from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It’s interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place.

We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough.

Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of. Continue reading from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

how to swallow a frog

Speaking Italian is like trying to swallow a frog. Not in a bad way. It’s just new. A formidable challenge for my English, French-ified brain. The unfamiliar rolled r’s and smooth vowels might leap from my mouth at any moment. The nasal ‘u’ I’ve spent so long perfecting in French, the guttural ‘r’ I’m proud of– all of it has to go. My Italian tutor has … Continue reading how to swallow a frog

how to speak to Santa Claus in French

We’ve survived a bleak November, and Montluçon is getting its Christmas makeover.  Music plays and lights sparkle into the night. The festivities are a little haphazard: instead of one cohesive carnival, there are attractions scattered around the city. Bumper cars at the foot of the chateau, some food stands across the street. A five minute walk brings you to the main attraction: the little marché de Nöel in front … Continue reading how to speak to Santa Claus in French