Browsing Posts published in October, 2010

Rootless Tree

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I stole my title today from one of my favourite Damien Rice songs that I’m listening to top volume for a number of reasons. One, there’s lots of swearing in the song so that suits me just fine right now. B, I am soothed very much by music so that’s right on the money and three, I am as tall as a tree and I can’t find any roots to speak of. See, I’m moving. Again.

Boxes, tape, hockey bags, big white van, somebody stop me before I pull all my spiky hair out. While I am happy enough to move on to our more permanent residence (and I use the word permanent very loosely), I am not digging this whole uprooting business. Etrochey has been so very kind to us and I’m kind of settled here with my cows and chickens. I’m even making peace with the unknown creature (I’ve never been brave enough to go see what it is) that makes huge splashes in the river late at night. Continue reading “Rootless Tree” »

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Wrecking Ovaries

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Well it’s official. I own a wreck in France. The papers have been signed, the key has been handed over which is quite amusing as the house has no back door. And so begins the seven day period during which a mad scramble must ensue to determine if we can make it work within the very tight budget. After the seven days is up then there’s no turning back.

Where the hell am I getting the strength for this one? I’m still not recovered from the last one. I think my house in Canada was finished in the middle of July so that’s about three months right? For some reason it feels like a fair bit has gone on since then. Oh yes. All that relocating to a foreign country stuff. I knew there was a reason why I feel as decrepit as this house. I swore up and down, literally, that there was no way I was getting into another mess for at least a year or two and (stamping of feet now) maybe never again. So I’m a homeowner and a liar. Continue reading “Wrecking Ovaries” »

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French Kissing

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Okay here’s my deal today. I know that when living in another culture one must rise to the occasion and embrace, adopt or at least respect the way things are done. For the most part I’m going along with everything, dinner at 8 pm, 2 weeks to get a car registration, not batting an eye when the entire nation goes on strike and 4000 gas stations go dry (check out the BBC website for coverage in English). The French are all about revolution and the closer Sarkozy gets to his pension reform the wackier things get. We are rationing gas as I write and by the end of the week Mad Max will rule the highways of France but I digress.

What I’m on about today is all this kissing you have to do every time you see someone. I love it and I don’t. At first it’s charming and you feel like super chic European woman. It’s very romantic in a sense and good for the ego to think that everyone you see wants a kiss from you.

After a while it becomes a bit of work as it’s not as easy as it looks. First it varies from place to place. Some areas do single air kisses on each side, some three and the other day I noticed women in the town going in for the quadruple. Who has the time for that? Imagine going out for a night with the girls? Sure it’d be time to go home as soon as you finished saying hello. Continue reading “French Kissing” »

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It seems that every post lately involves me in a grocery store but hey I like to eat and it’s not like there are many discos out here in the country. Also it’s one of the few things I can do without an interpreter. I did try to mail a letter by myself which didn’t go well and is a story for another day.

So there I am, fashionable as ever, sweatpants (wide leg so not totally disastrous), knobby pilled fleece, bedhead, a sight to behold. I’m trying to get in and out quickly as I suspect that I might possibly smell worse than I look. There is a woman ahead of me clearly in some sort of panic, whipping items along the belt at breakneck speed, talking a mile a minute, obviously late for something (at least I hope so). She was stressing me out a bit so I turned my attention behind me. Continue reading “A Life In 15 Items Or Less” »

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Wreck Sweet Wreck

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Go big or go home. Of course the last time I said this it was about cutting off my hair, relatively minor compared to what I’ve gone and done now.

The wise thing to do would be to live a while in France, see how I like it, ease into the culture, blah, blah, blah. Instead, why not buy a roof and four walls from a Parisian artist and then embark on a full scale renovation without even knowing how to say the word hammer?

Those who know me are not surprised, I can actually hear the rolling of eyes and the sighs of the wise, those who know full well that 2 months into this I’ll be pulling out what’s left of my hair. My real concern is that my unconscious motivation to buy this house was that the reno would offer months of fantastic blog material.

The good news is that the house is about 950 square feet so it fits with the plan of trying to live with less (space, heat, cleaning, etc.) and will be quite the challenge both in terms of small space design and a small budget. Anyway, the offer has been accepted but the papers are still not signed so who knows?  I know you’ll be as amazed as I was by how cozy yet luxurious this house is. All one needs to do is open the wine and relax…

This may be the day that all the marbles have actually been lost.

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We have had the definitive French experience and I have no idea how to put it into words. Like the first time I stood before Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in Florence or after reading The Hours for the first time, I have stored it in my memory museum so that I can revisit it again and again. It was the absolute embodiment of why I wanted to come to France, of everything I love about this amazing culture.

The Farmer and The Wife graciously invited us to dine with them and a few friends at a local restaurant. Now this is exciting. Lots of things to consider though- what to wear? how to not speak rapid English while believing that perfect French is flowing out of my mouth? how to order something that doesn’t have brains in it? how to try all the wines and not be totally hammered before the 1st course? All this was swirling around my already busy melon for a couple of days.

Of course it was on the evening of the day all our stuff arrived and I was exhausted. I’m still trying to get used to the 8 o’clock dinner time here. Anyway the lovely Farmer Michel collects us to meet up with the others. He says “we are nine tonight” and I start sweating. How the hell will I understand a word once they all get yakking top speed? I’ll be left out, a complete doofus, smiling and nodding, eating rare brains. Continue reading “Falling In Love At Le Cheval Rouge” »

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Lost And Found

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Finally, yesterday morning the call comes that a truck will be arriving to Etrochey in fifteen minutes. Not just any truck but a truck with clothing, Neil’s badly needed Big MacDaddy work computer and of course the mattress. This is exceedingly welcome news. Neil has been wearing the same 3 t-shirts and 2 pairs of pants for 2 weeks and has 1 lightweight jacket, not at all suitable for the chilly fall nights here. But who cares about him, he’s irrelevant and inconsequential. It’s all about me and I want my bed and my clothes and my camera.

So out we go to meet the truck which could not (later found out would not) come all the way to the front door. Of course it’s pouring rain. Now before I go on let me just say that we paid extra for air shipping so that there would be no delay in the shipment and for the distinct pleasure of having someone unload the goods here in France and debris removal as they say. I know it’s called this because I have seen it (many times now) quite clearly printed in the contract.

So here we are 12 days late. I was preparing to make coffee for the big French guys who would soon be tracking mud all over the house. After about a half hour of nothing going on I decide to see what the hold up is. I go out and I am shocked to see Neil deep in animated conversation with one really skinny man. I use man loosely as he appears to be about 15 years old. But imagine my relief when I see that the boy has brought his trusty helper, a girl who appears to be the same age, dressed to go out dancing and I realize that she is his girlfriend along for the ride. Mon Dieu. Continue reading “Lost And Found” »

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