24.1.13

This is a bunch of stuff

So I was walking through the Place de la Republic the other night realizing that the perfect time to be out and about in Paris is that sweet spot  between 21h and 23:30 on a quite soggy night because  the sidewalks aren't smoky and over crowded and the drunks aren't yet too curious. 
Naturally, I was singing. I have discovered a lot of great bands over the last year and even though my breaths support isn't what it once was, I still like to belt me out a good tune. All this would be fine if I hadn't been listening to debate highlights songified--the whole time wondering how freakish and patriotic I must look to anyone in earshot and bilingue.
As you may know, we've been in a holding pattern here in Paris for quite some time. It's been my plan since before high school to do the Peace Corps and maybe I meant to do it sooner but it really seems like it's going to happen now. Can't say for sure when, as yet, but before the end of this year I expect to be in another country. 
In a letter we received last night from our recruiter, I was assured there are no posts open in French-speaking countries. Which is a bummer because they currently have open programs in Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Cameroon. They also have feet on the ground in Morocco and Madagascar, but their flash map says they don't train their volunteers in French in these countries. 
Check it out for yourself, it's a pretty solid history of where the Peace Corps has been in the world.
I'll be the first to admit that my thirst for adventure was what interested Erin the child in the Corps but Erin the taller really does like to help people. I say this to explain that my concept--or if I'm being honest--fantasy of how service in the Peace Corps would go has evolved just as I have... 
If this is you:

We should be friends. 
/digression

I've kind of always had my heart set on Africa. The best short fiction in the New Yorker always came out of Africa, said Erin the Child. People are starving in Africa, said Erin's mom, Eat your dinner. Let's deny them access to contraception and education, said the Bush administration. I take a shower after having sex with someone I suspect of having HIV,  remarked the current President of South Africa.   Erin the taller said, I can teach and now I know a nominal amount of French, let me serve. But the letter said we are being considered for all the open programs in the world. So we could be in Columbia or Turkmenistan, as it suits them.
As much as I'm quietly worried about the atrophying of my French, I'm also feeling liberated from my expectations. I can learn almost any language they need me to in two years time. I've proved that to myself here. Moreover, I'm traveling with a rational, map and money-savvy man who will stick by my side and help me sail to our next port. Most of all, I shouldn't worry too much about a future I can't predict or change--I know these things, but I  don't live this truth. 

It snowed last weekend; almost all day, on Sunday. What a wonderful gift to the children of Paris, on an afternoon like Sunday. No school. More than half the shops in town closed your parents have to spend time with you. Many of the streets closed to cars, couldn't have hoped for a better excuse to make wintertime memories.  You should have seen them in Le Parc des Buttes Chaumont.


We slid on our heels a while others used cardboard, truckless skateboards, or sleds, or skis. We walked all the way home and had hot chocolate en route. Had an even better cup of it last night, as a matter of fact. You could say that things have been pretty cozy, lately. We've been reusing tea bags and burning candles. Sweaters, slippers and wool socks whenever we're up. Lots of reading in bed. I love it. There is even a machine raclette sitting on our kitchen table. We'll see what comes of it.
My only sure thing is Sunday's March for Equality. That's right, I'm determined not to be too hungover to stand up for my French LGBT brothers and sisters and their right as tax paying citizens to marry and raise children legally. There was a protest against it two weeks ago but as Biden would say, "Their ideas are old, and their ideas are bad." And I would quote him, because debates are better as musicals.
See you on the other-side of eventually. 
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