I'm just so cold. How can a woman born in Minnesota, who lived in Wisconsin for 30 plus years, be cold in the south of France? Geez!
When I returned to Minnesota for my Christmas holiday it was -14 F (-25 C) degrees and I don't even want to know what the wind chill was! Here in Aix, it's between 38 and 45 degrees. Yet, I feel like a mountain climber in a storm who feels no other option than to bury herself in a snow cave and wait to die. Okay, I'm being just a little dramatic but my bones are cold...really. If some freakishly weird scientist were to plunge a thermometer into my metatarsal right now, I'm sure he or she would exclaim "mon Dieu! C'est n'est pas possible! Cette femme est vraiment morte! (or something like that...my French is horrible). Which basically means...this woman is too cold to be alive.
I know my readers in the north have no sympathy for my situation and I completely understand. But there is something different here.
It could be the fact that I don't turn my heat on. Heating systems here are unlike anything I’m used to, particularly in an old apartment like mine. The heat is simply a box on the wall that you turn on, pay for and receive no benefits...unless you are sitting directly (as in touching) in front of it. I really don't see the point. It could be because the floors are all stone and wall to wall carpeting does not exist...at least in my experience. It could be because my building is 400-plus years old. It could be the mistral wind that blows down from the Alps and gives us the most beautiful blue skies but makes us suffer for the beauty.
These electric heaters are also expensive. I learned this lesson the hard way at my first apartment. I kept the heat on in an attempt to keep my blood flowing and when that didn't work I would take a hot bath. Big mistake. I got nailed with a gargantuan heating bill and this is simply not an option for me. I mean, if you had a choice to save your meager funds for a trip to Morocco, or Ireland, or Scandinavia.... or perhaps an airplane ticket for your son to come visit you in France or to simply be warm for a couple of months, which would you choose?........ Exactly my point!
Being perpetually cold seems to cause an undue amount of fatigue as well as an ever-present headache caused by my shoulders constantly being bunched up. I keep trying to tell myself to relax but myself only listens for a couple of minutes before my body tries to ball itself back up into its protective position.
Being perpetually cold also seems to keep sending me to the kitchen. Of course it could be because the stove is warm but I think my body just wants to insulate itself with blubber. I have to console myself with the fact that a body burns more calories trying to stay warm. I’m not sure if these two cancel each other out.
I visited my friend Lynn this weekend in Lambesc. The simple warmth of friendship was enough but she added to the mix a blazing fire, a warm meal, good conversation, lots of laughs, and she put me to bed buried under a mound of comforters and goodwill. Bless her heart. The day after I returned it got even colder and she called to see if I wanted to come back...just so I could stay warm. Bless her heart again.
Last night I caved and actually turned on the heater in my bedroom. That unit doesn't even work!
The only truly warm place in my apartment is under the covers but it's hard to get much done there. That's because I have to have all my body parts under my down comforter including my hands and my perpetually cold nose. Last night I just wanted to read my book. That's all! Is it asking too much that I get to join Julia Child as she explores Paris in the 1950’s and learns her craft? So I donned my heaviest turtleneck sweater, a pair of knit gloves and topped off this sexy picture with a lovely black beret. And I joined Julia in Paris...with a cold nose mind you...but I learned to make decent scrambled eggs. Which, of course, sends me right back to the kitchen!
In only a month or so the Almond trees should begin their bloom and soon after all the bulb flowers will pop up to say hello again. That is hope. But if you don’t hear from me again, I’ll be in my snow cave…respiration…slowly…….decreasing……