I got up at 8:30 to have my breakfast, then I hung out in my room for a while pulling photos into my iPhoto account on my computer so I could show them to Mme. Remion a little later on since she loves that so much. We had a tomato salad for entrée for lunch, then we had some beef and endives for plat principal, the camembert and bresse along with some kind of cow’s milk spreadable cheese (I think Madame called it fromage noir even though it wasn’t black) for the cheese course, and we split the noisette-passion tartlet from Helmut Newcake for dessert, along with a clementine. We each had some espresso after that. I’m getting used to the idea of having coffee after lunch like this. Madame came up with the idea of taking me to Le Cathedrale de Tours since I’d never been, but I figured I’d put her WiFi together first. It seemed easy enough, and I’d set up these systems countless times before…
I managed to get everything plugged into the WiFi box itself, then I went over to Madame’s desk area, where she was on her knees underneath the desk attempting to clear out some papers. I told her I could have just as easily done that for her, she laughed. I have no idea how that poor woman got her feet underneath that desk, those cords were so tangled! While she did the dishes from lunch, I got to work attempting to make sense of the mess. It took me nearly 10 minutes to just disconnect the old modem and get it out from the “web.” Madame noticed how dusty it was underneath the desk once I’d managed to get two external hard drives, the old modem, a photo printer, and a “regulation sized” printer out from under the desk (and decently untangled) so she asked if she could vacuum underneath it. I said she could, so she brought out the vacuum, but I refused to actually let her do it, and I took the vacuum from her. “I never meant for you do be doing housework when you came here!” Fast forward another 10 minutes, the new wireless modem was connected, and all of Madame’s trucs (things) were back in their place, decently organized. I installed the modem onto her computer, connected my computer to it wirelessly, and wrote down the code for her on a Post-It note (it was on the box, so I circled it for her as well). She was incredibly grateful, but I assured her it really was an easy thing for me to do. After uploading last night’s blog, Madame and I headed off to Le Cathedrale de Tours.
It was decently cold, but not nearly as cold as it was in Paris, Madame told me that they’d seen some snow! She took me around the Cathedral and gave me her own little tour, telling me all kinds of anecdotes about a couple of the stained glass walls, the altar, and all sorts of other things… I took plenty of pictures… I’d recount all of those anecdotes now, but I managed to encounter one hell of a problem when we got home. In transferring the photos from my camera to my computer, I managed to delete all of the pictures I took at the Cathedral before they ever got onto my computer! It looks like I used up all of my brain activity decoding the puzzle that was the mess of cords underneath Madame’s desk. When I told her about it over our cups of tea (I was trying to upload the now missing photos while she prepped it), she laughed and said she’d take me back to the Cathedral tomorrow so I could run inside and retake all of the pictures I took in about five minutes so I could put the pictures on my blog and recount all of the stories she told me with the pictures next to them so they’ll actually make some sense.
We talked for about two hours over our tea, and past that. Kemia sat on the top of my chair for a second, just long enough for me to “steal a kiss” from her, which shocked Madame. “She’s only ever done that to me! I’m impressed!” Madame showed me this year’s Advent Calendars filled with family photos for her two grandkids, Juliette and Maxence. She uses them to teach the kids about their family. There are a handful of photos of her husband who passed on a couple years ago, so it’s safe to say that the two grandkids wouldn’t remember him. Madame says it’s up to her to teach them about him. She went on to share stories about her childhood since (again) it’s up to her to put these things in black and white so that someone remembers them. Needless to say, she’s not the only one putting them in black and white. I think I know why Madame likes me so much… she must see a lot of herself in me. We’re both Grammar Nazis in our own native tongues, and we’ve both got wild sides. Some of the stories she told me will inevitably end up in my screenplays, and I warned her about it. She laughed and said she couldn’t believe her stories were that entertaining. My response, “Madame, when you start a story out with ‘My brother and I were on the roof one day,’ it’s gold.” To finish that one, while her mother would be making dinner, Madame and her younger brother would get on the roof, run across it, jump off, and land on the backs of their horses. Their mother had no clue. She also had some rotten luck with fire. To keep the flies at bay when they lived in the country, they used fly paper near the doors of the house. When a fly got stuck, they’d pathetically try to fly away for a minute or two while the poison in the glue on the paper started to take effect. Madame and her brother were playing outside near the fly paper when a fly got stuck to the paper one day, and her brother wanted to suffocate the fly with smoke to make it die faster since that would somehow be more humane. They got some matches, lit one… and accidentally set the entire strip of fly paper on fire, which caught a nearby curtain on fire… so they yelled “FIRE! FIRE!” and their mother came running out, ignored the flaming curtain, and immediately began punishing Madame’s brother, because of course this was one of his hair-brained ideas, so Madame whipped the curtain down and stomped out the flames so they didn’t lose the whole house.
I rested for a while and took a bath to relax while Madame made dinner. Since we’d talked so much over our tea, dinner was relatively quiet. We had a root vegetable potage (thin soup) for entrée, then a kind of stew with veal lots of vegetables. Madame kept telling me to take more since I’d told I lost around four kilos since I’d been in France and I never had the kilos to lose in the first place, so it’s now become a running joke between us that she’s trying to help me gain the weight back in the few days that I’m here. We had the same cheeses we did at lunch for our cheese course, then we had the coffee éclair for dessert, followed by a clementine. Madame said that she actually prefers coffee éclairs (or cream puffs since they’re plain) to chocolate éclairs since they’re a little lighter in flavor. We’re not too sure what all we’ll do tomorrow (past go back to the Cathedral so I can retake those pictures really quick), but there’s always more exploring to do! I had told my mom and my boyfriend that Madame wanted to Skype them with me, so we’ll Facetime my mom tomorrow morning (for us) after breakfast, and we’ll Skype my boyfriend sometime soon. This will be the first time I’ll have to directly (and quickly) translate between French and English, so we’ll have to see if it gives me a headache, but I’m super excited to try it out nonetheless. I think I’m more excited for my mom and my boyfriend to see why I love Mme. Remion as much as I do, and to have them see me interact with her, since neither of them have ever really heard me speak French past asking me what a word or a phrase is here or there.
L’étude du beau est un duel où l’artiste crie de frayeur avant d’être vaincu. -Baudelaire. “Le Confiteor de l’artiste.”