-On the edge of the Canal du Midi, ducks come to us, as we feed them day old bread. A beautiful female Mallard sits, floating, watching us patiently from the opposite waters edge, as her 10 family members fight for the pieces we throw them. After looking closer I see another duck with blue/green feathers struggling to stay afloat in the reeds next to her. She does not leave her mates side. The next day, she is among the feeding ducks and her partner is nowhere to be seen.
-Ever catch a reflection of yourself from the corner of your eye, and wonder who is that? Then, slowly realizing in that moment that it is in fact you. Been a while since I took a good look in the mirror. Wasn’t I just 24? Where did the time go? Not, oh no I am getting old, we all age and I like my age just fine. I wouldn’t want to be 24 again, I have already done that. What I mean is I haven’t stopped moving long enough to notice the changes in my own image. I stop to reacquaint myself with the 37 year old looking back at me. Inside I feel exactly the same.
-Don’t I seem happy? Can everyone see that each step I take has a little bounce? Some days I can feel my whole body fill up with love; love to give. Other days I look at my kids and cry with happiness feeling so thankful. Does everyone feel like this? If not people should go out to find what makes them this happy.
-Today when I dropped the kids off for their first day of French school, I watched Angelina leave my side full of fear. I saw Daniel being introduced around from one child to another, with arms around his shoulders. Angelina’s teacher held her hand and led her away. She was brave, more than I had ever seen her. She was unsure, unwilling and unaware of what was around the next corner. She did not look back. I cried as I left the school, Alfonz smiled at me. I was so full of pride; my love for them was overwhelming. I would die for them, and just knowing that made me happy to be alive, and able to feel such immense emotion.
-When we started our journey, I had envisioned our family frolicking around joyously devouring the sites and culture of Europe. I didn’t realize that absorbing so many new things, our senses completely overwhelmed from new experience, would be exhausting. It feels like we completed the last lap of the marathon. Daniel and I are emotional and fatigued, but each of us have different things we adjust to. My naive thoughts on what our travels would look like, keep reminding me that this is not a trip or a vacation at all, but a long enduring journey towards self discovery. We push our boundaries. We accept change willingly, and acutely take it in, and many times, stretch far outside our comfort zone.
-I have taken on a new habit of staying up late, reading an extra chapter, watching an episode of Camelot, stealing a moment for myself after the kids are down for the night My motto used to be, ‘Early to bed, Early to rise, Keeps a man healthy, Wealthy and wise.’ So busy throughout the day I often fell asleep with the kids before 8:00pm. Where once I needed endless activity around me, now I crave a moment of peace. Once I sought constant chaos, I now understand the necessity of down time, my time, quiet time. Even at sleeps expense!
-There will always be bumps in the road to self-discovery, and what you find out about yourself is not always pretty. I have far worse characteristics in my personality than I want to admit. No denying it now! After a few days with little sleep, it is all thrown on the table, and no choice being in such close vicinity to one another in tight quarters. All, in turn, have been on each other’s nerves. My troopers! We must rest, settle in a bit, and try to recoup. Then we will start reaching, searching our surroundings for further adventure.
-The burly plane trees, thick trunk, tall branches reach towards the heavens, and sway in the cool fall breeze. ‘Shhh’ says the rustling leaves to the singing birds perched on its limbs. The chirping sound is deafening as we pass by. I love this sound, drowns out any anxiety of an uncertain future. I relax. I can smell the fallen leaves, musty, damp, an inch thick on the ground, a natural tapestry of red, orange, and brown under foot.
-Did someone vandalize the tower? Was it broken? Just about to ask someone about it, when I realized I have come accustomed to the sound of the church bells. However, I cannot get used to the sound up on the roof. A rat has found a whole in the tile, and slipped through, scratching the insulation as we sleep. It cannot get in, and harmless enough, just keeps us up. With the unusual amount of rain we have been having, you will get a rare one in the village. We got in the exterminators, and the next day, ‘ratatouille’ invited his friends to join in on the feast. I prayed for sleep, or death, I didn’t care which, being the 4th night without sleep. It can drive a girl mad! I finally understand the necessity of a dog or a cat in Capestang.
-Mosquitoes buzz in my ear, wake me, with their irritating sound. I slap on the light and swing! Most people who live here don’t even notice them, but Daniel and I, with our sweet blood, are covered in bites. It’s hard to sleep while being devoured. Please, god, help us find a house, where we can house a cat, with window screens to keep the mosquitoes out. Problem finally solved, I’ll need a few days to catch up on my rest. Tonight we will be insect and rodent free!! I guess I should keep the windows closed during the day, then the flies won’t come in.
Sounds a bit depressing, but I guess after 3 weeks of solid rain and little sleep since we arrived in France, it has truly caught up with me. Even happy little me gets effected sometimes!
Today, however, the sun shone through low cloud and warmed us up to 20 degrees. We bathed in the light and lifted our moods, played outdoors on this glorious Wednesday afternoon, our free day from school. A big boiling pot is on the stove full of my mom’s remedy; chicken soup does soothe the soul after all. We fight our colds, rest and get back to our fighting game. We will prevail!
I see exciting things in our immediate future.