Free time

  I worked mostly alone again today.  I enjoy it.  I like teams and I like people, but I also like working alone.  Nothing special happened, just working through a list of tasks.  I attempt to make it a sort of meditation, the tasks, but I end up thinking a lot and also noticing what…

Pushing Through

So much done today, and I’m sick.  Worked alone most of the morning; had an experience of what it is like to be a person in another nation.  So strange to be an emigrant, hopeful immigrant. Went to quiet Cambo for laundry duty and navigated the Monday afternoon rush.  All done. Helped Bryan study for…

La Practique

This man is a new friend. This Thursday I take my behind the wheel driving test, which consists of twenty-five minutes of driving, and answering two from a list of possible 99 verbal questions regarding the vehicle’s interior and exterior.  When researching what those questions might be for the borrowed vehicle I’ll be in for…

Apples and nectarines

6:45 means 3 sets of 3, and then 33.  Fifteen minutes later we get 8 and then 7.  Every quarter hour we get 2, at the half we get 4, and the 3/4 we get 6.  On the hour we get 8, plus however many hours it is. At 7:45 pm we get another round…

Rentrée

The “Rentrée” is a real event, and all ages participate.  It’s like the September issue of Vogue, “Back to School,” and New Year’s Day resolutions all rolled into one.   Even before I was in education, Fall always felt like the beginning of the new year, which may have something to do with it coinciding with…

Feeling like a local

Joining Associations (A – so – si – a -si – ons):  We belong to two games groups, and a sports group.  When we were walking amongst the choices in the multi-purpose room at the local gym, someone sitting at one of the booths said “Hello” to me in English.  I had never seen the…

Journey

Tomorrow I do my second round driving test.  Not excited, but feeling more ready than last time.  To be honest, I have instincts, but there are a lot of little things I was not aware of and do not have memorized fully, so think it may take me a couple more times to pass.   Gratefully…

The numbers

French numbers cause me anxiety. 1-69 are cake because they’re like numbers in English.  The seventies are harder, because now you have to add numbers to other numbers:  71 is 60 plus 11, 72 is 60 plus 12, and so on.  80 becomes even more tricky, because the number is literally “four twenties” or “quatre-vingts.”…

The Atlantic is Romantic

I swam in the ocean today with kids and a cool French woman.  When we got to the coast it was foggy, but not San Francisco foggy, I explained to her.  The fog was warm.  The water was warmer so we stuck around.  Our persistence was eventually rewarded with sun. It’s a great beach on…

S**t is about to get real

Now’s when I study like a maniac.  Study so much I dream about test-taking.  If I don’t pass this first time I get 4 more chances, but of course, I really want to pass it and move on to the next stage, which is behind-the-wheel.  I have until the end of the month to accomplish…

Micro-entrepreneur

Takes longer to do things here than it does in the U.S. I once was a pro at speediness and at doing many things at once, but I don’t do that  anymore. I have slowed down a lot, and am surprised. It’s because I am no match for French culture, or a society that appropriately…

My name is Boxy

I love this, but I don’t fully understand it.  What appears to be a minimalist, plywood-constructed, literally stilted housing community, is hidden up in the heights of Bayonne.  I am intrigued. The larger panels of plywood can be opened to reveal floor to ceiling windows.  When the panels are closed, the small rectangles let just…

Art Saves Me

“Art Saves Me” has been my slogan ever since I got it on a Bumbershoot t-shirt back in 2003, but before I ever found it, it was truer than true.  In my youth it was literature, teens it was music and photography, 20s it was film, architecture and performance art, in my 30s mid-century modern…

Paris is flooding

The Seine has more water in it now than anytime since 1910.  It is raining; there is water everywhere.  The rivers are empty of boats and the banks where people stroll along are empty of people.  Giant logs and detritus, and rushing, muddy brown water moves by me at a dangerous pace.  Despite all this,…

Colleen gets it

Boots are me.  I may be perpetually living in the youth of my 90s, but nothing feels better on my feet.  I bought these in Paris today.  The shop boy made a rude remark regarding my provenance, and I told him, “I love the people,” and walked out wearing these.

The Basque Museum

The The Basque Museum in Bayonne is a perfect spot to learn more about the Basque people, culture and history.

Rhythm

In San Francisco, I was always rushing.  Always.  That had a lot to do with me and my personality, but it was definitely compounded by my environment.  Always trying to do too much with too little, I was trying to squeeze as much out of the time I had as I could.  It was unsustainable,…

I wonder where the birdies is…

Today there was sun.  It has been a while.  Everyone was happy and smiling, and greeting each other warmly.  It’s 8:00 and I didn’t have to turn on the very expensive heater once today.  In fact, I optimistically had the windows open while cooking dinner. I walked a country road in nearby Ayherre where the…

Seasons

There are seasons here, and I can feel them. Winter is biting.  We’re cold in even in the house.  In the morning it’s so cold it’s like we’re camping and we don’t want to get out of the tent.  Cold.  In the Bay Area I knew what to expect, nothing drastic, so I didn’t pay…

House for all

Once a week we go play games at a local community center.  We play what are called “jeux de societe” which doesn’t really translate, but it’s those elaborate board games with a billion pieces that require the ability to strategize.  I have always held an interest for these games, but had never taken the time…