated, their thirsts are quenched and any other needs are satisfied. if they don’t know where your bathroom is, don’t simply send them in the general direction with a wave – walk them there. make sure you have food/drinks/ashtrays at your house, or else just don’t have your friends over, you lazy slob. DO tidy up a little if possible, because there’s nothing friends like less than sitting on a couch full of your dirty laundry and empty potato chip bags. if you’re like me, you’ll light some candles and make sure the bathroom smells fresh, as well as decorate the bedroom with fresh flowers [current rotation: orchids] if it’s that kind of visit. lastly, if you’re having a small get together, DO introduce one set of friends to another. there’s nothing more annoying that simply expecting complete strangers to mingle over punch. get off your lazy ass and exchange their names to get them started. as a side bonus, their chances of going home with each other will greatly increase and that means they’ll always think of you fondly. which, again, along with the global-pants-charming-off, is sort of the point.
4. DON’T be a sloppy malicious blabbermouth. no one likes a tattletale, and while it’s okay to discuss a mutual friend’s love life/job/slovenliness without malice over a pint, the rule is don’t say anything about an acquaintance that you couldn’t tell them to their face. for instance, the following conversation with a member of your circle is appropriate:
you: what do you think of B’s new boyfriend? I’m not sure about his dancing skills! (laugh)
friend: oh, I KNOW! we’ll have to tell B to give him some classes!
this alternate conversation is almost without exception, completely inappropriate:
you: what do you think of B’s new boyfriend? honestly, I think he’s
a consummate asshole and B deserves to be slapped for dating him.
friend: oh, I totally agree.
why is it inappropriate? because while your gossip-partner might agree with your casual dismissal of a mutual friend’s boyfriend, he/she may not necessarily care who else hears about your out-of-line assessment of someone else’s private life. she may be, in fact, one of those careless blabbermouths that bring down empires. this is where the "say it to their face" rule applies. if you could tease B about the boyfriend’s dancing faux pas, then it’s alright to remark on it to mutual friends "behind B’s back". otherwise, keep those juicy bits of gossip strictly limited to those two or three friends with whom you have an understood vault. then, by all means, luridly gossip away. I know I do.
5. lastly, DO remind your friends and loved ones on a regular basis how much they mean to you. not just in gestures, like remembering their birthday or rule #1, but also verbally. it’s a harsh world out there, always looking to give one a thrashing, so there’s nothing quite like hearing from a friend how great they think one is. so, when you see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, give them a big hug and a smile and tell them you’ve missed their friendly presence. make sure when a friend is down on themselves, you remind them how smashingly fun and wonderful you think they are. if you see a funny greeting card that reminds you of someone far away, send it to them for no reason. if you are one of those emotionally crippled human beings that has a hell of a time expressing any type of deep or caring emotions, and run screaming away from words like, "love" and "close" and "need", then stop reading this immediately – you may become successful, shrewd, wise, or rich but you’ll never be charming. for the rest of you, frequently reminding your pals that you think they’re a right-on group of individuals is both a nice way to perk up their lives, and thus a way to assure that people will be around for YOU when you need them. it’s a give and take, yeah?
those five brief tips should help you navigate the fun but often fraught-with-faux-pas landmines of the friendship world. that you’re a generally good person and not a complete raging misanthrope, of course, is essential to success. but even good people fail on charm, and so these five nuggets of charm should help you elevate your goodness to mythic levels. from now on, you will no longer be described as "yah, bob’s a good chap, I suppose" because no one can think of what you’ve done wrong, but rather, "man, that bob! such a good guy, always with a smile and a kind word. no get-together is the same without bob, eh?" which, of course, is your ultimate goal.
the Art of charm, part three
charm and love
unless you are a barbie or ken doll – anatomically outrageous and completely lacking in the reproductive bits – you’re familiar with the concept of romantic love. and while a lot of people use the word "charm" in relation to romantic love, what we all secretly know is:
love is a muddy horrible war zone filled with limping casualties, dangerous and completely unmarked landmines, constantly shifting enemies, and at the end of the day you’re lucky to be leaning back-to-back with one of your fellow soldiers, exhausted and scarred, passing back and forth a flask and talking about your childhoods.
