June 30, 2011
A Charmed Life?
When I traveled to California for my nephew's wedding last October, something happened that really made me think.
At a 'meet and greet' event before the big day, I was introduced to a member of the bride's family. As soon as she realized who I was she said, "Oh, you're Aunt Jenny* from France! I hear you lead a very charmed life."
Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather.
I plastered a big smile on my face and responded with the appropriate, "Very nice to meet you. Yes, I live in France," all the while thinking to myself, "A charmed life? Is she joking?"
A charmed life.
I thought a lot about that statement over the next few days and it made me wonder if that is how people perceive my life? Simply because I live in France? Does she think that I loll about the swimming pool all day, eating bonbons (or maybe cheese) and drinking rosé, without a care in the world?
It's a nice, romantic way to look at it, I guess. Though definitely not my reality.
I have to be honest, (and I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but here I go)...even though it is a beautiful, charming and delicious place to live, la belle France is also quirky, tempermental and a heck of a lot of hard work.
Which doesn't mean that the effort it takes to live here isn't worth it.
Though I do find it amusing when people think that some kind of "charmed life fairy," for lack of a better term, simply tapped me on the shoulder one day and decided to transport me to the life in France that I'd dreamed about since I was 20 years old. If only!
Like I was just sitting around, waiting for her to come along and make it all happen. Like I've never had to fill out a piece of paper or complete a dossier. Like I haven't worked my butt off to live here.
In a nutshell, we have a normal life. With ups and downs, with easy times and hard times. I work during the summer tourist season in a hot, stuffy office with no air conditioning. We live in a modest village house with no garden, no courtyard, not even a balcony. And no, we don't have a swimming pool.
Our car is 9 years old, as are a lot of our clothes, and we live on a moderate budget. Lke many of you, I imagine.
There is a difference though...we've chosen to live in a foreign country - a country that we were neither born nor raised in - and as an added "bonus," we get to do it all in a foreign language.
Also, we've had to ask for the privilege to live where we do. Over and over.
The key word in that previous paragraph is chosen.
Some might say that we're gluttons for punishment. Believe me, we aren't.
Because in the end, every hurdle we've had to overcome, every hoop we've had to jump through, has been more that worth it.
I don't know if I would call it a charmed life. It definitely isn't the life for everyone. In fact it isn't the life for most.
But it is a good life, and a happy one. And I wouldn't change it for the world.
*my nieces and nephews are the only ones allowed to call me Jenny! Pin It