Thursday, May 05, 2011

Back to abnormal

It's like we never left. Except, of course, I have changed. We all have changed. This place, this amazingly- beautiful, frozen- in- time place, has not.

I miss Ian.

We’ve been here for less than 24 hours and I’ve pulled two ticks out of loved ones--one from Ruby’s back and one from Esther’s belly button.

Already I am realizing the getting used to that not having Ian’s adept hands to remove ticks without severing heads will require. Could I ever get used to it. Will I?

And what of culture shock?

The radio this morning--noise, noise, noise coming from it. All that loud, ugly talk. The ads. Where is my beloved VPR? How could it be that I cannot remember the frequency? And don't get me started about the cereal aisle at Hannaford's. And what of all those friendly people treating us like best friends at the shoe store?

I hadn't realized just how much I tuned out in France. When you are not living in your own language you might as well be living behind glass. Everything is slightly muted, muffled. It's so easy to listen but not listen to the radio or television in French. It is impossible to tune out American radio. It punches you in the face while assaulting your ears.

And it's so easy to be invisible, even while shopping. Not in America you don't. 

We've settled in, sort of, to my parents' cabin in the woods. We'll stay here until our tenants move out at the end of the month. This is our halfway house. Our limbo. Our island.

I haven’t unpacked our bags yet. I am curious how long it will take me to do that. There is a symbolic aspect to actually taking our things out of our wheely bags and putting them in stationary bureaus that I’m not ready to reckon with just yet. I’m not here. I’m here.

My body is here. My brain, like a large ungainly turkey, is still flapping its reluctant, corpulent way across the Atlantic, trying to catch up with me. 

And my computer is still fighting with my camera. It won't recognize or acknowledge it. Won't give it the time a day.


I am lost without the ability to import my photos. I have so many good ones and they are being held captive. Has anyone experienced full- on, random, digital -camera rejection by a MacBook?

It's not like the MacBook and the camera are strangers. Suddenly, one day in England, they just decided to become incompatible. Life is unpredictable like that, I guess.

So I have decided to revisit, one last time, some of my final glimpses of France.

Louis and Marie were in residence at Versailles.

If Bilbo Baggins had been French...

Thought the Pantheon was in Rome...

 A place for the Boule players to hang their coats.

Bacchus, I think.

Even the sculptures in Paris are in love.

Or voyeurs

Jardin Luxembourg


I'm going to miss mannequins with nipples.

Our last morning in France.

Finally figured out what café gourmand was.

The last supper was somehow more delicious than anything I have eaten in France before.


Angela said...

Lovely photos, Betsy, thanks for sharing them. I bet culture shock subsides when Ian arrives.

I'm the Brit who lives in Germany, and I also spent 2 1/2 years in San Diego. On sunny blue-sky mornings like right now, I so long to walk along the beach at La Jolla... and oh, those lovely strange half-desert hills to the East... I think we leave a little piece of our hearts at each place we have been... but better this way than to have never been there, right?

C. said...

Sigh, if Bilbo Baggins had been French - um LOVE IT! Also, loved your photos of the pantheon cuz I had EXACTLY the same thought when I saw it a few months ago. We're in Australia now, and your pics fill the hole that I have been refusing to acknowledge has been looming right in front of me. x

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking of you, Betsy. And I was going to tell you what I've shared with so many girlfriends: "Feel what you feel." And before I could even say it, I see that you know it, from this post. You are letting it all happen, you are going through it, you are just being with it. Good for you. The camera and computer not cooperating seems somehow symbolic, yes. Like your brain, they are out of sync. I am so proud of you. Doing this all, without Ian, one step at a time. You go, girl. Hugs from Liz in NJ.

Anna said...

Thanks for the beautiful photographs.

I love this image:

'My brain, like a large ungainly turkey, is still flapping its reluctant, corpulent way across the Atlantic, trying to catch up with me.'

Anonymous said...

Loved the pics! Makes me want to visit France/Europe. What's with the eating in the street? That seems to be a common thread throughout Europe. As far as the computer/camera falling out - you may have to do a purge (uninstall) & reinstall associated drivers.

Kelli said...

I LOVE reading your blogs, you are an amazing writer. I have 2 girls very close in age to yours. I did a little research on about your photo issue (my go to place for tech help) and found this...worth a shot anyway.

1. For the image capture: You need to run Image Capture, which is in your Applications folder of your hard drive, to tell your MacBook what to do when a camera is connected. This should have been defaulted to iPhoto from the factory, but it sounds as though yours has been altered in some way.

Emma said...

It is a weird feeling to come home after being away for so long- you expect things to have changed and it's disconcerting, yet comforting at thr same time, to find that they have not. Be kind to yourself Betsy! This kind of a move is a huge life event- comparable to divorce and the death of a family member in the kind of stress it creates. So promise us you'll take it slow, do something every day just for yourself that will bring you some peace. A cup of tea in the quiet of the early morning, listening to an old favourite song... Best of luck!

mooserbeans said...

Such lovely pictures. Summer is just around the corner with all her lazy charms (and insects). I have a feeling you guys will feel settled soon. I agree with Emma. Take your time and be nice to yourself. I can't imagine how hard it is for all three of you without Ian.

JenDavey71 said...

Ah, the tulips and petals covering all near surfaces are lovely... I hope you're able to help your MacBook and camera along the path to reconciliation soon. Alas, I have no wisdom to impart on that subject. Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts and photos.
-Jenn in Phoenix

Betsy said...

Emma: Funny you mention an old favorite song. I just found a mixed CD in my car, something I made years ago, and have been having so much fun hearing all this great music I'd forgotten about.

Betsy said...

Liz in NJ: Thanks for the sound advice. I do find myself questioning my reactions, analyzing, censoring, blah, blah. If your feelings can't be unadultered, what do we have left? And yes, the symbolism of my tech problems is not lost on me. Nor is the fact that my car falling apart is also symbolic since it feels like I am stuck where I am.

Betsy said...

Kelli: Thanks for your advice. I'll investigate.

Pam said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures. Thanks.

andrea frazer said...

Those pics are beautiful. I dont' blame you for being home sick for Vermont though. I don't know if I"d have survived as long nor as well as you did in France. I'd feel like "wow, I"m supposed to enjoy every single second of this outdoor dining and glorious flowers and architecture but all I want to do is be in my mom's kitchen sucking down yuban...does that make me ungrateful... what is wrong with me... and round and round." My goal this year is to just "be". We both need to stop "shoulding" all over ourselves.

Much love. Proud of you.

Betsy said...

Hey Andrea: "Stop shoulding all over ourselves." Love it.
But.. now that I'm in Vermont I cannot get over the fast pace. I can not keep up with this community of volunteer moms. I am rushing rushing rushing to and fro,trying to get to school on time and help out with teacher appreciation day and realizing what a cake walk France was.