Monday, May 31, 2010
Today is a holiday. The third of four consecutive three or four day weekends in the month of May.
When I first moved here I used to go kook-a-lock-a-nagee in the head during the month of May. I would practically foam at the mouth, scream, yell, toss things across the room shouting “How do you people get any work done with all these days off?!”
Already a work week is challenging enough because on Wednesdays, in grade school, there is no school. So, you begin your work week on Monday, you get in the swing of things on Tuesday and then you have to take a day off of work to take care of the kids on Wednesday. Thursday is like a second Monday and then its Friday and you’re back into a weekend. Argh!
But now, I have been here eight years. This is my eighth month of May. Maybe I’m getting older, feeling a little more mellow … mellow yellow, yeah. Maybe its all beginning to rub off on me. Who knows?
I’m beginning to like the month of May. As long as I know its coming, I can schedule my work around these pesky thirty-one days and I have come to appreciate a little extra time off. I try and do things that I never have the time to do during the normal, manic work week.
Read a book all day long. Watch a couple of movies in a row. Wander aimlessly around town, enjoying myself with no particular schedule. Hang out with the kids. Work out a little extra. Spring clean the house.
All in all, the month of May provides a lot of time to just Be.
And I like that a lot.
Here in France, shops close at 7:00 pm, so people get home around 8 or so. On a Friday night, that doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of time get your groceries or run your errands, especially since the grocery stores all close at 7:30pm. Can you imagine?
When I first moved here, it was a BIG adjustment getting used to not being able to run errands any time of the day. Open-all-night supermarkets or convenience stores simply do not exist here. Plus, everything and I mean everything, is closed on Sundays. Sundays are family days and that is sacred. Pretty nice too, if you ask me.
Friday night is a night to go out to eat, have people over or simply relax.
Saturday is a fun day! Typically, you take care of your groceries in the morning: you get all of your fruits, vegetables and cheese at the farmers markets that are scattered through out the city, you go to the butchers and get your meat for the weekend, you get your bread and any cakes you might want at the Boulangerie or Patisserie. (No one makes their own cakes here like we do in the States. Why would you when you have these incredible pastries at your disposal?!)
You do your grocery shopping in the morning, then you go home and make a nice big lunch for the whole family.
In the afternoon, it’s a fashion parade in the streets. Everyone goes out dressed in the latest fashion to either shop or do a little leche vitrine (window licking). On a beautiful day like it was today, the sidewalk cafes are full of people talking, laughing, smoking, sipping coffee. The sidewalks are chock a block with people strolling arm in arm. Everyone comes out to bask in the sun and see or be seen. If you like people watching, Saturday afternoon is the best!
Voila! An agreeable day was had by all.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Sunday Lunch at the mother-in-law’s in the French countryside.
Literary events, readings and concerts are organized all year round. Check the Nohant website for details and dates.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010