For the past two weeks I was able to luxuriate and learn the meaning of "slowing down" as I drove from the hub of Paris into the lush green countryside of Normandy and then along the jewel-like ocean water coastline of Brittany. While my cares slipped away with each kilometer, I settled into what would be a new experiment for me--relaxing. This was a new concept for me and I had no other choice as I was about to experience the true meaning of "French Holiday" in a foreign land, speaking a foreign language and meeting new people (all foreigners)! I realized that this New Yorker was so used to schedules and timetables and rushrushrush that I was going to have to learn how to live in unstructured time.
...And learn I did. Waking up with no agenda and meandering downstairs for breakfast of coffee and crepes, sometimes I'd get a walk into town to check out the little market or just sit in the sun in the hydrangea-infused garden before lunch at 1:00. Some days we'd ride bikes into town, down to the beach or drive to another spot along the coast to amble on the famous granite rose rocks.
Growing up for a part of my life in Skaneateles, the smallest Finger Lake in Central NY, I was used to chilly water for swimming, but nothing compares to the ice-cold waters in Brittany. Every day my friend's aunt and neighbors would "take a bath" in the frigid manche. And I'd never seen the tide go out such vast differences. Just like in picture postcards with little dingys sitting on their rudders, waiting for the end of the day when they'd finally get to rest again on buoyant waters.
Driving through little towns on little windy roads past hedges and hedges of hydrangeas, quaint little stone houses and churches in town squares, I was beginning to imagine myself in a different life altogether.