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.”


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