Slowing Down

It has taken me a little over a week this time to slow down to the pace of life people adhere to here. I’m in rural France, in the middle of nowhere really, staying with my parents, their dogs, Zoey’s mum, and a herd of Charolais cows in the pasture next to us.

…it has never worked and in all likelihood it never will

Perhaps they symbolise life here the best. Every day they walk more or less the same route through the big pasture, starting out at the barn in the morning, slowly circling past the fence, which divides our land from theirs, in the late afternoon. The dogs still bark at them to scare them away, but it has never worked and in all likelihood it never will.

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Charolais at the fence

Life here seems hard yet simple. You do what needs to be done and therefore keep the status quo. Nothing ever really changes, yet nothing ever really goes wrong either.
I love being here and getting a taste of such a steady way of life. No real worries, deadlines, work related pressure. Only peer-pressure. If I arrive here in the middle of the night, the neighbours will know I’m here before I wake up the next morning. Driving past their gardens always produces the same inquisitive look, followed by an approving nod and wave. I may not live here but am accepted by association.

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Preparing the fields for sowing

Normally it takes me a few days to settle into the rhythm of the land. This time, as I said, it took me just over a week. It’s little things like that, which betray the stress I’m experiencing, just not consciously. Sleeping in the afternoon, feeling restless at times or just unorganized. Wether I’m cleaning the veranda with the pressure washer, mowing the lawn, collecting wood for the fireplace, I can’t really switch off and keep ticking of lists in my head. And we all know how much I detest lists…

… she found me in time to lure me to ‘straya

In a day or two I’ll drive on to Switzerland, visiting relatives there. My sister will join me with her family, and my mum is coming for a few days too.
The last time I spend more than a few hours there was in July with Emma, and the last time before that must have been 4 or 5 years ago. As children we spend every holiday there, in a way it’s fair to say we grew up there as much as in the Netherlands.
Before meeting Emma I entertained the idea to move there, but she found me in time to lure me to ‘straya. I actually thought of moving to Switzerland for the first time years ago. But back then I decided I couldn’t leave my sister behind (everyone else had either moved to Switzerland or France by then). Some time after that we were talking about the subject and we found out she had the same idea but decided not to do it, because she didn’t want to leave me behind. What more can one wish for in a sister?
So why am I moving now, you might wonder? Well, the perceptive readers under us might have noticed she has started her own family since then. A hubby and a baby, both equally bald and jolly. They’ll take good care of her in my absence I’m sure.She has found her path in life and now I’m going to follow mine.

I think I’m in a lucky position with so much aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and grandparents in other countries. I already know you don’t have to live near each other to be close. I expect to miss them, but no more than I missed them when I lived in the Netherlands. I wonder if saying goodbye this time will feel different. I think it shouldn’t, because we’ll see eachother again, just like always. Yet the fact I feel it might be different is perhaps telling enough?

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