Living in France… What makes you feel “French”? What changes you?
Living away from your birthplace does re-align your thinking… it’s impossible not too… but I believe the revisions are positive… it’s important to adapt, to be open to new ways of doing things… otherwise we may as well stay put.
It’s not about loosing who we are or where we have come from… home is always home… but more about growing and adapting.
Provence, where I have spent a large proportion of my time in the last 15 years has most certainly altered me.
What are the differences? What are the mannerisms that I have inevitably picked up?
I have learned patience.
France is a bureaucratic juggle at times… and as much as we love her… she can test even the most generous of natures.
I have learned to hold my breath, count to ten and wait… Waiting is the long suffering partner 0f patience… they are a necessary and essential team to draw upon when living in France.
The importance and the benefits of taking time.
This is different to being patient… this is about pleasure, about opening the eyes to beauty and appreciating the here and now.
Being in the moment.
It sounds so obvious and easy, but it’s not. How often we are involved in one activity only to be thinking of another.
Taking time for the simple pleasures is a lesson I continually learn from the French…and one that I am most grateful for.
Food has become much more predominant in life.
Lunch is a meal I rarely go without… or grab… eating on the run is not the French way.
Dining… the art of dining even if it’s two lettuce leaves and a shaving of carrot… is an experience, one to be savoured and a time in the day to stop, to enjoy.
On the flip side… Who would have thought that the name of ten varieties of cheese could roll off the tongue so readily?
That so much time could be spent discussing menus with butchers or that seasonal produce could become dinner party conversation?
Language changes… the way you speak and write.
It’s impossible not to be affected by the cadence of the French language, to become more descriptive… to embellish.
It’s inevitable that questions are ended with an answer. The French often do that… answer their own question with the negative, “non”, which really means yes.
Living in France can’t help but bring out the romantic in you.
France means Paris and I believe to this day that it is the most romantic city on earth.
Symmetry… French design has made me appreciate the classic… the relevance of the pair.
The simple is elevated to a whole new league in France… through symmetry, the simple becomes grand.
The eclectic in design… that new and old work beautifully together, that courage and originality is applauded.
The way French women dress and present themselves has influenced my sense of fashion and my thoughts on beauty and ageing in our modern world.
The French way has taught me self-confidence and an appreciation of what I have rather than what I don’t or can’t have.
Once upon a time my dream would be to play in Prada… now you will find me browsing in the French pharmacy, an Aladdin’s Cave for beauty… :) xv