Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Two years ago, during a telephone conversation with a friend that involved a lot of discussion about the twists and turns both of our lives had taken during the previous year, he said, in frustration, “Screw it…let’s just move to France!” Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? We’ll begin every day with a tiny cup of espresso and a croissant, we’ll finish each glorious day with a bottle of Bordeaux and some fabulous stinky cheese and bask in the absolute beauty of the language that will land on our ears like music. We will spend our days exploring the countryside, learning the history and reveling in our good fortune. We will……we will….we will…..! Don’t you just love a good pipe dream?
Our conversational game was very similar to another familiar sport we all play called “What Would I Do If I Won the Lottery?”.
This morning I opened my terrace doors to find, once again, the amazing blue of the Mediterranean sky and sat down to a tiny cup of espresso and a baguette (no, not a croissant…too many of those and the terrace won’t hold me). Last night I finished the glorious day with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone (not Bordeaux tonight) and a bit of Camembert as I listened to the passers-by below my window speaking in one of the world’s most delicious languages.
My friend remains in Minnesota, his life still twisting and turning, as lives tend to do. But I am here….YES, I AM HERE!.... in a city in the south of France called Aix en Provence. Living the pipe dream…on a shoestring… but living it nonetheless.
I have always said that I am the luckiest person alive and always have been. I just keep getting presents; some beautifully wrapped in heavy paper with intricate bows and decorations, some wrapped in the comic section of the Sunday newspaper, and some wrapped in some smelly piece of paper that likely stored fish or liver and has come out of a dumpster that’s been sitting in the sun for at least a week. But all are gifts nonetheless. They just have to be unwrapped with a certain expectation. This is what I’ve learned.
This dream began with one of those aforementioned gifts wrapped in putrid paper from the dumpster. It smelled of disappointment, broken promises, angst and anger. It was slimy and greasy and it held no promise of being anything good. But I opened it…because, heck, who doesn’t want a present?
And now we get to continue opening it together.