(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

recent musings regarding living in France.

and more specifically, living in my house in France.

I now wear sweaters to bed. and socks. perhaps this is the beginning of my slide into old ladydom? note to self. (and all of you). Sleeping alone is far more tolerable with heat.

Living alone in a foreign country has some downsides. What, pray tell? hmmmm. well, when you are a notoriously clumsy American, things like the potential for slipping and falling down my trés typique stairwell and collapsing in a broken heap and left to molder for days, unattended is a distinct possibility. Also, just sitting around and obsessing about this very same possibility.

Or when your two canine companions insist upon sitting at the top of the stairwell, looking downward and growling fiercely, always after dark. That too can be somewhat unsettling. And cause for gun shopping.

That sweaters in bed thing is none too appealing, either.

Discovering mice evidence in your pantry. Which is actually a lovely vintage cupboard that is basically meant to be the haven for dishes and foodstuffs in the midst of complete and total chaos masquerading as living quarters. And have I mentioned the bugs? ha.

Upsides as well. Like the nightly fireworks show. okay well they aren't fireworks. They are actually stars. Star studded glorious midnight skies. Who needs jewelry when millions of tiny diamonds light up the sky, seemingly within arms reach, just waiting to be plucked?

The landscapes fill in for Monet and Van Gogh. Just take a stroll or a short drive and your choice of priceless artwork awaits. Visual feasting, no charge.

The absolutely joyful, nerve-wracking, tongue twisting, curse-inducing experience of learning a new language.

Over 13 centuries of history a 2 block stroll from my doorstep. Yes, dear Americans, I said 13.

The burst of rediscovered vitality and improved health that has resulted in just 2 months of my new lifestyle.

Participating in the (re)creation of my dream home ... including physical labor and actual design... good for the soul and good for the body.

This is probably a topic I will return to. I've not done either list justice, but for now there's a peek.


Michelle said...

I am really glad I found this blog, and you - an interesting person who is prepared to share the experience.

Until I am posting my own blogs from France, I will enjoy experiencing your journey from the sideline.

Randal Graves said...

I'm envious of the sights and history within close proximity, but to be able to see the evening sky without all that horrid artificial urban light? Man.

Don't worry about the sweaters. Just slap an extra blanket or two on and sleep naked.

La Belette Rouge said...

Does it comfort you to know that as you suffer with mice, bugs, freezing feet and the like that your readers are sitting in their respective lives across continents wishing they had your life?

No dream, as you so well know, is achieved without some sacrifice, suffering and vermon. It will make the achievement of your dream house all the more satisfying. And then you can sleep in lovely La Perla lingerie.;-)

Non, Je ne regrette rien said...

Michelle~well, I'm glad to have you; it is amazing to have this opportunity and on top of it to know there are folks out there actually interested and possibly benefiting from my ramblings is just icing on the cake.

Randal~Naked is impossible without accompaniment. Trust me though, I'm working on it... ;-)

LBR~Vermin notwithstanding, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

La Framéricaine said...

I dragged flannel sheets over to France by the suitcase full for 5 years prior to the 911 debacle just to keep from having to sleep in my clothes, under my winter coat, and still freeze. I can hardly wait to use them now.

Le Framéricain and his sweet cousin installed radiators around the house to take the chill off from time to time and we spend a great deal of time in the winter in the kitchen with stove providing heat.

Oh, yea, the visitors who have stayed in the anteroom off the main house complain of the sound of mouse running around in the ceiling and disturbing their sleep. That's gonna be fun to figure out!

Oh, yea the de rigeur spiral staircase. Ours has a wooden handrail on one side and a velvet fat round cord screwed into the wall. My favorite imaginary daydream horror is someone taking the tumble to the bottom of the stairs. So much so that I want to create a panel that separates the hallway that goes across between the upstairs bedrooms, bath, and WC, from the entrance to descend the staircase.

You staircase looks amazing!!!

Happy camping for the time being and stay ward. Do you want us to send you some nice flannel pajamas. I have several pairs for France and ROSS has loads! Just let me know!

Utah Savage said...

I live in oh so almost nearly civilized Utah. I sleep in layers of lounge wear all fall and winter and early spring. Yes, I do admit that I am an old woman and have been sleeping alone for years, but the layers and extra blankets are worth the peace. Chin up and love those stars. Like Randal said, the history, the stars, the charming house and new friends are worth it all.

La Framéricaine said...

I stumbled upon some very nice photos of work that was done by BB, to whom I introduced OJL recently. BB, it turns out, had a (dormant) blog about which I knew nothing and on August 9, 2006, posted some great stuff. So, in the name of house beautiful, I am sending you his address:


I think that you will have fun checking it all out.

Nunhead Mum of One said...

I know what you mean about the growling hounds.....my three only tend to gaze fearfully into the distance when it's dark and I'm alone......am sending you some soothing vibes, live from Nunhead xxx

Anonymous said...

Bravo de ne rien regretter. Je viens tout juste de vous découvrir, je reviendrai souvent lire votre anglais, peu être que mon français vous sera utile aussi. A bientôt!


Randal Graves said...

C'mon Frenchie slacker, get back on the tubes!

Utah Savage said...

Really slacker, when are you going to visit any of us again? I swear if I go to Randals and see you there, but not at my place, I will be so pissed.