"Last week I drove up to the Massif Central with a couple of friends, blasting 'electro swing' all the way. (The best thing to have happened to my Itunes library in a while, without any doubt: particularly enjoying the song 'Belleville Rendezvous').


When we arrived in the glistening light I really could have cried, it was so glorious and fresh. I ran around like a three year old and buried my face and my hands in the powder and squealed and went a bit mad, and then when I'd worn myself out we took a tour of a crater lake at the summit of an old volcano. We were surrounded on all sides by such beauty, and vast silence, interrupted only by the soft grunt of snow beneath our feet and the trickle of myriad tiny streams. I wanted to breath in everything and never go home.


Later when the sun had set we sat in one of the alpine pubs and drank hot mulled wine and watched the skiers through the windows, winding their way down the luminous slopes. It was total and exhausted contentment.


And what of study? Week four starting tomorrow and I'm in the swing of things. Since my name's a bit tricky to pronounce for most people, they've taken to calling me "Flo," which I sort of love. I am trying to adopt a flowing mentality, and an attitude of ease and acceptance, because the world is a very varied place and it sometimes seems as though the whole world with all its variations can be found at Cavilam. What I mean, of course, is that the range of students and cultural backgrounds is dizzyingly diverse. This makes for the best classroom discussions I suppose I shall ever be exposed to, and all through the slippery and strange and beautiful lens of French!


You know that feeling you get sometimes after spending a long time in the water-- maybe you swam laps for the first time in a while, and then later when you're not moving, you feel as though your body's still floating, and you know your muscles are adapting and learning with reflection. That's sort of what my brain feels like some nights. I'm constantly grappling with new ideas, concepts, tastes, experiences, and I know that each one is stretching out the horizon of my world view a little bit more.


It's not always easy, but it's achingly rewarding. I'm grateful because everybody has been both patient and forgiving- we laugh, hard, at ourselves and one another. I've met so many incredibly sweet and open people: open to joy, open to knowledge, open to one another. We create safe spaces for one another, to learn and to grow. Somehow the human landscape is just as beautiful as the physical one."