When I answer Life's call, I don't really know what will happen. Life calls. I answer. I show up. I don't know why I've been called, or even what I'm supposed to do most of the time, other than show up. And, once I show up, I do my best to ride the wave and stay on my surfboard.
Things are working out very differently in France than I expected. Why I expected things to turn out in any particular way is a mystery. You'd think I would have learned by now not to expect anything, but obviously that lesson is still being learned.
I thought I was going to live in Uzes. But, things haven't opened here either as quickly or as easily as I thought they would. Hmmm... What is Life telling me? I'm not sure, but I just stay with it and keep going. I find another apartment, this time the process is smoother, but still taking its time and feeling a bit drawn out. Then, just a day before I'm scheduled to have an apartment inspection and sign the rental contract, I'm offered an alternative opportunity for a place to live. Everything changes.
Things happen more slowly in France than they do in the U.S. This is not a bad thing. It is just something I need to adjust to. The French are not in a hurry. Life is not something to be hurried through. Life is something to be savored. These are lessons I need to learn.
I went to a lunch gathering at the home of a friend here in Uzes and met some local people who encouraged me to slow down my apartment search. They also offered me some viable alternatives for places to live so that the housing search could proceed at a more relaxed pace. I started to open to other ways of doing this and see new possibilities for how things could happen if I gave it all more time and space. I started to wonder about whether taking the apartment I'd found was the best decision. Maybe taking a step back is what was needed.
Parallel to my rental search, was the unfolding journey of a friend who was in the process of trying to buy a house a bit north of where Uzes is, near a town called Montelimar. This friend is someone I met on the airplane coming to France. We each had had our seat assignment changed twice as Life did what was needed to make sure we were seated next to each other. When I first saw my new friend, I thought he looked familiar, but I knew I'd never met him. We sat in a row of five seats. I was in the seat on the far right, there was an empty seat next to me--thank you! thank you! thank you!--and my friend sat in the middle seat. We started talking and ended up talking for most of the flight. We hit it off like we'd know each other forever. And, in some dimension, we probably have. He feels like my long lost younger brother, like family.
We've stayed in contact and followed each others respective journeys in our residence efforts. He was driving back north, after conducting some business south of Uzes, and he stopped to see me and we had dinner. During the dinner, which happened a day before I was supposed to sign my rental contract, he offered me the opportunity to move into the house he was in the process of buying. Whoa... Another possibility. Plot twist! As soon as he asked me, I knew my answer was "yes." Everything within me relaxed into that "yes."
The house is huge, with more than enough room for multiple people to live there. I will start off in some available upstairs rooms as an apartment is prepared for me on the ground floor. It is in the country with lots of land and lavender fields surrounding it. It is about 15 kilometers outside of the town of Montelimar, which is larger than Uzes. I've seen photographs of it, but will see it for the first time on Saturday before returning to the U.S. on Sunday to pack and do what needs to be done in order to come back to France to live full-time.
I'm more excited than anxious. And, even though this is all happening in a time of planetary upheaval and travel advisories, I know things are proceeding as they need to be. I see my path ahead of me and I just keep walking. I still have no idea of the speed bumps yet to come or of any number of plot twists that will surface along the way, but I have a sense of well-being in regard to everything. I have a deepened sense of trust in knowing that things will work out for the best, even if I can't always see that. I've come to understand that a closed door, or a "no," or a slowing down of progress is just Life steering me in a different direction. I'm still on my surfboard and feel like I'm finally starting to drop into the tube of my own life.