A Pledge…

Memoir (noun)

  1. a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
  2. Usually, memoirs.
    a. an account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography.
    b. the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
  3. a biography or biographical sketch.

    (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/memoir)

Over the years, since I was actually quite young, I have been told that I should write a memoir. One immediately wonders if their life is that interesting and if they are actually pompous asses if they think it might be. Such a word – memoir – holds a great deal of weight, because I feel that only people who have lead extraordinary lives should really put pen to paper in such a manner. My father should have written one and my grandfather did; however, I fear that it is rather pretentious of me at thirty-six to feel like I have something worthwhile to say about life. What do I know?

I would be lying if I said I’ve never thought about it. I have momentarily touched upon my childhood in Moscow in 1991, as well as my life in Kuala Lumpur in the mid-80s in writing, but I struggle with how to write a truly full and colorful account of these experiences and a myriad of other stories. I only hope that I can do it justice.

Since leaving Los Angeles on June 3rd, 2011, I have kept a journal that I have written in almost daily. My intent over the next year (or so) is to go through these pages and find the stories and anecdotes that may help me pull together a book that would describe my move to Paris; my childhood in Malaysia, Russia, and the United States of America; and the people that are my family. I am the child of two amazing individuals with very different stories of their own.

My intention now is to use my blog to gather my thoughts in order to write this book. I must decide what to leave out and what to include. To find the correct words to describe memories that are both recent and over twenty-five years old, as well as family stories that have been handed down throughout the years. I guess the only way to forge such a path is to begin to write…

 

I have always been teased for finding a restaurant (wherever I live) and becoming a regular. It’s just my nature to find a place where I feel comfortable. I fluctuate between regular cycles at the local haunt, going out with friends, or being very happily nestled in my apartment. Quiet and alone. Over the last few days, I have spent a lot of time going out with friends.

Sometimes going out involves a Japonaise Fête at a friend’s flat in the 13th arr.
Homemade food. Lychee alcohol mixed with fruit juice. Rosé or white wine. Or beer.
Our host is under thirty years old. Who wants to go to a keg party?

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~ * ~

How about dancing on the Seine? Swing or salsa, anyone? Another friend wanted
to check out the action on the banks of this famous river that runs through the city,
splitting Paris into the Left Bank and the Right Bank.

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~ * ~

Everyone will tell you that I am in love with this city. Just walking around
and looking at how gorgeous this city is can make your day or night.

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~ * ~

Sit at a café! There are countless cafés on countless corners and side streets.
Grab a coffee or a delicious bite to eat. If you journal, this is the place to park it.

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~ * ~

Or sit at your neighborhood haunt! Morning. Noon. Or night.
The world that is just down the street from your apartment becomes a
little more familiar! Like when the roller skaters pass through Nation
every Friday at midnight while the weather is good.

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Flashback: April Trip to Deddington, England.

In April, I visited my mother and my step-father John in England. This was the rainy weather view from the Oxford Bus that took me from London to Oxford where I met the parental units. From Oxford, we drove to Deddington, which is thirty or so minutes outside of Oxford.

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The adorable cottage they rented was the upstairs section of a converted barn. Below us, the owners still had farming equipment for the beautiful pastures that were part of the property. Below: view of cottage and master bedroom from guest bedroom; second and third photograph is the view from my guest bedroom.

Deddington Cottage April 19

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I would like to return to Oxford and spend some time exploring the beautiful city. This was a view of a passing building on my way back to London and then Paris.

Oxford April 23

Where in the World does this race start? Or go? Or end?

Apparently time has flown by and March is now July. Spring has passed, though no one in Paris is really sure if it was ever here. Now we are enjoying the warmth of summer and being outside is a must! However, as a writer nearly finished with her script – the reason I moved here – my life has been spent at a table staring at a computer. (Said computer is now the newest Macbook Pro… which makes for a happier écrivain.)

While a lot of things have been changing in my life – for the (creative) good  – I have been stressed about the idea that I might never make my film. I am aware that it is a possibility that this script will never see the light of day – in an old Staples printer paper box on a dusty shelf  – and I know that I have to have faith. Blind faith. One might pause at those two words. They seem to say, “You will not be seeing where you are going.” Or “It’s without direction or purpose.” Or “You will not see the reality that is staring you right in the face, because you will not be looking with your eyes.

As I stress out, I remind myself that my initial move to France was made with blind faith. I knew I belonged in Paris and that my dreams were one hundred percent (100%) possible for me here. Why Paris? Let’s just say I felt it in my gut. I was being pulled across the Atlantic and I acted without a plan. Give my last months notice. Check. Sell belongings (i.e. car.) Check. Give things to Goodwill. Check. Give things to friends. Double Check. Put things in storage (and later ship to Mother.) Check. Pack suitcases, buy plane ticket, and fly to Paris on June 3rd, 2011? Check. Check. Check.

As of today – July 11, 2013 – blind faith has only been on “my side.” A guardian angel (of energy) that has guided me through the ups and downs: living in a foreign country; braving the bureaucracy that is the French government; the visa headaches; the no one talks to each other at the Préfècture or goes by the same rules twice; not speaking French when I moved; being a dyslexic trying to learn the language; believing that I’ll get EU citizenship once Latvia allows duality (which goes into law on October 1st.) And the big dream of being an American-Latvian filmmaker residing in Paris, France.

