Friday, July 13, 2018

An Avalanche of Socializing

My author friend Suzie Tullett recently shared a meme on Facebook:
And I commented that I had felt the same when I lived in the States, but since arriving in Quillan, my social life has exploded. We were out until 3:30 a.m. at a friend's going away party, and a few other nights found ourselves wandering home after midnight, spending our evenings dancing or listening to music.
Dancing the night away at Delana's Bon Voyage party.
What has happened to us?
At home, we would crawl under the covers around 10 and I'd be up at 5:30 to go for a run before getting ready for work.
So, work is one of those things that has changed. Earl has retired. I'm working online, so our hours are more ours. We were more tired when we had to be at work for a certain number of hours per day and our friends were the same. Who had the energy to go out to listen to music or dance?
With Jack and Jules at one of the local celebrations
Friends are another issue. We luckily met friends here in France who enjoy our company and we get together frequently, playing cards, going to markets, exploring new cities.
During our early months in France, as we wandered from housesit to housesit, we didn't go out frequently, huddled in the cold dark evenings watching flood waters rise or fending off the cold. Now, here in Southwestern France, our evenings burst with activity.
This week we had three possibilities to choose from on Tuesday -- a night market, the France World Cup semifinal at the local bar, or an English quiz night (also at the local bar). We went to the market night and enjoyed duck sandwiches followed by a dessert waffle with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
Wednesday night was the England semifinal World Cup game, and we joined some Brits at the local bar. As the second half continued with no one scoring, I decided to walk home rather than watching the rest of the game (England eventually lost to Croatia).
Thursday, we had no plans, but we ended up grabbing a pizza and a salad and joining our friends Jack and Jules at their house along the river, playing cards until 10 when the light began to fade and we wandered home.
Tonight is a party for Bastille Day, known to the French as FĂȘte National. The city will shoot off fireworks over the "chateau" that sits on the hill overlooking downtown the night before (Friday). But first, I might bike out to the lake with Jules where we'll bask on the stone chairs or drift on the float she brings along in her car.
We lounge on stone-carved seats with the lake and the mountains as our view. 
If we want to watch TV, we head to the local bar.
We've been catching part of the Tour de France
 at the bar where the bartender knows our name

Saturday there's a market then music in the square. Sunday there's a morning market in another town, along with the World Cup finals on a big screen downtown.

Were there this many things to do at home in Ohio and I just didn't pay attention? Probably.
But, we have strategically placed ourselves here so that we can walk to many events, and that makes a difference. If we were isolated, we would hesitate to drive to events. Plus, one of us would have to be the designated driver. Now we both walk, we drink some wine, we dance, we sing, we enjoy the camaraderie of our new English-speaking friends (still working on the French friends).
Another huge difference is that we have no television at our house in France. Television numbs you. You sit and watch without the willpower to turn it off. It sucks away time and makes you tired. Did anyone ever get to the end of their life and say, "I watched a lot of great TV"?
And some people may say they don't have a television, but they're watching shows on their computer instead. Same thing, different technology.
Earl and I were watching more programs on the computer before we moved here and got sucked into the socializing vortex.

So, if I had to sum up the reasons we are so much more social, I'd say it has to do with:
Location (being able to walk places)
Job-free schedules (we aren't as tired as when we worked full-time schedules)
No TV (which sucked up more time than we were aware of)
New friends
And I can recommend it. Being out with people, experiencing new things, making new friends, it feels good. I hope you'll try it.


Just Me said...

I've always seen you two as very social animals; looks like your new lives are allowing you to be the true people you are. Can't ask for more than that. Cheers! said...

It is fantastic to read how quickly you've integrated into the community.
Summer helps. In winter, everybody hunkers down. Now that you've met people, you'll be invited over in winter.
The French friends will come. There's the language barrier, even if you speak good French--nuances get lost. And the expats are easy--you have something in common (francophilia) from the get-go, whereas with the French it's like with people at home--you have to figure out what you share first.

Sim Carter said...

That level of social activity would exhaust my inner introvert BUT look at you! I love how much you are loving life in France after a bumpy beginning!!
And I think being able to walk places is HUGE. Even moi, a bit of a house bunny, appreciate being able to walk to movies, restaurants, grocery stores, bookstores, museums, etc here in our urban Los Angeles neighborhood. That walkability factor makes a huge difference.

Have a fabulous summer!

Shelagh Kouwenhoven said...

Delana's blog is how I first started reading about France and how I found your blog. I was happy to see her in pictures over the last few years to she was fine and in good health and still in France. Now you say she had a "bonvoyage party" does this mean she is heading back to the USA? When we lived in San Miguel Allende Mexico for three months we found ourselves to be very social with a lot of expats. Monday coffees, Monday lunches, Taco Tuesdays, Friday lunches etc. Loads of fun, glad you are settling in so well and neing able to walk is the key. Cheers, Shelagh

Suzie Tullett said...

I'm tired just reading your post. Although it's wonderful to see you settling in and making new friends x

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