BootsnAll Travel Network

Why I Love France, Even Though I Haven’t Left The House

I arrived in France a few days ago.

I had arranged to stay with a reader of this blog, who has a house near the  Swiss border.

So I flew into Geneva, and following my friend’s incredibly precise instructions, found myself on a train, heading towards her house an hour later.

When it came time for my stop, I gathered all my stuff, stood up, and waited near the door.

There were two signs near the door, both in several languages, including English. One sign said, “Open door by pushing button”, and the other said, ” Do not push button if train is not by a platform”. Seemed easy enough.

Unfortunately, when I pushed the button, the train didn’t stop. It kind of..paused..took a breath..and kept right on going.

I ended up at the next station, and got off kind of hesitantly, not knowing where I was at all. I must have looked lost and confused, because two missionaries of some kind with enormous wooden crosses around their necks came up to me and asked me in perfect English if I needed help. They directed me to a tiny office, where two men were smoking and drinking beer.

In stilted English, they quickly determined I was lost. One of them lost no time in telling me, in a strangely blunt way, that I had made a big mistake, that I was wrong, that I was completely lost.

Upon his telling me this, I burst into tears.

Apparently this is not the effect he intended, and they immediately were profusely apologizing, telling me to sit down, making me coffee, offering me beer, offering me wine…all at once.

I knew my friend was supposed to have picked me up at the previous stop, and I had her number in my bag, so I began fumbling around for it. I found it, and they began calling her, which they made extremely complicated, by constantly disagreeing about how this was to be done, what they would say when they actually spoke to her, what kind of message to leave. Kind of like a Laurel and Hardy skit, but without the punches and in French.

Meanwhile, I sat in the office, drinking a sip of coffee, a sip of beer, and then a sip of wine. Another man came in and began talking to me in rapid French, while offering me bits of chocolate.

A message was finally left with my friend, and I relaxed a bit, figuring she’d show up eventually. I was too tired to worry about it, as I hadn’t slept all night and was feeling even more exhausted from the combination of stimulants and relaxants I was rapidly imbibing.

Meanwhile, The most flirtatious of the group of men, who said his name was Frank, began telling me about his life, how he had visited California and hated it, how horrible the lifestyle was in the USA, it was all about money, money, money.

It was quite entertaining, actually as his English was quite terrible and he explained everything in a combination  of stilted English, hand gestures, and very slow French, as though if he spoke slowly I would understand him. Which I did not, at least, not much.

My friend Leyla arrived just in about the time Frank told me he was looking for a new love in his life.

I gratefully got into her car, and we drove to the tiny village she lives in, where she is fixing up an old farmhouse.

They had not been expecting me, so we rapidly converted a small room that had been used for some kind of storage into a bedroom. It was a very teeny room, but I fit into it and it had a window and a door, so what did I care? I haven’t had a room to myself in months.

I have spent the last better part of a week here and gone absolutely nowhere. No wait, I did go into another village to buy some food one day…thats about it.

I feel I have no real reason to go anywhere at all. I came here to rest, after all. It’s turning out to be a very restful place, complete with a nice old sofa to lay on, loads of cats, plenty of instant coffee, and an absolutely breathtaking view of mountains and a beautiful lake, whose name I have temporarily forgotten.

I spend all day playing with the cats, reading travel books from Leylas collection, and staring off into space.

Strangely, although I have seen nothing of France, I’m completely in love with the idea of being here. It’s a very romantic notion, hanging out in France doing nothing.

At any rate, I aim to do nothing at all the rest of the time I am here. It’s lovely, doing nothing. This whole trip I have been so busy that sometimes I felt like I was spinning like a top. Whoever said travel is relaxing was an idiot. It’s not. There are so many daily decisions to be made, so many ways to get lost and confused, let alone get overwhelmed by the fact that you don’t know a soul and have no idea what you are doing. Most of the time I really enjoy this, never knowing what is next..but it’s nice to not have to think about it too much for awhile.

I turned forty this week. Normally, birthdays are a big deal to me. I like spoiling on my birthday. I figured I would especially have to make an effort to spoil myself on this particular birthday, as turning 40 is supposed to be such a big deal.

It wasn’t. Maybe that’s because I’m doing something alot of people only dream of doing, traveling around the world, seeing new things, meeting new people, eating new things, getting lost and drinking beer in train stations with strange Frenchmen..ok, so maybe not everyone dreams of doing it..but my point is, it’s not a boring life.

So for my birthday, all I did was eat alot of expensive French cheese and pastry and I drank some wine. Then I went to bed.

But, other than that, I did absolutely nothing at all. Which was lovely, because I spent my fortieth birthday doing nothing at all somewhere in the French countryside.

Next week, I head to Paris, and hopefully all this napping and lazing about wil have paid off, and I will have the energy and desire to enjoy that famous city.

So strangely, I’m in love with France..even though all I’m doing is enjoying the idea of being here, more than actually seeing any of it yet.



8 responses to “Why I Love France, Even Though I Haven’t Left The House”

  1. michele whitnack says:

    Happy Birthday Gigi!
    Enjoy Beautiful Paris!

  2. shirleyrae says:

    Chere Gigi:
    Bon Anniversaire! I, too, love France even when I go nowhere in particular. While travelling in California last week we encountered more French people (even in Las Vegas – entire families with small children!) than ever before in the USA and it was so much fun chatting with them in French and finding out how much they love touring the West. Next week a friend of ours from Lyon will be staying with us for a few days, so I’m already planning on cooking a lot. Judith (my friend in Palisade whose fiance was killed in Honduras last November) and I are riveted by your blog. Your courage and stamina astound us as does your dedication to helping people with their tangled lives. As we say in French: Bon Courage! Amusez-vous bien a Paris!

  3. F*ckin’ awesome things here. I’m very glad to peer your article. Thank you a lot and i’m taking a look forward to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  4. you’re in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The web site loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve done a magnificent activity on this matter!

  5. Title

    […]here are some hyperlinks to sites that we link to mainly because we feel they may be worth visiting[…]

  6. Hello! Do yyou know if they mak anyy plugins tto help with Search Engbine Optimization? I’m trying to gett my
    blog to rasnk foor sone targeted keywords but I’m
    not seeing verty good success. If you know of anyy pleae share.

  7. My brother suggested I would possibloy lie his website.
    He was entidely right. Thhis put up actualoy made my day.
    Youu ccan nott cojsider simply how a lott tike I had spet ffor tnis info!
    Thaank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *