Thursday, February 16, 2023

Heading back to France tonight… er, no, but soon

 I was originally going to fly back to France from Seattle tonight in order to start dealing with our house and our stuff, but my flight on Condor was supposed to land in Frankfurt tomorrow (Friday the 17th) — and due to a massive strike of German airport personnel (not to mention the continued ripple effects of Lufthansa’s massive IT failure the other day), the flight is going to be landing in Düsseldorf instead.

There are no easy connections at all from Düsseldorf to Marseille (au contraire!), so I have rebooked for next week.

We have been in Seattle for six weeks now, and in our apartment for about four weeks. Seattle continues to fascinate. Carless as we are, we have walked to many different parts of the central downtown area, walked along the waterfront, hoofed it over to Queen Anne and South Lake Union; we’ve hopped on light rail and numerous buses to go farther afield, and we’ve taken a water taxi over to West Seattle. We’ve found ethnic grocery stores nearby and in Seattle’s international district (a.k.a. Chinatown). We’ve found some good restaurants. (Most recently, we randomly went into a taquería that was serving brunch and discovered that brunch would be accompanied by a drag show featuring the “Belltown Babes” — very fun.)

Living beside busy thoroughfares (though thank God, not close to the I-5!) has taken some getting used to. Multi-paned windows help block the noise, but sirens and ferry horns come through. (As does the noise of hot-rodding assholes gunning the engines of their muffler-free cars while zooming past in the wee hours, rrrrrr.)

Seattle also continues to break my heart every time I step out of our building. Food prices (well, pretty much all prices) are truly astronomical here. I see (for example) some cheese listed at $12.99, and I think to myself that that isn’t too bad — the numbers look about the same price I’d pay in France… but then I realize that the price is per pound, not per kilogram (2.2 lbs), so the cost is more than twice as much as I’m used to. Who could help but wonder how people are managing to pay for food and clothes and shelter? Far too many clearly are not. I can’t live here without trying to do something. I will sign up to help when I return from France in a few weeks.

The other evening, building management invited residents to a “roses and rosé” event. (Yes, such a vast gulf between what I experience inside the building and outside of it! Staggering.) As I was too late with my RSVP, I finagled my way into the event by reaching out and offering to talk about the region featured in the invitation, as Mr Mo and I have lived there for the past 16 years. I prepared a brief slide show, and going through those photos of our village and the surrounding areas, of the vineyards and the olive groves, of the lavender … phew. We’ve been so busy trying to get settled here that I hadn’t really come to grips with how much I am going to miss living in SE France,  living in our tiny village and all, but that realization is starting to dawn on me now.

To be continued.

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