I have just over two weeks left in Paris. On New Year’s Eve, I’m heading back to New York, because apparently I like symbolic departure dates. (Nearly two years ago, I flew to Dakar on Valentine’s Day.)
I haven’t found a way to make living in France sustainable, and the past eight months have been some of the toughest of my life, for multiple reasons. I need a break, and while NYC is also a struggle for me, it’s my best option right now.
That’s why after months of getting to know Paris at my leisure, I’ve suddenly gone deep into tourist mode and am trying to cross off as many things as I can from my long list of places to see and things to do. Today was fairly epic. Continue reading
About a year ago I saw a video from the 1979 World Disco Finals in my Facebook feed. During a period in which I was feeling increasingly disappointed in the human race, it cheered (and entertained) me immeasurably. So much so that I shared it on this blog.
The 1980 follow up was just brought to my attention, and it has likewise instilled in me fresh hope in the midst of deep worry and despair. Watch it, forget your cares, and fall back in love with living, guaranteed:
They may not attain the same heights of grandeur as the World Disco Finals, but here are some nevertheless interesting links to go into your weekend with:
Here are some U.S. museums that offer magical-sounding sleepovers.
Cambridge Dictionary made its choice for 2017 word of the year, and it depresses me.
22 over-the-top dramatic dining experiences around the world.
The New York Times rounded up the best recently released travel books.
A map that shows how long it takes an English speaker to learn the most popular languages in Europe.
A compendium of cool travel tattoos.
The 10 best American national parks to visit this winter.
A cartoon that I can relate to, and a pick-me-up for language learners.
Scientists are developing technology for languages about which linguists know nothing.
Through crowdsourcing, this website maps every record shop in the world.
Can you guess the world’s most Instagrammed places?
This “apology generator” skewers the language of statements by celebrity sexual predators (the site calls them pervs; i call them criminals).
A linguistic mystery solved, i.e. why French and Americans count building levels differently.
Have a good one!
It is an especially happy Friday for me because my friend of almost 25 years is coming to visit on Sunday, AND she is bringing my winter coat from New York, AND we’re going to visit Sancerre together.
I also bought a ticket tonight for a day trip to Luxembourg in mid-November. At some point over the past year I realized that I was 37 years old and had been to 38 U.S. states and 37 countries, if you count Puerto Rico, England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland individually. I decided that I’d attempt to keep my country and state counts up to or ahead of my age for as long as possible. I turned 38 this week, and I haven’t been to a new country since I left Senegal in March… so no time like the present. I have heard there are lovely fall colors in Luxembourg and I’m hoping the leaves stay on the trees long enough for me to appreciate them.
In the meantime, I’m continuing to love Paris in the fall, and I’m filled with even more joy knowing that in two short days I’ll have a puffer coat to hide out in as soon as the temperature drops.
I leave you for the weekend with some interesting things I read this week:
Proof of what I have long known to be true about speaking foreign languages while tipsy.
Some useful French idioms. Avoir le cafard (to have the cockroach, i.e. to be sad) is my favorite, obviously.
Want to travel around the world for a full year, writing for the New York Times? So does like half the planet.
The official guardians of the French language have a problem with gender inclusive writing, not surprisingly (since they are textbook fuddy duddies).
Even on our own, we’re always in translation. (A beautiful letter of recommendation.)
An ‘accidental dictionary’ explores how errors created the English language.
Have a lovely weekend!
This Saturday in Paris is La Nuit Blanche, when art installations and performances pop up all over town and museums stay open until late into the night. I’m excited about it. I hope cafes stay open late as well because I’m going to need a recharge at some point if I’m going to wander around until the wee hours.
Meanwhile, this week I did more Internet-browsing than usual, and I have a bunch of interesting links to share.
Have a good weekend! I’ll try to put up my Arles pix next week…
Cartoonist Roz Chast draws a love letter to New York City – cockroaches and all.
Why am I a nomad?
The Smithsonian wrote about the “Lost State” of Franklin, an intriguing side note in American history that at one point I really wanted to make a documentary about. It’s a fascinating story, though the article barely touches the surface.
10 ways Prague keeps it weird…
…While Japan’s bathroom ghosts keep it strange and terrifying.
Beautiful photos from Les Halles, Paris’s main market in the 1950s. Sadly, it no longer exists – replaced by a mall, of all things.
I’ll teach my dog 100 (Yiddish) words.
The 20 best road trips on earth, according to Fodor’s.
Duping the tourists who went “slumming” in New York City’s Chinatown.
And finally, I really hope that by the time I leave Paris I will have my own love story to tell about the city. In the meantime, here is a beautiful one written by an Irish actress.
Just got back from enjoying live Congolese music at a place in my neighborhood that has only just been introduced to me, two weeks before my departure. Ah well, such is life.
It’s now one in the morning. I should go to bed…. But I’ve been accumulating interesting links for a month or so, and if I don’t share them now they will become hopelessly stale. So here they are:
Non-English words for emotions the English language doesn’t have exact words for.
Sounds that babies hear in the womb affect their language learning.
In China, there was a 19th century script that only women could write.
In Liberia last year, I came to appreciate how much of my way of life is made possible by electricity, and what it’s like to go without. Here’s an interesting article on the country’s struggle to get back on the grid.
The Mystery and Occasional Poetry of, Uh, Filled Pauses.
Donald Trump’s is using the language of victimhood to position himself as America’s savior.
5 tips for conquering the “intermediate plateau” of language learning.
Calling Yourself ‘Humbled’ Doesn’t Sound as Humble as It Used To.
With thanks to Randy for passing along this animated interview with Chimamanda Adichie: What Americans get wrong about Africa.
The US is no longer a full democracy, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Perhaps this has something to do with why.
¿What’s the story with ¿ and ¡ ?
This mosque looks crazy beautiful.
I Traveled to a Magical Island — Alone.
Have a good night and enjoy your weekends!
P.S. The photo above is from the Ile de Ngor this past summer. It’s fairly chilly, relatively speaking, in Dakar in February… and NYC might have actually been warmer today!
I tried to post all my weekend links on Friday, then on Saturday, then on Sunday, but Senegal’s circa-1996 Internet had other plans. (This place has given me such a sharpened appreciation for the impact of the digital divide.) Oh well, at least now I can share a photo from yesterday’s referendum (my neighborhood polling station, above) and a video from the Cheikh Lo show at Just4U on Friday night:
- Latin-West African fusion has produced the most amazing sounds on the planet.
- Cheikh Lo and the thousands of other stately gentlemen walking around this city put America’s hipsters to shame. The combination of tunic, leather slippers, beanie, aviators, and ornate silver jewelry is just about the coolest thing I have ever seen. I don’t know why the Sartorialist hasn’t gotten around to visiting this place.
- I really do want to leave everything behind and learn how to play that over-the-shoulder/under-the-armpit drum.
The weekend is now over but here are some weekday reads. They are all from the New York Times, because now that I’ve traveled to a far reach of the planet, I can no longer travel to a far reach of the Internet.
Bilinguals have superior social skills.
How to find a local guide when traveling solo.
Six of the ten least happy countries in the world are ones I am really hoping to travel to this year. :S
There are only two cruises I want to take: this one and the one that tours Alaskan glaciers with the elderly.
Americans: get yourselves to Cuba, stat. Look at this if you need convincing.
How to travel with an eye to settling down.
Have a good week! As for me, I’ll be returning to Kaolack tomorrow to shoot some pick-ups in the 100 degree heat, yippie!