Saturday, May 31, 2008

Another thing I like about France

Perhaps pregnancy is mellowing me, but I’m feeling a bit more comfortable in my adopted home country lately. The springy weather also helps because I can get out more and walk about. Today I went to the market in our town. It’s something I hadn’t done in ages, partially because I often work the times they have it here, Wednesday and Saturday mornings. But with no pesky Saturday classes this week, I took my little shopping bag and headed for the cobbled streets. I didn’t stop at the cheap Asian clothes racks or discount make-up that was very likely stolen from some delivery truck. At least that’s what the TV reports say. Instead I looked around the fruit and vegetable stands. It is a visual delight with all the bright colors of in-season goodies, cherry tomatoes and strawberries, leafy lettuce and peaches. Ok, maybe it’s still early for the latter. After a tour of all the prices, I got a kilo of peaches and a little bundle of green asparagus.

There are always a few merchants who call out to potential customers with things like “Hey, avocado lovers, check out these lovelies.” Sometimes they let you taste a cherry or two to entice you into buying. It certainly is more spirited than buying under the fluorescent lights of the supermarket. The British tourists seem charmed by it, too. I heard a few English conversations about whether or not to buy a kilo of this or that. Yes, like the bakeries, the market experience is certainly one of the more charming aspects of life here.

And though it’s been a bit more overcast this week, we can feel the good season is approaching. After months of wearing those winter coats, April and May have brought out the sandals (check out my friend’s blog about this) and sundresses. People immediately seem more relaxed and we can imagine ourselves already on vacation (the French pastime) as we traipse around jacket-free. My neighbors have been eating on their little terrace in the evening. No doubt summery dishes like tuna and rice and tomatoes and vinaigrette. And I’ve been lucky enough to have strawberries for dessert a few times courtesy my husband’s greenhouse (he picked the ones off the unsold plants).

I guess it’s part of what they call the “French quality of life.” Whether that compensates for poor job prospects and dismal winters, I’m not so sure. But I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

No comments: