notes from the road

French Fried?

What a weekend. I felt terrible, I felt awesome. I did something that I have needed to do for a long time, and  did absolutely nothing of consequence. I pushed myself physically and numbed myself mentally. I spent hours doing something I could do, and have done in Australia, and also did two things I have never done, or could do anywhere else but France.

Following a somewhat unguided urge I ran into Nancy and back on Friday night to fill in time as train delays caused me to miss my chess club meeting. Subsequently the following day my legs were feeling very sore (on top of my shot arms as I’ve been trying to buff up my thin self after my New York days) and that was before the tennis lesson. I took my bike in on the train to Nancy for the tennis and I wasn’t looking forward to the 10km ride home. Thankfully I didn’t have to ride all the way though as I took a wrong turn and ended up on the Motorway and some friendly(ish) police officers picked me up in their paddy wagon and dropped me back in Frouard.

Once home I tried studying the French but I couldn’t. Nothing was sticking and I was in a rut, perhaps the same rut I have been slowly sliding into since I’ve been here. My main reason to be here is to learn French, and I haven’t been letting myself do anything else but that. I haven’t allowed myself much off time. But thanks to my friend Rhys, the seed of unproductive leisure had been planted, sprouted shoots and this weekend blossomed into a beautiful flower. I rediscovered the joys of internet television and watched the whole 9th season of Scrubs and two episodes of Hustle.  And – I – Loved – It! How good is television when you can understand the words! Wow!

So Saturday night I watched internet TV, Sunday morning I watched the F1 Grand Prix in Australia and then I watched some more internet TV. I then met up with some drummers who I saw perform last week and we drummed together for a few hours in a nearby village – this is where I knocked off one of the things I wouldn’t often do in Australia. Not the drumming, I can drum until the cows come home back in Oz. Upon meeting the other drummers, male drummers, drummers with beards – we kissed. I’ve seen fellas doing it before, but just rels or really close mates, but I rolled with it here no probs – though I hope I don’t get a beard rash! I think that the fella-kiss happens about as often as the man-hug happened in Australia about 10 years ago. Now everyone seems to give out hugs for free. Slappers.

After my man-kissing-drumming-sesh I went home and you guessed it – watched more TV! Then the internet site actually told me to take it easy for an hour so i cooked dinner with Eric and his girlfriend Marie-Charlotte. And farshizzle, we actually had frogs legs. Not as some gimicky ‘you’re in France lets order the typical French cuisine’ frogs legs, these were bog standard frozen bad boys bought from the supermarket variety that Eric just happened to have in the freezer. Despite my initial thoughts and hopes, frogs legs look exactly like the legs that you see on living frogs, except without skin, or bodies. They have spines still and tiny bones though.  We ate piles of the slippery little suckers.

After dinner I hopped onto my computer again (yes I ate frogs and then ‘hopped’, that was very deliberate) and hit up the TV sites like there was no tomorrow. Which leaves me here at 11 36 pm (new daylight saving time!) pondering my next move.

The French is hard, and I need to work at it to make an impact, but I’ve only been here two months and I’m not going to learn it over night. I need to go to that place that makes me feel guilty and unproductive, but fills me with a mind numbing, thought vanquishing high and embrace the down time. Without it I don’t think I’ll make the distance. Hopefully with a bit more experience I will be able to integrate it into daily life and not let days pass by again  in front of the screen, but just like learning a language, these things take time.

N.B  An Irish girl I met drumming thought of the phrase I’m using for the title to this post. I cannot take credit for that little nugget of gold.

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