roses and thorns (thorn first)

Worst thing about work: la toilette sèche.

It’s a dry toilet, this weird contraption that involves a bucket and woodchips in an outhouse, and seems to be sanitary enough, but smells horrible and is a favorite hang-out place for all manner of flying black creatures… I hate it, but coming from China, I’ve seen worse (I guess), so I’m just going to grin and bear it (or rather, close my eyes and hold my breath and get in and out as fast as I can and try to erase my memories dès que possible… lol.. you know, whatever).

Best thing about work: the concerts and the places where they’re held!

We’ve had 2 concerts so far, and I got to sit in on all of the second one, which involved a harpist, a mezzo-soprano (first time I’ve heard French opera!), and a récitant, who read the old letters of François Guizot, who was apparently a big guy around here (the ministre… I’m not sure of where, the déppartement, la région, même le Pays?? eh… I really need to brush up on French/European/World history, sigh—working on it!). It was held at the ancient estate of the same man, which now belongs to about 400 of his descendants, who are apparently all important historians and politicians (and all absurdly wealthy, due to the petrol business). Pretty cool.

Concert 1--le petit bal de 14 juillet, à Blangy-le-Château, le vieux moulin.

Concert 1–le petit bal de 14 juillet, à Blangy-le-Château, le vieux moulin.

The first concert was very different, held outdoors next to an old moulin (mill) that has a little stream running through it (that’s how it was powered), with cute little umbrellas that acted as decoration and shade (how very clever), and three folk-singers that simultaneously taught us simple French folk-dances! I spent the first half of the concert welcoming people and collecting ticket stubs, but was free to enjoy the second half, and even coerced by my employer to join in a couple of dances with this random German man that she met. Haha.. He and his British wife have both lived here for 40 years—she insisted on speaking English to me because she misses it, but he and I spoke French—so many people here are bi/tri-lingual!

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