CT to Newark to Lisbon

27 March 20i6

Same BOOK Same SONG…

Thought for the day: When did the other one end and this one begin? The blur leaves me wondering how radiant I will appear when these cousins arrive to pick me up.

It is 8:30am in the 'new' world…3:30am in the one I left. There is eye burning. Fortunately I have only been asked about things in French and apparently I did well enough. I was not detained at the Lisbon passport check and I got a free frozen cappuccino with whipped cream while laying on my back on my backpack. My “OUI!” In French was stunning and the very young sales person even offered me a chance on the caramel one. After the breakfast on the plane I was unsure of putting anything else in there. The really, really peppered ham on bread accompanied by black coffee and a Twix Bar seemed to be in search of solitude in my stomach. Sort of shouting “Don't put anything else in here!!!!

The morning choice backed up by strong French coffee brewing

A gaggle of sports guys about 4'tall just joined me. I am sitting upright and while I wait out the 5 hours before my next plane leaves for Bordeaux, I will practice my flash cards and try to monitor how the whipped cream in the vanilla coffee is working with the peppered ham.

Some new and future athletes

 

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26 March, 2016

BOOK: Le Petit Prince (in French which I will explain as I go) by Antoine St Exupery

SONG: Should be “The Marseillaise” but that is a bit too nationalist/military so I will go with Edith Piaf singing La vie en Rose

Thought for the day: Sometimes you ask for something and you get it. (And I am. In the process of the 'getting it')

I have just left a chilly Noank, CT visit with Tony, Gretchen and Lucy and a very delightful serving of John, Eunice, Emma and Angie on the side! It is great being able to get time when at least part of the family is not in work mode. Gretchen and Lucy were on Spring Break and we had luxurious time just hanging out. Snow fell one night while we slept and we were the only footprints across the playground in the morning. By late afternoon it was gone and the daffodils just seemed to have multiplied in blooms while they napped.

This serene view is out my window!

Lucy's Weaving teacher - Lola

Working on a loom originally made for her YaYoe

The train south back to Newark was short! There was a window seat with my name on it and I got to the airport directly by 2pm. Thus far, my plane has only been delayed by an hour, but I get to check my big suitcase in about half an hour so I can walk purposefully and decide on the snack need I will have ahead of me…hopefully I will sleep for most of it, but I see some gummy bears in my mind's eye…

While thinking about the trip to see the kids, I realized that having been rejected for the first round of language grants with MSF, I needed to plunge ahead. For no real need or specific reason at most levels, I have always just wanted to really speak French. I have been known to wing it with some passion and comprehension, but have always had someone along who would kick in the English. This time there is no safety net. I am in for 25 days of French only. I was tested for my skill and apparently have a good strong base, but need to be driven by speaking continuously…without an out. My cousins have taken on the task!

I will hand them their little (not so little, actually) blank notebooks when I arrive and I have the really large version of theirs. At midday and then in the evening again each day, they will have made notes about the areas of grossest error and I will take time for a specific lesson. And an hour of academic work. Then we go another round. I should also be reading in French. TV will not be on the quiz, but Marie Hélène will want to cover every political and international issue that comes along. Up to now I have had google translate to keep me in the game. I am launching into the dark side here…won't a discussion of Trump in Frenh be a place for not only Lost in Translation, but Lost in Reality.

Marie Hélène is so dearly like a sister to me. She is a nurse, a psychologist and is never lost for a perspective or opinion…in the best of all ways. Jean Yves takes us in stride but will be my ruthless and most exacting teacher…he will not let me slide on the getting it as real and as right as possible on his side side of the equation. We will cook together, work in the garden together and take long walks. And they will understand as my brain function flickers as we move through the day…It only feels daunting when I think about it. Once I check my big bag, I am going into French Thinking mode…I have flash cards and stories…Oh the fun I will have.

Stuff to schlep..always