Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Overheard on the Subway

The New York City subway has it's pluses and minuses. Pluses: it has heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Usually. And most lines run all night. Normally. But it can also be cramped and crowded just like subways anywhere.

But one of the best things about the subway is the random conversations you overhear.

For example, last night on my way home on the Q train from Chinatown, I happened to sit next to an Asian-American couple. Well, they weren't a couple, they were just a guy and a girl. And they started talking about a friend of theirs, who is apparently very wealthy but never wants to spend any money. And from there, it went like this:

Girl: Maybe it's a religious thing.
Guy: Well that doesn't even make sense. I mean, that RELIGION doesn't make sense. All religions make sense except for that one. Even Greek mythology makes sense! Like, it all comes from nature! Zeus created all the other gods out of the different elements
Girl: But where did Zeus come from?
Guy: He came from the elements too! And then he made the others.
(A pause.)
Girl: What about Ethan?
Guy: Huh?
Girl: You know, the name Ethan. What do you think of it? I was just thinking about baby names...
Guy: Why are you thinking about THAT???
Girl: I don't know. I guess... you're a guy, you wouldn't understand.
Guy: Well anyway Ethan is a guy with skinny pencil jeans and unwashed hair. Really scummy. Like Ethan Hawke! Have you ever seen him in person?
Girl: No....
Guy: Well he looks like a bum.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Parisian Spring Weekend

I love Paris in the springtime. Hey, that's catchy. Someone should write a song about it!

So I'm back in Paris for four days with my Frenchy, who had shoulder surgery nearly two weeks ago. Being away from him during this time has been difficult for both of us, but it makes this long weekend together even better. And the amazing weather doesn't hurt either. We've strolled through the Marais, had dinners and brunches with friends and family, eaten ice cream, taken pictures, and eaten plenty of baguettes and croissants. (And wine and cheese.)

I woke up this morning with very mixed feelings about going back to New York tonight. One very obvious reason - Frenchy won't be coming with me (but hopefully soon!) But this is also the first summer I won't spend in Europe in nearly four years. Actually, it's my first summer away from Barcelona in years, and with this gorgeous weather, I feel like I should be packing up my beach towels and jumping on the scooter and heading to Barceloneta....

Add to that the fact that next weekend is our IESE class reunion (for both my class and Frenchy's) in Barcelona AND Frenchy's birthday, and being too far away to jump on a weekend flight leaves me feeling strangely claustrophobic. Claustrophobic in New York. I never thought the day would come...

However, one of the great things about New York is that friends pass through town all the time. So even though I'm now quite a bit farther away from most of my IESE friends, I'm much closer to all my old New York friends, and hey... IESE can come to me. And New York will seem a whole lot better again once Frenchy gets to town!

Friday, May 15, 2009

10 Years Ago Today

Yesterday I was having a quick bite to eat at the Grey Dog with an old friend when a guy walked in wearing a purple cap and gown. A brand new NYU graduate with his parents at lunch. And it was at that moment that I realized I graduated from NYU Film myself ten years ago this week. Is that really possible? I tried to convince myself it's not, but... well it is. I finished college ten years ago.

In fairness to me, I graduated a year early, but still... geez. Time flies. It doesn't seem that long ago that we were all sitting in Washington Square Park for the massive graduation ceremony (the more intimate Tisch School of the Arts graduation was held the following day) shrouded in those purple outfits ourselves. Quincy Jones was one of the speakers. And I remember another woman accidentally said "NY Jew" instead of NYU during her speech... no idea who that was, but her slip up certainly stuck with me.

As did the couple of fim students who yelled "MILLENNIUM!!!" every time a speaker mentioned that we were the last graduating class of the millennium. Much to the chagrin of the prissy law students who, unluckily for them, were seated next to us. And what sticks with me most from that day? The obnoxious business school students who had written their graduating banker salaries on their caps in white tape. I despised them and swore I'd never be one of them.

And here I am, ten years later, a filmmaker with an MBA. MILLENNIUM!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Truly a Stranger in a Strange Land

I had to change the title of this blog when I moved to France last year because, well, while I'd gone to Barcelona, I clearly wasn't there anymore. So "Noelle Goes To Barcelona" wasn't gonna cut it anymore. And neither was "Noelle Goes To Paris." What if I moved again? And move I did, back to New York City, where I have definitely felt ... weird, at times.

