I’m sitting at the desk in my room, windows open, cool(ish) morning air, mountain view, House Martins flying around and chirping incessantly. There are fresh flowers on my desk, a mug of coffee within reach, some notebooks scattered around. A single church bell chimes, signaling half past the hour.
Though this was only my third morning here, I’ve already fallen into somewhat of a routine. Wake before 8, go down to the kitchen to brew coffee and gather some food (yogurt, fruit, BREAD), say hi to Jean-Christophe and Artis, the other two residents who are always up at the same time, and take my breakfast onto the terrace. This morning went just a bit different: Alain, who arrived last night, brought a little espresso machine with him. My enthusiasm was obvious. I helped him set it up this morning, and tried the first cup. C’est bon. We talked about how the fancy new technology of the espresso machine is at odds with the old and simple ways of the village. And then I enjoyed every single sip of my espresso.
There is too much to describe of my first days here, too many details, too many new experiences. The friendly villagers who all say ‘bonjour’ and give you the biggest smile, the winding paths of this tiny village set on the slope of a mountain, the opera-singing resident whose voice fills the little chapel and spills into the streets, buying fresh baguettes from the truck that drives into the village twice a week, sampling wines from a local vineyard… it goes on and on.
There are also funny things and mishaps and mistakes. Trying to shop for a week of groceries directly after being picked up in Carcassonne and not having slept for over 24 hours (myself and the two other new residents are now strategizing on how to make our food last), getting into the wrong car on the train in Paris, deciphering the hand drawn trail map and walking miles in the opposite direction of where I intended to go, navigating the personalities of the other residents, remembering the best technique for using a French shower… this goes on and on as well.
I’m beginning to feel settled in. It was nearly impossible to sit and focus for the first few days; all I could do was stare out the window and want to get outside and explore. So I did. There is still so much to discover and routines that I need to fully settle into, but I’m getting there. Thank goodness I have three weeks.