Friday, May 17, 2013

The impulse to learn

Field of rapeseed

I'm back from two weeks in the north of France. I thought I was going to blog every evening, but I underestimated the amount we would fit into each day.

I traveled with friends Joan, Bonnie, and Steve. One of the fun things about traveling with Steve is that he's curious—and uninhibited about satisfying his curiosity. Bonnie, Joan, and I all know a little bit of French. Steve knows not a word, but that never stopped him from asking the locals questions.

Steve in BruggeSometimes this resulted in unexpected answers. Steve asked the attendant in the Eiffel Tower how often the elevators were maintained. The attendant answered, "Every 7 minutes." Clearly, he had understood "how often" and "elevators," and gave his standard answer.

But most of the time, we learned. We learned about this group of kids on bikes. They were biking across Belgium to Holland, and expected to cross the border in a single day's ride. We learned that Brittany isn't crowded except for July and August, and even then, the ocean is "bracing" for swimming. And we learned that it's hard to find a job as the organist for the big cathedrals, even when you have a lot of training.

Steve has the impulse to learn, which is a pretty good thing to have in a traveling companion!

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