however, all that unadulterated bollocks about love being fulfilling and spiritual has a point, because we all keep coming back from more like violent alcoholics, slurring our speech and demanding our fix. we come back time and again, even if its with the wrong person, at the wrong time, at the wrong place. that battlefield of love provides us with something we desperately need and want above all other things.
and much like sticking a daisy in the barrel of a gun aimed at your face didn’t much help that you had a gun aimed at your face, charm and grace can somehow make the agony of love prettier, lighter, more likely to cause good memories. and hey, maybe sometimes a daisy can stop a war, eh?
with that in mind, we’re going to take a trip through three stages of falling in love, point out the pitfalls and landmines, and show you how charm can help win a few scuffles here and there.
stage one: first date
atmosphere: nervous, exciting. he’s taking her to a restaurant, she’s wearing her lacy undies. these lacy undies will be an ongoing theme – keep an eye on them. not like that, you’re in class, behave.
pitfalls and landmines: you don’t know each other at all, essentially, and every word or phrase or joke you make is subject to about seven hundred thousand interpretations, all by the woman. and ladies, men simply don’t understand subtlety, so you think you’re showing him how gaga you are for him and he thinks you simply fancied a good meal and plan on mocking him later to your friends. two major pitfalls – how do we avoid them?
ladies: the key to being charming on the first date is really just be yourself. remember those guy friends you have that you can always flirt with and link your arm through without thinking twice? okay, be like that. because that’s really you at your flirty best. remember – there is barely any gesture too overt, short of taking your top off at the table and slathering your breasts with olive oil. men are dolts – show them you like them by actually flirting. radical, n’est ce pas? we usually do well on the date, so I will reserve most of the practical advice for the men.
gents: look, we know you’re a little nervous. try not to fidget, also, we know that you’re all essentially sweet creatures and you try and run around on the first date doing all the chivalrous things. don’t. it makes us feel like we’re being encircled by a pack of anxious chihuahuas. if you get to the door first, lovely, hold it open. if not, please don’t push a lady into oncoming traffic to hold the door/pull our chairs/get our coats/hail the cab. and when it comes to the check, if she says more than once that she insists on splitting it, FOR GOD’S SAKE let us pay for ourselves. most importantly - actually listen to her instead of fidgeting, opening doors, and fighting to pay the bill.
stage two: dating
atmosphere: ever seen two animals circling each other in the forest, unsure of their relation to each other? it's kind of like that, yeah. status of the lacy undies – lads, you shouldn’t be seeing the grannypanties at this point, she should still be trotting out her skimpy marvels. and women, he should still be making a relative effort to tidy up when you come over.
landmines and pitfalls: this is the time you will look back at with longing and nostalgia once you’re firmly entrenched in the relationship, although all you can think is how confusing and unclear it all is. the point is, this phase is quite fun when done right. some of the dangerous areas are: communication, meeting-of-the-friends, and sex.
communication: here’s the thing with dating – it’s violently unclear who calls whom, for what, and when. I’ve often bemoaned that there should just be a guidebook for this, because women end up fretting over whether or not THEY should call, email, or text and men end up having no idea when they should call or when they’ve called too much or what they said wrong and before you know it, it’s all gone to shit. so. the way to make sure this landmine is as charming as possible is – DROP THE RULES. if you’d like to see someone, call them. make it clear that you’re not simply calling for sex, like saying, "hello, I’d really like to see you, are you busy _____?" this is well-done and to the point. after half a dozen or so dates and/or you’ve slept together, it’s cute to slip in a little something sexy about the other person, to show them you’ve been thinking about them naked. yes, it’s bold. and yes, it always works. but the main point with communication is you spend more time fretting about what’s appropriate, when really, the other person es loco para ti, so just call them whenever and they’ll probably just get hot thinking about seeing you next. and that's charming.
