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Archive for March, 2009

The meat chronicles – 3

page36I had a presentation for my literature and food seminar and showed this chart to the class. The real thing had pictures of all the parts of the animal that can usually be found on a butcher’s stall. Students had mixed reactions: while some of them found it disgusting, others argued that they prefer their meat to come from such a healthy animal rather than from intensive farming. A more problematic debate took place later when we couldn’t find ethical reasons for meat-eating that stood their ground after some examination. Much of the discourse that we use to defend the exploitation of animals is similar to discourses once used in favour of the oppression of certain people. These are hard times for meat eaters.

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page35Caroline and I went to the free art class at Coffee & Corks in town. I had made the decision that I would do something different this time: spread generous amounts of paint, use bold colours. The theme we were given was “self-portrait”, only without using physical features. Instead, there were large picture books on China we could draw inspiration from. Well, I’m not sure what kind of self-portrait this is, but I’ve managed to go a long way from my usual sketching, and I enjoyed the experience. Usually, I’m really a routine person. I introduce something new, assess the result, and either keep it religiously or discard it without much regret. I’m not sure yet which of these categories the art class will belong to. Who knows, I might even create a new one.

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Spring attraction

page34During the last week, deep change has occured in students’ lifestyles. Many of them are following the example of the young rabbits that graze recklessly around the brick houses, and make brave efforts to focus on essays while their computer screens soak up the sunshine on the kitchen tables they’ve installed outdoors for a change. Others have simply forgotten that studies survive the winter and spend lazy days socializing, and procrastinating, on their doorsteps. I’m desperately trying to balance sunny spring days attraction with the cold bubble, i.e. my room, which I need to work properly. I’ll study for an hour and a half, then go for a walk; another hour and a half, then have lunch outside. Make sure I get something done without feeling completely left out when I walk past groups sitting in circles among the flowers and trees. But to be fair, spring doesn’t exactly encourage moderation.

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Signs of love

page33When my boyfriend left after his week-long visit, I expected him to leave something behind. In the following days, I thought I would come accross, say, an old sock tucked under the desk, or a crumpled map indicating the way from Yverdon to Canterbury, or at least a hair on the pillow; but there was nothing in my room that he had not thought about and either thrown away or taken with him. At least, unlike my sister, he didn’t take any of my belongings either, but the familiar room looked strangely alien for a while. Fortunately, I soon found a portion of his signature home-made stew in the freezer, and remembered the bottles of red wine aligned in my closet. And I must admit I am quite content with the “food as love” epitome.

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page32Ever since I arrived in Canterbury I’ve been looking for cafés where I can relax quietly away from campus while eating great food. With Café St Pierre I’m certainly getting closer to my aim. If you want to have French pastries with tea in the afternoon and a laid-back atmosphere to help you enjoy them (and you’re not afraid of butter), then this is the ideal place to go. I’ve been there with friends and I’ve been there on my own, and it turns out to be the kind of place where you can have a lively conversation, or open a book and read very comfortably. Even though I really like cafés with a more local touch, when it comes to true sophistication, French is the way to go!

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