Today started off with a little clouds, but that never stops us from enjoying the warmth of the sea breezes here on the French Riviera. So, since we’re starting to adjust to the extremely slow French life, we went for a little stroll around town.
We returned after lunch to continue with the cleaning process. The flat still isn’t what we would like it to be, so we’re still working on it. While Tilly was working inside, I started pulling weeds from the terrace garden. It’s rather small, but it’s still a substantial job. I’d say it might be about 10 feet x 10 feet or so.
As I began weeding, I noticed the Italian couple upstairs and to the right of us chatting out on their balcony. I looked up and the lady of the house looked down with approving eyes. We caught eyes and she applauded saying “bravo” and clapping her hands in approval as I dug through the weeds.
The garden has been an eyesore for the locals who live above us. We feel that it’s almost an obligation for us to make it look good now.
I took her applauding as an invitation to practice my French (French seems to be the “international language” of the area as you’ll soon see). So, we struck up a conversation about the thunder and lightning in the background, the weather, the garden, and our landlord. Her broken French and my practically non-existent French worked perfectly hand in hand. We had some good laughs about some of the things I found in the garden, like plastic flowers and such.
Then, out pops our British friends. Apparently we woke up Pete, who came out first. It seems he knows less French than I do, which is a miracle, but he wasn’t afraid to talk with our Italian neighbor.
Soon after Pete popped his head around the balcony, so did his wife, Mav. Mav knows a bit more French than both Pete and I combined, so they had what seemed like a great conversation.
Then, with all the racket and ill-fated attempts at conversation and nicities, another set of Italian neighbors, just below the first and next to us, came out of their flats and attempted to join the conversation. It was the ultimate in smiling, hand waving, and slow speaking that we Americans dread. But to Tilly and I, this was bliss. Neighbors talking to neighbors about everything we had in our tiny vocabularies. Invitations to our future garden terrace for tea and coffee was satisfactory for all who were involved.
With unbelievably unawkward conversations coming to an end, I went back to pulling weeds.
Here on the Riviera, we call this a day. And as I sit here, typing without internet access (to post later), I’m reminded of the slow pace and relaxed way of life as two doves pick out fresh meals from our recently tilled and bare soil. They don’t seem to mind that I’m just 4 feet away, typing on a sophisticated machine to people millions of miles away.
I hope you enjoy your day as much or more than we are enjoying these kind.