28 June 2012

the beginning of goodbye

tmilk01your last days in paris have been up and down. thankfully, the ups: picnic in a secret garden, walking along every bridge in paris, eating crepes, playing big sister/tour guide, eating ethiopian food, touring a cemetery, going to an improvisational theater show, a movie at night, volunteering for malian meetings, and printing forms to fill out, all make the down very insignificant.

right now it is time to say goodbye to paris.

goodbye to france.

and, you aren’t sad at all. in fact you’re quite happy.

because there is a huge up. the return to the niger river. but that is a story for later.

tmilk02in any case, the goodbye is starting with fresh milk. because in exactly five minutes you are going to run to gare du nord to the eurostar platforms and you are going to pick up your favorite londoner. just like she whisked you away in heathrow. you are going to finally give her back her sweater. you are going to say hello. with tea and fresh milk.

then goodbye. then hello. then goodbye. etc.

the next hello in this journal, or should you say, howdy, is going to be from texas.

see you soon from sunny DFW!

24 June 2012

surprise sunset

tsurprise01you promise that this is exactly what paris looked like today. a wall of gray. socks. four layers of sweaters. two scarves. tights. huddling under an umbrella. jumping over puddles. you don’t have any photographic proof because gray skies just don’t motivate you.

good things happened today, but gloomy skies kept your camera far away.


tsurprise02as you walked downstairs to make some dinner, you saw this.

tsurprise03dinner? hunger? what? no longer important. sunsets have a way of pushing all other priorities out of the way.

tsurprise04you run back up the stairs and say hello to the camera.

tsurprise05then back downstairs as you push open the sliding window door.

tsurprise06it’s still cold. but it doesn’t matter, this surprise sunset more than makes up for it.

tsurprise07it’s perhaps the best way of ending your busiest week yet.

tsurprise08oh, but it’s going to only get busier. without any panicking. you’ve got good news. but first you want to talk to people face to face before you send out emails and write journal entries.

20 June 2012

panik panik or don’t panic?

tpanicpanik06the question you ask yourself as you stare at your usual color changing 9:30 PM show is “where will you be in september?”

will you have a job or will you be at your parents?

and that is where the panic kicks in.

tpanicpanik01so then the second question is, do you listen to manu chao and panik panik?

tpanicpanik02or should you listen to coldplay’s advice of don’t panic?

tpanicpanik22you don’t know which is better. all you know is that picnic seems like the best solution for your uncertain future. but we’ll come back to this sunday paris picnic in a moment.

tpanicpanik03 you’ve also been dealing with panic by reading.

tpanicpanik04it’s not an easy read, so you balance it out by watching simple movies. every now and then, it’s nice to do an activity that requires zero thought.

tpanicpanik05a mixed berry tart doesn’t hurt as well. especially when served with vanilla ice cream. 

tpanicpanik08paris has been looking like this lately.

tpanicpanik09or like this.

tpanicpanik07or even, if you’re lucky, like this.

tpanicpanik11but still, this is what you see most of the time.

regardless of the weather, it doesn’t stop you from going outside.

tpanicpanik12and luckily, you’ve got friends of friends who aren’t easily deterred as well.

who, by the way, have now become your friends as well.

tpanicpanik13with a pair of binoculars and a guide from the lpo, it’s off to the chateau de vincennes (vincenne castle) and the bois de vincennes (vincenne forest) to watch and learn about some feathered friends.

here it’s a two month year old faucon crécerelle (common kestrel) who fell and now is trying to climb the castle walls to rejoin his siblings.

unfortunately, nobody is so sure he made it up… but such is nature, such is life, right?

tpanicpanik14there’s an extra who decided to tag along. rain. lots of it. so the camera comes out only under some shelter.

tpanicpanik15as 22h00 nears, you marvel at the sky colors… what beautiful colors the sun brings at dusk, even if it’s raining…! only to realize that in fact, no, these are in fact are city lights. the forest is right next to paris, and you realize, what a pity for the animals since they’ll never know true darkness.

tpanicpanik16then a few days later, the rain and the sun decide to swap places. and suddenly it’s summer.

