This is my Monday memory for this week. Written this same time last year. Of course, it's not Monday...and it's not September 1. It's September 3rd, the day after this year's rentrée, and I'm...again...behind. Geez! This is supposed to be the time of the year when we get all our ducks in a row! However, I am at this very moment, sitting at sidewalk café in a lovely neighborhood in the 18th in Paris, sipping a café crême and waiting for my little sister to wake up. Yeppers...I spent my rentrée making the journey to Paris to meet my sister, Jennie, who will spend the next two weeks with me. My best friend. We have a few adventures lined up (well actually we have not one single plan but I'm sure some adventures will evolve) and if I can manage all these ducks, I will try to keep them in something that resembles a row.
Today is September 1, and we have now entered that special time of the year when everybody has returned from their holidays and school and work begin again in earnest. It’s such a big change that there is actually a term for it…la rentrée. And if you say to someone “à la rentrée”, what you mean is “see you in September”. It specifically means the re-entry into the new school term but it has become a generic term for the beginning of almost everything. From what I’ve read, this is when politically rhetoric heats up again, all the new books are released, television shows and their time slots all change, new movies are released, and the stores are packed with parents and children positively loading up on school supplies. Yup, they’re all back and the tourists are filtering out.
And of course, as it is in the northern mid-west, the weather is changing. The nights are cooler and those days of energy-sapping heat are gone. In the country, the grape vines are heavy with fruit and you can see some of the vine leaves hinting at the impending color change. I picked blackberries and hazelnuts this weekend and was nearly killed by the fallen,slippery, over-ripe figs as I walked under my neighbor’s fig tree.
And so I begin my rentrée also. Sunday I signed a lease for my new apartment and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it. My own place for a whole year which means no more moving for a while. It’s more than I wanted to pay but this mid-western girl needs access to outside space and this place has a terrace! It won’t be ready for a few weeks and since I had to move out of the mansion yesterday, I will stay with friends until the big day.
My new computer arrived and so I’m back in the driver’s seat. The transfer of the information that I had so luckily backed up onto a portable hardrive the night before it was stolen went without a hitch and I feel like an old friend has returned. Just a few moments ago, I spent an hour talking on Skype to my boys. It was so great to see both of their faces and to spend as much time as I wanted talking to them about almost nothing.
I signed up for a semester of school and took my “entry test” last week. Believe it or not, I skipped one level since I was last in class and though, in fact, I probably should have progressed more, I’m still just a teeny bit proud. So now I’ll be attending 4 classes each day, 5 days a week for 12 weeks. In French…. to learn to speak French. Yikes!
It’s all a beginning…. again. And that feels really good. And now I’m going to go dig some clothes out of whatever box they’re in, find my toothbrush and hairbrush, and go out to lunch. It’s time to celebrate. Here’s to a wonderful, exciting, and hopeful la rentrée!