Thursday, 29 November 2007

Holding the Dream (part one)

Some days are tough and it's hard to remember or understand why we are here.

Tod has a bug or food poisoning and spent all day yesterday in bed. Today he is still white and tired and struggling to keep warm.

The day is cold and grey, the kitchen range is sulking and it's hard to keep even one room heated.

A week ago we were sharply reminded how little french we understand. Out walking, we met a man who (we thought) told us one of our neighbours had died, having been attacked by his dogs. We were aghast at the story and deeply shocked by what we had heard. But it was not true! To our great relief, Tod saw him a few days later in his garden and he waved cheerfully. So what had we heard? And how could we both have so thoroughly misunderstood?

It is not just our lack of understanding of language, it is the whole context and infrastructure that we are having to rebuild: who is a good doctor, a good vet, a good osteopath; where to buy organic food, go for advice on tax, get the car serviced, buy inks for the printer, find quality fabrics and carpets; when is the refuse tip open, can we contact our local mayor, get hold of our electricity company? And there are times when I have absolutely no idea where anything is or where anything belongs, in the garage, in the kitchen, in the utility room, in my study. Each situation, lovingly built up over years and so taken for granted in the UK, now demolished, leaving us just that bit more exposed, alone and frustrated.

Most days we cope and know that next year everything will be easier. Right now, though, it's hard to hold on to the dream.

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