Thursday, May 17, 2018

No Place Like A Home

Sometimes, I think Earl and I may have made it harder on ourselves than we needed to with this move to France.
We wanted to explore different communities, so we set up housesits. We've been moving from place to place for four and a half months now.
Near Poitiers where we had the filthy housesit with very nice donkeys

The beautiful lockkeeper's house where we housesat both in February
 and again the past few weeks in Poitou-Charentes France near Cognac.

In Reigate with the beautiful house and lovely British people

In Aix en Provence -- getting tired of traveling, but oh the places we went! 
 We've never been totally unpacked. We've stored bags at our friend Delana's house and now that we've picked them up, we look like hoarders with the back of our car loaded and two bicycles hanging from the carrier.
When we talk about the things we miss (besides our family) I think most of it might have been solved if we had simply rented a house in one place.
We haven't been able to make friends near by. Although, we have made some marvelous friendships with British people who we housesat for. Caroline and Norman, where we're housesitting now, have invited us to Norman's 70th birthday party in the fall and have promised to come visit us in Quillan. We also struck up a friendship with Jane and Andy who live in the U.K. and hope to see them again. Our French friends Michel and Danuta are busy with their lives, and they will be hours away from our new location, but they did introduce us to some new French friends, Hugues and Marie-Claire, who we perhaps will see again. We do have plans with my American friend Linda and her French husband Maurice, who will visit us in Quillan before we go hiking for a week along El Camino Santiago, but the French part. So we can't say our lives are devoid of friendships. But if I wake up in the morning and want to go for a walk with Sheila, or a run with Najah, Noreen or Pam, I'm out of luck. I have no sounding board to discuss problems with the kids, spats with my husband, work frustrations.
Still, our friendship pool might have grown if we had stayed in one place and started integrating into a community.
Earl misses volunteering with the children at Childhood League in Columbus, but could he volunteer in France? Maybe he can teach English classes, or maybe simply play with disabled children on the playground. That might be a way to improve his French as well.
We both hope to take French classes, but haven't been in one place long enough to do that.
And we'd love to find a place to go dancing again, even take dance lessons since I just saw a study that people who take dance lessons actually expand their brains!
It's hard not to have a place to call home, and since we sold our house in Ohio, we literally have no home, although not quite homeless.
Two more days until we settle into our French rental and I'm looking forward to it with relief.
But a couple more adventures first, and hopefully I'll make time to blog about today's trip to Oradour-sur-Glane, a French village that was demolished by the Germans during World War II and left to stand as a reminder of the horror of war.
And then onto a beloved Medieval village, Mirepoix.

But we're close, very close, to settling down into a long-time home.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Quillan and Mirepoix are so pretty...this is going to be a short period when you look back later. I think it's good you're getting a sample of so many regions, so when you put down roots, you won't later have second thoughts, like maybe we should have looked longer...

sillygirl said...

I think of you two as picking up pearls here and there that later you will string together in your life story. That is also how I think of the European tours we have taken. Now I have many memories to reflect on. One of those is two visits to Oradour-sur-Glene. We are working our way through the series A French Village so I have context for that sad history. Traveling many places connects us in a personal way to our fellow humans and I think that is needed to stitch together this world.

John and Lynn Phillips said...

It is hard to get to know French people if there is no prior connection. You need to find a"hook"to initiate conversation and you will!! I'm not so sure Earl should just start playing with children on the playground... Might be problematic LoL good luck!!

Jeanie said...

You'll find your place and you WILL settle. Just takes time. Meanwhile, you are living through an amazing experience!

Paulita said...

Francetaste, Good points. I hope you're right!
Sillygirl, Yes, I tried to prepare myself before I visited Oradour...
John and Lynn, Ha! Yes, Earl would not simply go on the playground. When he volunteered at Childhood League in Columbus, that's what he did mostly -- help entertain the kids on the playground.
Jeanie, Thanks for the reminder. Mustn't get mundane about this amazing experience.

Sim Carter said...

I like SillyGirl’s notion of picking up pearls! You're probably feeling a little blue too, because your boys have just left. You must be missing them. But it will be August soon, I think I recall Grace is coming then. I think once you settle into a longer term rental you'll find yourselves feeling more at home. When you are together, you'll never be homeless.

Our French Oasis said...

We are still hoping you will come over and have a meal here. Where is the long term rental? Sounds as if it has been full on but actually from experience I can tell you the moving around is vital to get it 'right'. Every department and region is so different and until you have actually spent some real time in each one you won't know where you want to be based.

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