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  1. I’m currently living in a medieval village, but it just seems like a lot of stones to walk on, to me. That, and grimy walls. I need to cultivate my imagination and enthusiasm.
  2. I spent some time last night reading old posts, circa 2005. I enjoyed the exercise and wish I could merge the two previous sites with this.
  3. This week, I ate far too much. Gourmand, the lady called me laughingly. Too much cheese, daily chocolatines entre meals, and too much, in general.
  4. I have also been breathing in a lot of fumes in the past month, of various chemicals and the like. I think perhaps a good mask is in order.
  5. I cannot find a piece of paper I apparently need :( I wasn’t told it was important by anyone… I will know by this weekend whether it is sighted or otherwise. Mama said that God is very smart and will direct us; papa said to pray and leave it to God. I’m thankful for parents who bless me with their faith.

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Dear God,

Spending time with You, remembering and reflecting.

Father, this year, let faith be my byword. And in faith may courage and excellence be my companions. I want to worship You with my life.

Thank You for preserving me/us thus far; I don’t think I’ve really thanked You the same way John does, all the time. Tonight- let me thank You that I’m alive and married still. That I’m married better than I was almost two years ago. That I’m now living last year’s nightmare and it has turned out to be grace upon grace from You. That I struggled through the loss of normalcy and am almost okay.

At the back of my heart is a nagging worry that I cannot find the piece of paper and maybe I’ll have to leave France but- in the spirit of faith, let me declare, however falteringly, that You are good, Your plans are good and I can trust You no matter how badly things pan out. That You will work even in the worst case come true.

Oh, it’s scary to say that. Sometimes Your plan takes years to unfold and Your saints have walked in heartache as they endured. What do You have in store for me as You break my pride, sanctify my soul (+heart mind body strength)? But I affirm: You are good, and Your love endures.

And since I am now married, I pray this for my husband: let him be like Your Son, let him know You. That Your joy will truly be his strength, that he calls, that You answer. May our marriage bring You glory, and testify to the great Hope of the Day when Your Son returns, all things are made new, and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Your glory, as the waters cover the sea.

Happy birthday to me, and muchmuchmuch love to You, from

Your daughter.

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Today was a strange day

January 23, 2016

I cut briars, under the impression they were rosehips, imagining I was Sleeping Beauty’s prince, trying to put a good face on it, in the cold, under the rain.

I sat in a ranger on the way there, clinging on for dear life, seeing myself hurtle through the half windscreen if I didn’t, enjoying myself all the while. Finding the seatbelts after.

I saw a blind mousedeer today; it couldn’t see us, couldn’t tell whether we were friend or foe. Its eyes were covered in white, it cocked its head trying to understand engine hum. It leapt unseeing into the thicket, entangling itself. It bounded out just as Stéphane made a grab. Stéphane said something in french about food, and eating. Nourrir, et mange. The cloudy eyed mousedeer fled to the pond, tried to come back out, heard human noises, swam back in. It couldn’t swim; its head was always cocked to one side, trying to navigate to safety with soundwaves.

We 4WDed back to the house to grab oars, then roared back to the animal. It was still there, still swimming in distressed circles, head still cocked to one side. It must have only heard its own splashes, all that time. 

Stéphane pulled his boat out from the undergrowth, Ben helping reluctantly. My boots weren’t high enough so I stayed by the waterline. The mousedeer went belly up once, then twice. I saw four legs sticking out of the water, up in the air, and thought it cruelly unglamorous for so delicate a creature.

Stéphane hooked his oar under its head and pulled it into the boat. They brought it back to shore. Ben semi-whispered that it was dead. I didn’t know whether that was good or bad for consumption. I also wasn’t very sure of my thoughts.

Dominique met us back at the house, where the drowned mousedeer was now hanging, strung up by its hooves. Stéphane cut its head off. I watched and so did Ben. Their cat and dog came round. Stéphane said they were looking forward to the mousedeer, but the cat left the scene. Some blood fell to the floor.

Stéphane deskinned it next. It came off so easily, exactly like a person pulling his sweater off his head. I thought that was how I looked every day in the bathroom.

The organs were next. They filled all the cavity of the mousedeer. I had not known organs take up so much space. I found myself wondering if my insides are like that, too. The stomach was fed to the chickens. Later on, I was told they had devoured all of it. Every single bit, I was assured. And that stomach would one day be transformed into an egg, he suggested. I tried to say I certainly had never thought of it that way.

Dominique gave me some instructions in french but changed her mind when she saw I was shivering. I had been wet since the morning, working in the woods. She bade me go into the warmth, and gave permission for a shower. I escaped gratefully to a hot bath. The liver was on the chopping board and the lungs boiling, when I returned. This was to prevent le chien et chat from consuming parasites, apparently. I noted that the scum was black.

