September 25, 2014 § 1 Comment
A good day: biking into town, buying a croissant from Delices De Lola (the best boulangerie around) and stamping a train ticket. Photos from my afternoon in Pau. Lovely, lovely city.
I highly reccomend a trip to anyone near or passing through the region. Museums, shopping, cafes, greenspace. So good. I took many, many photos. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 25, 2014 § Leave a comment
I knew I found a good place when my boyfriend texted, “Is there electricity at the farm? All your photos are so dark.” Overnight, fall happened. Which means it’s even darker. Which means I’m even more obsessed with the shadows here. September, you’re unreal. Our farewell to summer was eating raw oysters, pâté, and drinking bottles of Tête de Mule on a rainy afternoon. And now there’s cold air and the excuse to put lavender infused honey in everything. My god, the honey. On a closing note, I knew I found a good boyfriend when he texted, “Come back…I’ll buy you a damn farm if that’s what you want.” Again, sweet.
September 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
Once upon a time a friend had too much pastis or slow gin or rosé and invited the two of us to fancy-ass french estate managed by our boss’s uncle. The following afternoon, to our great surprise, Bertrand (said Uncle, who, by the way, fell asleep in my bed at 4pm during mentioned party. A Lil’ nap never hurt anyone- we understand, Bertrand.) and his wife arrived to collect us. It was a day full of feel. listen. remember. enjoy. all. of. this. moments but mostly a lot of pretending we were aristocrats. The house itself was a kind of conversation and the actual conversations had were ones I’m afraid my generation lacks too often. About chance. About suffering. About family. About place. And between all of it, laughing until we couldn’t feel our bellies. We left in a kind of magical stupor. Who doesn’t want that?
September 19, 2014 § 2 Comments
I’m not sure what age, or what experience, causes us to appreciate when someone is better at something that we are, as opposed to resenting him or her for their superiority. Whatever age or achievement that is, I’m glad about it. I’m not the only helper at the farm. There have been multiple workers, like me, who come and go. Some I’ve had more fun with than others, some left before I could write down their full names, and each has been significantly better at something (many things) than I am.
September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
I love written notes. I love them for their practicality and purpose. I love them because I’m used to them. Some I save (one from mom on Christmas morning, circa 2008: “Santa’s helper wants to sleep for X amount of time.” posted at the staircase), some read once, others repeatedly, or replaced, or thrown away. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that the act of writing is, at least for me, an unbreakable habit. And it’s a good one. Here is a message. Remember it. Plain and simple.
Which brings me to my next point: there are always going to be things to be reminded of. And they can’t all be written down. We sometimes cling. We sometimes ignore. We pick and we choose. Which is pretty much why we write in the first place. To chisel away the marble as best we can, hoping whatever face underneath can eventually be put on display but not touched. And here (this particular platform), here is where I go after I’ve written in a three-dimensional journal, a legal pad dedicated to lists and foreign language scribbles, through iphone inbox/notepad, emails, etc. What surfaces here are echoes of the most important, most exciting, most sentimental things as I encounter them. I don’t need them to be anything else.
Which brings me to my actual point: I’m afraid of brag blogging. I do not want to brag. I have just written a paper note saying, “Do not brag,” which will nuzzle itself into a pile of other reminders like “stop apologizing so often,” and “turn light on for baby chicks,” and “email grandma”. But when I post something like Last Saturday I walked to Spain I semi-cringe realizing whatever pride/excitement in doing so is overshadowed by boastfulness. Which is never the blogger’s, or writer’s, or person-doing-something’s point. There is a difference between writer and reader, but I do not want that difference to be a disconnect. Mostly, I do not want these messages to be lost in translation. I am in Berenx one more week then I’m traveling elsewhere. I am relentlessly grateful. I am proud of my experiences because I worked hard in order to have them. I was taught to appreciate a good thing when I see it. I feel encouraged to write the good things down. I’m not at all sorry for that.
September 7, 2014 § 4 Comments
Saturday morning, I went to northern Spain to pick up chorizo and wine from a market. There is a good feeling to be had in markets on weekend mornings. Something I miss tremendously about home: meeting K with our matching totes and produce. I spent the rest of the day in a little french coastal town, Biarritz. Not at all used to water like that. It was a happy day. Stupid happy. Wore a dress for the first time since I’ve been in the country, ate a salmon sandwich, admired the Bay of Biscay, read Carson McCuller’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe from cover to cover, and spied on adolescent boys jumping off cliffs. The swimmers seemed to belong nowhere else in the world besides floating in all that salt. It felt briefly like home (packed the same tote, felt sun and sand) but that fleeing left and something else took its place.
September 7, 2014 § 1 Comment
I’m working on a small farm in France. The days have been simple and symmetrical. Rewarding, challenging, and terribly sweet. I am thankful for rose and baguettes that appear in the kitchen each morning like magic. The fog over the hills in the dewy cool hours between seven and eight. Repetition of wearing the same clothes (two alternating pairs of men’s levi’s, leather workboots, t-shirt), gathering tomatoes, raspberries, figs. Feeding a wild brood of chickens every morning. Swooning over every little thing: the herbs, our smallest black sheep, the language. Reading a ton, not writing enough, but still categorizing my days through the objects and setting. Living is storybook here, silly as it sounds. I can’t effectively describe leaving a southern state and waking up each day in a village in the southwest France. But there are photographs.