meeting-of-the-friends: my, this one is dangerous. women think men compartmentalize too much and keep us as their "dirty secret", and men are completely freaked out because they know women keep few secrets from their girlfriends. the charmed way to handle this snake-in-a-basket is… get the friend thing out of the way early. the more it builds, the more nervous both parties are going to be. I’d say a month or so into dating at the very latest. pick a neutral kind of meeting, for instance, or if you have an enormous group of friends, try and filter it down, introduce him/her to some of the key members before you thrust him/her before a council of twenty five of your topshelf mates. also, especially if you’re very tight with your friends, avoid dragging your new love to every single friend-event, because while it’s great for you to have your mate along with your friends, it might actually be rather nerve-wracking for him/her. and if you’re the one meeting the friends – it’s sort of like being in the grip of a boa constrictor. just relax, don’t tense up, and maybe you’ll slither out intact. they will absolutely be sizing you up, make no mistake about it. if you can all just accept this and get to know each other, you’ll probably even like them – hell, you like your date, right? but if you tense up and wig out and act insecure and try and impress, her/his friends will see right through it and dislike you forever. no pressure, kids.
as for the secrets thing, lads – there’s simply nothing you can do but be charming and acknowledge that women tell their women friends everything. I suggest, to avoid conflict, that when you’re confiding in your ladyfriend something that really is quite personal, explicitly suggest she not tell ___ and ____, because otherwise, honestly, she will.
sex: sex while dating can be awkward even while its thrilling. you’re not really doing it often enough to really get into a rhythm, but you’re quite excited and eager. the other pitfall is that people are trying to impress each other, so they fall back on sex moves that worked with other people. sounds terrible, but it’s true. the most charming thing you can do in bed is be creative and original. forget everything you’ve done before – look at your new lover like an empty canvas. explore their body, find out which little bits work for whom and which should be avoided. this will make you far more memorable in the eyes of your new lover than simply switching on the "sex moves I know!" button and trying to fiddlingly align his/her machinery to yours. sex will get better – but then much later it’ll get worse.
stage three: the transition from dating to relationship
atmosphere: charged, wildly oscillating mood swings, but comfort and attraction combined. note, lads, she’s still dragging out the lacy undies for you, but not quite as often. girls, you've seen what his roommates are really like.
pitfalls and landmines: oh dear god everything. this is honestly, the most traumatizing and difficult because the notes played are starting to get serious. women and men choose to commit very differently. often, in this stage, the woman is thrilled with the level of closeness and comfort she's attained with you and wants to move closer, spend more time together, and exchange 'i love you's. men, often, are very happy staying crazy about you but the word love and time make them balk like untrained foals, mostly because they have some cockamamie notion that you're going to tie them to the bed and register them in your name forever. essentially, this transition is the gnashing rocks of a cliffside for a boat - they can be avoided, but they're deadly if you hit them at the wrong angle. frank, honest advice, and there's only two pieces of it:
talk, talk, talk: people often call this the three-six month mark crisis. it may seem incongruent and ridiculous, because for three months prior its been nothig but sex and fun, and now all of a sudden it's talky talky talky. but no matter how distasteful it may seem to say, "yar, i didn't like the way you did this," or "i'm sorry, what i need from this is _____", but because you're not used to it, it feels hard and unnatural and scary. or else you're trying to stall the relationship at permanent dating, and that's just not realistic. a few ways to be a charming discusser - always bring up a problem in a safe, non-threatening location. in front of a bar, on the way to a friend's house, and on the subway are all unacceptable, as is drunk or post-sex. another thing - don't use namby-pamby passive-agressive language. ever. say: this is the way things are, this is how i feel, how do you think?
