Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

38 days

...and counting. The days are rushing by now. Where did the year go? We are in such a groove, feeling like we belong. It's now OUR town too. The French is flowing more freely from all our mouths. We see familiar faces at school, on the beach, at the market. Friends wanting more time with us as that time disappears and vice versa. Lots of talk of a return; when and how? Irie is having regular play dates and sleepovers. She talks of wanting to come back for a month every year to see her friends. She says things like "we need to go home NOW or I might not want to leave." We talk of our "network" here and the possibilities of work.

Part of the rush of time is typical of the seasonal changes, no different from at home, or probably anywhere else in the world. Winter brings a slowing down, hibernation behavior; spring equals rebirth, longer days, more activity. Days at the beach melt away in the daze of sun, picnics, wine, swimming, paddle ball, reading, and conversation. Every weekend brings invitations - to dinners, picnics, volleyball and basketball games, Bon Pin - or another springtime festival or event of some kind.

Fun, joy, amazement, and yes, sadness and struggles, and learning as we go . Such an old country, but alive with new experiences. The return to old haunts, the excitement of new places. I'll never forget the Queen Mary 2 voyage, Mont St. Michel, a month in Paris, the vineyards of Alsace, boating the Canal du Midi, our amazing odyssey to Morocco, skiing the Alps and driving a team of dogs, Carnaval, Menton, the ride in the glider, the chateaux region, and living in the French Riviera! I absolutely love living near the sea! The connections to home through the visits of familiar faces, the joy of discovering new wonderful friends who have filled our lives here and created a new place to which we now belong. We have been welcomed into homes of people who didn't know we existed 9 months ago, people who will miss us, as we will miss them.

Life is a balancing act, but how to balance two places we love that are so many miles apart? Our lives will never be the same! We planned our Year In France for a year, now we've lived most of that year, very soon we will reintegrate into our lives in Oregon...for how many years will this year impact us? Forever I imagine. How can one not be permanently changed from living in a different culture? Language dissolved to the basics (for me at least) and seeing how the use of language, the turn of a phrase, the specificity of word choices, the importance of syllabic emphasis or facial expressions changes our perceptions of all that we experience on a daily basis. The joys of la vie en France: the food and wine that has changed how I want to eat and drink forever, the spreads of diverse cheeses, dried saucissons, olives, breads, tapenades, etc., the à l'aise pace of eating and conversation, the massive array of world class wines; also the activity of daily life - I've never walked or ridden my bike so much (at least since childhood), I swim in the Mediterranean daily, the devouring of books, the pace just feels right. I truly feel that HOW I live here in France has left me healthier in both mind and body.

Of course, we will return to work, I to school and Lisa to her private practice, to home ownership, cabin ownership, the reality of managing rentals, to Irie's extracurricular activities, to having a car and needing one. The pace will quicken, but I seriously desire with every fiber of my being to stay in the here and now, to relish each conversation, each chance encounter, to make time for breathing and the joy of a long meal or a morning in bed with a book. 38 days...


Kari said...

As you said before, imagine if you were embarking on a 38 day adventure to France. You would feel so lucky and you wouldn't miss a minute!

Norm said...

Your friends can always come to Oregon to visit. I'm sure that they would be truly amazed at surroundings that you are all to comfortable with. I always look forward to Az in the winter but can't wait to get back to Mi and all it has to offer. Home is where the heart belongs.

Love you guys.


William said...

After spending some time with you in France, early into your stay, and how much you liked it then, I think I can feel your sadness..

I still cherish our trip to Europe and the time spent in France

If I could speak one of the European languages, I too would love it there.

Just cherish the adventure and make sure you print a hard copy of your blog when you get home.

See you in July

Rick said...

I'm sorry this post comes off as "sad." It was meant to be more philosophical. Our lives have changed, there is no getting around that. We will move forward, and that too will change us. We feel incredibly fortunate to have had this experience! And it's not over yet...

Terri said...

Not sad Rick! Nostalgic? Touched my heart. Brought back memories of our time with you. Thank you again for sharing your life in France.

Ken said...

It was nice reminicsing. We followed your journey closely. You opened our minds a little further in your immersion into French culture. Your blog helped us with our anticipation of our short holiday in Europe. Our trip there was everything we could have hoped for. It was an escape but also an experience of what some consider to be a higher quality of life.

As with what pop said. You look forward to those things you are familiar with, but, also the adventures that life brings. It is those adventures and struggles that make us richer.