Good-bye Ville de Capestang! We went to the local watering hole, Le Grille restaurant on the square, to celebrate our last evening with our friends. It was a mix of being utterly knackered after 70 days straight of working with students, leaning towards total exhaustion after the last four days of non-top packing, lifting, carrying and cleaning, and the excitement of our next adventure just around the 1700 km bend! I had no words and sat very quiet listening to the conversations between everyone, and even after the bottles of champagne started to take effect I just listened.
There were some unexpected gifts last night; Alfonz and Daniel got some gorgeous knives pocket knives, Angelina and I got some pretty jewelry and I even got an apron with a wine map on it! Thanks Marion and Cecile and their families!
Artist extraordinaire Libby Page dropped off a wee gift but I am not to open it until Budapest. It is a print I think, but I will have to share the story once I arrive and settle in… Something to look forward to! I love the idea of having something to remind me of our life in France… eek! Perhaps I will start collecting things like my friend Jane who made me a lovely souvenir tray from a wine barrel! Photos to follow!
I watched Angelina and her best buddy Sohane cry and hug, walking arms around each other, both shaking from their tears, and I have to wonder how can I subject my kids to this again? How can anyone can leave such love behind. Why am I able to walk away from such supportive good people? Perhaps it started out of necessity, and having your heart broken so many times in your life, eventually you can’t feel it. Like bee stings. When I was a child I fell into a bees nest and was covered in hundreds of stings and had to go to hospital. So now when I get stung, it feels weird like a rash but very quickly my body protect me from the pain, and i don’t feel a thing. That’s where I am at with my feelings of leaving and starting again. I feel nothing sad, or bad, just positive stuff…
We are all very excited. It is so strange that the house is empty with a little echo, we are living out of our bags for the next week or so until we can get to our storage unit where all our stuff is in Budapest. We are thinking about the cat travelling for the first time in the car, visiting Italy on the way, and being at home in our apartment Thursday evening!
I am not looking forward to sad goodbyes… so let us say, ‘See you later!’ because see you later we will! We are already planning a visit from friends over New Year’s and coming back to film House Hunters International again come Spring. Lots to look forward to, and time to actually visit during vacation breaks with our lovely friends here in France.
I am ever so grateful to have experienced the traditions and culture of France during our last four and half years. Although my French is terrible (atrocious really) I am going to continue learning. Perhaps without the stress of the unknown, long weeks of working in English looking after six children, and writing in English for my blog; I will have an easier time of it! Wish me luck! Imagine I move to Hungary and improve my French! That does sound like me, eh? 🙂
I watch my kids pack up their stuff and honestly I have no feelings yet. I am sure I am just overwhelmed and somewhere on route between Italy and Slovenia I will start to feel all the things I am blocking out. I will start to cry somewhere in Slovenia and finish around Christmas!
I know how much I love my life here, even though it is not an easy life, I am sure to miss it! Even though I don’t get attached to stuff, I will miss the morning sounds of endless chirping cicadas or the screeching cries of the swifts mid-summer. Honestly I don’t remember them stopping this year, just too busy to take note. I also love feeling the wind on the little road between the church and the hairdressers, it makes me feel like I could fly, and it reminds me of the famous Marilyn Monroe photo of her over the vent, except it is usually my dress up to my armpits and less attractive!
This week I visited the Town Hall for the last time and it was the closest I came to the reality of it, the finality of it, and the necessity to say our goodbyes….
Pierre made a lovely speech and I accepted a beautiful medallion with an imprint of Capestang on it and a book on the paintings in our castle with a DVD with our illuminations presentation on it from the council. I felt proud to know everyone in that room, been able to work with them and to get to know them. As Jean-Claude municipal councilor said to me over the weekend, ‘We are a team, and one of us is leaving, and it is important for us to all say goodbye’. It was his words that pushed me to go, otherwise I really didn’t want to subject myself to sad goodbyes, worrying I would have a complete breakdown in front of everyone. But I didn’t!
I was thinking about it; I am the first Hungarian Canadian on the municipal council and perhaps the first foreign woman. That says something right? I should be proud to think of all the things we did, got to experience, places we have seen. It is not a wasted 5 years just because we are leaving, it was how it was written. This was the route meant to be taking, although it is the long way home.
My replacement Valérie Buisson Bory is nothing short of capable and available to the Anglophone community here in Capestang. I am leaving in you in very good if not better hands!
One last meal on the square this afternoon before the final signing and handing the keys over to Hilary. I know she will love our house as much as I do and I am excited for her to start her new life in it! I hope she loves the alien tree as I call it with its very late blooms, and she appreciates the second and third blooms of the roses which are a different colour from the first. I wonder if she will wake-up and look towards the Plane trees along the Canal du Midi as I do each morning when I open the shutters and think about the history of this region every time too. Will she too look up towards the night sky while she swims and enjoy the flying bats above. The sky is a light show with a million stars, changing constellations and beautiful shooting stars.
No matter where we are in the world, look up, recognise the sky and feel we are all far closer to each other than apart.
So that’s it until we reach the otherside Capestang. I bid you a very good day, and although we are leaving, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for my little French village that took us in so graciously, so lovingly. My life here was so perfect to me, from riding my bike everywhere, and all our memories that I share with Capestang will be played over and over again throughout my life. Au revoir