Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome

I am in Strasbourg. It’s beautiful and foreign, but I haven’t really seen it yet. I’ll save my overall impressions for another day. 

I was picked up from Hahn this morning by my new boss, who is adorable. She’s a proper natterbox and I felt comfortable with her from the start. 

I am, however, a nervous passenger and as she zoomed along the deadly autobahn she consulted maps, sent and received text messages, made and answered phone calls and made direct eye contact with me as she spoke. I was a bit shook by the time we arrived at her place for lunch. 

My boss lives with her partner, who is the Lutheran minister for the area. They live in the presbytery. At the moment the minister’s daughter is staying with him. 

When I told her my brother is a priest, her response was “Oh! You’ll be used to these rather bizarre surroundings then.” 

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my experience of priests was a million, billion miles away from girlfriends and daughters of previous relationships.

It was a lovely lunch – Irish lamb and roast potatoes. I can’t think when I’ve ever before had a more thoughtful welcome meal. 

Later, she drove me to my new place. When she had first emailed me about the flat, she had told me that it was a “man’s studio”. I had grown obsessed wondering what this could possibly be. Would there be half-drawn pictures of men strewn about? Would it be a lodging house with a “no girls allowed” sign outside?


It’s a studio that happened to be let by a man. He’s a young man, by the name of Quentin. Of course, a French person pronounces this “Koh-tah”, making the name sound an awful lot less fuddy duddy than it does in English. 

It’s lovely and quirky. There’s a light fitting made of a traffic cone and an electric toilet (with a plug!). There’s a bed that lifts off the ground if you don’t spread your weight evenly across it. And you’d know it’s owned by a man. There’s a tumble dryer. But there isn’t an oven. Exclamation mark. 

He’s left it very clean for me. The floors have been so well polished that I’ve fallen over twice. This time last year, I moved into my flat in Ljubljana and was surprised that the owner kept Vaseline in the fridge. Here, I am surprised that Quentin keeps camera film in his fridge. 

I’m awfully excited about my French adventure. On reflection, it’s amazing how many French words I know. I mainly plan to discuss “culs de sac”, “ménages a trois”, and “fins de siècle”. I could also manage a chat about chauffeurs, masseurs and champagne. And if worst comes to worst, I could always give my opinions on the products of “Laboratoire Garnier, Paris”. 

My brother, his wife and their seventeen (for which, you should read 3) children are coming to stay here tomorrow night, so that’ll liven up my man’s studio. 

On Monday morning I’m starting in my new school, which basks in the glorious name of “Pole Formation”. Firstly, I’ve re-written a Beach Boys song (Good Vibrations) about the school “Oooh I’m talkin’ ’bout Pole Formation, She’s givin’ me the Pole Formation. Pole, pole, pole, pole formation!”

Secondly, is there a more auspicious name for a workplace related to Project Connor? Pole formation is my aim. I’m going to be formed into a pole here. As skinny as a bean pole. That’ll be post-Strasbourg Connor. 

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