On the second day back, I informed a woman in French that she'd left her headlights on as she was getting out of her car. She gave me a blank stare, which I returned, until I realized what had happened and repeated myself. This time in English.

It's so great to be back, and so easy and normal in so many ways, and yet also so bizarre. So much is the same as it was four years ago, and so much has changed - a lot of it as a result of the recession, frankly. Favorite shops and restaurants are closed, and nothing has sprung up in their place. And of course I'm living in a new neighborhood - Park Slope - in a new borough - Brooklyn - and so there's lots to learn and figure out. I certainly won't be bored while I wait for Frenchy to arrive.

But it has only been a week... and I'm sure the strangeness will eventually wear off. And it will be at or around that time that I'll probably be ready to seek out a new and strange destination!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Good Morning New York!

Well it's 5:30am here in Brooklyn and I'm wide awake, and have been for an hour now. I love jetlag going west... going back east, not so much.

Last night I arrived just after 7pm at JFK, but I think we might have accidentally landed at Newark because after landing we drove for about an hour to our gate. Ahhh, New York.

Then we finally got off the plane and into immigration, where hundreds of mask-wearing Chinese travelers reminded me - yet again, in case I forgot! - that swine flu (or Mexican flu if you're French) is seriously freaking everybody out. After waiting a good 40 minutes for my suitcases (ufff, I haven't packed this heavily since I moved to Spain!) and then another 20 to get through customs, I was finally in a taxi headed for my friend's house in Brooklyn. Within 3 minutes I'd already been nearly thrown through the windshield, and for the rest of the ride the driver intermittently pressed and released the accelerator every 5 seconds. I almost hurled. Ahhh, New York.

And now the sun is starting to come up - well not really, because it's cloudy, but at least it's getting light out - and I guess I might as well get this party started. At 8:30 I meet my boss for breakfast and then the rest of the day will be a whirlwind of paperwork, new blackberries, new offices, new colleagues. But hey, at least it'll all be in English this time around!

At some point today or tomorrow hopefully I'll get keys to the apartment I'm renting which, incidentally, is unfurnished. And then I'll be camping because I won't have any furniture yet. But it's cool - always an adventure. At least I won't be bored this week. Okay, up and at 'em. Here we gooooo!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Farewell Paris (For Now)

Tonight is my last night in Paris. Frenchy and I spent the morning working on our wedding invites (and when I say working, I mean working - this marriage stuff is a lot of work!) and then decided to go into St Germain and enjoy a day which wasn't nearly as nice as the day before, but still not bad. As far as Paris is concerned, if it's not raining, it's fantastic. And if the sun comes out, WOW.

Anyway we wandered around rue Moffetard and finally settled at a cafe. His friend arrived whom he hadn't seen in a while, and my colleague Manuel came by as well. Manuel and I have worked together since November 2007, when he was transferred from Lisbon to Barcelona. We went through the long-awaited move to Paris together as wel, and tomorrow we're both off to the US. Me to NYC, and Manuel to Miami to launch an office there. It'll be so weird not to see him next week...

Anyway one beer led to several and finally we decided it was time to head off to the 16th to watch the end of the Barcelona-Madrid match with some of the girls from my soccer team. We drove my scooter right through the heart of Paris, along the Seine, and up Avenue Kleiber, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I don't think Paris has ever looked more beautiful. The sky was clear and just starting to go dark at 9pm, the buildings were lit, the river was sparkling. Paris is certainly the most beautiful city in the world, and I will miss it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Last weekend in Paris

It's Friday night and I find myself packing again. It was a year ago this week that Frenchy was finishing his MBA at IESE and I was asked to move to Paris to join the global team of our fledgling sports and entertainment network. Of course, it took until October 1 to be fully set up here, after several months of back-and-forth between Barcelona and Paris, and plenty of anxiety over "when, how, where", etc etc etc.

And before even arriving in Paris I had already set up our next adventure - a move back to NYC to help launch another office there. And again, the waiting and wondering as our start date was pushed from December to January and then to March and to April, and finally to May.

In other words, Frenchy and I have been in a sort of transfer state for a year now, all along telling ourselves, "If we just make it through these next couple of months, we'll be fine." And again, we're telling ourselves exactly the same thing. Between now and September, I will move to New York while Frenchy will stay in Paris to work, Frenchy will have shoulder surgery, we will plan our wedding and get married in San Diego, we'll try to get a green card for Frenchy... All while living on different continents. If we can just make it through the next few months, everything will be fine...