Saturday, March 28, 2009

And this is it

It's 2:26 am.
I've just finished one of the least urgent things I had to do to prepare for my next ten days of exams, but at least I did something; I seem to be afflicted with an inability to work, and yet work I must if I don't want to fail.
And I don't want to fail.
I'm leaving.
Three years here have done me in. I am sick of my studies, I am sick of French humanities universities and the strikes year in, year out, sick of the small permanent mass of communist throwbacks dreaming of 1968. I am tired of worrying about whether I'll get through a whole semester or not this time, tired of worrying whether we'll get thrown out of class each time they hold a meeting-this happened twice already and now the whole uni is shut down.
So, I'm off; I am graduating, and I am moving to Taiwan to get my chinese up to scratch.

I'm scared. But I'm anticipatng it like crazy.
Financially, things should be ok if I make enough this summer to pay for my university tuition over there. Socially, half my class is moving to Taiwan, which is quite entertaining :) I'm exaggerating, but my darling F will be there for five months, O is coming with me as an independent student, and Vic and C have scholarships with uni.

I finally talked it over with JJ today; he's happy for me, but he clearly told me we were through when I left. I felt so lonely.
I was expecting it; JJ's a chronic paranoid, he'd go crazy with me on the other side of the world; in his perspective we'll be better off split up, which makes me sad. I wasn't sure, but I would have been willing to give it a go, if he'd had some faith. But instead...well, I guess we'll see, the girls coming back don't have many flattering things to say about Taiwanese men^^
I tried telling JJ I wasn't going there for men, but he just can't deal with that kind of stuff. I find it amazing. But apparently he's still in shock we made it past the one-month mark, and that i actually fell in love with him.

I had a conversation with my mother that shook me to the core today, about this same subject. I told her JJ hadn't taken it too well, and she laughingly said "you're so cruel to your boyfriends".
We were talking about him telling me we were over the moment I left France, and she was all "well you can't love him that much if you're leaving".
I swear to God, I nearly had a heart attack.

My mother routinely tells me I don't care much about my boyfriends. She happens to be right pretty often. It's not that i don't care at all, it's just...I can't get sentimental, and over-the-top, all the movie stuff girls are supposed to do and like, all that crap, you know? Well I don't mind watching it, but any guy who expects me to act like that is basically screwed. I'm hopelessly pragmatic, very take it or leave it, I'll never go on loving someone who's left me, it's not part of my DNA somehow, I don't know. I could never be the heroine of some dramatic love story; I'm incapable of that kind of feeling. Which I find worrying, sometimes. I wonder if my incapacity to sustain a relationship winds from there. And then i tell myself that I'm twenty, so fuck that.

I told her I wasn't the one who wanted to stop when I left, but that there was no way I was going to put my life on hold for any man. No way, period. I don't think he'd want me to, either. He'd be happy if I stayed, but there's nothing for me here at the moment. I need a year out. So yeah, scratch the plans that make me excited as hell, that are part of my career plan, because my relationship will be over? I don't think so. I told her as much, saying that if I had to forsake my life's plan because of love, it was a very crappy love indeed, and i didn't agree. If someone can't love me like that, and support my choices, well then yeah, it'll be over. And yeah, I'll cry about it, because I love JJ. it's going to be bloody painful, come to think of it. Prince Charming says I should dump him before he can, but that's really shooting myself in the foot. Pain now, less later? Possibly, but I'd rather not.

I don't know, it felt so...strange, the implication that it was my fault, coming from my mother. I unfortunately immediately flared up, going "so what, i should stay because some guy will leave me?". She backed down, saying "no, it's just a bit extreme, other people could think differently"
Well, obviously. But this is what I think. I'm allowed to think it's better; I'm not forcing anyone to do the same, or giving long lectures about how it's the right way to go. There's no right way. I might personally think that giving up what you want to do for the person you love is a dumb thing to do, that doesn't mean I think that the people who do this are dumb. Different choices suit different people.

It just felt so goddamn weird. I'd never felt this kind of undercover attack on my ideas from my mother. I bet people will say I'm overreacting, but this is me, and this is my mother, and there's never been the slightest hint of anything like this before.
Which is probably why I'm so damn assertive on the subject. And will be single in approximatively four months and a half. Yay me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Found this floating around on the internet

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
Instructions: [I've altered these, the old ones made it messy]
1) Bold those you have read.
2) *Star the ones you loved.
3) Italicise those you plan on reading.

