Today is Saturday. We have completed one full week in our French house. The first 5 days were pretty overcast and rainy and cool. Not a great start to our first week, but it could have been worse. The weather has started to improve. We are approaching the 70s and the sun is now waking us up in the mornings. That is the good news.
The bad news is that with the nicer weather Rita and I are noticing that being in a rural setting has brought on our allergies. We do have itchy red eyes, runny noises and sneezing. Hopefully, this will be short lived.
The first week has been spent on personal maintenance. We go to the market almost every other day because we want fresh produce, meat, fish and chicken, but also because the refrigerator is European style which is only half the size of its American counterpart. Every other day, we have also stopped by the Inter-Marche or Carrefour, which is France’s answer to Walmart. It takes us an hour to shop because everything is located in a different area than where it would be in a US supermarket. In addition, we shop with a dictionary so that we can look up words describing foods we did not learn in French class. For example, we did not learn the word for “flour” which is “farine”. We did not learn the words for “2% milk” which are “demi-ecreme lait”. We did not learn “buttermilk,” which is “lait battu” or “babeurre”. When the dictionary does not work, I stand around and look lost until an English person fluent in French comes along, notices me, and offers to help! Sometimes, this is much faster than the dictionary and besides I am learning to be an expert at looking lost in French!
Yesterday was farm day in Sarlat. All the nearby farmers brought live animals into the village, I guess so that you young French children could have a petting zoo. There were pigs, cows, ducks, turkeys, goats, and chickens. It reminded me of Old MacDonald and got me wondering if there was a French equivalent. I think there is, but it might be “Monsier Dupont a une ferme et dans cette ferme il y a un chien” etc.
The house has worked out lovely so far. We do have some unwanted visitors at times. There are flies because we have no screens. We also have an occasional bee. Of course, Rita’s favorites are the daddy long legged spiders. Naught!! Last night, we had a bird, but fortunately a cat came along and the bird disappeared. I know “How you gonna keep them down on the farm….”
I started my French lessons on Thursday. My instructor comes to the house and her name is Patricia Mongendre from nearby Montignac. She asked me what I wanted to do for my first lesson and I said I wanted to practice conversational French. So, she responded, in French, “what would you like to speak about? Please start.” We spoke to each other while sitting at the kitchen table for an hour. It is probably the most French I have ever spoken. I am looking forward to my next lesson.
Next week, we hope to be over our allergies and to take day trips to the various nearby villages. There are at least 8 of the most beautiful villages in France within 30 minutes drive of us. Yes, there is a contest each year, and the French vote and choose the 100 most beautiful villages. Hopefully, we will have some more photos for you then.
Have a great day. –Norm and Rita