Monday, April 14, 2014

Don't let fear stop you from traveling!

I've received several nice messages from readers who mention that they're gearing up for travels and sick of friends and family raining on their parades about it.  They're excited to go abroad, and they just wish people could be excited for them rather than asking several times if they know how to use pepper spray.  On the one hand, you've got to remember that it comes from a place of love, and it's nice that people care about your safety.  On the other, dagnabbit, anyone over 18 has been hearing this stuff long enough to have all of those nightmare images in their heads already.  Knock it off and tell them "Congratulations".  They weighed the risks with their adult brain and they decided to do this.
Belleville Park is blooming and it's beautiful!
I recently registered to take the B2 DELF exam, which tests French language skills.  It's good motivation to keep me studying and improving my French while I'm here. I'm preparing for the exam with the TV5Monde online exercises. For anyone else learning French, I recommend the apps "Babbel" and "7 Petits Mots" for vocabulary, and the podcasts "Coffee Break French", "Daily French Pod", and "RFI Journal en francais facile" for listening/comprehension.
I went to a vide-grenier ("empty attic") sale this week in Belleville.  It's the Parisian version of a garage sale, but rather than one home's garage, it's an entire neighborhood participating in an arranged market day, with booths for everyone who signed up.  It was incredible!  The stuff you see in American garage sales (old ski boots, vinyl discs, books, clothes) plus CRAZY antiques.  I got a copy of Le Perfum and a hat for 4 euros total.  My friend found a working record player for 35 euros, and this BEAUTIFUL glass and metal inkwell/pen holder the likes of which I've never seen for 10 euros.  Highly recommended for a Saturday morning activity if you visit France in a warm month.  You can locate a sale on this site.  (I just looked up Paris today out of curiosity and there are 14 sales listed. Wow.)
Here's a little life drawing from the OFII offices, where I spent some time this week on visa procedural stuff (you'll be happy to know that I do NOT have tuberculosis, which is the main thing the immigrant medical check-up looks for):
Fun with braids!
BEAUTIFUL ukulele gift from the bf!  Aaaaaaagh I love it!  Look at that googley-eyed dolphin bridge!
I posted art this week from a few of my recent commercial jobs - these comics for a friend's TV show pitch and these portraits for a friend's upcoming book.  I also just finished a new comic book cover, and will post that as soon as it's announced by the publisher. :) I'm grateful that my work can travel with me like that, as long as I have my computer, tablet, and a wifi connection.  I've been able to keep working for my American clients abroad, and it makes a big difference in stretching my travel budget.  Now if only I could find some French work...I've got the nicest new friend helping me out with that and coaching me on a commercial illustration portfolio for French clients.  Fingers crossed!
Last but not least, neeeeeew sketchbook doodles!  I'm off to Strasbourg this week, and I'll try to come back with new sketches, photos, and stories. :)