mercredi 22 juillet 2009
A hot summer day in the south of France. At the Marseille Provence airport, one tired 25-year old American woman arrives, after a long trip Denver-Frankfurt-Marseille. She has quit her job, given up her apartment, sold her car, given many of her possessions to her friends or else to a benefit garage sale, sent 15 boxes of junk (whoops, very precious items such as clothes and books) from Virginia to France by boat, obtained a student visa for France, attended several family weddings/reunions, and said many goodbyes.
She hasn't seen, for exactly six months, her reason for going through all this rigamarole.
She gets off the plane, gets her luggage, and goes out to meet her Frenchman. He is waiting there, one red rose in hand. After a somewhat teary reunion, they drag her luggage out to the parking lot and proceed to shove it all into his smallish French car, where another red rose is waiting. They drive to Marseille where he has rented an apartment. Once arrived in Marseille, they double park and hurriedly drag suitcase after suitcase up three flights of stairs, toss them into the apartment (where another red rose is waiting), then go back down to try and find a parking spot. That evening he cooks her a special dinner and then she goes to bed early, waking up in the middle of the night to throw up. Most likely not due to the special dinner, but just traveling, nervousness, and anxiety.
The next few days she is quite exhausted and suffering from jet lag, so the days pass in a wiltering blur. He is still working until the beginning of August, so she spends her time unpacking and exploring the area. One afternoon, sitting in a park reading a book, she is approached by Random Frenchman who quite quickly realizes she doesn't understand a word he is saying and is therefore the perfect candidate for lame pick-up attempts. He says that they should go back to his apartment so that she can meet his family and that they can all talk in English together. She politely refuses. He insists. She moves away.
The boxes sent by boat begin to arrive, so again with the double parking and hauling box after box up three flights of stairs in the July heat. The only problem is that they don't have much furniture, so the stuff pretty much stays in the boxes for the moment.
On the weekend, they go visit his family and make many trips to local furniture stores (IKEA! Castorama! BUT!). She met his family in May 2004 when they visited France for two weeks. Although they are very nice and welcoming, hours spent trying to understand what everyone is saying leave her exhausted with raging headaches. Plus hours spent trying to pick out not too expensive furniture that won't be too difficult to fit in their smallish French car and then dragged up three flights of stairs in the July heat is quite exhausting.
They can't wait for August, when he will be on vacation and they can start looking for wedding reception sites and a trip to Bretagne to meet his other grandmother, whom he hasn't seen in four years.
All in all, an interesting first few weeks in her new country.

5 commentaires:

screamish a dit…

nice! the whole trying to understand the inlaws, i remember that. it used to exhaust me. just LIFE was a 24 hour a day university lecture...constantly trying to understand. i remember how different everything looked, at all the food rules and ettiquette to tippy toe around...

well done- you've just about made it as a frenchie!!!

Mwa a dit…

I hope that's the start of a series!

Starman a dit…

I think the language thing describes perfectly why I love France but I'm so happy to return home after a few months. I really wish I could learn more.

Jess a dit…

Sounds very romantic :)

Dedene a dit…

Happy 4th anniversary here in frogland. That's a very romantic story too.

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