old soul: on the charm & melancholy of small towns

For all my love of cities, there is something unspeakably touching about this simplicity, about the kind of place where your child could still ride their bike all around town and promise to be home for dinner. Maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to mourn these places; maybe they will evolve and survive. A town’s soul, after all, has more to do with its people than with places to buy artisan bread or local beef. Continue reading old soul: on the charm & melancholy of small towns

the off-season

In Cannes, land of silver screens, someone has pressed pause. The town sleeps, stirring occasionally to prepare for things to come. Since November, the wind has carried visitors away. The air holds a bitter chill. Even on sunny days, it lurks in shadows waiting to pounce. The clink of cutlery and smell of frites at the beachside restaurants have been replaced by the violence of … Continue reading the off-season

war & peace & confetti

My shoes were full of confetti. My purse was full of confetti. My bra was full of confetti. My heart was simply full. It was April, my second-to-last week teaching primary school English classes. Early that morning, I had sat waiting for my ride to school, dressed professionally but staring blearily at my hot lemon water, willing myself to wake up. Bleep. A text from my … Continue reading war & peace & confetti

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