Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jet lag is almost over

Home. Though this trip to Belgium was one of the best so far, I'm happy to be home. I love this life of traveling around telling stories, and I love my house, my cat, my own bed. This morning I got up early (thanks to jet lag) and made a fire in the woodstove. The cat is basking on the rug in front of the stove as I write.

It was great fun to see my friends in Belgium, and especially to stay with Marie and her family. We've known each other for over 20 years and always fill the visit with lots of blabbing--though after I leave we remember things we didn't say. We tell each other our stories of past, present and future. I try to describe my life here in the US, but I know it won't be clear to Marie until she comes to visit (hint, hint).

There are several things I like to do while in Belgium: eat chocolate, go to "Le Grand Mechant Loup" (a children's bookstore in Louvain-la-Neuve), buy notebooks and pens, have a chicken curry sandwich, eat a waffle from a street vendor. These waffles are not the light and airy confections Americans think of, but heavy and sweet, with sugar in the interstices (love that word). This time I didn't burn my tongue, amazingly enough.

On every trip, my suitcase weighs a ton on the way home, from the chocolate and books I bring back. This time I tried to be restrained, but still had 23 kilos of baggage to check (1 kilo=2.2 lbs). I think the limit is 25.

Though I have several other things to do today, I'm tempted to have a look at the books I bought. I try to find collections of folktales in French, especially with stories I've never heard. Here's this year's haul:
10 Contes de Turquie (collected by A. Uzunoglu-Ocherbauer)
24 Contes des Antilles (collected by Olivier Larizza)
14 Contes de Russie (Collected by Robert Giraud)
Contes et legendes de Belgique racontes aux enfants...et aux grands qui les ont oublies (no author cited, but this is put out by Jourdain le Clercq Editions, as part of the series "Le patrimoine de nos enfants")
Les philo-fables (by Michel Piquemal and Philippe Lagautriere)
Contes populaires de Lorraine, compares avec les contes des autres provinces de France et des pays etrangers (collected by Emmanuel Cosquin)

This last one is a treasure. Cosquin was a folklorist who lived from 1841-1919 and who collected stories from one village in France. After each story, he goes into great detail, comparing the version with others from all around the world. Cosquin had an incredible breadth of knowledge, citing stories from Cambodia, Lower Saxony, Flanders, Russia and elsewhere. This edition was republished in 2003. It's more than 700 pages to chew on.

Before I chew on that, though, I think I'll go get a Chocotoff (Cote d'Or). Yum!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, love! Have you got the chocolate off your chin yet?