I was chatting to an ex-boyfriend just last night, trying to describe how different my life here in France is from the days of Wall Street when he knew me as a complete Type A personality. Those days are long past, writing and editing at my patio table whether the sun's shining or not (who knew with am American-sized patio umbrella that I could work outside even in the rain?) and taking brief breaks from work to hang out laundry to dry in the sun, prune or harvest vegetables, and cut tea roses and hydrangea blooms.
This man could not fathom my tales of buying meats and poultry direct from the farmers (or the high prices we pay for it — in France they do pay a living wage and don't economize by jamming animals into cages — $10/lb for chicken anyone?). He laughed in amazement as I described walking into the village market for supplies on those days when the butcher, veg and bread vans don't drive down my street to deliver. We buy cheese from the cheese-makers and wine directly from the vineyards.
August is vacation month here for pretty much the entire country, as businesses close down for weeks on end. The air is filled with music, laughter and hammering as residents grab the large block of free time to really apply themselves to construction tasks as well as days-long fêtes with family.
This evening I heard the clop-clopping of horses' hooves coming down my little street and wondered if someone was taking out the horses across the road for some exercise. I held little Tilly in my arms as she watched, spellbound, two horses tethered to a carriage bearing three couples stepping briskly by. The occupants chuckled and pointed to Tilly as they passed.
I think my ex is right--I really am living in the past. How marvelous is that?