|Our village of Talloires|
The name of my blog, book and social media accounts might be misleading. After all, I am not always ... in France, Madame. But, now that I have become known as "But you are in France, Madame," I am loathe to part with this identity. I like it. And, figuratively, it is true. But, Catherine, you might remonstrate, it is a wordy title: one that is hard to remember correctly. Yes, you are right, but if people want to find me, they do.
So, where am I right now? Not France. I am an hour and a half outside Sydney. For those of you who have followed me since the beginning, you would know the twists and turns of our path since leaving France. Briefly ... Sydney, buying our beautiful French home in Talloires on the Annecy Lake, an unexpected and lengthy Covid lockdown in Sydney and our recent delayed move to the Blue Mountains.
|New discoveries in the Blue Mountains|
We still have our French home and we visit when we can, but our long-term future there is not as clear as when we left. Back then, we presumed that we would have a two-year hiatus in Australia before resuming our full-time French journey. It hasn't turned out like that and so we have sought interim adventures, challenges and destinations.
|Our French home|
I have turned onto enough new paths to know to expect joy, reinvigoration, beauty and amazement each time ... loneliness, too, plus discomfort and weariness. That comes with navigating the unknown and the quest to belong.
In the months following our arrival in France, our first smile from the bar tender at Le Café de la Place in Menthon, an invitation to morning tea with the mayor's wife in Giez and bumping into someone who recognised us in Annecy were steps towards feeling like my husband and I were not just extras on the periphery of French life, being swept along in a fast-flowing current of change. Those interactions felt good and we deliberately sought out more. Sub-consciously, we knew that if we were feeling more confident about our new life in France, we were in a stronger position to help our children adapt and thrive.
|Our first home in France - Giez|
I am still looking for my signs here in the Blue Mountains. Our dinosaur shenanigans in the street brought one neighbour out for a friendly chat; we have been invited for afternoon tea and lunch; are refining where we can buy a good baguette, sit for a while over a coffee, pick up op-shop treasures, walk or ride, and collect firewood (with a permit) to avoid another astronomical heating bill. But, at the post office with my latest book packaged for a customer, I caught the eye of the girl behind the desk. There was a glimmer of recognition and a return smile. The hairdresser, too, today asked me when we were heading back to France. Very soon, I was able to tell her, happily - but my point is, she knew to ask.
Thank you to all of you who have supported my latest writing project. A book with readers is like its author - much happier.
Here again are my three books. Clicking on the links should take you to where you need to go, wherever you are in the world, to make a purchase.
- But you are in France, Madame: One family, three children, five bags and the promise of adventure living in the French Alps
- Weaving a French Life: An Australian story
- With bare feet and sandy toes: Growing up in Australia in the 1960s & 70s