Saturday, November 21, 2009

So, three things.

1) I saw the Vienna Boys' Choir in concert! This is the biggest Austrian non-disappointment since the time I found out I would not be able to make it to the Vienna Opera Ball ten years ago.

Admittedly, wearing a couture gown and eating sacher torte in your early teens is not the best combination of actions for a dignified night out, but I was crushed anyway.

The boys were all super cute in their sailor suits, some were downright tiny and fidgeted in line, wiping their noses. The night was funny, relaxed and the way they hit unwavering high notes made the hairs on my arm stand. The cutest part: unquestionably the bit where the tiniest ones did a clapping-slapping dance in lederhosen.

2) I bought the Juicy Couture perfume, Viva la Juicy. It smells just like it sounds, warm and sweet and pink. But what really sold me was the bottle, dressed up like a beautiful glass present. After all, anything with praline in its base notes can't be bad.

3) This is the best story of all time.

Jamie had to go to Paris on a Balenciaga junket to report on the launch of a new perfume, among other beauty products.

"I don't have anything to wear!" She gasped to me, as we went up for coffee one day. "Don't you have to wear fancy fancy clothes at these things?"

I considered this for a minute. "Actually Mie, you can just borrow some of my stuff and say it's vintage. Vintage is a good way of wearing something that is unbranded and still making it acceptable."

She agreed and I lent her my vintage leather satchel and colour-block scarf. A few days later, I got a harried email from gay Paree. "I think I spilled beef stew on it, Shu, I promise I will make it up to you." I told her it was cool, that the point of vintage was to have all life's thrills and spills etched across it anyway. And the most important thing was that she was having a good time.

She came blowing back in to the office the next week, arms laden with chocolate and macarons. "I'm soooo sorry about your bag, Shu. I promise to make it up to you." And she threw a small white package onto my desk. "Balenciaga gave me this ugly thing as a gift. I have no idea what it is, so you can have it."

"What?!" I stared at her in shock. "Mie, are you sure?"

She shrugged. "It's quite rocker chick, so it's more your style. Branded goods won't get me to heaven anyway," and gave a characteristic giggle.

I opened the package and unwrapped the tissue paper to find the most gorgeous dark brown leather wallet with the signature Balenciaga buckles and studs on it. My breath actually caught in my throat. "Mie... these things cost a few hundred dollars, at least." I raised it to my nose to smell the glorious leather.

"I know. The website said USD300," she continued nonchalantly, scattering macaron boxes all over her table.

And that is how I have come to have a limited edition Balenciaga wallet in my sweaty palms, because I did something nice for someone without expecting anything in return, and she loves me enough to do something nice back to me. It's the strangest, most breathlessly joyful feeling.

But even more strange? The fact that Jamie made me model it for her in a deserted stairwell and lift at work one day when we were feeling bored. "Stop laughing Shu," she scolded when I couldn't make my eyes all modelly intense.

"This is the stupidest thing I've ever done," I shot back.

"But you can put it on your blog," she returned.

And so, here it is:

I don't know if you can tell, but I couldn't stop laughing. I'm willing to wager you won't be able to, either.

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