October 19, 2011


Bordeaux is no longer NEW, we have been here for one year, but NEWNESS abounds!
Oscar has started his 9th year in what you call the 9th grade (here its troisieme) and here its the last year of middle school and it’s not new.  He is in the senior class of this middle school, 3 classes below him and high school ahead, but its not new.  When we moved to France he was the new kid in kindergarten, three years later he jumped a class and became the new kid in 6th grade, then once more into the fire, we moved him into a new school last year, so he gets this one year away from newness, this one year of familiarity, this one year of belonging. 
A friends wedding in Bordeaux...that's Pat on the left
But intimacy with ones life is not imperative, change is good, and unfamiliarity breeds strength, at least that has been our recipe for these past 9 years, a near decade of change. Perhaps the years of change in Oscar’s life, our lives, is the winter wood and the years of stability, where we find it, is the summer wood. Growing tall through the seasons.
This feels like our year of becoming Bordelais, we have walked most of the streets and can usually find our ways home. We are in transition still, between one Bordeaux home and another, but its all in our own back yard, so it seems like a year of stability.  We are in contract on our last Martel home. Last week we were there moving that life into a box and preparing its transport to this new life, it felt like closure. That home was great, and for the first time in 9 years we felt the sting of closure. 
Its kind of like the transition from that Martel life to this Bordeaux life has taken a year, and its just sinking in, so this newness has been a gradual one, come into focus only here at the end.
Susan and 19 of her loved ones
We changed our franco-american life this year and ventured home for the summer. Bordeaux is an easier city to leave in the summer, as that’s what half of the population seems to do. In Martel, everyone arrived for the summers, and it was a hard season to miss. We spent the month of August travelling, 3 weeks in the Bay Area taking care of our home there, trying to convince the tenants that we care about them. One week in Columbia eating brisket and reconnecting with the close and extensive family there and another week beach hopping in Costa Rica to celebrate my mom’s birthday. 
Oscar wanted ths Miami Beach T-bird for his own....good taste!
Our return has brought us back to the newness of france with new eyes and new perspective. Again like the winter wood, the chance to step away and return brings much of the contrast between our franco-american lives into sharper focus.  The faces are different, the energy is different, but this may have as much to do with the patterns we have and return to in America, where we are sons and daughters and pieces of an entirely different puzzle. We are pieces in a large web, surrounded by friends and family which create an order. While in France, there is an order, perhaps greater of a different shade, but the daily order of our lives is one defined by ourselves, it is more what we make it and less where we fit into a more complicated society??  Our friendships in France are all new and shallow of root, exciting, as new friendships are, but compared to the handfull of friends we have had for 20 or 30 years....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oui amigo!