Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Canterbury Getaway

My niece and I sat at the dinner table, eating a glorious meal she had cooked in her cottage by the orchards, listening to Ethiopian funk music on her computer. That just about sums up my "long weekend" in England. The English countryside, family and funk all harmoniously swinging together. I do love living in Paris, but I find it a very intense city – there are so many fascinating things all going on at once that even when I cut things down, I still have the feeling of being overwhelmed floating in the background. So every once in awhile I need to get away. This was my second visit to Canterbury where my niece lives now and where she works at an organic produce market in the area: The Goods Shed, Station Road West, Canterbury, CT2 8AN*. She's getting her Master's Degree in literature at Canterbury University and feels quite at "home" living in the English countryside. Now this is an international soul – born in Germany and then having lived in Switzerland and then in Holland before moving to England to study. And I do mean the countryside. She doesn't own a car and walks a minimum of one hour each way, every day, to and from the actual town of Canterbury. This made it a great getaway from Paris where the transport is fantastic, but where I live alone. In Canterbury, we pretty much stayed in the cottage, but spent time talking about anything and everything. I have come to truly believe in he power of genes. My goodness – my niece thinks just like I do! And with a good 35 years age difference. (But after all, there must be some positive side to family connections.) And it's wonderful to meet someone young who really loves where she is, wants to stay there and grow her own vegetables and raise animals on a farm. I'm still trying to figure out where that gene came from.

*, open Tuesday to Saturday 9 to 7 and Sunday 10 to 4

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Bingo Way

Bingo? And what does that have to do with Pierre Gonella, the young man in the photo above? Please bear with me. I know that you're all familiar with the game Bingo. But do you also know that it's also a way of life? This is how it works. You have something that you want to do or accomplish. You start out and "beat the bushes", but nothing happens. No results. Nada. Do you give up? Not if you subscribe to the Bingo Way. No –keep beating those bushes! And, one day, when you're least expecting it – BINGO! You get what you want – or something better. I know this is why they created the game in the first place – to have a game that imitates the Bingo Way of Life.

That is why I have not written more columns lately on exploring Paris. I have been exploring, honest! But I simply have not discovered anything worth passing along to you. No Bingo. Does this mean I will quit exploring? Not on your life. And be assured that you will all be the beneficiaries when I achieve Bingo and share it with you. It just hasn't happened yet. Fortunately, although so far there is nothing I can recommend to you to visit, I have taken some interesting photos that I've uploaded on my flickr site: .

I discovered the Bingo Way quite by accident even before I moved to France and have been following it ever since. As a matter of fact, that is how I got to France in the first place. And Pierre is another example of how it works. First, I assume you're asking yourself "Who is this guy? A top model? An actor? A descendant of a Renaissance angel?" Nope – guess again. He's my physiotherapist ("kinésithérapeute")! I've been having some back problems for awhile and need regular physiotherapy sessions. At first I tried a few really useless therapists who either did nothing or made my condition worse. Finally I found a really great one, but he was really far outside Paris. And then – he decided to become an osteopath, rather than a physiotherapist, so our sessions would no longer be reimbursed by Social Security. I didn’t' have a lot of resources at the time, so I was desperately seeking a new "kiné" when I spoke about it with a friend of mine who has knee problems. He was getting physiotherapy at a local clinic and gave me the contact info, I was so desperate that I phoned them for an appointment even though I didn't know the name of his kiné. I just asked for someone – anyone. That "anyone" turned out to be Pierre, one of the best kinés I've even had – plus- although he's studying osteopathy, just like the kiné I had to leave, he has chosen to continue as a physiotherapist, covered by Social Security. Bingo!

I know that the Bingo Way works – eventually – although it takes patience and continued effort (i.e. it can be a real drag). But I'm committed – I'm sold – I will continue along the Bingo Way. After all – I got to meet Pierre. And I got to France, didn't I?