Sunday, July 01, 2007

After a five hour drive, a few stops and one crying baby later, three adults and two kids found themselves in another country looking into the ocean. Ah, to be in France, where the beaches are filled with topless sunbathers, each region, city and neighborhood has its own local wine, baguettes and pastries are plentiful and the sidewalks are littered with dog poop. For the past week I have been on the Cote du Azure located in Southern France.

Highlights of the week include eating delish fresh seafood, inducting myself into the European change-on-the-beach club, walks on the beach, watching the sunset each night and spending time with two adorable kids. Growing up in the cornfields of the Midwest I have a special appreciation for the sea salt air and any kind of terrain that isn’t flat for days. As my cousin’s family and myself explored the area we were constantly reminded of our favorite parts of the world, or more like the well traveled parts of the States we have fond memories of. Arizona, Florida and New York were among some of the comparisons. The smell of sunblock and the many palm trees reminded me of Florida, while the trails we walked in the shade provided for by massive evergreens brought back memories of hiking through up state New York. Every red rock and prickly pair reminded my cousin of Arizona.

Im proud to say that over the past week I have been able to start and finish two books and have obtained a ‘ring tan’. Now a tan of any sort may not seem like any kind of wondrous feat. But for one such as myself, a fry and then freckle kind of a gal, a tan of any sort is especially impressive. My three rings that are rarely found off my hands have left quite the interesting and may I add, noticeable mark. I have also gained my usual freckling of the face, shoulders, back and knees. The ever so slight but still present darkening of my skin will no doubt be short lived, but every nap taken on the beach while drowned in sunblock was well worth it and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

People keep asking me if I’ve picked up any French yet. ‘Attention kaka’, is by far my favorite phrase learned and for anyone who has visited any part of France they can understand the usefulness of such a phrase. ‘Watch out, poop’ is always a welcomed warning.

So now I return to the small town outside of Geneva to embark on my dissertation. Lots and lots of reading awaits me….in the morning.


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