Friday, April 27, 2012

a Reflection on my Vauvert

Bell tower on Rue du Posquieres in Vauvert

The bells ring every hour and for special occasions. There are birds that live in our alcove window... raising a family and inviting friends for tea... one of their eggs are in our planter on the sill. The alcove is made of tin and you can hear them flustering about and talking to each other. From below are sounds of people talking, laughing, yelling or just greeting each other on the streets. The sounds of scooters twisting through narrow streets echo upward. These are the sounds in my little world... Vauvert.

Vauvert is never more alive than on market day. Market days are on Saturdays and Wednesdays. This is when the villagers all come out to socialize as well as shop for fresh local vegetables, fish, meat, cheese as well as browse the stalls for jewelry and art from local artists, kitchen goods, (very cool) clothes, flowers and plants. People love to gather at the many outdoor cafes. It’s a time to come out to meet friends and neighbors with 3-cheek kisses, handshakes and the latest gossip as well as fill your baskets with the abundance of what Provence has to offer.

Market day is a colorful, engaging event that should not be missed in southern France.  Every village has their own although the days may be different.  Just look around... if you can't drive or find parking in the middle of a village and see women carrying straw baskets or pull carts already filled with produce and fresh bread... and masses of people shopping and chatting with street vendors... You found it!  Jeeze, ya can't miss it!  Definitely stop and check it out.

market day in Vauvert
One of the nicer things about a small village like this is that everyone seems to know each other.  OR, it may be that it's just the personality of the French. They love to talk and engage you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried in my very best French to explain to them, I don’t really understand all they are saying and to please speak more slowly… but they just take it in… chuckle at my “American-ness” and proceed to continue the conversation in rapid-fire French, BUT exaggerating their hand gestures. I’m assuming that was so that I could “better” understand the conversation. I’m becoming very proficient at “fake-French” and most of the time am able to get through a conversation cleverly throwing in a “mais-oui” or “j’sais” at strategic points.  I laugh and smile with the confidence of one who is in PERFECT command of the language.

I feel a combination of awe and gratefulness at the kindness and generous spirit of the French. They are always eager to help where they can and encourage with joy and great humor as well as correct you (for your own edification in the language and the ways of the French people... bien sur). I can tell you for certain that the American view of the “rude French” is just “crazy-talk” by people who probably only visited Paris. If you only visited Paris, you haven’t seen France and you don’t know the French people.

photo from Google images

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Although I’m coming up on my first summer here in Vauvert, the only tourists I have seen are these strange backpackers on a Pilgrimage. It seems that Vauvert is on the route of the Camino de Santiago. It is the way of St. James (the apostle) who, I assume is buried in Spain in Santiago de Compostela. There are many routes to Santiago springing out of Italy, through southern France and into Spain. Vauvert happens to be on the route out of Arles (which I guess is a big checkpoint). I always feel sorry for them, carrying around that backpack in the heat and walking everywhere… but I guess it’s what they want. People from all over the world come to do this pilgrimage so it seems it’s also a social connection with different cultures and kind of camaraderie that occurs when people are doing the same thing in a difficult situation. They probably all need to support and encourage each other because I know I’d be whining by day 2 and ready to hop a bus, take a shower and go home. I think I’ll try to talk to one of these people when I have the next opportunity. It would be interesting.

Well, if you happened to have read my post on Facebook, you’d know that this is not the blog I posted earlier today. The one I posted earlier today got lost. I was updating the formatting and POOF… the whole blog disappeared and I could not, for the life of me, get it back. Needless to say I was NOT happy. I tried to re-write it, but that was too frustrating. I don’t remember everything I said. So, this is basically a new blog. Since it’s 1:30 am and I still need to post this (no trust in the google blog thing… I have it in Word and I’ll just copy and paste it. This way if I lose it again… I’m covered). So, with that (and the ringing of the bell signifying the half after the hour) I’ll say bonne nuit to you all.

I know that at my last post I left you all hanging at a pretty precarious point with Ian’s health. I didn’t go into it any further because the whole situation with the hospital in Nimes was pretty traumatic, for both Ian and me. Neither one of us want to re-live it in the blog. Sufficed to say… with the help of Ian’s excellent General Practitioner and us being advocates of our own health/situation and information gathering we think we may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Ian and I had many plans and still do. But his health and well-being comes first and foremost and once we have that under control we plan to get on with our lives and enjoy it like we planned. We thank you all for your prayers and support. From the bottom of our hearts… we find ourselves grateful for the kindness of friends as well as strangers ready to jump in to help.
 Thank You!

 a la prochaine mes amis!

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  1. Hi Tina, it's a wonderful story and I hope you will continiu those beautiful blogs, love Vera!!!

    1. Thank you Vera... I certainly plan to continue and I hope I'll be able to get to it more often... thanks for reading xx T.C.


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