Au Revoir, Montlaur

Or “Ore Vwa!” as my brother says… 

It was sad to say goodbye to Christian this morning, but it definitely felt like it was time to go. I think 2 weeks is a good amount of time to spend on one particular farm. As Christian told us in his goodbye speech, “What’s important is having a good exchange.” So before we, as an avedeldia community (all 12 of you), move on from Montlaur, I must share my favorite moments. These will be shared in the form of


Working with ESL speakers is always a lot of fun. Many who are curious about language, like Christian, come up with interesting ways of saying things that make sense, technically, but are unusual, especially in certain contexts. Take, for example, the time Christian was explaining something, I can’t remember what now, about women’s breasts. “They have the tits, you know…” here he gestured full cups with his hands, just above his chest. I couldn’t help bursting out in laughter. He smiled innocently.

Or take another example: if he wanted Kuba’s attention, he always called, “Gentleman, come here! Here, gentleman!” And once, he cooked us a delicious “guinea fowl,” as he called it. After serving us the choiciest pieces, he picked at the bones. “What do you call this? A carcass?” Well, technically, yes, that can be a carcass. “Sure,” I said. He goes on: “You can buy carcasses at the grocery store…” Nope, mistake. Should not have told him carcass was the right word. Here we had to begin a small English lesson in the way “carcass” should be used. “It’s what you find in the road when an animal has been hit,” I finally concluded. “What’s this, then?” he asked. “Body? Bones? On the bone. You can just say ‘on the bone.’” I had confused myself trying to think of a concise way of saying, simply, ‘on the bone.’ “Well, you can buy meat on the bone at the store…” He continues his story.

If he was finished with a task or looking for something to do, it was always “Bon. Allo.” Get the wine from the cellar. “Bon. Allo.” Serve us plates of food. “Bon. Allo.” Decide what to do next. “Bon. Allo.” Eventually, we were all saying it.

In the cellar

Sadly, this is the only picture that I have of Christian, which is ridiculous. I don’t know how that happened. But I’m choosing it, because 1) he’s in his element, and you can see some of the wine labeling process, and 2) the window just above his right shoulder is the one he stuck his head in for his throat singing demo. So now you have a better visual of that. And that’s Kuba in the hoodie, bein’ all cold in the cellar.

As Christian said to us today, “There’s no use getting attached to people and being sad about saying goodbye. You’ll see them again, maybe in a month or even later. Or maybe never. But that’s okay. What’s important is knowing them at all. That’s what’s important.”


The Village Aggressor

On Sunday, we went for a bike ride through the village, its canal, and then eventually near some of the vineyards. Christian lives on Avenue du Malbec, and on Avenue du Lice, a cross street, sits the town aggressor, or so he’s been dubbed – by me.

He is wearing a muzzle.

According to Christian, this dog has bitten just about every person in this village, and now he must suffer the humiliating doggie-consequence of wearing a muzzle. He is not a friendly dog, despite his tiny and cute appearance. He is


So now you have officially been warned.

Jokes & Jam

We, the wolves, were enjoying snacks ’round the fire in the kitchen this rainy evening when suddenly Christian bursts into the kitchen. Expecting a small task to be assigned, we listen intently. 

“My grandmother’s birthday is tomorrow.”

“Ah,” someone says quietly. We wait for more. 

“She will be 110.”

“WHOA!” “That’s amazing!” “Wow, that’s incredible.” “What genes!” we exclaim.

“She died 20 years ago.” 


“Why are you laughing? It’s sad.” 

And as quickly as he appeared, our host was gone.