Two months ago today I drove to Salies to make my home here. Sixty two days. In those nine weeks I have furnished my small apartment, made new friends, established a routine, learned where to shop for different things from vegetables to car parts, registered in two French classes, been invited to two dinner parties, invited my friends out also, gone up and down two flights of stairs at least two hundred and forty eight times, met the postman, subscribed to I-Tunes for movies, worked with clients over internet, taken Salomé twice to have her toilettage at her new beauty parlor called Tou-tou.net, learned to order furniture over internet, gotten a speeding ticket, grown accustomed to making my own lunch, eaten two boxes of Petit Brie, driven to IKEA in Bordeaux –two hours away- to buy the arm chairs I now refer to as my two black elephants (they turned out a bit large for my small living room), established a routine with my osteopath in Navarrenx, found the best restaurant in the region (Audaux), set up sessions with my personal trainer in Madrid via Skype twice a week, hung my frying pans on the beam in the kitchen French-style, connected up internet, given up on trying to plug in cable TV to my computer, made an appointment with a vet for Salomé, hired a sweet French girl to clean twice a week, taken pictures of frost on leaves and mist over Salies, found the best bakery for croissants on Sunday, investigated where to get the battery for my table clock changed, planned my trip to Mexico in March and one to Barcelona in May, learned how to use SCNF on internet and buy tickets on the TGV, searched out the train station in Orthez and written down the daily trains to Bordeaux and Paris… In other words: made a life for myself. I am content, I feel proud of myself and grateful to life for allowing me to have this experience.
I have not… written as much as I would have wanted to, learned French as fast as is my wish, eaten enough fish, gotten over the thrill of the freedom of my life, found a store where they sell microwave popcorn (with salt, not sugar), gone to the movies in Salies, done the around-the-region excursions I would like to, gone swimming at the Thèrmes, found a chiropractor, set up to have my lab tests done in San Sebastian, looked for a dentist and a good optometrist, been able to book a flight from either Pau or Biarritz (the two nearest airports), gotten my landlord to install a composter for the building, been successful growing basil in a pot, attracted many birds to the feeder outside of my window, gone to St. Jean de Luz to eat fish, taken as many walks as I had originally planned, installed a radar detection program on my I-phone, received the first month’s rent from my tenants in Madrid, gone to the bank to get my checkbook, found someone to take care of Salomé when I travel, beaten my New Zealander friend at scrabble, won more than eight out of two hundred games of Russian Solitaire, gotten up the courage to buy fish in the poissonerie and cook it at home, investigated who Jeanne d’Albret is in spite of her name being on streets and buildings in almost every town of the region including the building I live in, eaten French blood sausage, bought new clothes, or delved into the history of the region where I am now living, gotten tired of clouds… So there is still quite a bit to do, and more.