The giant wave which has been forever rising, surging,
and moving toward me
Has broken and washed me from the shore.
I am taken, captured, awakened, cleansed
by the waters of unknowing
Released is the fear, doubt, questions.
Possibility is opening its arms, beckoning,
and I follow, moving toward it
Stepping into the light
Eyes opening, vision clearing
seeing a path, seeing the arc of the circle
Bringing me home, heart full of love and joy.
Someone recently inspired me to try my hand at poetry. Today, I was feeling so full, so happy, so YES!, that prose was failing me. So, the above attempt jumped onto the page, and seemed to say how I am feeling on this day, 5 days into my France dream.
And now, in prose, I can recount the unfolding. The trip here was seamless. A wonderful, generous friend drove me to Dulles on Wednesday, airplane flew me to Paris, TGV (train de grand vitesse) took me from the airport directly to Montpellier and I arrived in Montpellier Thursday at 3 p.m. Was met by Dennelle, of Renestance (www.renestance.com) the team I have signed up with to help smooth the details of my move to France from the French side. She took me to my Airbnb apartment.
The days leading up to my departure were full indeed. My house went on the market on Friday, March 15; said goodbye to my last patient on Thursday, March 21, and closed my acupuncture practice!
While I’m not supposed to announce it yet, I had a contract on my house in 15 days! My office « yard sale » was a sell out; I found someone to move me out of my house when I return, who will take everything I’m selling to consignment and will move and store what I am keeping; the inspection on my home was moving forward even as I was packing to leave the following day! A whirlwind, indeed.
Since arriving here, I have gotten little sleep, walked each day more than I usually walk in a week at home, eaten many of my favorite French foods, spoken French every day (even talking to myself in French for practice), met up with friends, made new friends, hung out with a group of French students who guided a nighttime tour of Montpellier after which we all went to a local hang out for some wine and conversation! I was old enough to be the grandmother to any one of them, and yet they were so interested in me – where I was from, where I learned French, what i was doing here, etc. That was a highlight, for sure.
Things I have learned so far about “being French” – never handle the produce! Allow the merchant to choose your fruits and vegetables for you…it is not ok to pick something up, smell it, squeeze it (“Don’t squeeze the Charmin), etc. No hugging! “Le Bise” is the thing everyone does…you have probably seen it…an “air kiss” from one cheek to the other. Depending on how well you know the person, it can go from one bise on each cheek, to up to 2 or even 3! I forgot to notice what’s done with the hands during this hello and goodbye. I grasped one of the students shoulders, for balance I suppose, and he was curious and asked me about it. I had to explain about hugging in America, and he was amused. Beware the doggie doo on the sidewalks….no pooper scooper law in France! Believe it or not, for as many doggies as there are, I really don’t have to watch my step too much! When eating bread with your meal (and the French seem to eat it with every meal), it doesn’t go on your plate with your food…you just place it on the table beside your plate, and break off pieces as you consume it! And, no hands in your lap at the table! Hands must be showing at all times, so elbows and arms on the table are a must. Otherwise, your hosts, or companions, may wonder what your hands are doing under there! This is a hard one for me as I had “hands in lap” drilled into me from a very young age.
So far, the staples of French life – wine, cheese, bread – are very cheap – $3, $2, $1, respectively for a bottle, small round, baguette. Fresh, organic produce at the open market is inexpensive, too.
Life is good here. I am happy, well fed, walking for miles every day, learning something new every day, stretching my mind, expanding my world view, going where the wave takes me. I have let go, let be, and let live in all aspects of my life, and that feels wonderful. Every day brings a new experience, a new opportunity. Like poetry life is rhythmic and freely moving, and like prose, it is a stream of consciousness that carries me forward onto new shores of understanding and acceptance.