Saturday, March 3, 2012

waiting for spring

Because I am still icky (like icky icky, red gooey eyes icky) and don't have the energy for much of anything, I'm posting this snippet that I wrote for Misadventures with Andi about this same time last year. And since it's never been posted over here, it's kinda new, and kinda not cheating {originally posted April 3, 2011}.
                                                                                        
The dichotomy of my life in Le Petit Village goes like this… you see I love it and hate it, but the things I love, and the things I hate are pretty much one in the same. (Let me preface this by saying that ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are very strong words but they sound better than ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ so I’m going with ‘love’ and ‘hate’). And because I’m thinking in opposite terms of love and hate, I’ll write in opposite terms of summer and winter, but I’m going to start with winter.

During the winter months, Le Petit Village and it’s 250 habitants practically hibernates. Many of the houses here are holiday homes that sit empty, shutters closed to the cold winds and snow, waiting for their Parisian and Belgian owners to come back and fill them. It can lend a bit of a ghost town vibe for the rest of us year-round inhabitants, and in those winter months, we tend to huddle close, so as to make us feel like we are not so alone in this wintry, mountain village.


There is one bar/ cafe/ restaurant here, and on those cold Friday nights, when the roads are too icy to navigate down the mountain, the same group of us descend upon it. It is always; my brother-in-law, his young wife, her parents, my next door neighbor/ husband’s best friend, my husband, father-in-law, a couple of local farmers, and me. We huddle around a kerosene heater set up in the middle of the room, chatting, and laughing, sharing plates of saucisson, homemade pâté, and bowls of olives. It feels much more like someone’s cozy living room than a bar.

Now for a city girl me, at times I’m screaming inside, yearning to put on my heels instead of winter muddy snow covered boots, and have a vodka martini in my hand instead of the hearty Leffe, while sitting back in a plush banquette in some decadent bar and not in this old bar, with chipped paint, mismatched furniture, and the same old handful of people every Friday night. But as much as I may want to be in that city bar, I’ve never felt as at home and comforted by the super luxe ‘it’ bar as I do on those dark winter nights surrounded by French villagers and wrapped in the warmth of the kerosene heater.


Then as the months pass, and the sun begins to rise earlier and earlier and shine warmer and brighter, Le Petit Village slowly awakens. And with the sun comes the tourists.

During those beautiful warmer months, when the lavender blooms, our winter population of 250, increases to 1000. Where normally I would go for long walks with my dog and not see a single soul, our tiny streets are buzzing with chatter and traffic and there are people everywhere. That same cozy winter bar becomes packed and any chance of finding a table or a bar stool is practically non-existent.


I complain about the tourists; how they take all the parking spaces in front of our homes, they peer in our windows, and buy up all the baguettes, but secretly I love them. I love that when they are here Le Petit Village is at it’s best and most welcoming. We have small festivals with bumper cars and fireworks, a circus, and parties, all to say, “Bienvenue! Aren’t we quaint and charming? Please come back soon, we love the company”, and everyday feels like a holiday, a snap shot into a Peter Mayle dream.

But just when I think I’m tired of the incessant early Sunday morning chatter of stranger’s voices outside my windows and fighting for my parking spot and my baguette, they are gone, and the cold and solitude comes back. Along with those wintry, kerosene cozy Friday nights. And we settle in and wait for spring.

bisou

19 comments:

  1. I could basically enter..... Replace "Le Petite Village" with "Egletons" and that would be the story of my life!!! Except we live a little too far away to walk to our local bar in the winter months- brrrr! But yes...hibernating until the anxious return of Spring!!! And alas...it has begun :)

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  2. i have a love-hate relationship too with Jakarta. i'm not living there yet, but soon (like in 2 or 3 months) i have to move there.

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  3. I love this post! So perfect. That little bar sounds so cozy, but yeah - I can imagine how there are probably times when you miss the hustle and bustle of a larger city.

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  4. you are such a good writer - I was able to imagine your town perfectly! I'm definitely the same - I'm not a huge hibernator - I always want to go out and meet the girls! thank god spring is soon right?!

    and I hope you feel better!

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  5. how fascinating to read of the life cycle of your petit village....it's nice to be able to embrace its loveliness again once spring comes. hoping your grippe takes its leave tres vite.

    xo
    amanda

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  6. Lovely post. You can't beat France for beauty in all sorts of places. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/11/saint-ceneri-le-gerai.html

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  7. Oh what a beautiful post, loved it so much. You write so well, and the village sounds so wonderful, summer and winter. It might have to go on my travel-to-list, so I can be one of those annoying tourists, it sounds like a village I would love. Thanks for giving me that feel-good-feeling :) Hope you're feeling well soon.

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  8. And it's almost that time again (spring) yippee! Although today doesn't feel so springy so far :( Hope you're feeling tip top very soon x x

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  9. Great post! It sounds like a lovely place to live - changing according to the season. You seem to have the best of both worlds - a quiet winter and a lively summer!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.com/

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  10. SO pretty. Today is finally warm and I'm adoring it. I need some sun in life!! Newest reader :)

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  11. I had no idea that your town had only 250 villagers in the winter! My goodness that is tiny. I thought my town was small with a population of around 6000, so now I'm going to shut up about that! I haven't been in my town long enough to know if we get any tourists, but I don't think so, it's too sleepy. I don't want them to buy up my baguettes and desserts, either! Well, spring is nearly here and soon your town will come alive again and I hope it's wonderful!
    Ashley (backyardprovence)

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  12. I'm fine with it being an old post- I loved it! Gosh, it sounds amazing to me- no joke. Especially this: "There is one bar/ cafe/ restaurant here, and on those cold Friday nights, when the roads are too icy to navigate down the mountain, the same group of us descend upon it.".

    Though I understand the city girl in me too would miss heels and fancy dresses- I also LOVE nights like that and the simplicity of spirits and good company.

    Thanks for "re"sharing. your life sounds exciting. And yes, "love" and "hate" do sound better :)

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  13. you are making me loooong for european spring and summer. oh to live in a town with lavender blooming all around me - I think i'd die. from happiness. love your writing, sara!

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  14. Your writing is beautiful and really paints a picture. I hope to be one of those summer residence in Provence one day. Right now I'll just be satisfies with visiting the boyfriends family down there (who also live there year round in Isle Sur La Sorgue)

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  15. Ohhh! I look at that picture of the lavender fields ... I spent just a few hours in Sault one sunny afternoon during lavender season and it was one of those places that "spoke to me" and I longed to move right in. Never mind that I'm beyond the years to indulge in an expat dream and I'm sure it would be a lonely existence as an old lady in a probably insular environment ... But there's nothing wrong with a little dreaming.

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  16. Awwww, you really made everything come alive with your words! I would love to visit there one day.

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  17. I loved this piece, older or not. I think that's true of any place we live. I never fully appreciated where I grew up until I moved halfway across the country. And even today, there are many things I love and hate about it. As well as many about the other states in which I've lived. I would not mind visiting Le Petite though!! I bet it's absolutely breathtaking. :)

    Hope you feel better soon! I think La Grippe is making an international wave, because I am also quick icky sicky. :(

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