Monday, September 7, 2015

Settling In -- Bonjour Bordeaux

Happily settling in our rented Bordeaux house, listening to québécois singer, Coeur de Pirate, convinced of the worth of packing along the little Jawbone Jambox speaker. Early September sunshine shifts over the vine-festooned garden wall beyond the siding glass doors behind me. I've just spent a pleasant hour reading Emma Healey's Elizabeth Is Missing, and when I've finished writing and posting this, I'll either do some yoga or get out the watercolours before we think about where to head for dinner. Life is very good. Labour Day back home, but no labour in being here...

 

Stress-free train ride here from Paris on Saturday. Such happy familiarity in finding our way out of the station, buying tram tickets at the machine, knowing what track to wait at, what stop to get off at. Recognizing every step of the way through the Jardin Public and then along the little streets until we're at the door, greeting our friend who has the house all ready for us.

L'apéro at her house a few blocks away, once we'd unpacked and refreshed ourselves. An evening spent mainly in French, thanks to courage (ours) patience (theirs) and numerous glasses of lubricating wine...

 

The next day, a sumptuously long, relaxed lunch in a friend's garden. Five hours, course after easy, delicious course. Beautiful, bright, polite teens whom we've seen grow up over the last 4 years, since a generous blogger's invitation first brought us to this city. Another extension of her generous friendship had brought another visitor to the table, another Francophile we hope to know better. Much of our conversation slides to English, the first language of four of the adults, everyone else competent in English. But we slip back and forth with a relative ease that feels exhilaratingly cosmopolitan, if I may be so immodest (or foolish, or naïve) in the afternoon sun, the wine.... Paul leaves with my friend's husband and their son to a rugby game. I linger for coffee with the women, and then I stroll home, 3 kilometres or so, under the guidance of Google Maps. Again, a small exhilaration.

 

And this morning, after our first really good night's sleep in a week, we kept it slow and easy. Went for a long walk and took some photos for you. Stopped for mint tea on the way (a large North African population here means culinary delights and exuberant markets) but came home for an easy lunch of bread and cheese. Finding our own rhythms. Very content.

 

It's a bit quirky, this post, I know. Idiosyncratic. Fragmentary, the bits of beauty I'm being stirred by. Time to just collect it, not try to analyze too much. wait for the bucket to bubble over....Perhaps you do the same on holiday? Do you think it's the release from our daily responsibilities and connections, however loved? Or do you think it's simply the stimulation of the new? How to bring that home is the perennial question, but I needn't worry about that for weeks and weeks now. . . Meanwhile, if you're in Labour Day territory, you've got a few hours ahead to enjoy your potato salads and barbecue!

 

 

17 comments:

  1. Hi Mater, your holiday sounds wonderful already! We are just back from ours - it was so easy and relaxed, we saw family and 'did' the Cabot Trail. So lovely to be by the ocean again. Back at home it's very hot and humid - staying in today, just lazing around. Look forward to any more vacation posts you care to send our way.

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    1. Lucky! I've heard so much about the beauty of the Cabot Trail!
      I remember that late summer heat and humidity of Ottawa-lazing is really all you can do in it.

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  2. It seems that I notice every beautiful detail when I am alone in a foreign street. It's like having "beginner's eyes". I don't know how to keep the feeling at home. There is a special feeling in establishing a temporary home in a new place. I enjoy your Instagram photos.

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    1. What a great expression, "beginner's eye." Yes! We get to see like children again, with wonder...

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  3. I agree with Madame La-Bas ( mistake due to keyboard),it is something so fresh with beginning in other city or the house,especially when you are familiar with it,than there is no stress of the first day( as you decribed so nice,flowingly and gracefuly) ,just the crystal clean vision and happiness and well being
    So,just be happy,we actually like nice postcards from abroad ( and yes,you are on my time now,post suprised me in the morning) for your holidays! Pure lovelines,as Lorrie said.
    When in holiday I always think why don't I spend a few days as a turist in my own city,too
    Enjoy
    Dottoressa

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    1. Here we are in the same time zone! As I tap out this response on my tiny iPhone keyboard, you are just getting up as well, perhaps, having your first coffee of the day while I'm having my cup of tea. Good morning!

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  4. I feel like that often here in California, where I attribute my well-being to the light and the color of the sky. But add mint tea, conversations in newly proficient French, and Google mapping it in Bordeaux, I think you're deservedly over the moon:).

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    1. This summer having been a notable exception, we're more used to grey skies than blue in Vancouver, although there's much beauty around us nonetheless. Need to work on my over-the-moonness...😉

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  5. Sounds like Bliss to me...I love seeking out those details while exploring new places.
    The light feels much brighter in France and the skies seem bluer...

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    1. The light here in the South seems much different to me, too bright even for my sunglasses, particularly the angle at mid-morning and late afternoon...

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  6. Oh, this makes me want to get back to Bordeaux again....so glad you're able to enjoy both the familiar and the new at a slower pace. It sounds wonderful! Is it still hot there?

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    1. It's dropping to low teens at night but then mid 20s and higher during the day, a spread of temps we would never see at home...

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  7. Whee! What delights! Re the "staying in French", I find our French friends (in France) far more willing to do this than our francophone Montréaler friends; I think it is our proximity to the US and the inundation of English media that does this. Or they think they are doing a favour to switch to English. And good for you- I still panic when things get subjunctive.

    Oh and I think your digital photography course's lessons are showing!

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    1. So true about those different groups of francophones. As for the subjunctive, well! Paul told me the other night about a whole stream of conversation he'd swum away from because it would have required the plus-que-parfait...

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    2. Oh, and thank you for the kind words about the photos. I'm just using my iPhone this time, but I'm surprised at how decent a job it does.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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