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Thursday, July 19, 2007

a long way home

The tickets are booked.

Knowing this, my step is lighter and my gaze is further off.

I can already smell the old wood of our crumbling house, feel my feet climbing up its steep wood steps, and hear the pigeons outside my window.

From the airport, we’ll drive out of the city and into the country. We’ll pass fields of sunflowers and old farm houses, vineyards and homes selling foie gras. We’ll drive down roads with perfectly aligned trees, and as we turn a sharp corner I’ll see it through the leaves. I’ll see my village, still standing strong and tall, atop of a hill, the houses left the same way they were hundreds of years ago.

France is whispering my name. The small village in the South of France where I went to school at 4-years-old, then came back to time and time again, is waiting for me.

The Patisserie door is waiting to be opened by my hands first thing in the morning, eager to get the croissants while they’re hot out of the oven. It will smell the same, and the woman at the counter will recognize me from years gone by, but will only let me know with a smile. If it’s her husband, he may make a joke or correct my French as he connects the image of a four-year-old blonde Canadian, who used to run around the village square, with the woman standing before him.

The stern owner of the bar will say hello if he’s in a good mood, or will nod in approval if he’s not, then continue yelling at the servers. The barman might smile too, or wait until his night off, when a couple of beers have brought out his social nature, and he’ll make some jokes under his heavy brown mustache.

At the market the foie gras merchant will yell provocative comments at my mother, the pizza man will smile his charming smile, and maybe make some jokes about me keeping my hands of his handome sons. We'll buy food fresh from the soil and the meals will be deliciously easy.

I’m dreaming of France and I can’t help it. Throughout my life, I have had the fortune of visiting this country time and time again, and it is my second home. It is a place I’ve associated with happiness, self-discovery, young love, and minor heartaches.

When I walk down the old country roads, blonde hair waving behind me, feet dirty from being outside all day, I often break into a run, and fall right back into my childhood self. Old women will stop me and recognize me from when I was younger, “Ah, Gigi!” They will exclaim.

Walking those roads my body and mind grow stronger and the important things in life become more clear.

In a few weeks I’ll meet my mother there. Until then, I’ll continue daydreaming.

castelnau de montmiral

***

nicoise

Ode to France Nicoise Salad

Handful of mixed greens
Steamed green beans with red onion
Vine tomato
Hard boiled egg
Corn on the cob (although they would laugh at this is France, where corn left on the cob is only for cows)
Dash of olive oil and red wine vinegar
Tuna (Callipo Italian brand, soaked in olive oil)

7 Comments:

Blogger eurobrat said...

I clicked onto your blog right after booking my next flight :)

How wonderful to have that trip to look forward to. Can't wait for your entries.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

You too beautiful femme, where are you headed this time?

And when did you say was the time to go on top of Printemps?

7:41 PM  
Blogger The Late Bloomer said...

This is a beautiful ode to France and to the village you grew up in, and I can vividly bring to mind those images thanks to your descriptions.

I'm off to the Atlantic Coast in a few weeks myself, to l'Ile de Noirmoutier... You have absolutely no idea how impatient I am to get there and to soak it all in, to take full advantage of the place, to cook simple, fresh things like you said, and to just forget the world.

Even though my job isn't that stressful, I just really need it this year...

Have a wonderful time on your visit to your second home! I can't wait to see all your gorgeous photos.

7:03 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

france sounds wonderful, the name gigi is also wonderfully adorable.

what is the meat item in that yummy looking salad? is it tuna?

7:42 AM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

The Late Bloomer- Thank you! Have an excellent time yourself, I've never heard of Noirmoutier, what food specialties do they have out there? Everyone deserves a break from life, no matter how stressful it is!

Andrea- Thanks, I completely forgot the main ingredient! Just edited it...and yes it is my favourite food, tuna!! Canned, but an Italian brand which is really excellent and avaialble all over Toronto.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Parisian Cowboy said...

Hey Gillian,

It's nice to read such a post. Hope you'll have a good time there.

See ya.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

yea!! I am curious to know where in the south?? and the food...an entirley different world, aye? If you pass through Limousin... do give a holler... I'd love to talk food, fashion and culture!!

xxx

11:47 AM  

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