Friday, November 24, 2006

If John Henry was a steel-driving man,...

If you have 30 minutes to kill, I recommend trying to explain the concept of "Thanksgiving" to someone who doesn't speak English/has never lived in the United States. When you're finished - if you're not out of time - give "football" a go. Finally, explain why the two go together so well. (I ran out of time somewhere in the middle of "football.")

This week, Marie asked me what "Thanksgiving" was all about. She told me what she thought it was about: well-to-do American families invite homeless people into their homes and feed them lots of good food. Well, the thought was nice. I knew I lost her sometime early when I tried to explain Pilgrims and Indians, and it only went down hill from there. We ended by saying that it was mostly just families - very few homeless - gathering to eat and be thankful for the things they have. As I was about to leave the kitchen to listen to the Ohio State/Michigan game, Marie asked me to explain American football. This didn't go as well as "Thanksgiving." We had trouble with the idea that each team had an "offense" and "defense," the same players didn't play both, and only one team got the ball at a time. I had to end it with "It's too difficult to explain" to make kickoff. Needless to say we had no turkey, there was no candy corn, and I'm still waiting for my pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving explanations aside, we worked this week. We spent the first three days of the week pruning in the vineyards. We spent the last two days picking rocks out of a field to prepare it for planting in April. When I say "picking" rocks, I mean the large chunks of earth that bulldozers uncover when they drag 4' long blades through the ground (similar to the bulldozer pictured). After two days of loading those pieces into a trailer, I feel like I've been in a car accident. The good news is that this week I learned how to drive the tractors at work. Now, I don't have to wait for someone to pick me up in the morning. I just fire up the Renault Dionyis 130.

In other news, I think I've figured out a solution to my unhappiness in France - which would be for me to leave. I'd bought a plane ticket to Prague for Christmas and New Years, and I think I might be staying (uh, Joel and Greg, I hope that's okay with you). I've also received a couple of job offers to work with the wine in New Zealand. I'm currently trying to decide which to accept, and hope to travel before I begin work.

In honor of Thanksgiving, this seemed appropriate:

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