listen, listen, listen: there's nothing less charming in the world than someone that's already made up their mind about you. this is the point in the relationship when you start to recognize someone else's flaws, weaknesses, and your own distaste for those things. so instead of resigning yourself to resentment over these things (which causes wrinkles which are distinctly uncharming) always remember to listen to him/her the way you did when you were gaga and gooey-eyed over them. ask them questions about what they're thinking, and then remember what they're not saying, as well - that they've made it this far with you, they obviously care about you even though the sexy undies are starting to slip and you've already cried on their shoulder. insecurities and demons will try and tell you that everything's going badly, bail now, cry now, doubt now. don't listen to them. listen to how much you like your mate, and how the best parts of you - the most charming parts of yourself - have been luminated by their smiles.
most important in this phase is that: remember to be the best person you can be, remember to keep putting that same charming dainty best foot forward that you did on your very first date. or else you'll just get bogged down in how hard it is to get serious about someone, and you'll completely forget why you're reaching for that goal to begin with.
and finally, as a quick bonus, remember this. relationships, no matter how passionate or serious or perfect or rocky or loving or tumultuous - they only go two ways: you stay together or you break up. and if the latter should happen, petit hiboux is always ready with a contingency plan.
the extremely abbreviated yet practical Art of Charm and Break Ups
1. take their number out of your phone.
2. call your friends.
3. drink, complain, cry, make out with a stranger, repeat.
4. thank your friends.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
banners of yore
before jason designed the most beautiful illo in the world, thus ridding me of the need to ever change my banner again [see: indulged laziness!], petithiboux went through many transformations and catchy subheaders. without further ado?
march 2002 - june 2002: my first learning attempt at fussing with the template, this self-indulgent little banner found itself on a cream-colored page with green and dark red type, and a chunky right-paged sidebar.
june 2002 - september 2002: i got so tired of this blue-backgrounded page and it's triboro theme, but looking back on it, i kind of miss the pictures. i don't, however, miss having a colored background. yechh.
september 2002 - january 2003: it was during this minimalist black/white/red incarnation, that i actually started picking up *gasp* readers, so it holds a special place in my heart. and besides, this adorable illo always thrilled me. i'm so cute sometimes, i slay me.
january 2003 - april 2003: as simple and pictureless as this one was, i really enjoyed returning to the blue color theme and there was something so adorable about those snowflakes. it kind of captures my winter temperament, and plus, it's a line from my favorite christmas song. and yes, they are typeface-moderne asterices, WHY?
the one that got away - never used: i was going to use this one, with bright art-deco colors and the warholian self-portrait, but i held on to it for so long that it stopped appealing to me, and i settled instead for the more muted but still cheery current spring/summer '03 incarnation.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
1. my favorite word in the english language is serendipity.
2. my favorite word in the portguese language is saudade.
3. my favorite expression in the french language is je suis une pamplemousse.
4. my favorite part of the day is right after a good dinner.
5. my favorite part of the weekend is saturday morning.
6. my favorite person to go to the movies with is beth davis. and my mom.
7. I can’t pick a favorite book, but if I have to, my favorite book is the alchemist, by paulo coehlo
8. my favorite ex boyfriend is matthieu brajot.
9. my favorite kiss was on his street in the rain.
10. my favorite coffee shop is café artiste in houston, texas.
11. when I was two, my best friend was tania barros.
12. when I was four, I spoke arabic.
13. when I was six, I was irrefutably proven the existence of santa claus.
14. when I was nine, I cracked my two front teeth in the swimming pool.
15. when I was eleven, they knew my name at the museum of natural history.
16. when I was thirteen, I fractured my pelvis.
17. when I was fifteen, I climbed mount kenya.
18. when I was seventeen, I discovered house of pies.
19. when I was nineteen, I had my first of many cigarettes.
20. when I was twenty one, I found faith in myself.
