Friday, January 28, 2011

An American Girlfriend In London, Pt 10: I Know How To French Kiss, Does That Count?

It was recently pointed out to me by my cousin that I was wrong when I said I only knew two words in French. I claimed I only knew "Oui" (yes) & "fromage" (cheese)...  are there really two better words to know? Then she reminded me of our Scottish family crest's motto I have tattooed across the back of my neck "je suis prest"... and I realized I am now in possession of THE 5 most important words of the French lexicon "Yes, I am ready (for) cheese!"

Tomorrow morning I will wake up around 4am, take a quick shower, have a nice heapin' dose of travel anxiety, take a cab to St. Pancras and arrive via train in Paris around 9:45am. (!!!!)

I've never been to Paris, and while this was supposed to be my birthday present from the BF, he is not coming with me. In fact every thing we've talked about doing while I've been here in London with him has yet to be done... I do understand that it's due to the demands of his current job remodeling two bathrooms for a client that has proved to be a complete asshat, as well as all sorts of unforeseen setbacks on the site, but I believe I'm still allowed to be sad about the fact that Christmas was rather sucktastic, New Years fairly lackluster, the trip to Scotland, while AMAZING, was minus him... and now my birthday present of a holiday for the two of us is now a trip for just me. He said he'd pay for the train tickets... I put them on my credit card.

I did consider just flying back to the states this weekend, but knew (thank you foresight!) that I would be kicking myself for ages if I didn't take the opportunity to go see Paris while in Europe. Plus, I have a friend there that I have not seen since about 1987, Mary. She & I went to high school together, and while we were not friends at school, we weren't like mortal enemies either. We just didn't know each other very well, even though we did/do share common friends.

A few years ago we "found" each other on facebook. As time went by and comments, "likes", brief messages, and probably a "poke" or two, etc. were exchanged I wrote a letter to her asking her about the name of the "rescue kitty" I had once had. I told her I knew the name was French (I did not name the cat, the evil previous owners I stole it from did), but no matter how hard I looked I could not figure out what the name meant....

From me: 
"the word/name "minoux"... I am 99.9% sure it's french... and I once had a cat with this name. I never knew what it meant. I did not name her. I saved her from a home where they abused the hell out of her. (I broke in through their kitchen window and took the cat in the early 90's and brought it to the vet, and after I convinced the vet that I was not the evil bastard that shattered it's entire leg... which ended up having to have pins put in it.. I kept her... She lived another 10 years, & would have lived longer if she didn't catch F.I.V. from an infected cat... that sucked.) ... but I have always wondered what her name meant. For the longest time I was convinced it was just the french version of "meow"... but I just don't know. Figured I'd ask the only person I currently know living in France if she knows! Any idea?"

From Mary: "That's a fun question as we have lots of felines in our neighborhood (Montmartre, unlike the rest of Paris--which is rather small dog-oriented--is a kitty haven, though we have dogs too).

"Minou" or "Minet" means "kitty" (male). "Minette" means kitty (female). "Minoux" looks like a plural, as the "x" suffix in French is often used for plurals--I can't find the plural form in the big French online dictionaries, so it might be "s" at the end rather than "x". In any case, "minoux" would seem to mean "male kitties".
P.S. I am right now being purred at by our young male cat Morpheus, who Bruno rescued from near death when he was a tiny kitten under a hedge in a corporate park in the middle of nowhere. He had just barely been weaned and was covered with ticks and stuffed with worms/parasites/you name it. No momcat would have left him there like that. Must have been humans. People (of that sort, anyway) disgust me." 

... though there were a few messages between us prior to that exchange, that is the one I recall as being the start of us saying more than just "wow, you look great in that picture" type things. 

As time went by (as it seems to always do) I began to forget that Mary and I weren't "friends" in high school. It always felt strange to say it when asked, not that it came  up every day or anything, but when it did I never knew how to phrase it. I didn't want to say we weren't friends in school, it was just that we weren't NOT friends, but knew each other, but ... but... do you see why it's slightly confusing? 

