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Thursday, July 14, 2005

la petite blonde

I must confess, I love this place.

I sit with a giant mug of strong tea, listening to the birds outside in this small town. I’ve been coming to Castelnau de Montmiral, a small town in the South of France, for years now. When we first came I may have been around four or five, having just finished my first year of kinder garden. I had wispy white blonde hair, a mischievous smile and a very small grasp on the French language.

I entered the French school system, and had no idea what anyone was saying to me. I used to peer over at the work of the girl beside me, trying to carefully scribble the same thing she had written. It’s strange how vivid the memory of doing this is. I didn’t feel good about it, but the teachers spoke a different language than I did, literally.

I remember picking cherries in the schoolyard, playing games where we would yell in French and run around like the headless chickens at the local markets.

I had a bright pink knapsack that I carried around with me triumphantly. My mom had given it to me one night when she arrived home late in the evening from a trip she’d been away on. It was far past my bed time, but I waited for her patiently. When she finally arrived she gave me the gift of this bright pink knapsack, as well my own package of cookies. Considering the kind of person I am, you can imagine my joy, a bright pink knapsack AND my own box of cookies. I was as happy as a stoner in Amsterdam.

I took both to school the next day, eating and savoring the entire box with my best friend, a small Moroccan girl, Sana, whom I spent most of my breathing moments with.

I used to go to Sana’s house and eat rich Moroccan dishes her mother had prepared. I remember a giant platter with fries, vegetables and meat in a juicy sauce. One day she offered me cookies, this large loving woman, and asked me how many I would like. Overwhelmed by the idea of having as many as I wanted, I took around eight. She smiled.

And Sana’s younger brothers, small brown figures with intelligent faces, used to take baths in the back of the room where I could see them, hot water running into a big basin, they would yell and sing as their mother attempted to clean them. Her younger sister, Awatif, used to chase us around and try and join in on our games. She would yell up to us from outside, and we would peer down from my third floor window, make excuses and giggle to ourselves.

One night they had a large Morrocan party at her house. A group of men in one room were beating bongo drums with a passion. The rooms were filled with people. There was smoke, drinks, dancing, and life all around me. Two English girls walked me home when it got too late, my small figure making it obvious that I was up past my bedtime.

I still see Sana, but our conversations are quick, and she spends most of her summers visiting Morrocco.

I still walk these streets with long blonde hair trailing down my back. I still sometimes feel like that young girl.

my village


Blogger baylor said...

You are living an amazing life, friend...

5:52 PM  
Blogger blacsoc said...

well hi little blondie think you should put some up to date commentary in .christine castelnau

7:54 AM  

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