signals, souris, ghosts and Spain...

Oh this was weeks ago and I'm just now mentioning it, I know everyone's been curious (or so I like to think): I caught a mouse! Well two, actually. The first one we weren't quite sure what to do with. You remember the trap, Lucifer? And how he has three guillotine holes? Well sure enough one of the little darlings went after a piece of weeks-old dry bread and Lucifer got him. I wonder how long he'd been laying there because I wasn't the one to find it, Jamie came in to use my kitchen and screamed quite like a little girl...he knows he did...and I caught on pretty quickly when I saw him staring underneath my kitchen table. When I say we weren't sure what to do with it, we threw the whole thing away.

After proof Lucifer would produce, I decided to enlist a student's help setting the next trap, and this time we set all three holes. Why a student? Well the contraption seemed to fascinate him, and there's not much to do here if you haven't gathered that yet. Anyway, it must have been the sweet granola I put in the back of the trap to lure him in, but I caught a second mouse within hours of setting it. And with this one I found the courage (and held my breath) to release the trap, throw the mouse away, and then I put the trap back in place...wondering if the former POW's lingering scent would ward off his family?

So far I've neither seen signs of any more souris, nor heard any of their ghosts.

It's amazing that the souris seem to be the most action that's happened in our sleepy town since arriving this year. I love being here, living here, speaking French, working with these students, but sometimes I hate it. I hate working through the ghosts of memories that randomly enter my mind without warning. Maybe one day I'll blog about it in more detail, the emotions that come with it, and tell you what I really want to say (I just have to figure it out first). I am so happy to have the beautiful memories, and to have experienced last year...but boy is it harder this year than I remember it being, ever. It's been more than just picking up and moving to France again for three months. This year I'm working with all new characters, mostly, who have no memory of last year's program because they weren't here. I don't fault them for that, at all, but it takes a lot of energy to be internally battling these ghosts, and yet keep my head up, stay bubbly and energetic and constantly "on" for the new cast. And I don't want to have to explain myself to these new characters, or go in to last year and why this year is different for me with spurts of emotional challenges....why should I have to explain why I'm not interested in someone, or doing something?

So, I put up a wall for protection. A few times people have tried to break through it, but it just tightens up and I can feel it happen. That's when I retreat and force myself to take a break, take some time for me to work out whatever is haunting me. Funny how even in this tiny village it's hard to find time AWAY from people. I'm constantly aware of the signals I may be giving off - heaven forbid they are misinterpreted.

I would also like to say that while it's been such a blessing working with an all-male cast this year, it is also exhausting. I am ready for the mini-break after Paris week. Yes, I'm traveling with part of the all-male cast, but I LOVE being alone for a few hours a day on a vacation, there's nothing better. I think we're going to have a blast IN SPAIN! I've never been, and now I'm going.

After Paris week we drive to Normandy and tour the D-Day landing beaches and the American cemetery. The following day, those who signed up head to London on the coach (that's me) and have one night in the city before getting dropped off at Stansted and Gatwick airports. From Stansted I'll fly to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain.

Six.Nights.On.The.Beach. Sun, sand, sea, and I'm pretty sure I might never take off my swimsuit - that's how excited I am about the WARMTH and the beach. Not to mention, Ryan Air doesn't let you carry on anything smaller than a handbag for all their restrictions, so I might only have room for a suit and a pair of shorts.

After Las Palmas we fly to Madrid and [hopefully] have an apartment in the city-center for four nights before heading back to Paris for one night, and then back home to The Abbey for the end of the semester.

I'm ready.....