Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Overflow


The words just kept on flowing out. 

I was excited to be making the cross over with a blog acquaintance and her friend from the virtual world to reality, especially as it had popped out of the big blue. A little shy too because I am sometimes. And so the words kept coming out in an overflow, covering and revealing.


As grateful as I am for all of my contacts with the online community, I miss the simple joy of delighting in girlfriend time, especially with such a lovely and engaging duo. The expat community in Arles is tiny dots and so it is extremely rare that I sip San Pellegrino with women who speak the same language, have the same cultural references and laugh at the same second with an acknowledgement of a certain play on words. Face to face, seeing flickers of expression, I realize that many French women that I know keep a far more steely control and that the exchange is based more on dialogues than volleys.


This difference brewed like a wealth of communication in comparison on this particular rainy afternoon. A casual reassurance rested somewhere next to the straw on the table between us by just being present.


A bit like sunset up on the roof that spills the brim of its cup. And so were my words, pulling a string of scarves out of a silk top hat, to chase from red to pink to gold. Stories to tell and be heard. For once I will try not to worry if it was too much.

I woke up wondering. I remember that I am lucky but also that I feel what I know. A sugar sort of bittersweet overflow.




41 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

It is nice when we connect with people who share our topographies.

Judith Ross said...

Our son living in Morocco has often said how much he misses having Americans to just talk with. And he commented that even though he had to do a lot of translating while we were with him, he really felt it was a nice break to just sit and talk with us some of the time.

Loree said...

Culturally, we are all so different that sometimes it takes a person who has grown up under the same circumstances to understand us. That's why I make my American husband roll his eyes after all these years - because I still don't always get it :)

puppyfur said...

There's just so much here that we expats understand, and you've put it quite beautifully. Not to mention the photos, which are nothing short of glorious...breathtaking. If you can stand another American by way of many years in Ireland) who is now in France, we might meet sometime

puppyfur said...

Sorry, Heather, my Ipad sometimes stops me in the middle of a comment.....I was going to say we also have dogs in common.....a great place to start:-)

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

Oh Heather, in my times in foreign countries, France being one of them. I had perfectly fine friendships but I am going to be controversial here but speaking in one's mother tongue and doing funny accents ( on purpose ) and high fiveing after silly comments and quips is something that the english language brings to friendships. It must be a socio-linguistic aspect to the language. But also I used to get frustrated at sometimes having to explain references and speaking slowly or asking them to repeat something. Not that the others didn't have a sense of humour but as you said so correctly there is just a smooth path of communication so it is natural to overflow. And let it flow! xx

simpleimages2 said...

“pulling a string of scarves out of a silk top hat, to chase from red to pink to gold”

telling stories and listening. sometimes, like you wrote, it’s nice to have a different cup of coffee just for the look and taste

I’m reading very slowly, about half hour in the morning with breakfast and half hour before I close my eyes to sleep at night, Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I’m on Swann in Love. It’s reading rather than listening but I’m hearing the stories that Marcel is telling.

I’m sorry I’m comparing my trivial musing to your beautiful sunset that overflows its brim.

The sky changing every moment is a pleasure to remember.

Glamour Drops said...

I know exactly what you mean...that instant connection of ideas, where humour collides in the same second and there is such a quick uptake....resulting in the wonderful warm glow of sharing on the same level. No need to work at it.

I used to think it was a cultural thing, of growing up in similar circumstances, but I don't think that now...it seems to be something much more intangible...

Funny though, last night Henrietta and I were discussing how much better it would be if the whole world spoke the same language....would be so many more books to share and so much more depth to a conversation that isn't constantly being translated.

Judy Castaillac said...

i enjoy reading your blog because you talk about your real life in Provence. I also love hearing about the dogs. My husband and I lived in Aix during the 80's. The Anglo American Club really helped me. We raised 3 children here for 8 years. I have aways found it helpful to have english speaking friends when living away from California. Now we are back and not very far from you. (between St. Martin de Crau and Maussane) Coffee?

Annette Mickelson said...

You write so lyrically. THis is just beautiful. You captured the heart and the color -- I felt the emotion. I think there is truth to the differences in how we talk and hold our emotions.

D A Wolf said...

Oh, how I miss more regular "girlfriend" time that is face to face! We do become so used to our online communities, and wonderful though they are, they're not quite the same as real life...

(Stunning photos, as always.)

Bisous.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Nothing lifts the heart quite as high as sharing conversation and laughter with a friend. (Except for maybe your gorgeous surroundings!)

Aussie in France said...

Even after 38 years in France mostly speaking French, I still enjoy the occasional dinner with other English speakers despite the fact that they're not Australians like me. And I love to meet up with visiting Australians even when I don't know they very well. It's like coming home, even though my real home is France.

Victoria said...

"Pulling a string of scarves out of a silk top hat" is a brilliant, evocative analogy. Reading your words, I can feel what you feel. Thank you for that.
Best...Victoria

david terry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david terry said...

Dear Ye Olde Heather.....yes (and as you wrote) we need to remember that we're lucky...and that most folks do, on an individual basis, "feel what I know".

that was a lovely posting.

Go to (one of my three or four favorite songs by my two or three favorite songwriters):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkemIg381so

You ARE lucky (or maybe just prematurely wise), finally, in your seeming to recognize that there are more stories and songs out there than there are stars in the sky.

This song is about that.

