Sunday, January 17, 2010

a small island away from home

Well, we’ve now been in France for a month, Cindy is, I must say thriving. Not that she was ever in a shell, but she is really flourishing. She’s the reason we have attained the Carte Bleu, (the French Visa / MasterCard ) there are stories of people who have lived here for a while and can’t seem to get one. I’ve not met any, but we were told that this is a difficult process. Cindy also for the first three weeks has been dealing nonstop with the perpetual billing for utilities at our house in California. “Can you hear me now?” Then the contract work for this place we’re staying at, wrangling a deal on the next place, the list is endless, and day to day living expenses.
Sadly, I must admit though I help in a limited manner, she has done the lioness’s share. We all know the percentage the lion does, but I do the fat, dumb, and happy aspect with aplomb. She had an interview with our future French Teacher. She’s 81 years old, an incredible lady, she may have even thrown a cabbage at Louis XIV. She looks like a French version of either Joan Plowright or Dame Edith. She has lived an incredible life to date, really inspiring. She lost her only child, he was almost 18 when he was in a fatal motorcycle accident, a month away from starting school to be a veterinarian.
I drive Caleigh and three of her class mates from Eymet to the school bus stop in Soumensac. (Bet you wish you could say that ) Its five mornings a week, every other week, its kind of fun, it’s the most quiet I have all week, I kid you not. I could drop a pin onto a sponge and….well I’d hear nothing, but isn’t that the point. For some reason the kids are quieter than church mice, and I’m not talking about those loud punkass suburban church mice either! We leave at 7:20 a.m. and it’s pitch black out, we drive to all three of the kids houses and then the 10 kilometers to Soumensac. There I drop them off and start back to the farm, on the way I stop at different places and take photos, depending on the route I take, then wend my way to the closest boulangerie. My thinking is I will load up on baguettes until I’m sick of them , that way when back in the states I won’t miss them as much. Because lord knows that worked really well with drinking while in college. The nice thing about picking up the kids in the mornings is the kids are there when I drive down the driveway. Promptly. Whereas in our household on the weekends, when we want to go to a neighboring town for market day, the evacuation of Dunkirk was a hundred times more organized, and took less time.
The weather is turning around, we braved the coldest winter that anyone here can remember. We aren’t complaining, as in the heart land it was 50 below. Good thing a majority of them are …insulated. Hey nothing wrong with that extra layer.
We are planning a weekend excursion to LaRoque Gageac with Caleigh and possibly one of her friends. We’ll have to get their parents o.k., we might even try to leave early-ish, drive there, have lunch, walk about, then drive back. It was the first place in France we visited three years ago. It’s actually the third most visited spot in France. But not because we visited it three years ago, I can understand your confusion though.
We are settling in, our familiarity with our new environs is steadily growing. We know all the roads that encircle our little town of Eymet. We know what to get where, who to see, when, we see a light at the end of the tunnel in regards to what our budget should be for the week. We have spent the initial large sums needed to set up a house, the staples, cleaning goods. We have a routine that now allows us to plan excursions. It’s not like we wake up and say what should we do today, we know Caleigh’s school schedule and can plan accordingly.
So the learning curve is getting easier, we no longer feel like strangers in a strange land, we know we are strangers, but the land is familiar, the people no longer alien. We’re not the timid little foreigner’s anymore, we’re not local, but now we are from around here.

1 comment:

  1. Hank, you will always be "strange" in whatever land you are in. Additionally you have a tremendous responsibility each and every day and that is to get up write your blog so as I will have something to do. Please look at it in that