Anyway, last year when I went to London in September I got a message from her telling me I should visit Paris & come see her. I told her that it entirely depended on finances and the BF's schedule at the time, but that if we could, we would... and then I asked her if she knew of dirt cheap hotels in Paris. Her reply was that I was being silly and should stay with her and her boyfriend and their beautiful daughter. Normally my gut instinct is to say something along the lines of "no! that's okay! you don't have to do that!"... but I truthfully really loved the idea of being able to spend some time with her, as well as... ok... let's be 100% honest... free place to stay in Paris? Really?... uh... YES! I think I'm hyper sensitive to the "house guest" thing since I live in a place (Martha's Vineyard) where once someone hears I have a house there the phone doesn't stop ringing from mid spring through early fall with a lot of "yeah, we were thinking of coming to the Vineyard" type statements. Over the years I have learned to reply to that with "Oh that's wonderful! I'd love to see you! Call me when you get here and we will have to find a way to get together for dinner or drinks, or both!" ... you can petty much hear it in their reply of "yeah, sure!" that they are bummed I didn't ask them to stay with me. (I've also unplugged the house phone) Obviously if it is a good friend there is no question, I will flat out insist they stay with me, but to have some random person I haven't seen in like 15 or 20 years (probably for good reason I might add) get hold of me and try to snag a free place to stay on the island? Uh... fuckyouverymuch. That said, if I invite you to visit, and offer you a place to stay, I honestly mean it. (And I'll also honestly tell you to not get your hopes up that I have some palatial beach house on the water... it was called a "fixer upper" when I bought it... and I refer to it as a "tearer downer" more often than not, BUT... it's mine, so....

Right, like I was saying, tomorrow I will be in Paris (!!!!), at this exact moment, 24 hours from now, I will be wandering the streets of Paris (probably hopelessly lost, but that'll be fun too). It really is too bad the BF can't make it, but I'll be trying my best to see as much as I can of Paris while I'm there even though it's going to take every inch of my being to not be a little sad that after months upon months of discussing all that we wanted to do/see in Paris that I will be going alone. ... and unless Mary is with me when it happens, there will be no one to witness my fit of giggles when I speak my only French (poorly) and let someone know that Yes!  I am ready for cheese! ... it's either that or just repeat the French lyrics from Lady Marmalade (which I don't count as part of my French vocabulary, 'cause who doesn't know these lyrics?).

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?
(do you want to sleep with me this evening?)


  1. Enjoy Paris. Take the not so much school friend up on staying as well. ;)

  2. Thank you! I am staying with her and her family... and I can not wait to meet her boyfriend and her daughter. I know I will have fun... but there is the back of the brain burning question of "would it have been more fun if the BF was there too?" ... I will be doing my best to answer that with a resounding "NO!" (That was a French "no" by the way, hard to get the accent across when typing you know ;p )

  3. Have fun in Paris! That is one of the places I do want to visit someday...when I have money...and time off of work. Which unfortunately, may be a while before that happens for me day. I'm sure you'll have fun even without the BF! Can't wait to hear, I about it afterward!

  4. Thank you ♥ I am looking forward to having some fun things to share.

  5. I'm really happy for you that you decided to go even though BF can't make it. Do you already know which places you want to visit there?

  6. Starlight- in a word?... everything. I know I need to go to the Louvre, 'cause I'm an art nerd... and the architecture alone will captivate me for hours, so just wandering around will be nice for me. I will want to do some of the über touristy stuff like see (if not go up in) the Eiffel Tower, even if it's just to say I did... but more than anything, as with all places I visit that are new, I tend to just quietly observe the local life. For years it was a habit I had of going somewhere new, falling in love with the place, and moving there for 6 months or more. Paris will probably never be a home to me, but I do hope it makes a good lasting impression & that I can go back someday with more time & money. This trip is going to be rather whirlwind.

  7. The view from the Eiffel Tower is magnificent, you should go up. And if you'll have time check out the Pantheon and l'Hotel des Invalides those are my favourite buildings in Paris (fabulous architecture!).
    (Actually I would recommend you all things that I wrote about in my post about Paris, they were all awesome!)

    I'm sure it'll be fabulous, after all - you're going to Paris!! :)

  8. That sounds awesome! You are so lucky... I'm so jealous of this jet setting lifestyle you've got going on. Take some pictures while you're there! (not that I think you wouldn't take pictures or would just because I told you to... lol)
    That really sucks that the BF isn't going... I would be totally bummed, but I'd still go by myself.

  9. It makes me laugh to think of my life as "jet set." I'm more of a tug boat really. ;p