Sunday, October 11, 2020

The Days Pass Quickly in France

When last I blogged, Earl and I were in Paris for a long weekend. Who doesn't love Paris?

A view of the Seine as the sun rises while I was on a run. 

 When we returned home, it was back to real life. Living in France isn't a vacation. I work most days and we have a routine, just like when we lived in Ohio, but very different from when we lived in Ohio.

We just recently agreed on a paint color for the doors and shutters. 

The biggest change, of course, is that Earl doesn't have to go to work. Although he does work on the house, it's nowhere near the same as a full-time job.

And I don't go to work early either. Sometimes on the weekends I'll teach classes at 7 a.m., but most days I wake up around 7:30 and linger in bed until after 8 before I get up to go for a run. Back in Ohio, I would be out the door at 5:30 so I could run, shower and get to 8 a.m. classes. 

Many mornings, we'll meet friends for coffee at a local cafe, or we might bike to a town 7 miles away and have a coffee there. Of course, a coffee at a cafe isn't complete without the addition of a pastry. Wherever we go for coffee, there's a bakery nearby to grab pastries. When I first moved here, my favorite pastry was chausson framboise, similar to a chausson pomme, a kind of apple turnover, but this one has raspberry in it. Now, I've kind of evolved to prefer a pain au raisin, something I've heard called an escargot because it's curled around like a snail, or like Paris!

A pain au rains and cafe creme

I usually work from 12-3 teaching Chinese kids and I have to work on my university classes. I've been lucky this year to teach classes back to back, and with the renovation of the house and an unimaginable tax bill (from the U.S), we have needed the extra money. Most of the time, I can organize my schedule the way I want it. 

On Monday evenings, my friend Theresa and I are doing a pilates class. She doesn't need the exercise (I do) but we both hope that we will improve our French by being surrounded by French women exercising. 

On Tuesday evenings, Earl and I are taking a tango class. There are only five couples in the class and we wear masks, but they're all people we enjoy socializing with and it's an excuse to get dressed up and even forced to wear some low heels. Apparently the tango is all about the line of the leg with heels -- for the woman. 

A tango demonstration by our instructors. We don't look like that yet.  

Sometimes we go for a drink or have people over after tango class. Then, at 3 a.m., I have to get up and teach a live class for my university class. It only lasts about an hour. I tried teach the class earlier, but my boss told me I would get more students to attend if I held it at night, after students are home and finished working. So I get up at 3 a.m. teach and fall back into bed, usually not able to fall asleep for an hour or so. That's probably not something most people will have to deal with, but that's an issue with working in a different time zone. 

On Wednesday mornings, we have our market here in Quillan. It's always fun to wander around, to see people, to buy vegetables and stop in the butcher's before we stop for coffee and chat with more people who wander past. 

Wednesday night is belly dancing night. I told Spencer that I had belly dancing class and he said he didn't even want to know what that was about. It made me laugh. I don't know if he pictured me in a skimpy outfit dancing for other people, but it's just a lot of women in exercise size clothes or harem pants or dresses with jingly belts tied around our hips. We've been taking class since June, when confinement lifted, and I don't think I've gotten any better, but I always have fun. 

Thursday and Friday are just regular work days or coffee days. Maybe dinner with friends.

Drinks in a Quillan square with Louis on Earl's lap and Derrick (in his own chair) joining us.

Saturday is another market day here and usually a bit larger than Wednesday. We repeat our schedule of wandering around the vendors, buying some gouda cheese, some eggs, fruits and vegetables, maybe even a new dress for me before we find the sunshine and sit down for coffee. 

On Sunday, we try to go to Esperaza market. I've written about it before. It's a very big market and has a lot of local handmade crafts and clothes. It also has more people with dreadlocks than you will find anywhere else in France, I feel confident saying that. 

Winter coat and flip flops. Yep. At the cheese and sausage vendor. 
A protest against the mask mandate
Dreadlock and a cornucopia hat -- you bet. Next to a Harley Davidson coat. 
Some of the beautiful handcrafts on display. 

This is a normal week for us in France. It doesn't include special occasions or new friends or going away parties for old friends. Adventures to the castles around here or forays to the dentist in Spain. Trips to the beach or wanderings around Carcassonne. 

How can we do so much, you may wonder as I list our activities? Well, first, we aren't working as many hours. While I work, Earl will do laundry or cook meals. Also, TV. We don't watch nearly as much TV as we used to back in the States. But I understand. When you're worn out, it's easy to turn on the TV and veg out. For me, the sacrifice has been worth it. 

I may not have described what you would imagine is life in France, but it's pretty nice, in spite of Coronavirus. 


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Philippe said...

Bonjour Paulita ! I can see you have a busy, interesting and entertaining life in France like you have always dreamed I am pretty sure.You talked about " uninimaginable Tax bill " and I think you mean " Taxe foncière " you have to pay for as a landlord every year at Fall( like me too...). In France we often say " La douloureuse / the painful " for that mandatory tax... But you must know that there is no more the " Taxe d' habitation / housing tax " ' another tax for landlord... ) to pay for since...2020!!! Aren't we lucky Paulita?... Welcome in France ( but it is the prize to pay for a good healthcare system especially at this worrying time...). Philippe from Lyon / department of Rhône ( 500 km away from Quillan ).

Paulita said...

Philippe, Thanks for responding. The tax bill we had to pay was not a French one! Our French taxe fonciere is very inexpensive. We had to pay $18,000 for health care in the U.S. last year because we spent about half the year there and signed up for Our mistake. In addition, we have to pay income tax in the States of about $9000, that is the unimaginable tax bill. This year, we have our carte vitale. I expect the bill will be much cheaper.


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