Saturday, 29 May 2010


I’m sitting in Pascal’s living room having just exhausted the last of my energy playing soccer with Axel. Well, I tried to in my street boots. It’s a peaceful evening in St Aubin du Cormier with only the sound of birds. There is scarcely any air movement but it’s not sunny and the temperature feels as if it’s uncertain what to do next.

So am I. Pascal is busy with his work tonight and much of tomorrow. He and Axel are off to Brazil next month so there is much for him to complete. I wish I knew what I was doing in the months ahead. I wish I knew that I could succeed in my dream just by working hard.

Last night I sent off nine more CVs to language schools in or near Paris. I changed the beginning of the email to be a bit more daring and try to catch the reader’s attention. I’m starting to run out of contacts as the ‘yellow pages’ doesn’t list the email addresses or internet sites (if they have them) of all language schools. It’s extra tricky because some schools only teach French. I’m running out of ideas and time; time to catch the interest of a language school, time to make and conduct an appointment, negotiate and arrange a contract. I’m in Paris only 5 days and two of those are the weekend with another set aside to go with Frederique to Giverny. What will be will be, I know. I remind myself to keep focused and enjoy the time I have.

As I sat on the train on my way from St Brieuc to Rennes, watching the green, green fields and their civilised wildness, quaint villages with town church spires reaching to the heavens, I wondered about all those French people who were related to me. What were they like two hundred years ago. Were they happy, struggling, fighting, gardening? Would they have welcomed me back if I could have stepped through a time portal to their time? Did any of them look like me? The answer came back – “They ARE you. It’s the reason you feel so settled here.”

I’ve lived in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Each city was a different experience. I’ve travelled most of New Zealand, especially the South Island and its rugged beauty. It has been interesting, beautiful and it was all I’d known apart from the odd trip overseas. Sometimes places had the WOW factor but none of them had the IS factor. That’s where to be there is simply enough, in harmony with yourself and you scarcely notice that you are a separate entity from it. It’s not a romantic notion, it’s not a theme-park ride. It’s all about being at peace somehow and I’ve found that place.

I come from the last country on earth to be established, to one of the first. France has a different language that I am not skilled in, a culture very different yet natural, a different hemisphere, different food and yet it is a place of belonging. I did not expect it to be quite like this for me. I thought it would be fun and exciting and full of adventures. That’s not the way it is so far. For those of you who have been a little concerned I might have expectations of France that could not be realised, no, it’s not the case, it’s much more dangerous than that.


Shams said...

What an interesting reflection, though I don't know the conclusion out of it!

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