Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jetlag...and its opportunities..between France and Australia...

I am a tourist in Monte Carlo (photo a fellow tourist 2013)

Three days ago, I returned to Australia after a seven week sojourn in France, during which I completed a four week French language immersion program at the Institute de Français in Villefranche-sur-Mer. I have written about my observations of the wonderful Institut in recent posts.

Jet stream from aircraft sending a "kiss" to my apartment in Villefranche-sur-Mer (photo LP 2013)

The course was followed by a two week mother/son “road trip” firstly through Provence, and then through the wine growing regions of Bordeaux. My son and I,  both “foodies”, challenged ourselves by attempting to emulate some of the beautiful meals we shared. While visiting the fresh food markets in the little towns and stocking up on provisions,  I practised my French with the stall owners while he chose the various vegetables, fruits, fish, fruits de mer,  poultry and meats with which we would try and reconstruct our favourite meals.  It was a  true joy to share our time in the kitchen over a glass or two of Côte de Provence rosé or a beautiful Saint- Émilion rouge.

Fish and a glass of rosé  beside the water in  Antibes (Photo LP 2013)

There were so many highlights  during my sojourn... from waking in the morning and thinking in French rather than in English;  to meeting wonderful, like-minded people from many countries while I studied at the Institut, one of whom, Deborah, has become a dear friend;  and sharing  meals with my son, some simple, others more complex and elegant. 

An apéritif before dining in the Michelin restaurant at the beautiful Chateau Cordeillon-Bages (photo LP 2013)

I so enjoyed meeting my special blogger friend Leeann and her partner in Eymet (her blog:Fabulously French);  and encountering my own strengths and weakness while driving in France (which I think was perhaps even more difficult for my passengers!).

A  partly Roman road which was used by the Pilgrims de Campostela behind the lovely Chateau de Sours (Photo LP 2013)
 But also I rediscovered myself, lost for a while,  after experiencing an upsetting personal upheaval 18 months ago. Long walks along ancient Roman roads were enlightening.

Leeann and Guy's lovely home, beautiful rental apartment  and brocante store...
My “jetlag” is still offering me the wonderful opportunity of feeling like I am here…but also as if I am still in France.  After many years of travel from one side of the globe to the other I have, surprisingly, found  that “jetlag” for me is not an unpleasant experience…rather a transition phase.

Spring is still emerging in France…my garden in Australia is showing all the signs of autumn, the falling leaves and the last roses in bloom but I am still able to “feel” both seasons, as if I am here, and there, if only for another day…

When I have memories let me linger in Villefranche at night...(Photo a fellow traveller 2013)

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