Every year we spend our summers at home. Away from the concentrated two month holiday action (read crowded) happening everywhere. We have the privilege to start our holidays very late in August until September. When rates are lower, when places are less crammed & when the weather is just a little less warm. While I'm still waiting for our holidays to start, and my husband to come back from an emergency call for work somewhere in Africa, our summer was far from boring.
Old friends visited all the way from Amsterdam, Rome & Ticino. Revisiting places with an eye of a tourist is likewise a rediscovery of everyday, ordinary landscape and people. Since it's the first time I had our car broken into, literally with a shattered window that we had to drive 200km with, I was surprised on how people are sincerely concerned with the incident. Or how one of them marvels at the beauty of the beach of Cannes with the boulevard & tall buildings as backdrop. Or when one happily appreciates the singing of the cicadas. Which I learned is not typical everywhere like in Ticino. However, the most essential thing they made me see is how friendly the French are. That's because, my dear friends, everything changes once you speak French. And words sound sweeter in French.
"You're still the same!" or "You haven't changed a bit!" The famous welcome greeting of long time friends who haven't seen each other for a significant amount of time. This can go beyond mere pleasantry and it makes you wonder if it's a good thing. We had an amazing Facetime session with a friend whom we haven't seen nor had any contact with after 23 years. I was even hesitant at first & when I told her about it, she just said, "Hello, this is still me!" But there are friends who literally didn't change that you don't have that kind of energy to relive the happier days with them. I guess the best part of seeing old friends that go way back 20+ years, and yes, that made me feel old, is that estranged familiarity. That after a bottle of wine, or after eating comfort food, it brings out our essence. We all change. We just need a little poke here & there and the you, the person we all know, is still surely there. Maybe after the kids are in bed.
Our best visitor yet is this baby hedgehog who wandered in our garden one night. Vidar didn't even bother. But I think he already tried.