a weekend away

me and my “chouchou”

As I sat in my comfortable train seat Saturday morning on my way to Lille, I thought about the Ukrainian women and children also travelling on trains … as they flee for their lives and to safety in neighboring countries. May they soon find peace and be able to return to their homes.

I slept like a log last night. I always do when I leave Paris. The air in Lille is cleaner and colder; and it’s a lot quieter. The people are friendlier too. Went to a Japanese restaurant last night with not one 9-year-old boy, but two (my godson’s friend.)

Earlier, we had been in a crowded park where he met up with some friends.

Today – cold and sunny, it’s been cold and sunny all weekend – we went into the country where his father has a small weekend house on a small plot of land.

Here’s a funny story, well, sort of funny; a bit shocking actually:

Last summer, I was sitting in my friend’s car (in the countryside) looking at the graffiti on the brick wall in front of me. My godson, then 8, was sitting in the backseat with his friend. “Gee,” I said aloud (I’m translating), “I wonder what FDP means.” The two boys started giggling.

“Is it an acronym for a political party?” All over France, you used to see FN (Front National), PS (Parti socialiste), LO (Lutte ouvrière), etc. scrawled on walls and billboards. The giggling grew louder. I turned around and said to them – Do you know what FDP means?

“Oui, Tata,” said my godson, “but we can’t tell you.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a gros mot.” A ‘gros mot‘ means a swear word.

Later, I found out that FDP stands for “Fils De Pute” (son of a whore, or son of a bitch). The graffiti has been on that wall for nearly a year.

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