⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

June 30, 2016

Arrivés.





We are over one major obstacle in our new life. Getting here. I know it sounds extreme, but I was seriously dreading the trip to France with our 2-year old and 4-year old. We added 2 hours to the jetlag scenario and flight time by heading to Utah and flying to Paris from Salt Lake. I have also had some past experience with transatlantic travel and toddler insubordination that left me feeling pretty weak.

Thankfully, not only did Colette kindly remember that I was her mother this round, but she also remembered she was Romy’s sister and acted protective and generous (!). Colette slept on the floor of the plane and Romy took up 2 seats, spread out - not an inch of her little body cramped. Neither Xavier nor I slept, but we were really just grateful that those two did - for most of the flight.

Running to customs after we landed (because Xavier feels a general compulsion to be at the front of any line, no matter how many bags or small people involved), Romy did have a temporary moment of obstruction - at the base of an escalator. She just stopped moving and would not be picked up. Xavier and Colette were already miles ahead. Thankfully, a sweet soul coming down the escalator just behind Romy was brilliant. She came up behind her, took Romy’s hand and said, “on y va.” Romy grabbed my hand on the other side and completely obliged. She went from being intransigent to dough in 3 seconds flat. We walked all the way to customs that way - hand in hand with a stranger. I loved this person. She was French and so helpful. I took it as a good omen of my new relationship with the French. I loved her discretion - I thanked her and she hardly responded, just kept holding Romy’s hand - no words of encouragement beyond the initial giddy-up, let’s go. Then a discrete cou-cou goodbye at the end when she had deposited us near the customs officer. What a gal! No chit chat about how hard it is to travel with toddlers. No condescending, understanding looks between two parents. A lot of respect for her approach.

I will admit that I’ve had my moments with the French. When deliberating on our move to France, Xavier and I agreed that I was going to have to open up - embrace loving my people (I am French too, after all!). So I've decided that I am all in. It has taken about ten years of being married to a Frenchman, but I think I am ready for it: francophilia. That woman in the glasses, holding Romy’s hand at the airport was a sign.

So now a few early shots from Baugé. Lovely Baugé.




"Uhh...I am pretty sure there is a ghost in here."





8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, one day, you will return the gesture and do something unexpectedly kind for one of your countrymen or women, when there's nothing in it for you. Maybe you won't even post it on the Internet. If you view your new home through something other than the North American lens, that is to say, simply in the ways in which it can be exploited and consumed and provide entertainment; you know, what it can do for you rather than how you can contribute to it, you may discover just how steadfast and compassionate the French and other cultures can be. But, who likes generalizations? Something to think about, if you feel so inclined...

Emilie said...

Anonymous: Thanks for your thoughts. Certainly a valid notion and something to think about. The compulsion to put everything online for validation or entertainment is indeed a rampant trend. One I might be part of. However, this blog isn't that.

This blog is a journal for me. A way to process my experiences. While I publish it openly, I am not requesting that anyone read it. I am open to conversation and if you'd like to have one, please leave your name in the future.

I will take your advice on broad generalizations. Good, authentic writing is rarely based on those. Thanks for the reminder.

Alyssa said...

I thought you were describing not the French as a generalization, but rather how one's impressions form a metaphoric door -- the kind that one walks through to get to a new life. As a native New Yorker who once moved to Iowa, I walked through such a door. It was a step toward loving a different place. So thanks for sharing a glimpse of your latest door. I look forward to seeing what lies beyond it.

Marnie said...

Those rooflines!!! *in love* Good luck with settling in. I think, putting down new roots with children in tow, your absorption into the culture will probably be a lot easier than as a single or a couple. Children are a wonderful ice-breaker and a fertile channel for investing one's self in local society.
As for generalisations… looks like Anonymous has a few of his/her own right there. I've met enough Northern USA peeps in my 46 years (I'm an Aussie) to know that enough of them don't fit the mold Anonymous has cast. Nor do Aussies. I don't even drink! Lol!
Keep journaling. I enjoy it : )

Jennie said...

Emilie, I don't know you but I am sure that you have done many kind things to and for your fellow countrymen and women and your French countrymen and women! Not sure where Anonymous is coming from you are way up there on the scale of kindness and caring for everyone in your life. Please keep on blogging with those wonderful words and photos.

Emilie said...

Thanks Jennie, Marnie and Alyssa for your kind and encouraging words. Needing some positivity with such a drastic change at hand!

Aralena said...

Welcome back, Emilie. I have missed you, and I have missed your accounts of life in France.

The angel in the airport is definitely a sign of good things to come. I have found that living outside of Paris is another experience entirely, and am so curious to read and hear what you think about life in Aix.

p.s. Anonymous needs a hug - a consuming, exploitative, entertaining hug.

Emilie said...

Can't wait to see you Aralena!!!

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