Friday, May 29, 2009

chaaaanges!

i'm back in paris. of course on my last night at the farm a new wwoofer, olivia, arrives bearing a violin. i was so sad that she hadn't come sooner because i've been going through serious instrument withdrawal but she let me play it all night, which was very sweet. robina can also play a mean recorder so we had a nice little jam session. i even showed off my jigging skills which i hadn't done in years. why is it that the nights before i leave somewhere always seem to be the best?

charles was very sweet as he was saying goodbye--he kept saying how he couldn't thank me enough for all the work i'd done and i would always be welcome to come back to the farm and how i had an enormous heart. it was very touching. he did the french double kiss.

i already posted this video on facebook so most of my dear readers have probably already seen it, but it's so adorable that everyone should be able to watch it. in honor of ann and arlene's birthday;



happy birthday girls! i love you both so much. that is shanti, the family's 3 year old daughter. i didn't get to say goodbye to her since i left so early, which was really sad. the day before i left fenuoua wanted to sit on my lap during lunch. she'd never done that with anyone besides charles and perrine so i really felt like part of the family. it was nice.

immediately upon getting into paris i reserved my train to barcelona! i can officially makes train reservations and check into hostels entirely in french with no misunderstandings. i feel like tha's a pretty big accomplishment. i meet up with sean there on wednesday and i am ridiculously excited.

in the meantime i have 5 more days to explore paris. i wandered around some new parts today that were gorgeous but now i'm being lazy at the hostel since i got up at 5 am to catch the early train. i think i'll lay low for tonight and save up my energy for more exploring tomorrow. i have some essential shopping i need to get done so i think that will take up much of my day but we shall see.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

lovely lovely lovely

today fenoua (the family's youngest daughter) was baptized and i was invited along. i've never been to a baptism before and i was itching to get off the farm so i decided to go.

the morning started out with mass at the abbey in the village. the building was built in the 11th century and the service was overseen by benedictine monks and nuns. the singing was eerie and beautiful and the entire time i felt like i was in middle ages.

afterward we went to another very old church for the baptism itself. the ceremony was fairly short (which was appreciated after the previous one which seemed to drag on forever) and there was lots of singing so i enjoyed it.

then there was a big party at the farm. it would've been kind of awkward except that everyone was really nice and there were 2 girls around my age who were incredibly patient with my french and very very sweet, so i hung out with them for most of the day. i also talked to a man who's pretty much a professional traveler and who cycled around the world in 1 year and walked from cape town to jerusalem. i don't know if i've mentioned that charles was a sailor before he started the farm and he's traveled around the world numerous times. he founded an organization that took troubled teenagers on yearlong round-the-world adventures and has done all sorts of amazing things, like finding neolithic burial sites on uncharted islands. suffice it to say he has very interesting friends.

then robina (the other wwoofer who is in one of the photos i posted) and i found a recorder and tin whistle and played duets for hours.

all in all a perfect day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

enfin, les photos!


bunny love!

bunniesbunniesbunnies

ugliest bird EVER

one of the numerous permaculture gardens. this was a pasture when i first arrived.

i named this little dude "muskrat." he's my bff.

la serre. i spend much of my time in there.

chickens in the compost!

the view when you first arrive.

my hand, even after numerous washings.

straight out of the secret garden! that's the lovely robina, a fellow wwoofer.

ponies! trotinette, harmonie, and gallopin.

les chevaux, winik and toukou. they're fun to ride, except when they're being stubborn (which is almost always).

trotinette is a very rotund little pony.

this pig has eaten 8 chickens since winter. and that's not including all of the baby chicks he's snatched. who knew that pigs love poultry? surely not i.

the wood-fired oven.

the main permaculture garden.

it's rather pretty, no?

...and one more bunny photo, just because i can.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

hooray!

sean is coming to travel with me on june 3rd! we're going to meet up in barcelona and do a spain/morocco/portugal trip for 2 weeks. i am beyond excited.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

i'm alive!

i can't believe i've been at this farm for 3 weeks already. in a certain way time flies here, in another it drags on forever. i've decided to leave on may 30th and go back to paris for 2 days before using my eurail pass to get to barcelona.

i'm getting antsy to start traveling again. i like working but getting through the next 13 days might be a bit difficult.

this is not helped by the fact that a new wwoofer, danielle, arrived last week who is absolutely ridiculously wonderful. she's from vermont and is interested in a lot of the same things i am--social justice, alternative medicine, sustainable living, yoga--so being able to work with her has made the workdays go by much faster. we've also gone horseback riding together a few times which is wonderful. i hadn't done that in nearly a decade but everything i used to know is starting to come back to me.

the downside is that she decided to leave sooner than expected. as in, tomorrow. she has myriad reasons for wanting to leave and i certainly don't blame her. but it makes me even antsier to leave so i'm not sure how the rest of my time here will go.

i could leave the farm earlier but (in other big news!) my friend jenn is going to travel with me from the middle to the end of july. thus i don't want to start using my eurail pass until the beginning of june so that it doesn't expire while she's here. i could go back to paris and hang out there for awhile but i got a little bored with it and now that it's peak season hostels have become much more expensive.

to be fair, life here isn't bad. i'm learning about medicinal plants which is fun and for dinner i take a basket out to the garden and have my pick of fresh organic produce. i just feel done here. i'm restless and slightly bored and ready to move on. but i'll try to make the most of the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

je suis ta petite marine

it took some time but i'm settling into this farm. at first i wasn't too happy because i wasn't sure how i felt about the family and it's a ton of work but now i feel like i have a better grasp of what i'm doing and i'm learning a lot so i think the month will fly by.

i think one reason i was unsure about the family at first is because people in the north of france aren't as immediately friendly as in the south. you have to prove yourself and earn their friendship, which is a good thing, i think, but at first i thought it meant they didn't like me. now i know what i'm doing and they know i'm a hard worker and i feel much more a part of thing. so it's good.

working on farms has reminded me of how important it is to be conscious of where your food comes from. support local farmers! i'm quite convinced that locally-grown organic produce sold directly from farmers is the absolute best deal ever. it's incredibly labor-intensive to grow and harvest and yet it's still generally very cheap. i'm determined to stop buying produce from grocery stores when i get back to the states. and i always feel so much better when i eat organic.

the only major downside to this farm is the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere so there's not really anything to do on my days off. so i've been slowly slogging my way through "l'├ętranger" by camus and practicing guitar. it's kind of nice, actually.

i've started to forget words in english. either that's a good sign which points to the fact that i'm becoming more comfortable with french or a bad sign that i just goes to show that i have a horrible memory which is only capable of holding so much information at one time. i'm hoping it's the former.