Tuesday, January 22, 2013

La Vie en rose

I'm happy.  And it's just that.  I am single and fully content.  I work the job of a stay-at-home mom, with more free time.  A lot of times, I think that perhaps I'm crazy for being so incredibly happy, like society would like me to believe differently, that being single is less, that working a job that gains me no recognition is base, that I cannot truly be happy.  But I am.  My life is full of breath and adventure and laughter.  Snow and bubbles and cupcakes and chocolate bars.  Discussions about why snow is white and why you do need to put your gloves on before playing in the snow. 

And the number one thing that I have realized, in amongst all the laughter and the simple day to day living that is my work and my life, is that it really is the small things that matter most.  If I never become a famous scientist, never discover the Naturopathic cure for cancer, never have my name known throughout the world as an incredible feminist and activist, it will be okay.  More than okay.  Because life isn't about being known, or being the most admired.  Life is about being completely enraptured exactly where you are.

So, enjoy life's little blessings, be enraptured by the awesomeness of simply being, and take a bubble bath, because I can promise you, that will bring a smile to anybody's face.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meet the Richardson's: My Adopted American Family

Way back in the first month of my stay in France, we happened to have a very cold morning.  So cold, in fact, that there was a sizable layer of ice on the car's window which needed chipping off.  As I was doing this reminiscent chore of Idaho and Nebraska, I accidentally bumped into my neighbor who was attempting to clear her windshields as well. 

"Oh, sorry," I chime politely, at this point incapable of more than 'bonjour' or 'merci' in French.

"No problem," comes the response, very much not French, and very much Texan.

Thus began a beautiful friendship.  The Richardson's hail from Texas and have two wonderful children.  Andrea (Mom), Randy (Dad), Cole (Brother), and Addy (Sister) have graciously accepted me into their family and have housed me, fed me, celebrated with me, and even accepted my request of housing two good friends who were traveling through.  To be honest, I'm not quiet sure how well I would have survived without these four. 

Besides supporting me in numerous ways, they also introduced me to Danielle.  And thus, as we all like to point out to people, found me my bosom buddy in France and also my French host family here!  You see, I work for Danielle's host mom's sister.  Technically, Danielle and I are au pair cousins.  We like to keep things in the family.

I had the most wonderful opportunity of spending Christmas with the Richardson's after taking care of the fifth member of the family, Lady (Cocker Spaniel Sugar Bug), while they were away for a few days of family vacation.

Christmas was wonderful.  Everyday I am thankful for the community I have here, surrounded by Americans, Germans, and French people who have taken me in and let me into their homes and hearts.  I hope this New Year finds you as surrounded by love and diversity and acts of simple kindness and adopted families as I have found in 2012.  Cheers, y'all!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Warrior Flowers of France

I don't know how, but the flowers in France are tenacious.  They are undeterred by change in season, frost covering their dear little petals, or even snow surrounding their feet.  Now, I didn't get a picture of the snow covering their heads, but it happened.  This picture was taken the day before Christmas vacation began.  Yeah, that's right, CHRISTMAS.

The French know the secret to flowers.  Go to the market on Saturdays and you will see gardeners selling their wares, in the middle of winter.  I watched as one man carefully gave instructions to an elderly couple on just how to plant this wee little flower so that it would bloom, even in January. 

French flowers have captured my eye, amazed me with their versatility and their capability to grow whenever and wherever.  Independent and unafraid.  No snow will keep us down!  Frost, HAH!  We laugh in the face of it.  These flowers are the warriors of the flower kingdom. 

I find companionship with them.  I think back on my life, my experiences, and I see our similarities.  And that's when I am thankful for the warrior spirit in all of us, for the spark that lights a fire in our insides and keeps us warm in the coldest of winters.  And when the snow melts, we bounce back up, just like the French flowers, and tenaciously, vivaciously, continue living and sharing our beauty through all life's ups and downs.