Has it really been a week? Wow.
Thanksgiving at the library was delightful. The next morning was “Conversation Group” where the first folks mingle and practice English, then the second hour they practice French. Such nice welcoming people…without exception.
Our confirmed and paid AirBnb for the coming week never gave us check in information despite repeated messages and calls from me. Airbnb provided no assistance whatsoever. (Jean-Noel with the garden apartment next to the Château, you are a jerk.) I am sharing that here because there was no way to rate him on Airbnb. After realizing we were going to be homeless, and Angers had practically zero vacancies, I was able to find a guesthouse 2 blocks from our current location followed by 4 nights at the place we first stayed.
Arnaud at the 2 night location let us in super early to beat the rain. Turns out he worked with the folks at the Bibliothèque Anglophone to make masks at the beginning of the pandemic. John and I agreed that he was one of the most genuinely kind-hearted people we have ever met. And that is saying something, because overall the French have been incredibly generous and helpful.
We spent an afternoon volunteering at the BA with a group of 19 students from a local agricultural college to help them with their English. If they don’t pass The their English exam with a score of 550 or higher, they don’t graduate.
Almost every student lived on a farm. Most farms were 100 hectares (250 acres). The dairy farms had between 80 and 120 cows. Family farms are alive and well in France. This is so much better for the farmers, the animals, the environment and the consumer. The quality of food here has been consistently high.
Remember when I mentioned we would be discussing noses? Here we go… I have decided that noses are the ugliest part of a face and when people wear their masks blow their nose, the nose becomes their predominant feature. When worn properly, the predominant feature is the eyes. Much more appealing.
75% of young people here wear their masks below their noses and they are SICK. Cause and effect people!! Now with Omicron, we have seen far fewer noses, even on the street.
Another nose thing, if you are in line and leave more than a foot of space, quite often, someone will step in. (In Italy, this is more like 2 inches.)
When a French person is talking and taps the side of their nose, they mean they are being clever.
Smells haven’t been much of a problem (perfume, smoke) but 🛵 scooter exhaust reeks! They are incredibly high-pitched, loud and lay down a plume of gassy stink that is an assault to one’s senses and they are allowed in pedestrian-only zones. They sound like wound up chainsaws and smell like old boat motors.
One thing that is rare to hear is the beep, toot, honk, chirp of car alarms being set or disarmed. Yay! Also, there is no idling when arriving or departing. 6€ a gallon gas may have something to do with this, but it really cuts down on fumes. Nice!
We are on the TGV (high speed train) to Paris. There is to be a national “perturbation” (protest) at 5. I would like to see it from the sidelines, but we have Covid tests tomorrow, so we will pass.
Failing the Covid test means isolation in a hotel room for 10 days. My dear mother asked what happens if one of us fails, then the other fails 10 days later? Egads. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
Sexiest man alive!