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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, January 30, 2012

It's All Relative


            Fall and early winter have been considerably mild.  The village got its first real taste of winter this weekend with snow, freezing temperatures, and winds at 55 mph.  We had the wood heater and chimney filled to capacity all day long to keep the chill at bay.  As we hunkered down in the house, I recalled times, in less inclement weather, when tourists would visit the village.  Sometimes they were from other regions in France, but quite often we’d meet people who lived in a neighboring town and decided to take an afternoon drive to explore the countryside.  They would stand in awe of the surrounding forest and mountains, but then quickly become overwhelmed in the remoteness of the village, or so they thought was remote.  I was always amused and a bit dumbfounded by some of their questions.  I’ve been asked if we have a telephone, electricity, and how we get groceries. I’d laugh it off as I pointed to my car sitting in front of the house, “I drive”, I’d tell them.  Some of the locals were stunned to find we often frequented the same stores.
The village is located at the end of a six mile dead end road, so everything starts with a drive down.  The doctor’s office is 20 minutes away, the grocery stores are 30 minutes, clothing stores are 45 minutes, and the international airport is less than an hour.  When I think about that in comparison to when I was living in Chicago, I don’t think these commutes are anything out of the ordinary.  I can recall numerous times going to the store and only finding myself stuck in traffic, all for what I thought was going to be a quick run out to get milk.  It’s all relative.  If one’s used to sitting in traffic and budgeting extra time to get to the store, 30 minutes might not seem very long, but when one drives the whole commute, somehow, to some people, this could seem like a long time to travel.
I tend to laugh off these questions, as if we live without electricity, phone, or the internet. As if we live in another time, just because we live a bit out of town.
            Questions like the ones I get from the tourists always make me think of our neighbors, Monsieur and Madame Gousse, who are quite the pranksters.  Last spring, they bought a new TV and had it delivered.  Looking around at the village, the delivery man was convinced they had no idea what they just bought and they let him explain in painful detail how to turn it on, and not to be scared of the images from the glowing black box in the corner of their living room.  They explained to him they thought it was “art”, and they were so convincing in their naivety that the poor man believed them.  They could hardly control themselves as he left, and exploded with laughter once out of ear shot.  If he had only lifted his head a little, he would have seen the satellite on the roof of their house, and if he had just opened his eyes a little he would have seen that this is not the end of the world. 
Getting back to the reality of winter though, when the cold winds blow, outside seems far enough way and crossing the street is an expedition across the world, no matter where one lives.


  1. Love this post. It's what Patrice is always saying about Parisiens, they think everyone in a village is a backwards hick!

    1. Thanks Joy. I've run into that a lot, but I just laugh it off.