I suppose there are stages to living in a foreign country. An early stage where you compare many things and judge a few of those. A stage after that where you notice and resist. Another where you notice and accept. And another where you don't notice any more.
I suppose that's why I haven't written about France in a while, I don't really notice so much any more. Which may be because my energy has been focused on those same stages but within my own life. Or it may be because I'm in circumstances unlike any I knew at home. And so now I have nothing to compare it to. France is the only place I've been divorced, or a single mother or quite so completely alone. And the only place where I didn't know what would happen next.
So here I am, in a France that's new for me. In a life that's new for me. The newness of my life, mercifully, has come gradually, one change at a time. And while I have longed for faster and/or more, time has been treating me with a kindness I have not.
This France, my France. There is affection in that possessive - how could I feel otherwise for a place that has been so patient and gracious a witness? There is a tolerance, deep and quiet, in this land. I feel it everyday when I walk by the river. But there is also a pledge in that possessive. I will walk barefoot on the land that has been so gentle with me and I will ask it to remember the path my footsteps took.