Saturday, May 14, 2005

Bittersweet, Part II: Sweet

Well, this is it. I'm writing this in the guest bedroom of the Ferrand family in Chateau Gontier. All my furniture is out of my apartment, and I'm cleaning stuff up tomorrow with the intention of training off to Paris Sunday for the plane on Monday.

I'm pretty sure that because of (of course!) a strike I will have to take the train directly into the airport and hang there for the night in order to make sure I'm there in time for the flight. It's delightfully emblematic - my last night in France. I'm in Paris, right, the legendary City of Light, and because of a strike I'm going to have to spend the night in a concrete bunker/terminal far away from the action. Ahh, France, how you beguile me!

So today. It was another of those really good self-affirming days where everybody loves you. My favorite kind!

It started off at the stroke of midnight when I was trying to use the last few hours I had of a region 2 dvd player to get through Dancer In the Dark and this BBC Pompeii production I grabbed along with a magazine. Good stuff, but of course I was trying to watch, pack, and fret all at the same time. Difficult!

6-9 AM, sleep.

Until the dude (Sebastien) came by to help me load up the furniture I was cleaning like a madman. Rock on - after a couple of loads and a new dude who wants to immigrate to the US someday, I HAD NO FURNITURE. Here's where the fun begins.

Went to lunch with Pascal Vandergucht, Horrible Monster and teacher of Economics. We had a good talk about, you know, stuff, Norman Rockwell and reflections of idealized times that had been long in the past when the artist painted them in the first place.

But he also presented me with the coolest gift - a Swiss Army Knife to replace the one I finally had to part with at the Vatican. It was the best gesture I could have thought of. Just wonderful.

Next hours with Benoit and the others - Frederic Guichon and Annie, billions of email addresses

Quiet contemplative time on the floor chez moi after walking home in a baseball jersey with a book on my head in the rain

Book and wonderful note from Anne-Marie! She's totally on my Christmas card list.

Got back to school and grabbed a TV for Sylvie and then went to Bar de la Place to sit outside with Jerome Fretigné, Veronique Rossini, and Ginnette Ferrand. I was witty in French, and bonus that I learned some great expressions for "vomit" (poser une gallette, anyone? Hilarious!) It was a lovely time full of actual conversation and then flipping back to being weird. Everybody seems to be okay with the idea that I might come back to visit soon. Especially good was Veronique's offer - if I'm back in France one day, I should check my vacation against French scolastic vacation. She's offering her wonderful wonderful house if htey're out for a bit. Holy shit! How nice can you possibly get?

So on my way back to my apartment I ran into the entire butcher family (jean-marie Grélard) and ended up talking to the two daughters for probably 20 minutes. It was fun; they asked me if I knew about the show Charmed and it's only because they're 8 that I didn't tell them how unbelievably hot Rose McGowan is. Anyway, they're taking English classes and really want to visit America someday. Am I the only one who loves this shit? Foreign kids who really want to pack up and visit your beautiful country - I tell them DAMN RIGHT and move on to my apartment, where I'm just in time to catch a call from my Mom and tell her all the good news. We had a good talk for a couple of minutes.

Hey, I forgot to mention Benoit's going with his lovely girlfrined Florence to, oh hell, that island she's from - New Caledonia. Rock on, Benoit!

* Benoit is not in this case Benoit XVI, the Archbishop of Rome

So then off to the Ferrands, where I met Michel and neighbor Jacques in the big garage and had an apertif (porto for me, deuxieme apertif rules!) We talked about WWII and how there's not as much history in the USA as in Europe.

Then dinner, which was interrupted by Odette! and her daughter. Fantastic fun to talk to her again. It's a good full-circle thing. She said if ever came back to France and needed some laundry done I knew where to crash. They talked a lot about cats and dogs and stuff. Probably newspapers, too. Booooo-ring!

And now here I am, ready to crash out. So here I go. See you later, suckers!


At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to show you where the major is.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Evil said...

A moment of silence for a knife that served you well....

Glad you got a replacement though!


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