Wednesday, May 12, 2010

'Tis the Season

Visitor season begins today with my first arrival. In fact, I have to get myself to the airport in about an hour to retrieve my debut guest. And, of course, like usual, I’m not ready.  I went and did something really brilliant Sunday…I adopted a cat!  Don’t get me wrong, I love this cat…and he loves me. And now my apartment feels like a home. But I probably could have planned this better (back to that planning issue) because rather than grocery shopping, cleaning and doing the laundry and ironing, and getting all my maps in order, I spent Sunday cuddling my new kitty, Arthur (pronounced Archoor), and waiting for him to figure out that the litter box was not a place to roll around and act silly. Finally at 1 a.m., just at the point that I was sure he would just explode, he calmly marched into his litter box and used it…properly. And as you can see, he is now well settled.

BUT....that left Monday to do all that needed to be done. And of course, Monday was the ONLY nice day we’ve had in weeks. I tried to ignore it and in the end the heat and the sunshine dried the 3 loads of laundry quickly and finally gave me an opportunity to clean the terrace. And now, time has run out and I’m as close to ready as I’m going to get.

It won’t be an onslaught of visitors this year. Just enough. My friend Sonya arrives from Wisconsin today, bringing with her a bag packed just for me. Let’s see…Skippy Peanut butter, hiking boots, a camera I bought for a friend (much cheaper in the U.S.), Glad Press-n-Seal, pumice stones, brown sugar and Crisco. I’m going to be all set up!  An American friend of mine you has lived here for many years says I’ll eventually stop requesting things and just get used to not having them…but I don’t think so. As long as there are visitors there are going to be visiting requirements!

Sonya and I are heading to Italy tomorrow (the French and Italian Riviera) for a little hiking and photography…and to celebrate her birthday. We will return here Saturday just in time to welcome my oldest son and his girlfriend, who will stay for 2 ½ weeks. Just as they breeze out, my aunt will arrive and though she’s not staying with me, I hope to spend at least a day or two with her. I’ve then got a breather for about 4 weeks and several more visitors will arrive in July. September will hopefully bring a few of “my girls” from Eau Claire, whom I miss dearly, and then my mom and another aunt will arrive in October.

It’s true, “the visitors” interrupt my life and make working and writing and all those other things I love to do more difficult. But what I absolutely love about visitors, aside from just getting to see them, is that I once again have the opportunity to view my surroundings …through new, wondering eyes. As if I’m seeing all this beauty and history for the first time. I get to play tourist, visit places I haven’t seen yet, taste foods that have yet to touch my tongue, show my guests the things I find so splendid, and listen to their exclamations of delight as they find those same things amazing...and then some. 

As in all lives, I’ve settled in to my space and sometimes (often) just go about living my life as if it were any other. And it really is. I pay my bills, do my laundry, fight with the electric and cable companies, and clean the toilets…and now the litter box. Yes, they’re French bills, French companies, I have to read the directions for cleaning products in French, and the cat only speaks French, but it’s really become a regular life. 

So today, as Sonya and I are driving back to Aix en Provence from the airport, I will remember that first day back in January 2009 when I was making the same journey…nose plastered against the bus window, peering at the terrain that is so different from what I knew, the architecture that looks so ancient and completely foreign, the billboards and road signs that, at the time, I couldn’t read. And wondering what was in store for me here in this new country. 

Yep, I’m ready… maps and guidebooks in hand. And I’m excited for all the new summer adventures. Bring on those visitors. Let’s go play!



  1. I love having visitors...we go sight seeing which we don't do on our own, I can cook more interesting things as there is a crowd to feed, and we talk, talk, talk!

    You are right about the request list. It never ends. ever. I love my Red Cross parcels from friends and family.

  2. Dear Delana,

    Not planning is the best plan of all.

    Arthur is adorable. I love dogs and cats, but cats hold a special place in my heart.

  3. Mlle. ChaussetteMay 12, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I too am just loving your new adoption! Enjoy him. And your guests, of course, too.

  4. Aloha Delana!
    Enjoy your time with friends, I agree it is so fun playing tourist for a little while I have done the same here when friends have visited.

    Arthur is great. Our animal friends give us so much love he is a great addition to your little home.

    Take care and have fun on your journey!

  5. Delana,
    You sound like a wonderful hostess! I would love to visit you and maybe bring home a cat that speaks French to add to my menagerie of animals. Mine all speak Hawaiian but I think they would get along.
    Have fun with your visitors and it's good to know that sometimes you do all the mundane things in life that the rest of us do.

  6. You are a wonderful hostess! I know your guests will be treated royally (after all, we - virtual strangers - certainly were). They'll love the walking tour and Crepes a Go Go. I feel bad that I didn't bring any Skippy's PB, etc. - sure could have. And I'm glad you'll finally be getting a pumice stone. (I finally found one in Denmark.)

    I love it when my friends from Colorado visit me in Iowa. It's fun proving to them that the Midwest has its own kind of beauty (hard to compete with Pikes Peak, but we have to try), and as you said, it's wonderful seeing all the local color through their untainted, virgin eyes.

  7. Once again, I love reading your posts!

    Enjoy this week with your friend, and then the next with your son ...and on and on. Look forward to hearing about all of them!

  8. Hi Sherrie,

    I'm from Colorado and still live here. Yes, we have tall mountains, but I miss the ocean.

  9. Hi delana. I hope you are having a terrific time in Italy sounds great. And you're right about the visitors making it all new again. Sometimes you write something that totally could have come from my brain. Happy welcoming, laughing, sightseeing and playing. Aidan

  10. Greetings to the gorgeous Arthur and bon courage for your visitor season beginning. The good thing about living in the back of beyond in Brittany is that not that many people are anxious to come and explore nature and countryside - they would all rather I was in Paris or down in your region.

    Don't wear yourself out - it's good you'll have a four week break in the middle of it all


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