A Day in the Life – France, April 6, 2015
A Day in the Life is a series of blog posts describing the life of people within our community who live all around the world. Although the way of living may be different, the every day life and all its wonders fascinate us no matter where we are.
I wake up to the disney-like tunes of my mobile phone’s alarm clock. First I open the blinds to see what the weather is like today – blue sky it’s going to be a warm day! In our small apartment there is no thermometer to check the temperature and I rarely watch the forecast on TV. I’m losing control, the old me would say, because in Finland I checked the weather all the time to be able to prepare. In the French Riviera the pace of living is different.
Breakfast, porridge, some orange juice and a croissant with ham and cheese inside, is a funny mixture of Finnish and French: I’m used to a large, salty breakfast whereas the French prefer sweet and small quantities. Still, having a boulangerie downstairs is not a bad thing.
Not watching the news from the French TV is something I should do more to activate my language skills further and get more and more acquainted to the culture. But no. This morning is not an exception, and I watch my morning news from a Finnish online streaming service. I also check what’s happening on social media, then work emails.
I currently have visitors. My mother and two aunts are visiting from Finland. The spring here is a great time for them to come because it was still snowing heavily at the end of March when they left home. Today is their final day and I have planned a walk around a cap nearby that has scenic views to the Mediterranean. I meet the ladies at an agreed spot and we take a bus closer to the walking route. The day is gorgeous, hot even, and the Mediterranean sparkles like never before. I feel blessed to live in this kind of place, it’s such a difference compared to my beloved Finland. There is lots and lots of beauty in Finland but it is not the same kind that this place offers.
Packed lunch break on a rocky beach. Dry cookies and bottled orange juice taste lovely outdoors. Everyone applies more sunscreen and puts their hats on. We can’t stop admiring the sea, the blue sky, the interesting formations of the rocks near the water and the trees and other plants that are, again, different from home. I start wondering where do I belong after all. I say home when I mean Finland but I also say home when I mean my home here in France.
On the way back the bus driver showed my visitors the best French himself: no English and no polite words to the strangers seasoned with a grumpy look at me, who after all was able to order her tickect en francais. From the bus window we spotted many very French activities going on. A man with a striped shirt holding two baguettes. A group of older gentlemen playing petanque and looking very serious. A car parked half way over a pedestrian crossing with the emergency indicators flashing, and then a man emerging from a corner store across the street, going to his car and calmly driving away as if nothing ahd happened.
While my guests are having a siesta I work for couple of hours. I feel inspired about all the encounters I’ve experienced here during the last seven months. In this role it motivates to gain more and more international experience, and being able to share it with the correspondent community and others too. Despite the lonely nature of this job I get by well because of these kind of motivation-boosting days.
I’m feeling a little bit sad because of my family members have to leave tomorrow. I get to help them pack their things while we go through all the fun moments we’ve had during their one-week holiday. The thoughts of belonging come back to me. I realize, no matter how cliché it sounds, that it’s more about the people, not the place you are in.
We eat dinner according to the French schedule: later in the evening. Salty crepes are delicious and a dessert ice cream leaves a smile on all of our faces. I impress my mother once again by knowing some French and being able to communicate with the waiter. Anyone ever questioned the importance of language skills? I have even though I’ve always liked languages a lot. The way they teach languages in Finland is quite good but we are still lacking natural situations to speak the language. My biggest stumbling block with French has been the talking, and many times I wish I had more courage to start a conversation. It’s just hard to open your mouth if you’re trained to get minus points every time you make a mistake.
Time for goodbyes and goodnights. I feel happy having all these people and all these places in my life. Good night!