She pours out her sous from her pig-in-drag piggy bank that I bought her at a fabulously gay store in the Marais in Paris, organizes the coins into separate piles, counts her scheckles, caresses them, then puts them back in the pig-in-drag piggy bank again.
Turns out some of my Scottish blood must have slipped into my middle girl after all.
We’re still planning on moving back to Victoria, Canada next summer (2009) so by the time she starts talking, outside of our household and aside from the occasional trip back here to Burgundy, Clémentine will be living in an English-only world.
Charlotte was almost 5 when we moved here to Burgundy, so she still has lots of memories of our pre-France life in Canada. Like her parents she consequently suffers from a great deal of confusion as to where her “home” actually is.
For Camille there is not a shadow of a doubt; home is France. Petite and dark, she just so happens to look very French. She was only 2 when we moved here so when she started speaking fluently it was in French. She doesn’t remember anything from our life in Canada before we moved to France; Canada for her is a place where we go to visit family and spend vacations.
During our last trip we toured the school that the girls may be going to when we move back to Victoria. We were led into a classroom where a bunch of grade three girls were sitting in a circle on the floor eating their lunches out of paper bags.
Camille tugged on my pant leg. “What are they doing Mommy?” she hissed (in french).
“They’re eating lunch.”
“But why are they sitting on the floor?”
“That’s the way they sometimes do it here in Canada,” I explained.
“And why are they eating their lunch out of a bag?”
I realized that my middle daughter knows nothing different than hot lunches of a minimum of three courses (most usually four) served at a table on proper plates with proper cutlery.
“It’s like a picnic lunch,” I tried to put a good spin on it. “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a picnic lunch every day?”
Camille glowered. “Non.”
Shortly after we came back to France she let out a deep sigh of satisfaction while we were driving her to her first day back at school in Beaune.
“What is it Camille?” I asked.
“I’m just so happy to be home again.”
Just for anyone who needs proof that Franck and I won’t always be the worst shod shoemakers in the village, here is a photo taken of my friend Andrea who was visiting last week in my newly renovated (and yellow) kitchen with Clem.
Before we attack our Spring project of repainting La Maison des Deux Clocher’s shutters (and oui, I’m still gunning for raspberry) turns out there is a more pressing priority close at hand.
Remember in my last post I mentioned the hideous brown stain for shutters that came into fashion in the mid 1980’s here in Burgundy and proved maddeningly tenacious?
I am cringing as I type this, but I just so happen to know all about it as the photo above illustrates what the shutters currently look like at my house, La Maison des Chaumes. I know, quelle horreur. There is a French expression that is very eloquent in this case; “Le cordonnier est toujours le plus mal chaussé” (the shoemaker is always the worst shod).
So there’s a wee reality check for anyone who is under the mistaken impression that my life here in France is some sort of picturesque Peter Mayle utopia. I have to open and shut these hideous shutters every day, and I have hated them for going on four years now. Assez! THEY MUST BE PAINTED!!!
So out has come my favorite thing in the world second only to my husband and three daughters, my palette of Sikkens paint swatches.
I have to pinch myself to convince myself that I’m not actually dreaming, but I can hear Franck sanding off that hideous brown as I type this. I’m thinking of a nice deep Indian blue…maybe I may one day attain a Utopian existence after all.
However, I decided to buck the tradition. As anyone who has stayed at La Maison des Deux Clochers knows, the house is in the centre of the village. As such, the hanging of our freshly painted periwinkle shutters hardly passed unnoticed. Cars would stop in the middle of the street, and villagers would gather by the church to whisper and point.
During the peak of the BARFAGANZA (yes, this is a new word I have coined during this last week) I couldn’t believe that I would ever feel human again. Stomach flu is like colic, depression, or winter that way – when you are in the midst of it you can’t imagine ever finding a way out.
However, we’re eking our way back to normality here, and you will notice from my heavy-handed metaphorical photo of the vineyards right now that hope and rebirth are always with us, even if we can’t see them.
Now off to take some more Gravol.