Belz/Saint Cado

The End & The Beginning

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And these are, once again, the last. The last of the ocean and the colours blue and white and open sky and no people for hours on end. But, it’s also the start: the start of mountains and snow and pine trees and skiing.

Things I’m Loving:

+ These DIY holiday ideas – (Because the old adage is true.)

+ This Hemingway bit – (Because I’m a sucker for Hemingway.)

+ This giftguide – (Simple. Useful. Beautiful. I like that.)

+ This documentary – (Because being down on your luck doesn’t mean you can’t be upbeat about life.)

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Belz/Saint Cado, France

But Where Are the People?

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I’ve finally, finally gotten on board that ‘writing a blog post in advance’ boat. Can I just say: it feels bizarre? I think it’s a good bizarre, I’m sure it is. (I hope it is.) It just feels so weird to come here, look and already written post over and hit ‘publish’. It makes me feel like I’ve got it a little bit more together, even on days when that’s a lie and I definitely do not have anything together.

More photos from Belz/Saint Cado. Things that I realized while editing/uploading/writing about these: I miss taking photographs of people. (Not that this place is over run with people. Bike for an hour, see four people. And I thought I lived in a small town.)  But I think that’s something I’m going to work on in the next little bit: working up the courage to start photographing people and activities. I think I’m ready to get back on that scary ledge of talking to people I don’t know. I got chills just typing that. But good ‘this could end really, really well’ sort of chills. Little steps.

Things I’m Loving:

+ This video – (I hadn’t heard about it before, but the 8 minute clip had me wanting to see what the rest of this film will be like. Very fascinating look, with a range of voices, of females represented in media and what that means/how that affects the mentality of people growing up seeing that.)

+ This documentary – (It airs within the next few days and the previews on TV make it look really interesting. I’m hoping to catch it!)

+ This site – (This looks interesting. Especially with the holidays here, it looks like a great way to compare prices/save money. Bonus!)

+ This gift guide – (This time for the photographers on your list. Because they’re a special bunch.)

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France

Falling Leaves

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My friend and fellow PhotoJ, Sam, asked me last week what the leaves look like in France. If they were turning colour or if they were just sort of doing that gross molting thing where they turn brown and then just drift listlessly to the sidewalk. Because that’s what they’re doing in England and she missed the way the trees look like they’re on fire. Where we come from, it’s almost as if the trees are one of those flip books. It starts out slowly, leaves changing colours and then you wake up one morning and the sun’s just coming up at 9:00 am and you’re out of the house and the only thing you can do, the only reaction to have is, “Wow.”

It’s not like that here. There are trees, yes. They’re changing colours, yes. But it’s not the outright fire that you see back home. It’s not. And, for me, I think, that’s alright. Because if they did, if they did fire up before they fell, I think it would make me more homesick. This sort of red and inconspicuous-unless-you’re-looking-for-it change fits for France. It’s the trees doing things the French way. And because I am in France, I will be alright with that. I am alright with that. And for those moments when I’m not, I’ll click through the pictures on Facebook that everyone’s sharing. Because that’s what Facebook was invented for.

Things I’m Loving:

+ This documentary – (I might actually have to dedicate a post to this because….should a documentary on pick up soccer make you tear up? If the answer’s ‘no’, I’m in trouble.)

+ This town – (My brain can’t wrap itself around: no roads.)

+ This video – (“If you’re thinking about running, you should stop thinking, and start running.”)

+ These photographs – (Like I said: Every once in awhile, I cheat on France with the idea of somewhere else.)

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France, Home

Homesickness is the long version of ‘I love you’

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Honesty time: I don’t get homesick. Not unless I’m actually sick and just need my mom to get me glasses of water and hot water bottles and all that other stuff that moms do when you’re sick. But other than that (and that’s happened a total of two times in the last four years so..), the last time I was actually homesick was when I was eight and spent the week at my cousin’s with her and her family.

Then yesterday happened and getting homesick sucks. I mean you’d think that would be obvious, but it really, really does. The trickiest part of it is, I think, the fact that there’s no one real cause of it. There’s no one thing that makes you go, “Yup, I miss home,” it’s an accumulation of various things that after awhile make you (me) go, “Was this really the best idea I’ve ever had?”, even though, yes, it’s up there on that ‘Best Ideas’ list.

Because I’m pretty sure every French person on the street can just tell that all the thoughts I’m thinking are not in French and no matter how many times I rehearse what I’m going to ask for in my head and finger all the euros in my pocket, I’m still going to say ‘tu’ instead of ‘vous’ and drop half my change on the floor or have issues finding my wallet. It’s trying to figure out which baguette shop is the one that the family normally buys from or trying to remember exactly which street it is that the flower stand is on.  It’s not knowing what all the rules of the road are or having to learn how to drive stick (as useful as it is to know) and having to take driving lessons once more, for the first time since I was fifteen.

One of the most difficult things, however, is the fact that I’ve lost the confidence to take my camera while I’m out and take pictures of the new place that I’m living in because I want to share, yet all that confidence that I gained after two years in Belleville has somewhere flown out the window and I’m going, “But…”.

I guess it’s one of those things that, no matter how much you think about what the hard things about a good idea might be, until you’re actually there and living it and facing them, you don’t know how you’re going to react to them, or, really, how difficult they are.

Ways I battle homesickness: Skype session with my mother who just looks at me when I say I’m homesickness and then tells me to soldier on because, hello child, you are in France. Write postcards home. Rewatch the videos on Facebook that my sister has made of my baby brother saying, “Hi Amma!” and blowing kisses. Read La Roja  and then spend hours learning about Franco’s Spain and the difference between Franco and Stalin and the similarities between Franco and Hitler and then get lost in Russian history. (yes, that actually helps and I don’t understand why.)

Things I’m Loving:

Female Football Stars Playlist – Female football players from around the globe with their favourite song. My favourite right now is Ed Sheeran’s ‘The A Team’. Really a little bit of everything kind of playlist.

+ Day-Old Croissant French Toast – Since I’m in France and all, I feel like this is something I need to do. At least once.

Diana Diroy – A photographer/videographer/documentary filmmaker who has some amazing photography and an absolutely captivating documentary on New York female cab drivers.

The Roma – The camera bag I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. And I know my mother reads my blog, so: Christmas isn’t that far off. If you wanted any suggestions or whatever.

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