Today I also cycled to an abbey, and bought a chocolate with champagne and felt light headed after. Who knew little old nuns sell chocolate with champagne. I also had a homemade (abbeymade?) lavender sachet, but writing this makes me realise I don’t know where it is. I must have left it at the abbey’s shop. sigh.

I learnt to toss crêpes tonight, and have determined to buy me two crêpières in février. Anti-adhesive is necessary to be written, Dominique said. I will remember. Tomorrow I take leave of this home in possibly forever.

Meanwhile, Christians in Syria die for their faith, and a Greek poem translated narrates a call which informs the recipient’s family they have 58 seconds before their house is bombed, a courtesy call. No time for their son’s favorite blanket, daughter’s almost completed college applications, their shoes. Just run.

Then there are articles on the best 10 ban mian in Singapore, and why Yishun is worth checking out (food). I also have a thorn’s tip wedged into the cells of my sole, too fine for my fingers too large for my nerves. I discovered during lunch that my supposed rose brambles are actually a sort of blackberry that is troublesome to make jam because of the difficulty in obtaining and then the fuss of extracting pips. The stalks had been really tall, though. Often high above my head and large, long thorns all around. My work clothes have tears and there is dried blood on the back of my ankle.

A cloudy eyed mousedeer died today. Today is a strange day.

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&.

Fait revenir oignons et l’ail.
Adjouter farine et mix around for a bit
Adjouter l’eau. Mix.
Adjouter un oeuf blanc
Fermer feu.
Quel que minute, stir in oeuf jeune avec vinegar.

Serve warm with
Pain de campagne

Clouds of dust puff up each time I smack the fabric of my leggings against my calves; they don’t lessen; I am bemused. My facial cotton returns with shades of grey after trailing across my face; I have used so many this week. I give up washing my hair on evenings because the next day will be the same. This week, I am a ball of dust.

I was also introduced to an Englishman this week- he struggled to finish the cold soba I’d made for lunch. He is a physics philosophist who identifies as a ‘non-realist’ when I asked him what he thought of Christianity. What he described sounds like new agism at a fancy dress party.

I type all these while cat-napping on the train; Montpon-Menestrol is getting cold and the fields were white with frost today. Frosty grass is crunchy under one’s feet. I wonder what the weather st emillon (sp?) will be like; I understand we’re going there today.

Earlier this week I racked up a phone bill of 103 euros on faux information. That ensued in a tragically comic series of calls in which I failed to navigate frenchy. Eloise’s papa eventually came to my rescue; he reminds me of my own. I love my papa very much.

I liked the phone company’s waiting song, though:

all of your softest dreams
all your whispered schemes
all your incredible plans
will stay with me.ee.eee.eeee

all of your ideas
and all of your secret fears
all your courageous tears
will stay with me.ee.eee.eeeee

 

 

Inquiet

January 9, 2016

I guess I’m outlining my calm plan/plan for calm.

This week, I was introduced to a French man. From force of habit I stuck out my hand, while he leaned in for a kiss. It ended up being arguably the limpest handshake of my life, albeit with two kisses. The next time we met, I got both handshake and another couple of kisses. I suppose he was applying cross-cultural sensitivity.

Every morning, I drink earl grey tea from a bowl and hanker to have it with milk. I did get milk today. Afternoons, after lunch, I’m served some fruity tea and these ones I get with milk. Which is not something I’m accustomed to, but I guess it does tame the fruitiness of whatever tea it is I imbibe. I don’t even drink fruit tea, normally.

But not much is normal. The French bar windows and doors at night with exterior equivalent wooden versions and every time I lean out to swing my wooden barricades in I tell myself not to fall out of the second story entirely. French windows are long.

The world is dark when my alarm rings at seven and only lightens three quarters past eight. The French count afternoon hours literally “x hours past noon” and any day now I will dream in French.

I’ve dreamt of giant dogs, urgent searches, and my own end this past week. Regarding the latter: I was a Chinese girl out on a date with Wushou (my man) and we were cycling out to see a natural attraction that was vast underground caravans formed of sand. There, the ground beneath me gave way and I plunged for too long, into an abyss. I fell looking up, the sand covered me; I felt the worst sadness.

Many things I can say and recount, but my calm plan: if, I arrive at the train station tomorrow and there is no one, and multiple phone calls go unanswered, I can: reply letters. Walk to purchase half a dozen large oysters and remember to ask to have them shucked. Search for future workaways. Reply messages.

What’s the worst that could happen? That I wait on the streets till it gets dark; surely anyone hangover has to wake by five in the evening. At least, I hope. I don’t even want to wait that long though. The coast southwest of France is a cold place in winter, and wet. Being damp at the feet is not fun. Also, rather downheartening.

But it wouldn’t be the worst that has happened. Just.. lonely.

I am trying to take heart.