Arrived in Seattle about ten days ago. France hasn’t quite faded into a dream, but there is something about distance and time differences that can make life elsewhere seem unreal. A whirlwind trip before I left; took the train from Montpellier to Paris. Quite a few years since I was last there, never, I think, in April. The city looked beautiful, chestnuts in blossom, all that. Walked a lot, ate a lot, felt a measure of fear at crossing the busy streets–does it only seem that motorists are deliberately trying to mow you down? Already, Montpeyroux and life in the village seemed a long way away.
And then the flight from De Gaulle, via Reykjavik, Iceland, to SEATAC, a little hiccup with immigration who wanted to know what had kept me away from the States for more than a year, a two hour plus shuttle ride to Port Angeles and, voila, I’m home. Or back. I’m not quite sure what constitutes home anymore. Carolyn and Bill’s front garden, looked lovely, bright with tulips. It was good to see them, good to be in Port Angeles again.
Spring is a beautiful time on the Peninsula– the Olympics still snow covered, brilliant against the blue skies, flowers everywhere. One evening we had a BBQ on Ediz Hook, a magical setting that made me remember why I stayed in Port Angeles for six years or so.
In France, sitting in cafés, or riding the tram into Montpellier, I used to listen to the conversation going on all around me and try to pick out enough words to understand what was being said. I’d always imagine that somehow the topics must be very interesting. Yesterday, drinking coffee at bagle place, I found myself eavesdropping on the chatter, none of it particularly engaging, and it occurred to me that the French conversations probably hadn’t been all that interesting either. As I write this, I have a French language station playing; I am anxious not to lose whatever progress I made. Although life is definitely easier when you speak the language–a conversation with my insurance company last week, for example, would have been almost impossible in anything but English–I miss hearing French spoken, miss the daily challenges and the small triumphs when I’m able to make myself understood. I had wondered, if once I was back in the States, I might find that I would be be ready to bid adieu to my French adventure. I didn’t really think that would be the case, but I’m happy that the thought of returning to France and to a new chapter in Laurens still fills me with joy.
Meanwhile, it is really lovely to be back.