I've been taking note of the extreme way the french have of really checking you out. Unabashedly head to toe. Not unlike children, though I suppose we are just used to and expect that. I remember constantly telling my kids not to.
Well apparently nobody says that here.
Right at you and a good up and down. (They generally do tend to pause at my footwear. Rather unusual for these parts, I suppose. Red clogs or cowboy boots are very different than the standard black heeled boots.)
But the way they ogle or glare right to your face is something I've not really experienced before. Completely undeterred by a return direct look.
Nope, it's an inquisitive look that defiantly seems to imply I don't know what you are but I'm curious and I'm not gonna look away just to be polite.
I've gotten quite used to it. I take great pleasure in disarming some of the elderly with a big smile and a "bonjour madam/monsieur". It does often work and I am usually rewarded with a return smile.
This was different however when I crossed the Italian border.
Oh, they still stare all right but instead of "what are you?" kind of vibe it was more of a "what have we here?" kind of interest. I must say lecherous old men aside it was not unpleasant...
I was only slightly less forthcoming with the big smiles.
Oh, I know I'll be home so soon and I'm loath to forget these sort of wonderful details of immersion in another culture. The beauty of not understanding whole conversations around me, the simplistic bubble I can live in all by myself.
Suddenly the things I've missed are fading and these funny oddities have become so dear.
My new wonderful friends are seeking me out to say goodbye. I feel so lucky and so very blessed. I have 3 more days here.
It's sunny and warm.
Today I worked alone up on high up behind Roquessels in Morterzu -a vineyard with amazing views. It's the abandoned one that will take another year or more to bring it back. I have graduated to the electric pruners (this feels big). I was able to get a lot done in what was probably my last work day. It was bittersweet, though my arm was getting tired I didn't want it to end,
I kept going.
I was happy walking back to the car and thought I could do this everyday.
And then realized that actually I do sort of do that everyday.
It's the same kind of gardening/farming that I love to do in VT. So I'll take these beautiful memories home with me and keep the spirit of this place and this satisfying work with me in these days and months ahead.
|that is the backside of the chateau in the distance that looks over "our" wonderful village|
|the white line on the horizon to the left is the sea|