I Got Naked in La Comédie!
Ha! Bet that got your attention! Well, it isn’t exactly like it sounds, and YES, I did take my clothes off in a little, tiny, circular makeshift dressing room at a vendor’s stall right in the middle of the public square of Montpellier! I was walking through the square called La Comédie (the largest square in Europe, so I hear!), and some lovely dresses in a vendor’s stall caught my eye…just what I’d been looking for. It is so hot here that breezy, loose fitting dresses are all I want to wear, and I only had 2! Rarely, if ever, do I approach vendors hawking their wares, and this place drew me in. Right away I found a navy blue, linen midi dress, with pockets and a handkerchief hem, I liked right away and the merchant began to engage with me and brought me yet another style in the same color and fabric. He chatted me up a bit…friendly-like (and salesman-like), and asked me where I was from! He didn’t think I was American! When I told him I was from America, he commented on how good my French was…of course that flattered my ego! However, I didn’t want to buy a dress without being able to try it on so I thanked him and was about to leave when he asked why I didn’t try it on. I looked at him as if to say, “Well, where would I try it on?” and he led me to another area of the tent, and showed me a flimsy curtain with no tie to secure it, where I entered and, after pausing for a minute or so, began taking off my clothes!!! Yikes! This was a first, indeed. A small puff of wind could expose me in the public square! Anyway, all was well and I had me a new dress!
Life Without a Microwave (or Cabinets in the Kitchen!)
Whenever people have asked me why I wanted to move to France, particularly, among the many reasons, and one of the first ones I mention is the much “simpler lifestyle,” the low tech, slower pace of life here. So, when I discovered one morning when I wanted to warm up my second cup ‘o that there was no microwave, I was amused, later, by how taken aback I was! “So, how do I warm up my coffee?” I asked myself. I even wondered perhaps if the oven might ALSO be a microwave if I just pushed some button!!! Hilarious! You’re in France, dummy, remember? Simple life. Healthy lifestyle. Nothing fancy. Within minutes, I was reminding myself that back in the day, I was one of the holdouts for getting a microwave, believing them to be unhealthy, breaking up all those food molecules and releasing free radicals! I actually still believe that…even though I succumbed years ago to the technology. I began to consider what I actually did use a microwave for and realized that it was primarily for reheating food and beverages and that there are other ways to do that. Ah, yes, I thought, simple doesn’t necessarily mean quick or easy, and it may mean healthier in a back-to-basics kind of way. “Problem” (not a problem) solved!
As for the (no) kitchen cabinets. This apartment I am fortunate enough to live in, is beautiful in every way. In a hundreds of years old building with exquisitely hand carved crown moldings, highly polished dark wood floors, iron work balconies, and 25’ ceilings and windows, the architect/owner renovated it in a somewhat contemporary and true to the “simple” style to which I referred in the last paragraph. The kitchen is almost industrial, with stainless steel appliances and sink, and butcher block counter tops. Under one counter are open shelves where the dishes are kept, and in the wall are a few openings cut out in which to place essential spices, oils, etc. one might need while cooking. Glassware is in these “cubby holes” as well as books and kitchen machines. Pots and pans, casserole dishes , etc., are kept in drawers below the counter. Again, simple, basic needs are absolutely met, and not much room for superfluous stuff, lazy Susan’s where food can accumulate and not get used, and extras of everything one really rarely needs! And no granite, or quartz countertops, now so “de rigueur” in the U.S. I am experiencing now, up close and personal, the lifestyle I have always admired from afar…and I think I’m actually loving it!
Le Temps (the weather)
It is gently raining this morning as I am writing, and the clouds are covering the sun, which in the 2 plus weeks since I’ve been here, has not been absent from full view in the South of France. The heat of the last days has abated somewhat, and a cool little breeze is wafting through the window. I am happy. In the weeks and even a year or more before I left the U.S. east coast to come here, I was getting pretty frustrated with rain. It had always been a source of comfort, washing life’s dirtiness and heaviness away and leaving a fresh, new perspective. Not lately. Every rainfall had been a deluge – flooding streets and properties to damaging amounts, leaving homeowners scrambling to shore up the ground, gardens and gravel before they completely washed away. No more gentle, moisturizing, nourishing rains like I am experiencing today. It is said that Montpellier experiences more than 300 sunny days a year, so I am glad for the town that we have received this gift of water today, for plants and people.
I am aware how it is our thoughts about things that creates the “bad” or the “good” we experience about them. Rain is rain. Water is water. It falls on all everywhere. It is what it is. Only when our minds get into it does it take on a sort of personification like destructive, flooding, depressing, or even delightful, nourishing, “needed.” What if we just let it be? What if we just experience it however it comes to us, or doesn’t, without judgment, characterization, or description. What if we did that with any situation or occurrence in our life? What if whatever happens, just happens, and we just.move.through. The great Indian philosopher, speaker and writer Krishnamurti said, “I don’t mind what happens.” What happens, happens…and our minds have nothing to do with it. Rain is rain. It is raining today.
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In answer to your questions, YES! I respond to (and love!) all of your comments, right here on the blog. Please see the “Notes to Readers” tab on the opening page to FrenchAmusing.com where I try to put useful information for using this blog. Basically, I respond right on the page under the comment, so, if you go back there to check, you should see it! Now we can have a conversation…yay!