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it takes a village | by These Days in French Life
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it takes a village

It really does take a village. We got the warmest welcome, I could almost cry, it was everything that we were missing in our lives but we didn’t know it: tours of everyone’s houses (who have repaired them all with care and skill, this is a rarity because French families usually keep their doors shut and their lives very private but our courtyard is a multicultural mix of ten or so families—we are even invited to a baby baptism Wednesday by a Mexican/ French family—I am making tamales for everyone).


Amaya was immediately let into the circle of little girls (5 and 3 years old and their mother took Amaya by the hand as Benji and I unloaded the moving van and they played on tricycles with her for hours and fed her snacks. There is no traffic in the pedestrian Escargot so all the kidlets run and play together. Another family directly across has three little boys who Amaya loves to play ball and “voitures” with and they let her and actually come to get her to play ball. We hardly have to watch her though we keep our door open as does everyone else because three retirees sit on a bench outside our door to chat and survey every moment (our next door neighbor has an art gallery so she put out nice old bench and flowers for everyone to hang out). Benji loves talking to everyone and Amaya is being carried around by a sweet lady right now who is teaching her new words in French. We went to the new daycare center today and took a tour, she loved it instantly, they have art classes all day long, gardening, play grounds, snack times, nap times, and lots of fun little tots to play with. It will cost us 30 cents an hour to send her there when ever we wish. It is 500 meters from our house.


I am sleeping so well, with beautiful colorful vivid dreams each night. A horse, a magician and a woman medicine woman have been in all of them. Amaya loves her new huge room and the brass bed rails that we found in the trash are the perfect fit to protect her from the ultra steep stairs. Benji is building our bed right now and we have designed a kitchen pantry buffet that he will build out of the old doors from the house.


Grandpa gave us a hundred euros "to turn on the electricity" he said. I think he really thinks we are in a ruin, but it’s very livable and it didn’t cost anything to transfer the electricity/water to our names. With the hundie, we went to the flea market and got a 10 euro chandelier for the dining room, some drawer pulls for 1 euro and three pairs of slippers for Amaya for ten cents each. With the rest, we rented the van and got a new gas connecting hose for our gas stove that came with the house though I am using the hearth to cook almost all of our meals. We have a lot of wood for the fire and lots of ambition for the old house.


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Taken on October 25, 2008