tpanicpanik17of course the sun comes out the day that you have to climb up six flights of stairs.

tpanicpanik18at the very top of this building is where another friend lives.

tpanicpanik19but cathy! i look awful right now! give me a few minutes.

fair enough. so instead you let you eyes roam around her apartment.

and how touched you are, to see a letter you wrote from mali sitting on her bookshelf.

tpanicpanik20ah, there she is! cherries are washed for a picnic.

tpanicpanik21a scarf is put on, because, au cas où, the cold just might come back. 

tpanicpanik22and that’s how you find yourself at parc de belleville for this little picnic. hot hot hot is all you can remember from that day.

tpanicpanik23then, back to the apartment.

tpanicpanik24for what else? a summer sunset.

ttartine01but that was all last weekend, a few days ago, and yesterday. let’s jump back to today. more specifically, right now.

11h24 on a sunny but hazy tuesday in june.

ttartine02you’ve made some tartines. because you’ve got a a lunch date with a friend here.

ttartine04a salad is waiting as well.

ttartine03strawberry – brie – prosciutto – olive oil - baguette.

apple – roquefort – prosciutto – olive oil – baguette.

maybe a few drops of honey, who knows, you haven’t decided yet.

all that needs to happen is for the doorbell to ring, then these tartines will be toasted in the oven for a few minutes, then it is à table and finally bon appétit.

so in fact, you’re finding that friends and food is what keeps you from panicking about the future.

11 June 2012

yala yala: une promenade au mali (expo photo à paris)

Yala Yala Expo Affichemaybe this thursday the fourteenth around 8 pm i’ll see you in paris?

this little photo exhibition has been keeping me busy, moving, advancing for the past few weeks.

and it’s finally up. at la maison de l’afrique.

a story, maybe even more than one, all related to this little exhibition, to come later.

if you happen to be in paris and would like to take a stroll through mali, then 7, rue du carmes in paris’ 5th arrondissement is where a bit of mali can be found until july 11th.

and i, cathy/djeneba, will be there this thursday and happy to see any new faces.

si par hasard il y a des français qui lisent mon blog, voila l’invitation en français pour vous aussi, car c’est très rare que j’ecris en français ici. mais je serais ravie de vous voir si vous avez envie de sortir un peu ce jeudi soir dans paris 5eme.

06 June 2012

familiar feathers

Back Camerathis morning you were feeling anxious. specifically about your future since in one month you’ll have to say goodbye to yet another country you love again.

but then you ran into some familiar feathers.

like the grèbe à cou noir (podiceps nigricollis)

Back Cameraor a bécasseau variable (calidris alpina alpina)

Back Camerathese two spatule blanches (platalea leucorodia) bring you back to ile de re.

Back Camerayou have fond memories of watching the petit gravelot (charadrius dubius) keeping her young warm.

Back Cameranot to mention watching the sterne pierregarins (sterna hirundo) dive for their dinner.

Back Camerayou remember the four lingering bernache cravants (branta bernicla) that refused to leave ile de re.

Back Camerathere’s no way you’d ever forget the goéland brun (larus graellsii) who was always eating other endangered birds.

Back Cameraand your personal favorite, the avocette elegante (recurvirostra avosetta).

you originally were planning to meet the avocets along the niger river in mali. but you came back to france before you had a chance to go and find them.

perhaps another west african winter.

Back Cameraby the way, you didn’t actually run into these birds. you ran into their photographs.

Back Cameraat the jardin des plantes in paris.

gilles martin, jean-yves piel, alban cordoba, claude nardin, philippe busser & francesco formisano, andré mauxion, yannick bourgaut and jacques gillon are the photographers you have to thank for this little reunion.

Back Camerathe LPO (ligue pour la protection des oiseaux, literally bird protection league) is celebrating its 100 year birthday with an outdoor photo exhibition. you just accidently walked in on it. a very good accident.

it just proves that – when nervous, when anxious – go for a yala yala (walk) because who knows what old friends you’ll run into!

tddaybalc01then tonight ended with what else?

the couch, the balcony, a cup of tea, and you.

tddaybalc02it’s your 9:30 PM show you try to never miss.