Sunday, November 22, 2009

Between Two Coasts

Tonight I watched a French film, I've Loved You So Long, starring Kirstin Scott Thomas. A light film about a woman recently released from 15 years in prison for the murder of her son. How I miss France...
I joke but indeed it brought up some mixed emotions about my semi-adopted home....Watching the film, I felt a thrill watching the way people looked, dressed, walked, interacted, the cafes and architecture. And appreciated the primer--little expressions that reimpressed itself on my tres rusty francais or new ones jotted down. I felt a surge of--yes, I am so ready to be back.
Scott Thomas is a British actress (known for example for her role in The English Patient) but has lived in Paris since she was 19, was married to a Frenchman, and speaks fluent French. Not just her language, but her way of being seems somehow more French than British to me. And yet in the film, they need to create the subterfuge that she is a Franco-Brit, with a British mother, because even Scott Thomas can't really pass. You either are or you're not.
When in France, I'm often reminded of the joke about the New Yorker who has transplanted himself to Maine. He asks one of the taciturn "down-Easters", "I know I'll never be considered a real Mainer, but how about my children, who will be born here?" The response: "If a cat gives birth in the oven, do you call the kittens muffins?"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Les Angles in the Fog

I'm still here but Guillaume sent me this photo of the village in fog. Last week Les Angles received 30 cm of snow (about 11 inches), but now temperatures have climbed significantly and everything has melted. Guillaume, Gregoire and Lydia are waiting somewhat anxiously for the big drop--of temperatures and snow and the true beginning of high season...It's like being a farmer in the sense that your livelihood depends on the climate....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Leaving for Les Angles

Well, actually not quite yet...
Three weeks from today, I'll be on the plane, on my way to a new life.
For those of you who haven't heard yet, Guillaume and I are moving to the Pyrenees, to a village of 400 called Les Angles. In the 1960's, this village re-invented itself in order to survive as a family ski resort and now welcomes 15,000 tourists at a time at high season.
Guillaume's brother and sister-in-law have bought two small grocery stores there and have asked us to join them in this new adventure. Guillaume actually left a month ago and I will join him/them right after Thanksgiving.
We are situated about a mile high, 100 kilometers from the Mediterranean and about a 30 or 40 mintue drive to Spain. Apparently, a large percentage of the visitors to the ski resort are Spanish, and of these, many speak Catalan first, Spanish second.
Guillaume tells me there is already snow on the mountain and they expect to open the season sometime in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
So here I go, full of optimism and hope and questions into a new life, and although still in France, in some ways, i think a new culture as well. So I've decided to start a blog to share my impressions of my new life and surroundings.
So stay tuned here if you're interested....