Sunday, May 8, 2011

new digs

Here I am, one week into my new adventure. One thing is for sure: it's beautiful here. Just take a look out my office window. This is what I see when I turn my head to the left.
My MacBook camera really doesn't do the countryside beauty much justice, so you'll just have to wait for me to get a camera in order to see its splendor. There are lots of rolling hills with little villages and mini forests nestled into the valleys and hillsides. This is the France of my dreams and comes pretty close to the France I love near our farmhouse.

So, the job! There were two of us who were hired at the same time and we both started last Monday. Julian is my new coworker and he's a documentary maker and producer, so he's an interesting person to have around. We have both been getting caught up on the history and recordings of the ensemble, the names of all the festivals and theatres where the group has sung (or would like to sing), and we've also been doing some writing assignments and working on the database. The first week flew by and we worked some long days.

I think I mentioned that they are offering me free housing during the first two months. My apartment is in the same building as the offices, but I have a separate entrance from outside. I don't have my own kitchen - just a kitchen sink, microwave, kettle and coffee maker - and so I have to use the office kitchen to store and cook my food. The only problem is that since everything is so new, it's not fully equipped. For example, they have one of those heat induction cooktops, but you need specific pots and pans to cook on them otherwise it doesn't work. They hadn't bought any pots and pans yet, so I bought a couple of cheap pots only to find they weren't the right kind (I didn't know about the special kind at the time!). This means that I've been eating a lot of salads, fruit and cheese & crackers. I've never really used a microwave in my cooking and I know there are possibilities there, but it doesn't seem like real cooking (to me!).

I like to have breakfast in my apartment before heading up to the office, so I pack a cooler with my milk, yogurt and anything else I might want before heading down at night. That way it's waiting and relatively cool for me in the morning. So far it seems to be working out ok.

I haven't had much time to explore, but yesterday I headed into Avallon, the nearest town with supermarkets. I stocked up and also found the nearest laundromat to do a load of laundry. I saw that there is a cinema as well as a number of shops, banks etc. There is a Saturday morning market but I missed it because I slept in a bit. I'll have to check it out next week.

Today I went out for an exploratory walk down and around the many winding trails of V├ęzelay. The village is on a hill, with the Basilique at the crest. Most tourists just walk up the long hill straight up to the church, but if you go off the beaten path, there is not a tourist in sight and you can walk in silence, with the just the birds and crickets providing the natural soundtrack. I happened upon a 12th century chapel and a sort of monastery today, and I'm looking forward to discovering more!

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