Quite sincerely,

David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

david terry said...

P.S.......I love the line "and later, a guy no one knew came to sit in". I think it's brilliant....but that's to be expected of Cheryl at one point or another in almost all of her songs.

----david terry

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

And sometimes you can be in your home country and still have that yearning, while sitting at the computer spilling out words and thoughts, of just having a moment or two with a friend face-to-face. . .

robin said...

I'm so glad you had this opportunity to meet up with some of your blogger friends! We /I take for granted being able to talk/joke/banter with friends & loved ones. Glad you were able to enjoy it fully and glad we get to see the beautiful photos that accompanied your visit! Life is good, or, as Pema Chodron says, our fundamental situation is joyful!

gardenenvy said...

I would just love to be an expat in Arles! I remember the lavender ice cream so well...Nice post. Jeannine

Lost in Provence said...

It is, Laoch. Even just that. :)

Lost in Provence said...

It really is a break, Judith! Not to be thinking ahead trying to wonder how you are going to translate a certain word or so. Knowing it will not offend...

Lost in Provence said...

Oh and he loves you for it, Loree!!!

Lost in Provence said...

That would be wonderful! I find that someone being a fellow dog lover is often the perfect place to start, the best! That and a sense of humor of course... ;)

Lost in Provence said...

As always, you just put it absolutely perfectly, N. I don't have anything else to say...
xo

Lost in Provence said...

Edgar, there is nothing trivial about your responses ever and I always appreciate them so much. And I love that your key to getting in to Swann in Love is listening to the story being told--that makes so much sense to me and wish that I had thought it when I read it! Those long paragraphs can be so daunting if you feel outside of them.

Lost in Provence said...

Oooh but so much would be lost too. Each language offers so much, tells so much about who we are as a people or a culture. I love that there are certain things that are untranslatable as much as I struggle at times.

But yes, I do miss that instant connection--just like I felt with Henrietta knowing that she is your daughter...

Lost in Provence said...

I would love to! And I am really touched by your offer. :)

And it is funny because I haven't had English speaking friends (that I see on any sort of regular basis) for a long time now and somehow it is just recently that I am realizing how much I miss that.

Lost in Provence said...

But they are wonderful as you say!
Bisous right back.

Lost in Provence said...

Laughter! So key, Susan. I think about how my Mom and Sister can make me laugh until I fall off the chair with our family jokes... :)

Lost in Provence said...

See? That is where we differ. Even after all of this time, my home is still very much the States. Or wherever my honey is.

Lost in Provence said...

Merci for the lovely compliment, Victoria!

Lost in Provence said...

I can't believe that I never knew of Cheryl Wheeler until you first sent me a link to her singing. Why is that so? She is so incredibly brilliant, grounded and a heart-catcher. Thank you again, Dr. David.

Lost in Provence said...

Such a good point, Jackie. What odd times we live in...

Lost in Provence said...

Nothing beats talk/joke/banter with loved ones. Nothing!!!
Love you, Sister. :)

Lost in Provence said...

Hmmm...but there is also honey and cucumber sorbet and beet!

joyful17 said...

Again, you have given us a magical moment...and made me realize how important a one to one is with a friend. Yesterday I needed some help in preparing some large packages ( with drawings) to be made. I called my cousin, and while she lives across the city, and has to take two buses to come to me...she did.And oh, the joy of working together. And the wonderful time spent ( after the packages had been made) of just siting about and chatting. We then went to my computer and spent hours looking at family pics and mutual times we had spent together.....our 0ne 0n One was a treasured time for us both....all too often missed because of distance and busy 'other' lives.

Your words are a wonderful reminder of the need to cherish and re-visit our girl/woman friends and the joy we have in the times we spend with each other.

Ann Mah said...

Dear Heather, Spending time with you in Arles, I felt like we'd known each other for ages! Thank you so much for your generosity and time. Even though I'm not a permanent expat, I also sometimes feel the lack of kindred spirits in my life and I was so delighted to find one in you -- one of the highlights of my trip. See you soon, I hope! xoxo

Unknown said...

I remember feeling that way when I was an exchange student in French-speaking Switzerland, at ages 16-17 and 20-21. It didn't have to be Americans (there were very few where I was studying), just people who spoke English easily. Although we were supposed to speak French at all times, I could not resist, every once in a while, breaking into English with those people. To be, and convey, myself more fully (and, to be honest, more easily). I always wondered how long it would take before I could feel and be that way in French. My goal/dream is to advance my French to the point where I could have the joys of two languages at my disposal while living among native French speakers who are conversational in English. Isn't language amazing? Leslie in Portland, Oregon

Unknown said...

I have to say, Loree, that I make my husband do the same thing for the same reason, and vice versa. I grew up in a city in the Pacific Northwest and went to college in California, while he grew up in a very small town in the upper Midwest and went to college in a slightly larger town there. And he is 3 1/3 years younger than I am. So, even though he has lived in the Pacific Northwest, and we have been married, for several decades, we still notice, and to understand each other must leap over, the effects of the differences in the frames of reference and experiences we each had until about age 22. And those effects enrich our every day! Leslie in Portland

Unknown said...

Heather, you are a poet with words and photographs, either or both. Your stories and thoughts, and your photographs, always cause me to take a breathe, re-read and look carefully, and savor.... What gifts you give! With great appreciation and admiration, Leslie in Portland