I am currently en route to New York City for the two weeks of winter vacation. Friends, dancing, and geeking out await. I don’t know if I could possibly be happier.
Although I detest waking up at 4am to start traveling, there is something to say about a sunrise flight towards the northeast over the Alps. Bands of color, faint then strong, streak across the sky parallel to the horizon, a herald of the brilliant red sun’s awakening. And when you fly in a regional jet over the Alps, you fly at the level of the highest peaks. The not-so-high peaks are islands in a cloudy sea. It’s really something to see.
There are fish in the stream that runs through the “moat” around my village, contrary to what I originally believed. A whole school can be found in the quiet pool, hidden behind a bend in the road beyond the old silk factory. I feel like it’s forbidden, but there aren’t any signs to indicate private property, so exploration is encouraged, if not required. Also, one day, the ice by the bank was thick enough so as not to break when stones were thrown at it. No mention as to who that may have been who threw the stones in the first place…
Having spent last weekend in Paris, I have come to three conclusions and one reaffirmation:
Conclusion #1: I am approaching a jet-setting lifestyle. Paris last weekend, NYC for the next three, then another weekend in Paris, and possibly the following weekend in Grenoble. All with a homebase in rural France, a village of 2000 people. That doesn’t quite add up.
Conclusion #2: There is always something new to discover in Paris. New paintings at an old museum, new quartiers with new shops, new places to practice an old hobby, new restaurants with wonderfully nice new people, new homes-away-from-home, new train stations, and a new experience of kissing the person you love on the most romantic bridge in Paris. So they say.
Conclusion #3: Bone marrow just beat out raspberries as my favorite food.
Reaffirmation: Paris is my favorite city in the world. New York has the highest concentration of my favorite people, but Paris is my favorite city.
Probably the best exchange I’ve ever heard, at the restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, after Jeremy and I have raved about how much we like the confiture de cochon (pig jam, actually) that they brought out with the bread, and Jeremy has decided to find out where we can get some for ourselves:
Jeremy: Excusez-moi, monsieur, mais où est Au Pied de Cochon?
Jeremy: Est-il dans Paris?
Waiter: Monsieur…vous êtes à Paris. Vous êtes au Pied de Cochon.
**requisite giggles from me**
Jeremy (highly embarrassed): Oh. Désolé. Umm…où est-ce que je peux acheter ce confiture de cochon?
Waiter (very cheerful and accommodating): Un moment. Vous n’avez pas besion de l’acheter, bien sûr.
Then, the waiter comes back with two pots of pig jam, which he wraps in tin foil for us because they don’t have lids. Because they don’t actually sell it. They just make it for the restaurant. Awesome.
I really need to figure out what is a bad word in French and what is not, at least on the level of elementary school kids. I kept disciplining the youngest kids for using the word “fesses,” which is not actually a bad word, it just translates to “butt.” Which they’ll giggle over because they’re 6 years old. Whatever.
And on a related topic, although I’m getting much better at both speaking rapid-fire French and understanding the kids when they speak quickly, there are some things I swear I will never understand. Insults would be one of them. Insults in French draw mostly off of argot, the wide-spread French slang, of which I know just about nothing. It becomes a problem if I don’t know who’s saying what to whom, if the kids are insulting each other, the level of insult if they are, or — perhaps worse — if they’re insulting me. Eesh.
Lunchtime — time to convert more Swiss Francs into Euros in my head. I’m just glad they accept Euros, and give out Euros in change (unlike London Heathrow, which accepts euros but gives change in pounds). Next time I write, I will be in a city that is 4000 times larger than the village I left. Frighteningly enough, that’s not an exaggeration.