One day, the husband & I were speaking about the few but significant differences between Marseille & Nice. I started with how convenient having Marignane Airport so close & easy to reach, IKEA being on the way. On how great it is to have a train station within walking distance, but there's always the thing about living in a touristic area. After 7 years of a tourist-laden home, I was ready to retreat to the mountains. Spéracèdes church in the tiny centre ville.
I was telling the husband how Nice & Cannes are way more going to be uncomfortably flooding with tourists than in Carry le Rouet or Marseille. Adding that tourists will be more international compared to the local ones in our old place. I continued telling him that already our neighbors seem to be Belgians & he did mention that our other neighbor three houses down the street is German. Then, with a long pause as if to break a bad news, the husband then tells me, "But you are a Filipina." I sigh.
After being reminded that I am indeed a tourist to the eyes of everybody & after all the comparisons, which are a handful to me, moving in is not just about packing & leaving, unpacking & putting things in place. It is about knowing where you are & where things are. It is all about feeling "at home."
Just around a week after moving in, I woke up with a panic. In my head I was telling myself that I have again to pack & go home to Carry. Then on another morning, we had winds similar to the mistral, blowing our window shutters open as I blinked with the brightness of a sun rising by the mountains. I was pissed but in awe seeing the sun like the yellow of a fried egg just by our bedroom window. Every morning, I stay a good 5 minutes staring out by our kitchen window, to the mountains backdropped by the sky meeting the sea, down to the valley, to the home we are now slowly learning to like. The view of the sea behind the valley of Mandelieu or something by our kitchen window beside the PC table.
When the husband & I strolled around our new barrio, it felt like time rewinded to 30 years ago. Little paved streets, a brasserie as the villager's meeting spot, the post office in a small room with a nice lady behind a glass window, a small store, boulangerie & boucherie. The locals are impressively pleasant. Not too reserved & not too welcoming. What really made a difference is being able to speak French. A quick chat with the neighbor, or the woman in the dry cleaners is very comforting. The other day, I was always hoping not to bump into our neighbor's little girl. She would stop me on the road and repeatedly ask me if I can speak in english & start firing millions of questions. When moving in a small village like Spéracèdes, there is an unconscious need to follow a silent decorum not to alter the quiet life of the villagers. Below, the village's old public laundry.
Things are almost all in place in our new home except for some of my old habits. Like throwing some trash on the floor by the bathroom sink where the trashcan used to be in our old place. Subtly cursing between breaths when I can't find a place for a lot of our things. Panting most of the time going up & down the stairs especially when cleaning or even just when you forget something. But we're sure glad not to be in an apartment anymore. At first it felt weird not to hear the neighbors by the staircase, or the marching of the heels. The 7 years of residing with 7 other families in one building. Since our house is divided into three floors, the husband & I would say that we have each other as neighbors.
Looking at the wonderful view by my kitchen window, I likewise wonder beyond this change, a new future unfolding. Nothing left behind and hoping more to add in this next chapter. After the unpacking & arranging, it's time again to live.