One year later…

1 Sep

I’ve been thinking about what I would write in this post for at least two months now. There are so many things to talk about and I didn’t quite know where to start. Do I talk about what it’s like living abroad and how my French is still nowhere near fluent, but I’ve triumphed to at least understand 80% of all French. Do I talk about all the amazing places I’ve been able to see since moving here? The food? The wine? Then I thought, no, no, those things are way too trivial. Let me talk about the fact that my husband’s friends have treated me like they’ve known me for as long as they’ve known him. Then I thought no, I’ll talk about the French themselves and how I’ve been able to evade all of the stereotypes they’re so well-known for throughout the world. I also thought about then paying tribute to my parents for the strength they have everyday dealing with how far away I am, but being bold enough to come out of their comfort zone and make a trip to check it out. Then I said no, no…let me talk about my new French family and all they have done for me since the day I arrived (merci beaucoup). Then, as I was writing this, exactly one year from the day we decided to get on a plane and make our new life as newlyweds in France, that it dawned on me, that the one person I should talk about is my dear husband who’s been my rock, my shelter, my protection, my shoulder to cry on when I was homesick, or when I thought I would never fit in here, the person who knows how to make me laugh the hardest, the person who gets up early every morning to go to work to make sure we have a bright future here. So, it’s with this post that I say thank you honey, thank you for coming into my life, enriching it by living in another country, challenging me this late in life to learn a new language and for most of all loving me when I least deserve it.

I think it now makes sense to me, both in English and in French, that for our wedding day his father read a poem called, “J’ai bati l’ideale maison” (I have built the ideal house), because it’s true honey, I think we are just beginning to build our home here in Lyon and I can’t wait to experience all the new adventures which are in store for us for years to come.

J’ai bati l’ideale maison                                                                                                          I built the ideal house

Je l’ai proférée en pierres sèches, ma maison,                                                                     (I wanted it in drystone, my home,)

pour que les petits chats y naissent dans ma maison,                                                        (so kittens would be born in my home,)

pour que les souris s’y plaisent dans ma maison.                                                                     (so mice would appreciate my home.)

Pour que les pigeons s’y glissent, pour que la mi-heure y mitonne,                              quand de gros soleils y clignent dans les réduits.                                                               (So pigeons would curl up in it for a nice nap, when big suns are twinkling in the nooks.)

Pour que les enfants y jouent avec personne, c’est-à-dire avec le vent chaud, les marronniers.                                                                                                                         (So the children will play with nobody, that is to say the warm wind and the chestnut trees)

C’est pour cela qu’il n’y a pas de toit sur ma maison,                                                         (That is why there is no roof upon my home)

ni de toi ni de moi dans ma maison,                                                                               (neither myself nor yourself in my home,)

ni de captifs, ni de maîtres, ni de raisons,                                                                            (neither captives, nor masters, nor reason,)

ni de statues, ni de paupières, ni la peur,                                                                           (nor statues, nor eyelids, nor fear,)

ni des armes, ni des larmes, ni la religion,                                                                         (nor weapons, nor tears, nor religion,)

ni d’arbres, ni de gros murs, ni rien que pour rire.                                                              (nor trees, nor thick walls, nothing but laughter.)

C’est pour cela qu’elle est si bien bâtie, ma maison.                                                                 (That is why it is so well built, my home.)

André Frénaud

I do also want to take a moment to thank everyone for making our first year in France special. We love you all and can’t wait to welcome you into our new home!


One Response to “One year later…”

  1. Paulette Fennewald September 1, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    eloquent, as always. Ange and I talked this a.m., and she said she thought Hannah may grow up to be like you, taking risks, living large, making her own choices. I think so too. I am so proud of the woman you have become. Love you Court, Aunt Paulie

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