I still frequently question my creative talent, though. I need to have a strong belief in myself and cultivate patienceThe road ahead of me is filled with countless roadblocks… but I will hurdle them. Like a track runner in a marathon filled with 100mm hurdles, as well as the random military bootcamp training obstacle. There is a finish line, but I don’t know where it is, how to get there, or how long it will take to reach it. The race has no map. The destination is unmarked. Bravery is the only fuel. I may not reach the exact goal I have set out before me, but I will get very close. Perhaps I’ll even hit the bullseye, but to the right of center.

“While you long and aim for the destination, thrive on the journey; the battle; the adventure.” 

Moving to Paris. Part one: Los Angeles to Zurich

From JOURNAL ONE: June 4, 2011

      

And so I am on my flight to France (by the way of Zurich) and have felt a roller-coaster of emotions as I departed Los Angeles (“for good.”) The only thing that makes this trip “hard’ is that one should never, ever fly Suisse Air in economy… let alone Suisse Air, which apparently isn’t even Suisse Air anymore. It’s been a horrible experience so far. Besides the narrowest seats ever, it looks like a crummy old plane. And the woman sitting next to me is encroaching on my space and smells of body oder mixed with pot. Thank goodness it’s freezing cold inside the plane, because she was forced to put on her leather jacket, which has suppressed most of the smell. This is not a great experience; however, I am rising above it!

Side note: Suisse Air has shit customer service. As my friend Nikki drove me to LAX, I feared that I would be ten minutes late to checking-in, which had at 18:00 (6pm.) I called and asked the representative to see if she could let LAX’s Suisse desk know that I would be a few minutes late. The woman, however, refused to help me (no matter how politely I pleaded,) but did end up giving me the number for the LAX desk… which was out of service when I dialed it. I called the original number again and the male representative falsely told me that there was a 60-minute (not 90-minute) check-in.

Long story short, I got to the desk (again with no help from the LAX worker, who told me that there was no Suisse desk there, even though it was in front of us,) and the representative at the check-in was very helpful, even when her supervisor almost refused to tell her whether or not I could be allowed to check-in… even though I WAS on-time after all! At one point, the supervisor ignored the representative and started to check someone else in without answering her! In the end, I got onto my plane, with it’s exceptionally narrow seats and had one of the most uncomfortable flights I have ever had.

~~~~~

The last month in Los Angeles has been truly great. So great that it gave me a false sense of comfort and was probably one of the best times I spent there during my 10-year run. What made it wonderful was my complete emotional abandonment. I ceased to care about (mainly) how I was perceived by those around me.  During this time, I spent an entire month with Nikki and slept on her lovely couch (although I started out at my friend Jessica’s place, where my attempt to couch surf was thwarted when she kindly gave me her bed!) Bless both Nikki and Jessica for their honest friendship and support. And I will never forget waking up every morning to Nikki’s cat, Ava, as she crawled on top of me and purred. This morning ritual was accompanied by the garbage trucks outside in the morning. It reminded me of the ocean where Tamarind Avenue was the Pacific and the trucks were Great White Sharks taking out baby seals.

   

Now I am one hour and sixteen minutes away from touching down in Zurich. I am only a few hours away from arriving in Paris. People say that I am brave to do this… right now, I am silently wondering if and when the fear is going to kick in. Each time I start to hear or imagine the question, “Did I do the right thing?” I stop myself short of truly finishing that question, because I know that LA had ceased to have meaning for me. My drive had almost all, but disappeared… until I decided to move and then I was inspired again.

The future is truly unknown for me right now. I know I will succeed wildly in some areas of my life and fail (or fall short) in others. I do worry about what is ahead of me. Will film truly continue to be a part of my life or will it quietly wither away and fall at the wayside, because I left Hollywood. I have wondered if I am too artsy a filmmaker to ever get my work made. (Time to destination: 0:59.) I wonder if my creative inclinations have put me in the realm of talented, yet unmarketable. I guess I’ll just have to see.

~~~~~

I do wonder about my future. I am standing at the doorway that leads into a great unknown. Like there is a desert ahead of me… but do not know what plants and flowers will be there, although I know it’s truly up to me. It is (and always will be) my choice to decide what gets planted there. (0:51.) Perhaps I do need a sabbatical (of some sorts) in order to re-connect with myself. Figure out what makes me truly happy. I may be wrong, but I think Europe will be the first step in securing this happiness. I may be wrong… and here I am on a plane wondering if I am going to remain in Paris, move to London… or return to the USA. (The last one is very doubtful.)

It’s even doubtful in my early journal entry about my move and I’m not even in Paris yet. Perhaps I have romanticized Paris and how I suspect I’ll feel there. Perhaps I have not. All I do know is that I did not like living in LA. (Flying over Paris right now! 0:44 to Zurich.) All I can say with certainty is I did not like LA and part of me needed to leave in order to truly move on with my life. I had become trapped emotionally and creatively in one spot. There will be things I love and hate about Paris. My inability to speak French will be difficult (at first.) I am sure there will be trying times, but I it will be an adventure. Life will be very interesting and that is what I want most of all. An interesting life.