14th August - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Kitten

I have been reflecting back on our first four months in Charente Maritime.  To be honest, it could be four years - I feel so far away from the life I left - the routine and constant time pressures.  I am not saying that everything here has been easy - far from it; but I have no regrets.  Problems and difficulties are a reality wherever you live but one thing that has changed other than the weather  (it has recently dawned on me) is my interaction with other people. To be honest I think perhaps I had lost faith a little in humanity. 

Here I get to see people at there best - the person without the routine, without the pressure of a deadline, without the 2 hour sit in a traffic jam.  Life here is altogether different in that respect.  There is time.......time to chat, to laugh, to think, to be.  It is similar for me too.  I am not constantly worrying about where I need to be next, the fact I have forgotten something or I am late, or what emails have come through that need urgent attention.  Now I mostly just laugh and do a Gaelic shrug. 

What I have really noticed is how truly lovely people are.  I think you can lose a sense of who you are with the constant pressure of work.......work harder, work longer, be in the right house, in the right school, get the kids extra tuition, go to this club and that club and aspire to do better in work, in life..........  Sorry if that seems cynical to some.  I have been watching these programs recently where people give up everything to live in remote areas of the world or on boats and whilst we haven't gone that far - I feel we have made a significant move towards it. 

It is so lovely to have my faith in people restored.  To have my faith in myself restored.  I see the person I was many years ago.  The kind person, the gregarious person and I like it.