it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

to steal a phrase from dickens, i think i now understand it fully. we returned yesterday evening (or rather, very early this morning) from our travels abroad, and the highs we had were the highest & most joyful: lauren & joe's wedding in oxford, our first train ride into paris accompanied by live accordion music, holding a hot crepe in front of the seine, watching the tour eiffel sparkle and shimmer at midnight, posing in front of 44 rue jacob with hemingway's ghost and dining at his favorite le-pre-aux-clercs on a turkey-curry kabob and the red house wine, and befriending a couple of french kids who wanted to practice their english while i practiced my french at a cafe in montmartre while toasting "sante" with beer (1664) and mojitos until the cafe closed. oh, then the lows we had made the highs so much more meaningful, and i'll summarize to say that losing our luggage for the entire trip was the most painfully humbling experience. i hardly think the good times would have been as triumphant if the bad times had not crushed our spirits so brutally in their brief moments of victory. our trip was a grand success, all in all. the writer in me is still soaking it all in at the moment, having hardly found time to write in the midst of the experience, and i hope to share it with you in more detail sometime before school starts next month. 

in a luggage update though: one piece was returned to us thursday evening, appearing to be completely in tact (even the bit of money i stashed was there!). our other piece ("my" bag") is still awol. we hope it is having a good time and expect it to return home fully loaded with souvenirs, including (but not limited to): glowing glass replicas of the tour eiffel, one pink thong emblazed with the word paris on the front in tiny rhinestones, a note that stays "my father has died and i have no money..." (beggars feast on the tourists, always introducing themselves with the phrase "do you speak english?" before holding out this note and then completely grossing you out by touching a finger to your pastry and then her lips and leaving you no choice but to abandon your edibles since you refused to eat something someone else has fingered, which may not have happened if you gave away your loose change.) i figure our luggage is really hard up at this point.


where's waldo?

otherwise known as "where is my luggage?" is the saying of this trip. as we are forced to wash our underthings for a second night in a row, i am grappling with the idea of finding another "perfect dress" to wear to the wedding, and to try not to hate my luggage for spending more time in france than the original 8 hour layover we had intended for it. i am convinced that, like the gnome in "Amelie", we will come home to photos the missing pair had taken in front of notre dame or kissing beneath the eiffel tower or touring the louvre. that is SO not cool.


playing around

last night i was running an errand and heard a commercial for a store that was having a "Huge Piano Blowout Sale!" and it happened to be located at the tustin marketplace where i was headed. so, post-errand, i found myself in the store, fingering the yamaha uprights and eyeing the room full of bosendorfers. the store manager was generous enough to let me walk in and play, even though i wasn't in the market for one (i had asked him). sixty seconds in the room and i found myself on the main floor again, breathless at the beauty of construction and the sound that my fingers pulled from the keys. i was further complimented as i played on some of the other pianos when he asked me if i wanted to go back in and play on the bosendorfer some more since i "have such a nice touch" on the piano. wow. i was in heaven, if heaven is a piano tagged at $150,000...

we're not in the market for a piano, mind you, but i think that when we are, it'll end up being the yamaha c1, a baby grand that has incredible tone. the one i fell for had a walnut finish and an unmistakeable warmth (especially in the bass) that threw me head over heels. i talked with the manager a while longer, digested the cost (sell my car? i just might, but it still wouldn't pay for it entirely), and thanked him for his time. i think the investment is somewhere in our future, but i couldn't tell you when.


precious moments

this summer has been moving at warp speed, so it's with extreme joy i pause and reflect on the photos that capture moments in time that are so awesome. holding my niece at one week old is an incredible experience, and finds me totally unconvinced that i would never want a child of my own. not that i had ever wholly decided that in the first place, but in light of going to school & traveling to far-off places, it hasn't been at the top of the list. this has not so much to do with those other things, so much as josh & i have a healthy understanding and respect for what it takes (emotionally, financially, relationally--if that's even a word) when you have a child.

in other news, i've been mostly working and mostly taking piano lessons this summer. i've also been scheming as to how i can work my way into the Music Teacher's Association of California so that i can start teaching piano. not an easy undertaking, since last i checked uci had me down as an english major. one must admit though: i've had this in me all along. it was only a matter of time, commitment, talent, support, time.... i'm much more dedicated to the cause at 29 than 19, and i think the only thing i wouldn't like about majoring in music at uci is that i wouldn't be taking lessons from linda. however, the best case scenario of that happening puts me at september 2007, so i won't complain just yet.

moxie has just thrown himself atop my lap and left hand. so i'll take that as a sign to savor the moment and cease this blogging. more to come in september.