Friday, February 26, 2010


Last night I had a game in Avignon that was quite the evening. Part of this was because we were driving there and I am looking around seeing CASTLES and the AVIGNON PAPACY just along our route. This person, from a young, young country will never get used to the history that is just plopped sporadically in Europe.

The other reason last night was eventful was because of my soccer match. I play with a regional team of Aix, females who are studying in the aix-marseille area. We are currently playing for the championship of France. Last night was teh semi-finals (I think...I always get confused between the quarters and the semi's...) - if we won we would play in the finals in Bordeaux.

The game was on a grass pitch, which is fairly unheard of. Although it was super muddy and slightly slippery; that is part of the fun right? What was NOT part of the fun was the referee. UGH. He was calling fouls like we were 12. Seriously I think referees in France, when they conduct female matches, have this idea that we are fragile and not able to take a hit...which doesn't really surprise me. (think back to the "trying to buy a bike" incident)

But in any event, we won 2-1. I scored and we are going to play in the finals next week in Bordeaux! Although I was kindly smacked on the face by my coach and told he expects more of me and I better churn out some more goals next time. (seeing as the first game I played I had 7....) But it was a good night and sadly it was roby's birthday...and I missed our family dinner with cake. But tonight we're going OUT for dinner and then going OUT out and having a good time. So I am off to study and then hopefully play some tennis - although it is quite windy. Ciao!

Most of the team in our "vestier" (locker room)

Me and Belma - she's hilarious and a strong defender. (she came over from Croatia during the war and so she speaks, english [ a little] french and Croation! )

"Memphis Underground" by Herbie Mann
closest I could get...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Old Man in Firenze

One fine Italian evening, a couple of girls were walking quite happily after having had a fabulous dinner paired with a fantastic local wine. They were headed to the old doors that used to mark the entrance into the old city of Firenze, Italy. They were meandering as the evening was pleasant and the dessert wine had left them quite fulfilled and digesting their succulent dinner with ease.

Upon arriving at the doors and gaping for a few seconds, an old Italian man walked into the square. He was walking a dog. As both our young girls were dog lovers, they made their way over and motioned for permission to pet the dog. The Old Man obliged willingly and started some small talk with our two girls about their origins. The Old Man was quite jovial and seemed content to be walking his dog, talking to our young ladies, and with his life in general. After a few clicks of small talk the Old Man asked the girls' names. With the exchange of them the dog included (phipé) he wished them a pleasant evening (ciao bellas!) and handed them two items hand wrapped and stapled shut. Our girls slipped them in their pockets and returned the goodbye noises and waved goodbye.

Now our girls were on their way to meet a friend and the small carefully wrapped surprises were forgotten in the haste to connect. But after arrival at the meeting point, and in the interim one of the girls put her hand in her pocket and rediscovered her treasure. She was slightly wary of the item, but equally curious.

Upon opening the small present, to her utter delight she discovered a ring fashioned out of gold metal and twisted into it's shape with a knot of carefully interwoven design. This had obviously been carefully crafted by the Old Man (no doubt with Phipé's attentive eyes gazing on) himself. Our girl was touched, how beautiful and kind this Old Man had been. She thought that he was someone who was completely happy and enjoying his life - every day.

The other girl opened hers and it was a ring of similar make but unique and beautiful in its own way. Our two girls never met up with their friend, but went home with a warmness in their centers (beyond the wine) that wafted off and followed their path all the way home.

Even after our girls saw Firenze, and bid goodbye to the fair city, they remembered the Old Man. For one of our girls, the ring has stayed on her long finger ever since. The smile has stayed and the warmness has not faded. Even now she involuntarily smiles when the ring sparkles and catches her eye. Thank you Old Man. Grazie, e buonosera.

Claire Winter Gorton
Song: Johnny Appleseed Joe Strummer

Saturday, February 20, 2010

this is for you

and by you I mean mongrels.

This is Firenze! Try and enjoy it as much as I did. Unattainable, but just put a good effort in, hey?

First are a couple of shots of the BEST sandwich shop in Firenze - we had upwards o f 4 whilst there for 3 nights...

Then the EPIC Duomo, there is actually a picture of me that roby snapped as soon as we came into sight of the view at teh top of the duomo..... it is below...

-claire ( and roby)
Song: we may or may not be watching Gladiator....Can you blame us? Don't judge me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I think we're IN Pisa...

Italian Road trip 2010-
Seriously? DO I live this? Do I speed down the French Riveria, with that being the part I'm just trying to get past? Am I entering Italy and immediately impressed and asking myself why i chose France (WHY ON EARTH?) Do I get to eat amazing food with glasses of prosecco and dessert wine on the house? Do I turn down streets on accident and run into ruins of senate buildings and 1500 year old gatherings?

Yes, I do.

I live this and I really do enjoy it. I also enjoy robyn. I have been spending every waking moment sauf showering, bathroom time and sleeping and I have not once felt any sort of emotion except happiness and utter contentedness of being with my surroundings, mindset and company. I could give you all a play by play. I have an hour+ in the car tomorrow and maybe I will do it then. but to be honest, giving the play by play almost de-glorifies teh experience for me. Breaking it down feels like taking a Shakespeare and analyzing exactly what he meant by each word instead of savoring teh rhythm and rolling artistry of the entire piece. That's how I'm living it. in one piece. I mean I understand that I need to document it and show my loved ones what is going on, so here are some pictures and a VERY brief description.

Aix en Provence > Genova (one night) > Pisa > Firenze (three nights) > Roma (which is where I am currently) Goodnight and See you tomorrow (Hopefully!)

So these I mentioned before how France just likes to spite people - we were driving down south (more than we already are) and the weather was slightly gloomy but still on the water. Well we were driving on the coast and twisting and turning and yadda yadda yadda and so that means LOTS of tunnels (YES, maxi I held my breath for the beginning {the first 25} of the tunnels but decided to fold because I wanted to have conversations too) and we enter the one that takes us into Italy and AS SOON as we get into Italy the sun is shining. Really? Yes, Thank you Italy! Well, here you go.

Song: listening to teh conversation between my father and me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Les Bougies

A while ago, I was at Carrefour and decided that I was going to buy some candles(bougies) and stick them in wine bottles for dinnertime. This was a hit and we bring them out whenever we need a little extra touch to the slightly depressing kitchen we are stuck with.

Well, in addition there is a lack of light near my desk area and I decided to do something about it. I been granted with a couple of tea candles and so I lit those, poured it on a rock, stuck a candle in the malleable mess of wax and voila! I figured, Aix hasn't really left the middle ages and if you can't beat 'em -join 'em!

Night and Day

I am not completely sure when my next blog post will be, but I have an inkling that the subject matter will be a little more exciting that my room's light fixtures. Less rigmarole and more pasta.

Mango Pickle - M I A

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I'm sick. In form of all I can eat is bread and water. Which leaves me very weak. I don't want to be creative. I don't want to think about things. I just want to be better-which I will be very soon. Mind over matter folks.

I am leaving for Italy on Friday for a 10 day road trip with my dear friend Roby. We are renting a car and driving to Italy. That's about how far we have planned for this. Well we want to drive to find swimsuit weather, but apparently the bridge to Sicily isn't going to be done until 2013. The break starts this Friday, don't think it is gonna work out.

I am going to sleep now. Well maybe. This sickness doesn't really provide for good sleep either. Restless. MIND OVER MATTER. I'll drink some water. And what also makes me really angry is the fact I have a futsal tournoi tonight and I can't play. Well maybe I'll sneak in. I mean I'll go, but maybe I'll sneak on the pitch. Roby and CP will never know.....

from France with mittens,