*1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (I've read this God knows how many times)
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (love this too)
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (not fond of this one)
Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (I was eleven when I discovered this, and i loved it. it got less good as it went on, though).
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (I know a few of the stories, through my grandmother's stories and stuff, read some in prose, but we don't have copies of the Bible lying around-I grew up in an atheist household)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (never been very interested in this one)
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (a good book, it's just that I don't intend to read it for fun)
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (This is fucking brilliant)
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (I started it, and forgot about it)
Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (one of the books that rythmed my childhood)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (started this, got bored, forgot about it)
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (this is nuts)
Complete Works of Shakespeare* (you can't count all of them as one book, i have the complete works but haven't read all of them)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (lighter than the Lord of the Rings series, since it's meant for kids, and very, very good)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (I liked the movie, what can I say)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (I read quite a bit of Dickens when i was a kid, the adventures of Mr pickwick and the like, but I'm not that interested anymore)
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (This is a fantastic book, I tend to like stuff that has to do with history, and it's set during Napoleon's wars, which I had to see as part of my education, blabla. It's great)
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (one of my favourites)
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (i've heard a lot about this)
Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I have this, but I've never felt like reading it)
Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (another childhood book of mine)
The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (read this when i was a kid, too)
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (don't like)
Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (love this too)
Emma - Jane Austen (another great Austen)
Persuasion - Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (this is part of the Chronicles of Narnia)
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Berniere
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (I quite liked this, but the movie is too long)
Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (another childhood book)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (I think they might have gone through the drawers under my bed)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies - William Golding (read it for school when I was a kid...forgot just about all of it)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (and I have this, I suck)
Dune - Frank Herbert (excellent SF)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (I love Jane Austen)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth (I think my mother has this, there're a good few Vikram Seths lying around the house)
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (read it for high school, interesting book)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (I read his second book, "A spot of Bother" and liked it very much)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (So much hate)
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt (not intending to read this-I was traumatised by the Little friend (is that the translation in English? We borrowed it from a french library when i was a kid) )
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (sad,sad, sad, but good)
Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (I love Alexandre Dumas)
On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (I always have this book where I live, it's like a lucky charm)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
Ulysses - James Joyce
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (Another kid's book, actually I have the whole series)
78 Germinal - Emile Zola (ugh, no way, I can't stand Zola since I had to read Le ventre de Paris for school)
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Color Purple - Alice Walker (I think I was fifteen when I read this. It's powerful.)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (read every single one of them, and i'm surprised there're no Agatha Christies on this list)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (funny, I don't know this, and I've read a LOT of Enid blyton)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (this is a book just about every kid in France reads at some point. It's lovely)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (I also grew up reading Roald Dahl, including his adult books, like the collection of short stories Kiss Kiss)
Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

That comes up to 36, i'm pretty pleased with myself :) Funny thing is I read most of these when i was a kid. I'll see if i ever get around to reading more of this list.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pretentious and shameless

JJ and I had a slightly heated discussion last night.
Namely, him pointing out that I was pretentious.

Now, that's not an accusation I'm often faced with; I get cold, indifferent, heartless,secretive, stubborn, and a good few others, but pretentious doesn't come up much.
He went on to claim that he didn't see it as a bad thing, which then led god knows how to his assertion that everyone should have a dream and follow it, or something, me pointing out that he was crazily privileged to be able to think like that, him pointing out that he's had a shitty life, which is true, and explains partly why he's slightly insane, but still, wev. Back to the point.

Apparently my pretention lies in my having firmly seated opinions about things. No, I didn't quite get this either. It's also in the fact that I have a very low tolerance for stupid people. Or people that I consider to be stupid, in any case. I know, it's not very kind of me, but I do my best to be nice, and when I can't, I go away. I think there's worse as non-tolerance goes, no? I don't know.
But yes, I have strong opinions about things; I'm an opinionated bitch. And obviously I have these opinions because I think there's a shred of truth in them. And I'll argue to the end if no-one conclusively shows me that I'm wrong, because I like being right. It's a terrible fault of mine.
But I know I'm often wrong. And I can accept it, because I'm only human, for fuck's sake.

But christ on a bike, pretentious? I'm pretty confident, I guess, I'm pretty satisfied with my brains, my looks, myself in general.
I'm also reserved and secretive and shy in situations I'm not comfortable with, I don't tell people what the fuck is up with me, I don't share my life and feelings and everything with people at the snap of a finger.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be pretentious if I was a guy. JJ is pretentious ; he freely admits it. He's also deeply insecure about certain things, he's a strange mix.

He's the first guy who's ever really argued back at me, even though last night I felt seriously frustrated by our argument, I just couldn't come out with everything that was running through my head, namely "fuck you, you wouldn't be saying this if I was a dude, that is total and utter bullshit, damn you just called me pretentious for saying things were bullshit, man this is frustrating, privileged bastard, how come you get to voice firm and clear opinions when I'm pretentious for doing it, now I'm incoherent and if I point this out you'll calmly demonstrate you never said such a thing, or something"
In my defense, I was very, very tired last night; tuesday was a hard day, including a presentation at 8 am that we finished late the night before because F had a computer bug and we had to redo all her part, complicated. And yesterday's classes started at 8, finished at 5, so it was pretty long.
I don't know if it was just because last night I was really tired and grumpy and depressed but I really felt like JJ was dismissing my opinions.
Like they didn't count.

I don't know. I probably imagined it, JJ loves me mainly because we talk a lot, and i've got to admit it's refreshing. I'd better go to sleep and stop mulling this over. I just don't have time.

I have to write a letter persuading a jury to take me on as a Frenc TA in Taiwan. Laughs and giggles this is. Ppffft.