Monday, May 30, 2011

Where are we? We are here.

As many of you have probably guessed by now from my last entry, I am in France. Micael and I have decided to spend three months here this spring and summer to try and figure out whatever there is to figure out about this country.  Now, you may be thinking that this seems like a vague objective, and you would be right.  In fact, I agree wholeheartedly.  And this is why I'm still not sure exactly why we are here.

So rather than Three Months in Provence, I should probably title these entries Here We Go Into Even More 'Twenty-Something' Ambiguity.  Micael and I are essentially jobless, or even more importantly, we are career-less, we have no apartment or official address, we are practically using an Eagle Creek suitcase as our closet, and this is the kicker to our deepening state of ambiguity--we have no idea what comes next.  We've come to France for so many reasons that we can't quite figure out the main reason why we are here. A little bit of vacation, a little bit of Thiodet family bonding, a little bit of Briana learning French, a little bit of trying France on for size.  This trip has become everything, and in trying to make this trip everything, I am completely confused about what it is actually supposed to be.  Am I supporting Micael as he discovers what this place means to him?  Am I trying to learn French and claim a place here myself?  Are we relaxing and soaking up beautiful southern sun...? Oh the options--every day presents a dozen new ones, like eggs in a carton, waiting to be cracked.

I feel a bit as if I'm on a sojourn.  A kind of twenty-first century pilgrim trying to make sense of my world and my place in it by journeying to another.  The movie Away We Go comes to mind, in which a young couple, unexpectedly pregnant, decide to travel through the United States trying to choose the best place to set down roots and raise a child.  Similarly undirected, this couple could live anywhere, do anything--they just need to decide where and what.  They need to decide, most importantly, what it is they want. I've learned from heart-wrenching practice that knowing what I want is both the question and the answer, it is the becoming, it is the journey.

So here we are in France. An obvious destination as it brings us back to Micael's roots. But a past does not always help determine a future. I think we both came here hoping that France would strike us over the head, throw us in a sack and never let us leave. And of course, why would we want to?  We both somewhere (at times more secretly than others) hoped to be captured by this country. After only three weeks here, we're still waiting for France to give chase.

This trip may not be meant for us to discover a life right now in France. Or maybe it is, but this won't come until week 11 of our trip--more of that ambiguity I mentioned earlier. What is more important is that we are journeying. Being here is opening the floodgates of spring, allowing the first fresh waters to flow out into the fields, ripening wild flowers. It is giving us so much to think, to ponder, to wonder.  Each of those ripening flowers, a new possibility. For now we wander, and in the wandering, my hope makes me certain, we will find our next place.

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