It’s true what they say: time flies when you’re having fun. Rusty and I are closing in on the two year mark here in France. Hard to believe especially since I still speak French like a toddler. Our days are numbered and will be filled with the banal tasks associated with my favourite activity: moving (yet another fine example of the dire need for a sarcasm font.)
But our remaining days will also be filled with the task of saying au revoir. This past Sunday was a particular treat, time to reflect on where it all began …
Those of you who have read the book will recognize this holiday rental house owned by the Farmer (Michel) and the Wife (Patricia). Those of you who don’t have the book, for the love of god step away from the computer and get thee to a Chapters store. This silly post will still be here when you get back.
Anyhoo, Michel and Patricia rode into Semur on their snazzy BMW motorcycle and we sat at the café in town catching up. They are as charming as ever. We were thrilled to hear that business has been brisk at the house that first welcomed us to our new life in France. I’m not surprised, even in this economy. I remember it well and it was glorious.
I recall arriving exhausted and bewildered at the choices I had made. It was all so surreal. I had to repeatedly remind myself that this was no vacation; there was no fancy house, no high-falutin’ career, no nothing waiting for me back in Canada.
It was such a culture shock in every respect but it didn’t take long to get into the new routine. Instead of sitting in traffic, I sat here …
And instead of starting the day with legions of the best and the brightest in mental health care, my days started with these fine ladies …
The house is in a small village called Etrochey, about a 45 minute drive from Semur. The property itself is stunning but the real beauty was found in the hosts. Honest to god, I have never been treated so well by two perfect strangers in my life. I’m happy to say that we went from being their guests to being their friends. I will be forever grateful to them for making the start here so wonderful.
Who knows what might have happened had they not been there? I’d still be sitting on the front step talking up a storm with the first friend I made in France, Maxine.
Every morning she would come to meet me at the door. Naturally we had lively discussions about French politics but mostly she just ran around the courtyard like a psychiatrist with her head cut off (her joke, not mine).
But listen, don’t take my word for it. Come see for yourself. You too can commune with cows and chickens. You are one click away from Michel and Patricia’s piece of French paradise.
They have big plans for their farm this year and their future looks bright. I’m told my cows are doing well and ask about me all the time. As for Maxine, well, I told her a thousand times that fox was not to be trusted. She’s gone to the Big Free Range in the sky.
So, Michel and Patricia, I thank you for your extraordinary kindness. Everyone going through some sort of wacky midlife crisis should have the good fortune to land at your door. By the way, if a crowd of burned-out psychiatrists show up next week, you’ll know who to blame. Just toss a French dictionary, a few farm fresh veggies and a chicken over the fence. That’ll hold ‘em.