21. I don’t like eggplant, pate, anything from the ocean, or cabbage.
22. I really love steak, omelettes, my mom’s feijoada and j’s pastries.
23. I can’t knit. I don’t have the patience.
24. I live in the coziest apartment in the world.
25. I love texas. so there.
26. I can recognize people by their smells. for instance, he always smells salty.
27. I don’t trust cats with green eyes.
28. I don’t trust boys with blue ones.
29. I wish I was tall and pale.
30. with black hair.
31. and green eyes.
32. I am none of those things.
33. there are three boys that have broken little pieces of my heart.
34. and they’re all very far away.
35. I’ve been to: argentina, brasil, aruba, morocco, tunisia, kenya, egypt, south africa, mexico, france, england, ireland, switzerland, italy, spain, and portugal. I think that’s all.
36. I want to visit: mongolia, prague, scotland, belgium, montana, new zealand, estonia, costa rica, israel, japan, mauritius, réunion, cape verde, monte carlo, and canada.
37. I hate hotels.
38. I love room service.
39. I hate the ice cream truck.
40. I love children.
41. I hate connecticut.
42. I love rhode island.
43. I hate rainy mondays.
44. I love rainy sundays.
45. I am part of a trinity.
46. I have gone on three blind dates in my life.
47. magnolia’s bakery on 11th and bleeker has the best cupcakes. ever.
48. and I should know. I really love cupcakes.
49. I have the best parents in the world.
50. I have the best brother in the world.
51. when I was little, I thought I wanted to be: a jockey, a fashion designer, interior designer, a vet, an architect, and a writer, in that order.
52. I’ve never kissed a girl.
53. I’ve kissed too many boys to count. chances are, you’re one of them.
54. my favorite song to sing in the shower is gershwin’s ‘fascinating rhythm’.
55. when I see little kids, my ovaries start kicking. seriously.
56. I smoke pot.
57. and cigarettes.
58. and I can be a perfectionist.
59. and sometimes, unwittingly condescending.
60. I also fall in love too quickly.
61. and I cry a lot.
62. but other than that, I’m a pretty awesome person.
63. I love my friends to little bitty pieces. and then I carry them in my pocket.
64. I enjoy my job. I also enjoy leaving my job at 5:30.
65. I enjoy my morning commute.
66. I think astoria is the next greenpoint.
67. I’m probably the most voracious bookworm you’ve ever met.
68. except seastreet. he’ll read anything.
69. everyone always told me never to cut bangs.
70. I did.
71. everyone liked them. this proves that I am better than everyone.
72. I don’t really think I’m better than anyone.
73. I want to be maureen dowd. or kay bailey. or madeleine albright.
74. I don’t like the president. at all.
75. I didn’t vote for nadar.
76. I say the word ‘dude’ far too much.
I never say hella or wicked. i do NOW. and it's all his fault.
78. I really don’t like boston. they’re obsessed with the revolution.
79. I want to retire on a ranch in kenya. or an apartment in ipanema.
80. I have to live near the ocean. it means that I can escape, if need be.
81. I grind my teeth when I sleep.
82. I’m addicted to the snooze button.
83. I’m addicted to the internet.
84. sometimes, I shower up to three times a day. don’t ask.
85. I lived on fisher’s island for two months. it was heaven.
86. elliott smith is the only famous person I would approach.
87. september 11th was part of the single worst week of my life.
88. erin is the only person who knows all my secrets.
89. and she’s not telling.
90. I’ve learned stay away from people named chase or sergio.
91. I know how to line dance.
92. I don’t know how to tango.
93. I have three passports, and I’m working on my fourth.
94. I don’t understand american football. but I love football.
95. I hate jimmy buffet.
96. I like dogs better than cats, but if I had a cat, it’d be a blue-eyed tabby named toby.
97. I can’t believe you’ve made it this far. you must really like me.
98. I believe that if I do one thing well in my life, it will be to love the people around me. and be loved in return.
99. I don’t give a crap if you think that’s cheesy. I’m serious.
100. because of my friends and family, i am one lucky, lucky girl.
now you know ... a little more. go back from whence you came.
* * * * * * * * * * * *