I know, huh? Five months. I've been gone five months. It flew by though, and here I am, back in France. Everything feels foreign (no pun intended), and I'm not certain whether or not it's jet-lag-induced or rather general dopiness, but I feel like I'm not really here yet? If that makes sense. I didn't even remember what drawer the chopping boards were in when I made my breakfast. And let's not even discuss my French language skills which seem to have vanished into thin air. The concierge of the building asked me about my trip and I sounded like an utter spaz. I'm pretty sure I told her something in German at one point. And possibly Portuguese, which she completely misunderstood, which seeing as she is from Portugal is an indication of how I seem to have lost all language capacity. Why, you ask? Well, instead of the planned three months, I was in the States for five. Now, that sounds lovely to most, I'm sure, but let us keep in mind that I was completely alone most of the time. Sure, my parents were an hour or two's drive South, but I didn't have a car so thus spent most of the time talking...to myself. Things can get pretty weird at 1am with a King Soopers economy box of red velvet cookies and BBC iPlayer streaming illegally with free wi-fi stolen from the sandwich shop next door.
Anyway it's lovely to be home. Most importantly to have a change of clothes outside of the suitcases I packed. How many ways can you style a chambray? I bet I could take that number and double it. Flex. It seems in my absence nothing much happened here. I got one message on this blog (hello Alfred from the Netherlands, I'll email you once I get through the mountain of laundry I am currently battling), and it sort of makes me wonder why I even maintain this place. I suppose I like to take photos and by posting them here it sort of gives them a life beyond my hard drive. Because you know none of us print that shit, 'mIright? Perhaps the tourist board of some exotic and far-flung locale will someday stumble across here and give me a job. Perhaps.
My time spent in Denver was lovely. First of all, let me give you a little background: Denver is exactly a mile above sea level, or over 2000m if you're European like me and still have no frame of reference on miles, apart from being forced to run one in gym class for a pass grade in under 12 minutes and doing it in, like, 33. Not only is Denver high (in more ways than one- it has legalised marijuana, which is projected to deliver an economy-boosting 1billion dollars into Colorado's coffers by 2016), it's also sunny as fuck. Like, ALL THE TIME. Like, eye-blindingly, lip-crackingly bright and sunny. And dry. So dry. You'll drink, like, four litres of water a day and still feel like Jim Carrey after taking his meds in Me, Myself, & Irene.
This is the first time I have spent a summer in Colorado, as I always seem to end up there in Winter and Spring when it's snowy (yet still blindingly sunny, oddly), and man...it got HOT. A few days were up in the high 90's, which was around 36 or 37 degrees for us. As any faithful reader of this blog may know (or not, I don't know your life), I am decidedly not good in heat. Of any kind. Even if I'm on a bus and the heater is up a notch too high in winter, I get disproportionately uncomfortable and begin to panic and wonder about those little smashy hammers that exist on the walls to render emergency escape possible and the feasibility of employing said hammers. I hate being hot. So, needless to say I was so proud to have survived my first balmy Denver summer with only MAJOR FUCKING PAINFUL 2nd-degree burns on the backs of my legs after I decided to go read a book in the park. I've never had yellow, fluid-filled blisters on my body before and before you ask OF COURSE I have photos, but I will not be posting them so back off, schadenfreude creep. It was painful, I fainted in a Mexican restaurant after sitting too hard on them (true story, my grace was saved by a conveniently head-level ledge that I rested upon and, uh, blacked out) but they healed, eventually, and believe it or not, from that point I even began to develop a tan! Unheard of, but I suppose in a state with over 300 days of (unrelenting death)sun a year, it was bound to happen. Maybe when I'm old I'll look like one of the old native Denveronians (Denverites? Denverettes?) I see walking around looking exactly like mobile pieces of beef jerky. With blindingly white teeth. And often a sun visor ("TOO LATE! TOO LATE!", I wanted to scream.)
It truly was a memorable summer though. I explored much of the state, even venturing North into Wyoming, and alllllmost making it to New Mexico and even Montana. I swam, I used my parents' hot tub (the old swingers, ha), I jumped on trampolines, I saw Martin Lawrence's comedy stand up live (SNORT), I hiked state parks, and I even got over my fear of turning right on a red light when I borrowed the car! I bought a little 1968 Birmingham Small Arms factory bicycle (which if you follow me on Instagram I'm sure you'll know) in neon satsuma and tootled around the city, exploring Denver's nooks and crannies. I even joined the library and checked out 3 or 4 books every two weeks. I read them all, sometimes sitting under a tree in the park, sometimes in bed, sometimes at little cafés I had stumbled across. It was lovely. I also met some lovely people- most of whom opened conversations with "Who is that that smells so good?" and then we would begin chatting. (Funny sub-story: the stewardess on the flight home remembered me. "SANDALWOOD LADY!", she shouted as I boarded. Ha!). No joke, I have told at least 13 people about the perfume I use. I should get a fucking commission. In my local coffee shop, someone asked the question and the baristas all in unison just pointed at me and rolled their eyes. Ha! I realised my neighbours were very interested in my comings and goings, too. "I always see you on your orange bike- you damn Europeans even dress nice on a bike!", I heard from a girl in the coffee shop I frequented. Another told me I always look "so stylish" on my bike. This was a dude. Did America give me a massive ego? You bet your god damn boots it did. People there are so nice. Like earnestly, without-ulterior-motively nice. It was a little startling at first, but I soon got used to people (dudes, even!) shouting "Nice skirt!" or "Cool bike!" as I went about. It was so refreshing. Now that I'm back in Paris, I've already noticed a lot of...looks. I'd managed to forget the quite critical society here, and how wearing a bright orange circle skirt to pick up some eggs and milk from the Monop gets you looked at like, well, you're a bit off. It's blacks and greys and mushrooms here, as far as fashion is concerned. I always wondered why Paris is called the fashion capitol- I find the people in London are far more creative and eccentric with their choices. Here, they are always impeccably put together, yes. But interesting? Malheuresement, non. At least I don't think so.
Anyway the five months flew by, and in December I am back again. I can't say I fully love living in Denver; there are a lot of things about it that make me sad and sometimes even frightened (many transients and homeless, some aggressive), and I myself do not in particular enjoy the skunky smell of marijuana everywhere, but the city has a lot going for it. The people are nice, it is close to some wonderful nature, and as everyone keeps telling me, "it's like the next Silicon Valley", so I suppose it will only grow from strength to strength. I do like the mixture of old brick buildings and wonky Victorian houses mixed in with Art Deco flats and weird skyscrapers. I also love Novo coffee- it was my favourite of Denver. I also liked how laid-back and open and genial everyone was towards each other. It is a stark contrast to the stressed, harrowing, clenched-jaw tense energy of Paris. Though that said, I am terrifically lucky to call both home for the moment, and should probably not complain, right? I mean, baguettes, you guys. Come on.
Oh! That's something I hate about Denver! THE BREAD! I found myself at a brewery (don't ask, I hate beer) and after a few too many miniscule samples, loudly and obnoxiously telling the manager of Kroger Deli's bakery division (he was a friend of a friend's partner) that their bread was "ABYSMAL...and...just (*hic*) BAD, dude. You need me in there to taste test? I'LL DO IT!". No calls yet. I bet he's still thinking on it.
Random dude photo- but look at his shoes! I was unaware, outside of Finland, that Karhu shoes were worn. Unless...he was Finnish? I should have stalk-followed him a bit longer!
Mum's cat, Loki. My Colin stand-in for when I needed to cuddle something squishy and furry. I'm pretty sure he hates me.