Thursday, April 13, 2006

zombie pirates!

This visit from Kate and Mike was so much fun. I've gotten really satisfied with my year alone - it's quiet and relaxing. I can be self-centered, but in the best way possible - simply doing what I like most, since nobody else needs anything from me.
Just leave it to a few good friends to go an ruin it all, by reminding me that contact with others is a really, really good thing. I'll be home in three weeks. While I'm incredibly sad about leaving this place, I am really excited to return home. Somewhere I'm not always the outsider, where I belong with a group of people. Somewhere I can understand jokes and make some of my own.*

(please enjoy pictures from the ONLY day that it did not rain. I had been bragging to them that they were going to be smacked upside the head by the gorgeous spring here. The first morning here in Poligny, the drizzle started. It stopped only twice: once to be sunny and once to snow. Dammit.)

When Jim was here, we discussed how this area, remote and prehistoric, is just ripe for all kinds of ghost stories and zombie incidents. Turns out we were right about both things: Bernard's told me a few of the local ghost legends, and Mike turned into a zombie.

*This is a joke. It was made up by an American assistant, but it works best in French:
Q: Pourquoi est-ce les pirates n'amient pas conduire?
A: Parce-que ils preferent la garrrrrrrre!
(translation: Why don't pirates like to drive? Because they prefer the train station.)
The humor of this joke lies in saying "la gare" (train station) like a pirate: hence, "garrrrrrrre!" Because pirates say "yarrrrrr." Or sometimes just "arrrrrr."

Unfortunately, pirates say niether "yarrr" nor "arrrr" in french. I found this out when I tried telling a few students at a party. I was so excited to tell it, finishing with a hearty "gARRRRRe!" and a swashbuckling swing of the arm. There was silence for a moment, then "What?!?" and then the laughing. Now, I've made people crack a smile or giggle a bit when I mess up my french -- this, however, was full-out tears-in-eyes guffawing. I sensed trouble, so I said, "You know, because pirates say [arm swing and hond over eye to suggest eye patch] yarrrrrr?" Of course, they didn't know that and any description of the native habits of pirates only confused them more. How come we never learned pirate vocabulary in any of my French classes? It really would have come in handy.


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