When you live in a foreign country rather than the one you know as home, there are certain things you expect will be different, unusual, far from the norm of what you are accustom to. Those big things like language, culture, food... those big things that are necessary to understand and help one to feel like they fit in. One doesn't expect to be thrown off by the little things such as how to open a door, toilet paper, signatures, hand shakes, ice cubes, you know the little things that you don't expect to be different but are and catch you off guard the first time you encounter them.
When you live in a foreign country you will learn the language, learn their culture, cook their food, sing their songs and eventually laugh at their jokes. But when you first live in a foreign country you will miss the smallest things from back home the most... for me the things I missed the most where so silly I can hardly bring myself to tell you... let's just say you will miss the smallest things because it is easier to cope with than feeling your heart breaking because you aren't there for your Father's 80th birthday, or your niece's birth, or your best friend's wedding nor any of the unending list of important dates that will come every month for the rest of your life.
When you live in a foreign country your mother tongue sounds like music. When you hear someone speaking your language your very words will race out, "Hello, where are you from?" Perfect strangers seem like your new best friends. You have much in common without even knowing the person name.
You wonder why you don't meet more people when you are back home... everyone there speaks your tongue?
Then after years of living in a foreign country you realize you have two places called home. You look around and the foreign place doesn't feel so foreign. The doors that were closed to you before have opened over time, and the homesickness feels so common you think of it as a bruise that won't go away; you know how to protect it.
When you live in a foreign country the keys to your new life will seem strange. The keys to any door at first feel awkward to use. Then one day you realize that the passage is just part of the journey and every nook, cranny, door, and key has brought you to a another place within yourself.
Photos: Doors knobs no less in France with one very odd, but very common key.
Details, that is the type of photos I like to take. Close ups. So close you sense you can see the atoms doing a dance. Maybe the idea is to get inside the object? I don't know... but I like focusing the camera on the little details, the corners, the forgot spot, where the heart of the matter seems to beat.
Take for example this armchairs arm. Carved wood, brass tacks, worn, velvet brocade upholstery, faded paint... The texture is rich, the details endless, the history evident. It has been touched, it has lived.
When focusing on the entire armchair those inviting details are lost, and it is reduced to just another worn out armchair.
Layers upon layers of time. The French word on the leather bond book, "Chansons" translates to, "Songs." Antique books invite you to hold them, open them, as if holding hands through time.. there is movement in those worn pages, collective thoughts, like a song asking you to join in. Soul humming.
Communicating through the presence of silence.
Photos: Taking time to notice the little things.
Letters, ledgers, love notes, life of long ago living in between the lines.
Daring adventures, dreams, lists of wants and needs. Bits and pieces of someone who once walked the path before you.
Notebooks, cookbooks, books... plenty of books. Children's paper dolls and postcards and newspaper clippings, traces, the spirit of French creativity and ways of being.
What was the best thing you ever found at a flea market? It doesn't have to be expensive, valuable, rare... it could be something that you simple like. One of my most favorite finds... other than paper?
Considering very few things in my home are new, it would be hard to decided.
The pleasure of going to a flea market 'BROCANTE' in French, is that it is like a museum. Where the traces of history, and culture wait for you to rediscover different periods, places and time. Where you can touch and take home a piece of France. Why do I love the Brocante? It engraves a song in my soul, I feel connected to a past that teaches me about today.
Photos: Flea market finds that fashion my home.
Reading is a drug. The first line takes you on a trip that can last a lifetime. Sacha, like a million other people, has taken many trips with Harry Potter. Seven in fact. Seven times over. Seven is a powerful, lucky, highly symbolic number... as is this last book of Harry Potter. Seven trips too short... he doesn't want this tale to end!
If you look closely at the photo you will see that he is reading his last lines... one or two pages remain... I asked him about ninety pages ago how it was going? Dazed he looked up and said, "Mom have you ever read a book were you wished the pages would not have to turn, letting the story go on and on?"
I nodded and said, "Boy have I ever."
I know this drug, I have taken it many times, pages, volumes, books upon books. I cannot kick the habit. Have you ever found yourself reading the lines of a book slowly, just so it can last forever? Do you ever close your eyes and hear the words come alive in your mind? Have you ever felt like you were in each word and that each word took on new meaning? Have you ever gone to bed with a flashlight under the covers? Have you ever washed dishes with the book propped up against the counter so you could read at the same time?
Sacha laughed, "Have you ever read the same line several times over just so you can hold on to it in your memory, so that it doesn't end when you close the book?"
Boy does he have the book drug bad or what?
Rarely does it rain in Provence. It drizzled non stop Saturday giving Sacha a chance to read the entire day. I watched him read most of it. I smiled seeing his abandon slippers, and his tongue in his cheek, so absorbed, so faraway. I didn't even mind that his room looked like a bomb had gone off inside it. Nor that he hadn't changed from his PJs. Nor did I mind bringing him food and placing it by his side. It was that kind of day, a day for a trip, a day for the book drug to take his mind and weave a tale.
The last page, the last line, the last word... and yet it doesn't end there, a good book never does.
Photos: Sacha taking a trip with Harry Potter in English.