Thursday, November 24, 2011

France...2011, more than a "vacation"

  This trip to France is far more than a vacation, this is a metaphorical 'smudging', removing all negative energy that I've been harnessed with, due to many emotional obstacles I've been blessed with, and have worked very hard to overcome.
 Life is meant to be lived, so I'm rebirthing myself into the life I want.


 The opportunity to travel to France, came up in May, and with zero chance of that happening (or so I had thought) I declined and with my Taurean bull like attitude, persued the fight with the Bank (Bank of America) to keep my house (as you may know was at risk of foresclosure) and buckled down to address the difficult, full time, stressful job of keeping my home and my business.


In 2010 my aunt Vera died at 98, my namesake, leaving a small inheritance to my mother, who had preceeded her in death, in 2009, which meant the money would go to her kids, me being one of three kids.
 I made the decision  NOT to use that small inheritance on my house. That would be completely insane! I choose to live my life to enjoy it and not be a slave to it.
   After a difficult divorce and simultaniously losing my mom to cancer (3 wks from diagnosis to her death) then nearly losing my house, I figured my Aunt Vera was giving me a chance to experience something I had only ever dreamt of, so I took that chance, and guess what- I could not be happier about my decision.


So, here I am, sitting in a very small apartment in Montmarte, Paris, sipping coffee, baguette in hand and writing this blog post...and learning so much.


These last few years have given me many opportunities to learn about myself, my values, dreams, and  perspective as to how we as Americans extend ourselves way beyond human ability, and put value on things that aren't as important as living happy, healthy lives, within a system that supports that. We are getting pretty loud about that now though, the voices are crying out saying NO MORE.


Anyway....more on that later....France.


Nice, Old town...
We arrive from the ariport by bus, dropped off in the neighborhood we were instructed to land...it's much later than we had planned, about 6pm. I have no phone and need to call Julienne to get the keys to our apt...ummmmm...what do I do?
We amble around, the streets are full of people all are speaking French and Nicoise, not English. We find a phone booth. Great it doesn't take coins, and the instructions are in French AND my phone card from the USA doesn't work. OK, think, and figure out something!!! I ask someone about a phone and am instructed to go to the phone shop, where I plan to get a sim card....ok, off we go, and the sim card is looking to cost about 50 euros....WOWSA!! The language barrier is enormously obvious now, and the clerk and I are not able to understand each other...fortunately a young man comes in (who wants to use the computer in this store, which is approximately 5 feet by 20 feet, houses phones in private stalls, computers and phone cards, not much more that I can tell) and is able to help me to decide to just use the phone in the phone stall. Skip the sim card and spend ,90 to make the call. WHEW, saved a bunch of money!!!


 Unbelievably narrow streets loaded with cafes, charcuteries, fromageries, patisseries, boulangeries, and so many shops.  Cars and scooters wizzing by...dodging pedestrians and bikes, narrowly missing them by not more than a half meter, apparently that's enough. This takes a bit of getting used to and feels completely foreign to our way of pedestrian right of way/street rules...it's a whole different game over here- Driving- but more on that later.
Gorgeous. We never left Old Nice (to visit other parts of Nice, anyway)
 The buildings are colorful, each having it's own style of ironwork. All of the carvings above the doorways are charming, with giant archways, seemingly ancient wooden doors. Each window above with clean laundry hanging out to dry on retractable clothes lines.
The cobblestone streets that wind down through the buildings are tightly packed with hundreds of bakeries selling fresh baguettes, croisant, paninis,  and the kinds of sweets that I've only ever seen in magazines.
The food is glorious.
 We are offered help each time we look lost, which is often, since we stand in the streets looking at maps, we are often the confused Americans in need of direction...People are very friendly and helpful, we are grateful.
The apt we rented for CHEAP on Airbnb.com is very small, and super efficient. Julienne, the owner, was enormously helpful in helping us get our bearings on the area.