Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Time : 9:45 pm

Location : the chair, in the living room

Weather : it was really, really windy

Marwann picking flowers on the
field trip
24 may
Making blocks of color
One day into the week, on Tuesday, of last week that is, I went on a field trip for the first time in I do not know how long. I went along with Marwann’s class to Loubatas for a day of hiking through nature. I was supposed to be helping out with activities and such, but there wasn’t really much for us supervisors to do.
Iness practicing the Soleil
(all the way around the bar)
25 may

leaving Marseille
Thursday markets always
catchin me off guard
We hiked for at least four hours by the time the day came to an end, although I am pretty sure we did not actually hike that long. We did a lot of stopping and explanations about plants and animals, as well as stories about hunters and witches. I felt like the kids had never been out in nature before.
Just a nice corner of Aix
26 may
Atelier de Cezanne

a Quick french experience
weirdest tree I ever did see..
So the day was not very strenuous. Apart from the fact that it was well over 30 degrees!! I felt like I was going to die it was so hot. I felt bad for the kids, until they started interrogating me on my ability to speak French, and decided that I was either speaking Italian or Chinese (when they asked me to say things in English) and came to the conclusion that I was Portuguese. Luckily for them (and me) this was at the end of the day.

nobody knows what it is
(really unripe)
still no idea what this is other than
deliciousness in the palm of my hand

As I just said it is ridiculously hot here. The majority of last week it was scorching here. No doubt about it, we are in times of drought. The risk of fires here are so high. With the wind and the dryness, they spread like well, wildfire and are incredibly dangerous. When it is really hot out, I find it normal for the airplanes full of sea water to fly over numerous times a day.
emergency coffee maker
use it everyday
27 may
28 may

Iness' gymnastics competition
Another thing about the heat, is it is bad for the environment. Well, it is bad to drive your car when it is hot out. Near Marseille where the air pollution is a slight problem, being the seconds biggest city in France this is no surprise, the highway signs ask you to slow down to lessen the amount of pollution.

Provence, and more exactly, around the Mt. St.-Victoire is the land of Cezanne (who was a painter if you were unaware). He lived right in Aix-en-Provence and thus there are many, many things named after him. Seeing Cezanne everywhere kind of gets you wanting to know a little about him, so Ebba, Evelin, Jara and I headed to historical monument of l’Atelier de Cezanne.

L’Atelier de Cezanne is a museum of sorts. The main floor of the small house sized building is the reception and gift shop, and the upper level is his studio. When Cezanne died, his studio was bought and preserved. Sometime in the mid 70’s (I think…) the city of Aix wanted to tear down the building but thankfully two Americans had created a foundation in support of Cezanne’s works and bought the building. Not long after, or possibly in the 90’s, the building became a historic monument. Still to this day, the studio is not at all cared for nor supported by the city of Aix, and is somehow linked with the Tourism Office.

Inside the studio, we could not take any photos, which was too bad. What we found there were just his everyday items and subjects of his paintings; bottles, “fruits”, his clothes, his palettes, among other things.

He had painted the walls a grey-blue color and also had hardwood put in (which was very pricey at the time) so that they would absorb the sunlight and naturalise the lighting so he could paint better.

In this studio he created his largest painting of the Les Grandes Baigneuses. The painting was too large for him to take it down the stair case and out the front door, so he had a tall and slender side door made so he could take the piece in and out to view it in different lighting.

Cezanne was very fortunate to have a rich family and used his inheritance money to support himself so he could devote himself to his art. He never made any or much money from painting. He was fortunate enough to have himself his own family installed in Aix, and this studio which was a 15 minute walk from the mountain. One fateful day, while walking home from painting in the rain, Cezanne fell ill with pneumonia, which ended up ending the end of him.

Still the same day, in Aix, since it’s kind of a journey for me to go there now, I make the most of it when I do, we decided that we MUST see what French fast food is like. Mmmm healthy and delicious, doesn’t it sound? But it actually was not that bad. Apart from the fact that the sandwich I ordered had next to nothing in it, so when I took it back to the counter and showed them, they instantly gave me a different sandwich of my choice and explained that it was not their fault because the sandwich was not made in the building…but it was shipped there like that (thus not being fresh at all…). The verdict on Quick; good service, but even McDonald’s is fresher. Not going back.

Saturday Iness had a gymnastics competition. I had never been to a competition before, and I found it to be very impressive. There were definite various levels of skill in the competition. There were kids who do club gym, 15 hours or so a week, then there were the couple of kids that do 20 hours of gym a week and go to a special training school (like Iness does).

I don’t know why, but I always thought that I never really liked gymnastics. Like it was boring or something. Now I find quite the opposite. There is so much strength, control and concentration needed to go through the routines, it is incredible what Iness can do. Not to mention the artistic side that comes out on the floor.
Guess what I brought :)
29 may

Of the higher level gymnasts, Iness was the most graceful while still being very technical. She always looked relaxed and in control of what she was doing. I can tell it really is her passion.

Sadly, gymnastics really do not amount for much in France. Once you get to 20 or 22, your career as a gymnast is over and you never get the recognition that other athletes do in other sports like football or tennis. Nor the salaries. They’re really only doing it because it is their passion. Which I find to be quite admirable.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day (yes I completely missed the Canadian Mother’s Day) so Iness, Marwann and I went out picking flowers to make a bouquet for Sophie and then while she was busy out in the garden, we sneakily baked her a cake. On top of that, the kids insisted that I make lunch and let Sophie relax, how thoughtful of them. Mother’s Day was indeed a very nice day. Especially for Sophie.

Also on Sunday, I went to Cassis with Evelin, Jara and Ebba for a picnic supper. We arrived a tad late to do any lounging in the sun, but we really enjoyed just hanging out on the beach. The most exciting part had to be when all of a sudden, on the cliff, there was a fire. Nobody knew where it came from or anything, just that out of the blue trees were starting on fire. The fire climbed up the cracks and up and cliff, people on the beach stopped and turned to look and the people in the hotel on top of the cliff threw hopeless buckets of water down to douse the flames. We looked on for a solid fifteen minutes before we decided it was time to head home, and there was still no sign of firefighters, although we did hear some guy working at the beach café make the call. The fire must have been taken care of quickly and without any damages because we never heard anymore of it.
This is Cassis

I took a very good video of the event including a narration by yours truly, shots of the fire and witnesses’ stories. You’ll know when it is uploaded.
I wonder if this luxurious hotel escaped
the flames...

In our yard there is this really odd tree, as you can see from the photos, and I have no idea what it is. It gives these mystery fruit-berries that I think are in a blackberry family, but I am still unsure because all of my Google searches have been fruitless.

These edible mystery-berries are absolutely delicious and replenish themselves everyday. One day I decided that I was going to make some jam. So I did. One day I picked these berries for a little over two hours, doing a nearly complete stripping of tree, and the next, I spent two hours removing the little stems to get one kilo of fruit that took me not even 20 minutes (time includes clean up) to turn into jarred jam.
31 may

This mystery jam is really good on biscotti’s as well as in the plain yogurt that we started making at home. I think I will make some more jam someday, but leave on the stems, and maybe bring it home. If we have any jars.

Well, this has more or less been the highlights of my past more or less two weeks.

Once again this entry only got done because I am heading out again; this time to the mountain with the family. I’m sure I will have things to recount to you when I get back.

10:32 pm

No comments:

Post a Comment