Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring in the South of France


It's early morning, and I'm gazing out the window at a powder blue sky, wispy streaks of clouds, red tile roofs, weathered shingles on the flat across the way, birds chasing each other, an orange cat on the roof who wishes he had wings, and flowers and greenery everywhere, nourished by several days of rain (before and after I arrived last Friday).
 
The weather is brisk enough in the morning for a jacket but warming by afternoon to t-shirt only.

I now live in the centre of the picturesque village of Argeles-sur-mer, deep in the south of France, almost to the Spanish border. The boucher (butcher), boulanger (baker), and yes even a fabricant de bougies (candlestick maker) are just around the corner. A huge beach on the Med is about a 10-15 minute walk. And looking in the other direction, the Pyrenees, including the majestic snow-blanketed Canagou.

My soulmate, Donna-Lane, is not here at the moment, though her lovely presence surrounds me in the studio she calls her 'Nest.' She is at her other home in Geneva, Switzerland, and I will join her there in a couple of days.

Most recently I lived in the Dallas, Texas area for 20 years. I am originally from upstate New York - Johnson City - near Binghamton, south of Syracuse (where I went to school).

A radical change to move across the ocean, landing in a very different culture and knowing only a little of the language? Perhaps to some. But those who are truly in love will understand it was something I simply must do. I must be with the woman who is everything to me.

I would have gone anywhere in the world to be with her, but it's a bonus that she lives in a little unknown paradise. (Well, not entirely unknown. The 10,000 residents are joined in summer by about 100,000 vacationers!)

Despite their skepticism of Americans generally and Texans particularly (I'm not technically a Texan but I do like my ropers), D-L's friends have embraced me. It's a fantastic feeling to be accepted in a new place and have people be so incredibly helpful in getting you settled quickly.

We're both 'retired' so we can do what we want more or less whenever we want to. D-L keeps pretty busy writing a newsletter for credit unions in Canada (with a partner) and working on her 10th novel. Her 8th, Murder in Paris, publishes in June; Murder in Insel Poel is expected out early next year; and she's writing Murder in Ely. Check her out on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Paris-Five-Star-Mystery/dp/143282693X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1367474588&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+in+paris+nelson). She also keeps a blog - http://theexpatwriter.blogspot.fr/. I've been asked to do some writing for various aviation publications so I'll do a few things here and there for my editor friends. Inspired by D-L's success and with her as a mentor, I may even try my hand at a novel.

But my first challenge is to learn French so I'm not dependent on her and others to translate for me. I know I won't starve - I know many words, and I can always point to what I want at the butcher or baker shoppes.

I hope you have found your soulmate too, and that your day and your life are as wonderful as mine.

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