Friday, October 30, 2009
Someone pointed out to me that when people travel, there is a certain "transition" time. You are plucked out of your familiar surroundings. Then, deposited on unfamiliar territory. Who hasn't woken in the dark of night and had to take a minute to figure out where they were? It can make some people cranky. You can't understand the language, food is different; in fact nothing is really the same. Don't you just love it? If you have been away from home for a long time, you might also experience transition time coming home.
The French are different. They drive cars the size of Altoid tins, they hang their clothes on laundry lines after the 60 minute wash cycle, they garden and compost, they don't shop on Sundays, or after 7pm on any day, they still take a two hour lunch on weekdays, they turn off lights when no one is in the shop, they burn big piles of garden waste, they hunt, fish, and forage in the woods. They also have smaller beds, homes, and Christmas lists. Breakfast is only cafe, croissant or bread, and maybe juice.
Here in California, I am nearly mowed down by a neighbors car the size of a moving van, my laundry is done in forty minutes; start to finish. The gardens in my neighborhood are beautiful, but don't produce a thing to eat, I can shop 24/7, drive through a restaurant to pick up lunch, and wolf it down while I am driving. Lights in all the office buildings are on all night, you are fined $400 for a second offense if you use your fireplace on a spare-the-air night, my friends husbands fly to Montana to go hunting, I have a king sized bed....well, you get the idea.
So, when people ask me what I do with my time in France, besides shopping for antiques, I don't really have to search for an answer. I am making jam, knitting, visiting with friends, and enjoying the time to do the things we never have time to do at home. And I think this is where the French have gotten it right. Sunday lunch, the most important meal of the week, is a family/friends affair that lasts all afternoon. Imagine, just sitting and enjoying a wonderful meal with people you care about.