A Home Away From Home

They say that that it is difficult to have a good life. That the world has little patience or consideration for the innocent. Yet, as I stare out across the rolling hills of green, dotted with stone cottages and sheep, I cannot help but feel at ease. I don’t know if it is the slow hum of the train’s wheels as they glide across the tracks that offer me a sense of peace but for the first time in months, I have no fear. There is a simplicity nestled in the hearts of the people here. As if, it was conceived within the flower beds, the water, the landscape. A part of the soil that bore bountiful fruits, eaten by the masses and replenished with a passing smile. A way of life, that is Normandy. The elegance and grace that lingers within silence. There is an understanding without speaking.

I am a whirlwind. I am a summer, heat storm. Clashing and bumbling around creating chaos. Disrupting this order. This simplicity. I watch from the outside as I babble along, making by with nothing more than the shaky french I know built on a faulty foundation. I stumble over words. I am an American. Je suis une americaine. It is apparent. My accent. My shoes on my feet. The clothes on my back.

Yet, despite the confusion I have brought to this city, I have never felt more at home. They say that order cannot exist without chaos. That chaos cannot exist without order. As if, some outside forces controlling the universe are behind a curtain pulling each puppet string, shifting the world into prosperity and disparity. Regardless, I feel I am meant to be here. Maybe, I will be less chaotic. Maybe, there will be order in my life.

Greeted at the airport by a petite woman, her face marked by age but still possessing the same elegant beauty of her younger years, holding a makeshift sign reading my name in blocked letters. My first interaction. The generosity of a stranger sent me spiraling into discussions ranging from horses to trains to my own family. Many words were lost in translation but many found themselves on a platform, resting into our ears. As we maneuvered around the intricacy of the Paris train system, we maneuvered our words into an agreed understanding. Some in the form of speech, some in the form of gestures, some a game of charades. The beauty of this interaction, this outstretched hand, will remain with me as I continue on my journey.

I am two days in. A new home. A new family. It is interesting to watch. How we all interact. A glance. A shrug. The simplicity of movement can relay messages words cannot.

I am blissfully ignorant. I know nothing but I speak often.

My family understands and when they do not they smile. I take their elegant, beautiful language greedily and chew on it for a bit, then give it back in jumbled, broken pieces. Yet, they do not seem to mind.

No one seems to mind.

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