Browsing "Lacoste"
May 16, 2010 - Lacoste    2 Comments


I can’t believe I’m only going to be living here for another week! Looking back, I got used to the nuances of living in Lacoste pretty quickly. The bell tower that chimes once on the hour and once five minutes past, the never-ending hill-and-stairs-climbing, the finicky water temperature in our shower, long, leisurely meals at regular hours (8, 12, and 7). I got used to passing sign after sign I could not comprehend and strangers carrying on conversations I could not hope to overhear. It will be strange to return to the U.S. and be able to understand everything spoken to me and to recognize most words and symbols I encounter. From our explorations I have gathered what certain words mean – sortie (exit), lavage (wash), piscine (pool). Yet I have hardly made a dent. Now I find myself wishing I had taken Spanish or French in high school. Latin is so… irrelevant. Only because not being able to speak it while learning it prevented any deep rooting of the language in my brain. Translating is not the same as holding a conversation. That is what I long to do the most: to have a conversation – to express myself in another language. That is the ultimate “other side” of this language struggle.

This week I have been absorbed in the finer details of my brother’s stay in Thailand and my stay in Lacoste: a massive Excel spreadsheet of data points, a file of pictures that signify identity, home, and place, and a Word document of stories. All for comparing our parallel and simultaneous international experiences (on opposite sides of the world). For my final book project in Book Arts. Fascinating. Soon I will be looking up at that familiar RDU airport ceiling, racing toward the exit (well, maybe not racing with all the baggage!) to find Mason, Mom, and Dad. I can’t even imagine. I can’t wait.

I wonder how things will be different. There is a faulty thought floating around in my brain: that when I return to the U.S., there will be nothing unexpected to experience. France is bursting at the seams with newness – when we drove to St. Saturnin, I stuck my head out the window, taking in the scent of freshly-cut grass, watching the afternoon sunlight on the gently waving fields of the richest green color. I am told it is wheat. It looks like water when the wind moves through it. I stuck my hand out the window and let the tall weeds give my fingers a momentary sting as we drove by. We passed big French houses tucked far away from the road at the intersections of fields, hidden behind walls of trimmed hedge. I saw a modest house with a front yard perfect for summertime fireflies and quiet afternoons spent on a quilt with a book. White laundry on the line.

Every time we go driving, the scenes that pass outside my window are discoveries. Stories spin in my head. Odd memories surface. When I saw the tall wheat blowing, I remembered one of the last adventures Mason and I had this summer, trekking through neighborhood yards (through the tall grass) – going nowhere in particular. So late in the day.

It is wrong for me to think there are no adventures left for me in the States. Everything in France is an adventure! But that doesn’t make everything back home mundane. Far from it. I’ll just have a new set of eyes I’ll be looking through. International-style.

I can’t wait to see how my time here affects the different facets of my life. My daily routines, my dreams for the future, little details like the narrow water glasses we use in the cafĂ© and the lace that gracefully adds privacy to windows, my diet (the amount of fruit I’ve been eating!), and the way I interact with foreigners in my own country. My time living and studying in France, in a way, has carved this space for new adventures back home. Because nothing will ever be the same. Not since I’ve experienced life in another country so much different than my own.

Both images taken in St. Saturnin.