All went well, well…as WELL can be expected I suppose, the train journey to Paris, our overnight in a hotel, and the subsequent flight to Canada. The kids are SO good at traveling, they certainly do know the drill though at times it takes them a bit to get into traveling mode as it were, a little “shennaniganning” here and there…but it is to be expected I suppose, no? We stayed at a hotel in Paris in between Dijon and the airport just to break the trip up a little bit where we got to swim, rent a kid movie and order room service, both my and the kids favorite thing. Aren’t we just spoiled rotten? I suppose if room service before dawn because you have to drag your sorry *ss to the airport before any other sane person is up is spoiled rotten… well…then maybe …Yeah. We are spoiled rotten.
We did manage to get out of the hotel packed-bathed-and-fed, with no fighting, before 7 A.M., not bad…I thought. I must have been bleary eyed because while checking out I conked my forehead good on the edge of the reception desk leaning over a little too quickly to hear something that Lily was saying me. It must have looked silly in a slapstick sort of way as Riel giggled in spite of himself. What NOT TO DO when your mom smashes her head before 7 A.M on any given day. I fought back tears all the way to the airport bus…trying to explain to my kids through gritted teeth exactly what had happened and exactly WHY mommy was weeping…
The kids napped on the plane while I watched “A Good Year”, a stunning film shot on location showcasing breathtaking images of rural life in Province about an Englishman who inherits a vineyard in the south of France and his gently awakening appreciation for the finer things in life.
Not without some relief I wept silently all the way through the film, saying goodbye perhaps as we flew in the direction of our real home in Canada, aware of the irony in already grieving something which had once felt so strange and unfamiliar, which would now be missed. The funny half-land of the expatriate I suppose, never really there, never really away.
The romantic images of the country itself and in the film were so powerful they served to all but erase any unpleasant memories of the frosty local Dijonnais scolding and wagging alienating fingers at wayward foreigners and our glaring lack of a roster of new French friends. Instead I will remember “treasure” laden visits to Brocantes to drag home blackened tart tins and rolling pins dusted with the patina of time, wardrobes and sleigh beds, antique soup turrines, and old tarnished sliver. I will think of the architecture and the breathtaking countryside in the Valley de L’Ouche, our favourite chateaux in Commarin, Chateauneuf, Abey de Fontannay, Malain, and Rochepot, our visits to Lyons, Paris, Marseille, Bescancon, and Avignon. I will only remember mist soaked mossy renaissance gardens cool with morning air, flaking wrought iron market tables dappled with warm summer sunshine laden with pastry, sausages, seasonal fruit, ripe purple grapes and heady fermier cheeses. Only of fresh white linens blowing in the breeze, crisp French breads and sweating bottles of cold Chablis beside equally breathy bottles of heady Burgundies