Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cinq Cent Soixante Jours a Sceaux (560 Days in Sceaux)

The bus stopped at the place it always stops for me on my way home from work. I stepped out of the bus, and turned to my right, after all, that is the way home. I noticed the Christmas lights hanging across the street and realized I had not been in the marche de Sceaux since the Christmas lights were up. I turned around, and headed eastward toward the market. The Christmas light displays here in Sceaux are not spectacular, but they nevertheless signal that the festive season has arrived. As I entered the market, I came upon one of my bakeries. They were making crêpes outside, and I could not resist. A piping hot French crêpe to enjoy as I stroll through the open market lit up by Christmas lights, nice.

This past weekend, I actually entertained guests. They were not French, but American expatriates like myself. I provided five different cheeses, and serve spaghetti with marinara. The pressure was on, as they were of Italian descent. I had seen the Godfather many times, I know how to make a good marinara. Good time was had by all, and the fact that they were using the French bread to soak up the marinara, I took that as a good sign.

The weather is not nearly as dreary as it was a year ago. There has been more sunshine, and everyone is grateful. We are, however, coming up on the one-year anniversary of the "big snow" in Paris. They say that 30 cm fell in one day, and for those of you not familiar with the metric system, that is about 4 1/2 feet (not really, I'm just joking, it is really about 12 inches). So far, there is no indication that the weather is coming get that cold or that we have that much moisture moving in. All that really means for me, is that my flight to Houston on Sunday is likely to get out on time.

And now for the running update: my running us back to where it was before my massive head cold and and injury. It took about six weeks to get up to speed for being off about six weeks. I'm running with the metronome regularly now, leaving it on the entire trip. Running and proper cadence is important, it helps me to focus on proper form. My form is improving, but I'm not even sure I can say I maintain good form for half of the run at this stage. There are periods during the run when I feel my form is nearly perfect, and I do feel like I could go on indefinitely. This great sensation will go on for a quarter to half a mile before my concentration breaks down and I have to refocus. The whole purpose and perfect in the form is to be able to run without any prospect of injury, regardless of the distance or the terrain. I am progressing, and small increments of progression do add up.

I wish I could say my mastery of the French language is progressing as well as my running, but I cannot. I do not get enough immersion in the language to train my ear. I can quite often articulate what I want to say, but once they begin responding, I am lost. I will keep trying, because I feel it is an excellent learning opportunity, and one should be a student all of his life.

I'm looking forward to going back to Houston for Christmas. My side of the family is gathering at a beach house on the Gulf of Mexico during Christmas. The beach house sleeps 26 people, but there were only the 16 or 17 of us, so we will have plenty of room to enjoy one another. If I did not get to post again before the holidays, I want to wish you and your loved ones a very Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year).

A bientot,