Tuesday, August 7, 2012

French Kissing 101

Woman Wrestling with Fish, Marchillac-sur-Cele 2009

My friend, Edith, and  I have been exchanging emails fast and furiously in preparation for her arrival tomorrow evening. I closed one by saying we'd be 'bonjouring and kiss-kiss-kissing' soon. She replied, 'oh, so they kiss three times where you are?' Which led me to send her this simple treatise on the art of French kissing here in the Lot. (All names and initials have been changed to protect the kissers.)
"Well...with most people, it's three. A few people only do two and then there's R. who always grabs a 4th...naughty man! When you first meet people, most will shake hands. After that, you play it by ear (or cheeks). It took a few times of shaking hands before Madame P, the mayor, decided to greet me with kisses. But then there are people who've kissed me that I've never even met! I was really nervous about the kissing thing when I first came here...who to kiss, which cheek first, how many, etc. Now I relax and go with the flow. I hang back a moment and just follow their lead. J-M and I always shake hands...not because he's so formal, but because he hardly ever kisses anyone and it's kind of a joke.
And to make it even more confusing...French children almost always kiss adults, even ones they don't know. With them, it's one kiss. 
Someone could write a book on French kissing etiquette! Because, as you know, it's different in every region of France."
Laury reminded me this morning as we were walking that another thing to remember is if you've already greeted/kissed someone, you do not repeat it if you see them later in the day. Just isn't done. 

All you Francophiles and French folks who read.this...have I left anything out? How do you kiss where you're from?

I'm not sure why my photo of a naked woman wrestling with a big fish made me think about French kissing, but there you are!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Remembering Red Pine Camp

Wet towels..
My friend, Edith, updated her FB picture with a great photo she took of beach towels hanging to dry during her summer as a counselor at Red Pine Camp. Which made me remember my summer last year as the RPC nurse. Which made me drag out the jump drive with all my RPC photos. Which made me a bit misty-eyed! How could that brief two-month work assignment at Red Pine grab my heart like that? But it did! While I wouldn't trade my summer here in the Lot for anything, I do get a bit nostalgic thinking about those great girls and women who became my friends at camp. Which means....you'll have to indulge me just a bit this Sunday morning....
Lost water bottles...

The red canoes...
The nurse's station...
But for all the singing and dancing and laughing and playing, this is one of my favorite photos of camp. After all is said and done, it's the peacefulness of life on the lake that restores the soul.

For more photos and stories about Red Pine Camp, just click on the link in the content 'cloud.'

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What Is This?

As I was making multiple trips through Saint-Pierre-Toirac a couple of weeks ago searching for the church, I spied this at the foot of the village. It looked kind of 'churchy' to me, so I pulled over and walked up to it. Actually, it was a family crypt on private property...oops! No one seemed to object, though, so I explored a bit and took a few photos.

It was full of fresh flowers and beautiful souvenirs, heartfelt remembrances of the departed.
This is what puzzled me...see the thing hanging from the ceiling? 

Here's a closer view. It looks like stalks of something all tied together. Wheat? Does anyone know what it is  and what it signifies? Being a lover of cemeteries, I've peeked into a lot of crypts, but I've never seen this before.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Proud Moment!

I'm pretty proud of myself this morning and here's the reason why. My doctor gave me a prescription for some blood work to be done before my check-up the middle of August. I called my 'all-things-medical' advisor, Greg, and he gave me a phone number to make an appointment. It seems the healthcare system here provides nurses who come to your home and do this! Is that cool or what? No driving, no searching for the laboratory, no endless waiting with other people who may be infectious. You don't even have to get out of your slippers, although I did. I LOVE this country.

Anyway, this is why I'm proud of myself: I made the call, introduced myself, made the appointment and gave directions to my house....all in French! I had forewarned Helen and Eddy who live in the other train house in Cadrieu that while I thought I said all the right things in French, the nurse might turn up at their door. But no...directions were fine. When the nurse arrived this morning, she spoke no English, so all our business was conducted in French as well. We chatted a bit (pulling 9 tubes of blood takes a little time and who wants to sit in silence?). She took down all my information, and I made her copies of both my French healthcare paperwork and my supplemental insurance. Once I receive my carte vitale (which like a credit card with your photo and all your medical information imbedded in it), this won't be necessary. I paid her no money, she was fast, efficient, and very nice; I call this another successful adventure in French healthcare. And the fact that I accomplished it all in French makes me very happy! This makes twice now that I've been able to deal with the bureaucracy in French. It's not pretty, but it works and I'm proud of myself.

The photo has nothing to do with today's story, but if you like it, check it and others out in Melanged Magic's photo galleries.