The weekend! The weekend. It began in the Alps (or, the pre-Alps, I think) (I think an excellent weekend should try to begin there) in Chartreuse, where I went snowshoeing for the first time. Merci les Forges! We were around 30, I think, and spent three hours traipsing around the mountains. Snowshoeing is a soft rhythmic powdery thing and it felt like waking up after and wrapping a blanket tightly around you, feeling snug- though perhaps that’s my three pairs of socks talking.

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Spending more time alone than I’ve spent in longer than I can remember, I’ve gotten used to different sorts of silence, whether it’s mental or physical: external, internal. There in the mountains I found that perfect kind of serenity that I missed and forgot about missing so much- where things are snow-muffled and white and dangerous and quiet and I’m falling into a rhythm of swish-swishing that came after I overcame a few seconds of awkward snowshoe-fumbling.

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It felt nice to breathe in something other than city air again. In the midst of the new-home excitement, I forgot to expect missing big snow and tall mountains.

And of course, I was lucky enough to try two new things: one called une tartiflette,

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and then le boudin (noir). I wasn’t allowed to know what was in the boudin before I tried it, and I was therefore unsurprised to learn that it’s mostly blood, cream, and intestine. Vegetarianism was never anything I truly identified with, after all.

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I’m grateful to have people so close by who are so kind to take me on adventures like these. Though the longer I’m here, the more I wish that I hadn’t had any expectations about coming to a new place and learning- or continuing to learn – a language. What a process! For me, it has not happened just naturally. I think it would be possible to simply understand a language like that, to reach a point where you comprehend most things and are quick with a grammatically correct response- but is that really knowing a language? I am not thrilled with passive learning and now that I’ve gotten my bearings, I’m taking myself back to school although without obligatory homework here I certainly don’t have to. I have re-discovered how much I love language: writing, grammar, semantics, phonetics – and now I am living somewhere where I have the choice to delve into these things. Yes, I could continue on without truly understanding, by listening and repeating alone. But I’m choosing to work for this language because I love it and it would be a horrible miss not to do so. It sounds dramatic! But it’s a revelation, and that’s a dramatic concept to begin with.

…..Finally,

it is of course worth mentioning that the propensity for trying new food runs in the family. Thank you for eating that gluten-free pizza, kiddos.

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