Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We're not in France anymore...

and whether we can figure out whether that is good or bad is pointless, because we are HERE! And busy. I realize it's been 18 days since my last post, and I keep wondering when it will be my last. Because we're not in France anymore. Thus, I'm not actually learning anything "in" France today, or any other day. However, I may still be learning something today from being "in" France last year. I hope that makes sense.

The things I've learned are not simple or easily explained, but directly impact how I conduct my life on a daily basis. BE HERE NOW has become much more than a cliché, but in fact, a realized life mission. Communications, whether in person, on the phone, or via email, whether with a stranger or someone I know, have become something to cherish, an encounter from which something can be gained, and thus I am striving to be in the moment for each and every conversation. It's far too easy to find oneself dashing about and using that as an excuse to not make real contact when running into an acquaintance on the street, or even just buying groceries at the checkout. I know because that has been me. A smile or a few nice words can go a long way and I'm doing my best to be on the contributing side of human kindness. There is a very faulty stereotype in America about "the French" - and it is wrong! So many people in France made the effort: to get to know us...even when they knew we'd be leaving, to befriend us or our daughter, to make us feel welcome, to be helpful neighbors, to converse with me and work to understand my limited french. At it's simplest, they took the time to interact with us, strangers, and this relaxed state of living wore off on me in a way that I am trying to properly express right now. So there's a very big example of "what I learned in France yesterday!"

As for our lives here in Oregon, while it's been busy, I do feel that a rhythm is being established. Part of that revolves around our weekly excursions to the cabin. We have gone to Bon Pin en Oregon every weekend save one since we got home. In the interim since my last post, Irie and I stayed for 11 days while Lisa went home for 3 days to work. Irie had her friend Rachel for a few days,

went on a horse ride,
and biked around the lake.
Gary comes every weekend and we work our asses off! The remodel is almost complete, and what's left is stuff I can do on my own. We now have a working wood stove and washing machine, a somewhat more level foundation, a new open floor plan which has turned our tiny galley kitchen into a very functional space for food preparation and entertaining, a reworked dining room, and an enlarged back deck. I still need to get rid of the piles of brick and concrete from the old fireplace and loads of yard slash, plan on using the volcanic rock to build a permanent outdoor grill, and then we'll move on to the bedrooms and bathroom. Maybe next year. Here's a before and after:

Meanwhile, we have added a new member to our family. When Athena came to visit us in France she promised Irie a pet fish upon her return home. Irie never forgot and called Athena last week to remind her of her promise. Well...a fish became a hamster! A little black bear hamster that is now and forever dubbed "Pooh Bear" and who is already charming his way into our hearts.
He likes to sleep by day, when not being smothered in Irie's love, but gears up each evening and spends much of his night running on his wheel.

This weekend is our 1st Annual Fête at Diamond Lake and we're expecting about 5 families for at least one night. The weather is perfect with warm swimmable days and cool campfire nights. That's all for now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Party Announcement

Little time to post these days. Lisa working during the week while I run around getting supplies for another long weekend at Bon Pin. Leaving again tomorrow and the van is loaded up with a wood stove, a washing machine, 10 bags of concrete, more wood, and we still need to pack necessities. And this time Irie and I are staying for 11 days! Driving two cars so Lisa can return to Ashland Mon-Thurs for work. Looking forward to a week+ in the woods!

Anyway, with the crazy month of reintegration and work, it's soon time for a fun break, so we have only one thing to say: it's TIME FOR A PARTY!

Also, for notre amie, Nathalie, yes we do have "good pines" in Oregon!