A Cultural Travel and Expat Blog

Flies and Other Distractions

Posted By in Expat Life, France, Volunteer Abroad | 0 comments

Flies and Other Distractions
It kind of feels like the farm is winding down with us as our expat life in France draws to a close. As we begin to make arrangements to Workaway in a new country, the land is moving on to a new season, preparing for the calm, quiet of winter. Days filled with warm weather and pulling arm-loads of vegetables from the earth are slowly being replaced with brisk temperatures and pulling up old plants in order to make way for next season’s growth.
expat life in France
At this time of year, the farmers prepare the soil for new crops by spreading manure over their fields. We quickly learned that one of the side effects of widespread manure-ing is that the fly population gets a one hundredfold boost. They’re gross, they’re numerous, and they’re confused. It is a daily battle to defend our meals from both the dogs and the flies. The other day at breakfast, June killed a fly on the table with her bare hands and then fed it to one of the dogs. To her credit, it’s definitely a “kill-two-birds-with-one-stone” kind of solution, but definitely not a practice that I’m planning to adopt any time soon.

Workaway projects seem to require a kind of approach to tasks that I’ve always admired, but have yet to master, which is the “grab a tool and then figure it out as you go” method. I’m prone to over-thinking myself into paralysis when I am faced with a new task or skill. To use an exaggerated example, I could spend hours staring at a hammer and contemplating the exact manner in which it is to be held, and with what force and at what rate I should use it to strike my target. Brent also suffers from this analytical affliction, with the result being that we often find ourselves standing before the pieces of a building project, either in a prolonged focused silence or talking circles around the task at hand until we’re both utterly confused and defeated. Trying to develop new problem solving abilities in an unfamiliar environment and under the judgmental gaze of our host family is an intimidating endeavor at best. It has been dirty, laborious and sometimes frustrating, but I think we’re finally beginning to learn how to take action without second-guessing and how to be innovative without fully knowing what we’re working with or even what we’re attempting to create.

expat life in France

I’ve come to learn that living in a rural area comes along with a unique lifestyle in which I am occasionally lonely, but I’m never alone. I’m lonely, of course, because all of my friends and family are over 6000km away; yet, I’m never alone because everyone in this household works in the home. This means that, generally, the four of us are together under one roof all day, every day. Most of the time this is one of the charms of the genuine rural experience, but other days, our differing personalities and perspectives clash forcefully, and I long for a private place to go to and for the means to remove myself from the negative environment. There’s a very particular kind of freedom that comes from being home alone once in a while; it’s the feeling of having absolutely no one to answer to for just a moment and I’m surprised by how much I miss it.

I thought that traveling was supposed to be the antidote to restlessness. October 30th we leave for Spain and begin the next adventure.

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