As of this writing, it has been 4.5 months that we live here in France.
Now this does not seem long, but the months are going fast. The beautiful weather, and therefore being able to get out early for breakfast, dinner, a snack and a drink in time, as we say 'living like God in France' suits us so far.
Despite the current limitations. We are lucky to be allowed to live here.
Sometimes I think about whether there are things I now miss from the Netherlands.
If you ask other Dutch people living in France, it is invariably the frikandel, the bitterbal or croquette, the 'get some chips on the corner'.
Am I missing that? Well no, actually not. Maybe a little. But is not the most important thing.
Sometimes I miss communication that is easy in Dutch.
If you need something from the pharmacy and you don't know how to describe it in French.
As long as I have to go somewhere and just ask it face to face, I will generally succeed, with my hands and feet and with the translation app. Look up and remember some sentences or words in advance.
If everything goes a bit easier here in France, I would like to find someone who can help me to speak and understand French better.
Now I'm doing some lessons that you can do via an app or the internet.That does help. I still know my 'school French' a bit.
Besides the language, am I missing anything else?
I certainly don't miss the crowds. It was rushed.
What I do miss are the markets. Because at the moment they are all canceled here in France.
I miss strolling along the various stalls. The search for (unnecessary) stuff.
In the Netherlands I did a number of fairs every year, where I stood with both homemade cakes and gift items.
Always being busy with that, making sure it looked nice, the preparations.
And then the days when the fair was there.
Unfortunately I heard that they have all been canceled in the Netherlands for this year, so I don't miss anything anymore.
The orange madness.
Yes, THAT is one thing.
Every year on April 27 there is 'King's Day'
The whole country is then in turmoil.
Everywhere there are parties and fairs, many outdoor activities.
You hope it won't rain on that day.
Everyone is free. And in the big cities, activities often start the night before.
Open air concerts, where everyone is dressed in orange and wearing weird hats, faces painted in orange, red, white and blue.
And all to celebrate the king's birthday.
It is a tradition.
It was once 'Queen's Day' on April 30 for many years.
Held at the Palace, in the surrounding gardens and broadcast on television.
Nowadays, the king and his whole family go to a specially selected place in the Netherlands, where all kinds of activities are held by associations. You can also follow this on TV.
Unfortunately, this will not take place in the Netherlands this year.
Not a king's day for the first time.
I kinda join the tradition, though.
Have planted marigolds in the garden and put 1 on the table.
Of course in orange.
I do miss the orange cream poms, the orange pastries. The orange bitter, a Dutch alcoholic drink.
I looked at the bakery here in the village this morning.
Every Sunday we pick up our ordered bread, and I choose a tasty pastry.
The choice is always very large, but you have to be quick.
Although the village is very small here, it is a very busy bakery.
I think it is a wonderful luxury. A bakery open 6 days a week (except Tuesdays).
And which has many types of bread and pastries. Delicious chocolate and always friendly.
You should cherish such small self-employed people.
So also this morning.
I was waiting outside, neatly in line, at an appropriate distance because of the measures.
For the first time there was a woman who had one conversation with me.
Oops. My French.
But I could still handle the conversation about the beautiful weather.
When my French improves, I will dare to have a longer conversation.
Once inside the bakery, my order was ready.
The baker already knows, also that I come to get this every Sunday.
In order to be at least busy with my French language, I always order something else.
I already know the (almost comical) names of some pastries: 'religious' and 'divorce' are two such names. Delicious pastries with of course a coffee and a chocolate filling.
Today I decided to find out the name of the best man.
I know there are two, but who is who. (yes indeed, two men. I assume they are a couple but maybe I'm completely wrong)
So his name is Dani. Nice name for a nice man.
When he asked my name, I answered that it is Tessa. But he did not understand that. Or was difficult to pronounce.
So I said Therese. (that is my real birthname).
'Aaahhhhh Therese' and he smiled.
So from today on, my name will be Therese in the village, I assume.
It is equally beautiful, because on the corner of the village is an immense statue of St. Therese.
Not that I am holy!
Anyway, unfortunately there was no orange pastry next to the 'religious' and the 'divorces'.
If I take one bite of my 'divorce' tonight, I will remember the orange layer ...