Jan. 3rd, 2014

ursula: (Default)
[personal profile] wild_irises wrote, Tell me about a personal event that is a treasured or meaningful memory.

I thought this prompt was interesting for the meta-journal reason that it initially seemed impossible, due to some combination of the attitude that ideas are more interesting to write about than events, and a superstitious feeling that if I'm going around treasuring past events too often, there is probably something wrong with the present.

But actually, 2013 was eventful, perhaps excessively so! I have only glancingly mentioned the fact that I spent four weeks at research workshops this fall, in Toronto, England, and France. This was both fortuitous and overwhelming. The French workshop was Women in Numbers-Europe, so named for its excellent acronym. It was held at CIRM, which is in the hills above Marseille. Adriana and I had a free day in the city after the workshop ended. We decided to take the ferry to the Chateau d'If, which is the fortress in the Count of Monte Cristo. It's a big, white, squarish castle, set on its own island in the middle of the bay. I took an informational pamphlet in French, and Adriana took one in English. The French pamphlet, and only the French one, explained that Francis I was inspired to order the castle's construction when he visited Marseille to see a rhinoceros, which was stopping in the city on its way to the Pope. I bought a T-shirt with the rhinoceros for [personal profile] glasseye.

2013-10-19 14.00.46

On the ferry trip back, we sat on the front deck. We were surrounded by a raucous group of French middle-school girls, who were singing folk songs and hip-hop in loud voices, and trying to dodge the spray. When they discovered we lived in America, they conducted a bilingual interview with us (their English was about as bad as our French). The results were as follows:


  • Do you like hamburgers? (Sometimes.)
  • Do you like fish? (Yes.)
  • Which do you like better, Marseille or Paris? (I have never been to Paris.)
  • Are you in love? (Yes, I have a husband.)
  • What is his name? (Brian.)
  • Have you been to New York? (Yes, my sister lives there.)
  • Have you been to California? (Yes, I used to live there.)
  • Have you met a movie star? (No, but I have friends who work in Hollywood.)

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