it sometimes takes a long time for a place to feel like home. in august we will have lived here in Corsica for four years. for most of that time, i would say i've been living in limbo land. neither here, nor Canada where we lived before coming here, or the United States, land of my birth, really felt like home.
there have been many impediments to not feeling truly at home in Corsica: language/culture issues, not having much of a social life, not knowing how long we would be living here. i've discovered that even native French people (but not native Corsicans) don't really feel at home in Corsica right away. my best friend on the island said it took her ten years to feel comfortable here! when I heard that it made me feel better, oddly enough.
however, in the last couple of months, things have been changing, i've been changing. i find myself feeling more at home here. when people have asked me if i liked living here, i usually hmmed and hawed: "it's beautiful, but the language is really difficult. it's hard to make friends. i miss my friends and family, the comforts of North America. it's hard to really put down roots when we don't know how long we are going to stay." now, none of these things have really changed, but i'm finding that my overall attitude towards living here has changed. i've been in limbo for so long that's it's strange to feel myself pushed over to the other side, of wanting to stay here.
now what has pushed me? well springtime weather in Corsica always helps! this is, hands down, the best time of the year! fresh flowers, fresh scents in the air, fresh attitudes before the chaos of summer brings everyone down. i've been going out and being more socially active and this is something i REALLY need. BBQs, birthday parties, movies, ice cream - all great reasons to get out and about. i've been exercising! along with my two amigos, i've been going to aerobics classes and recently we've started doing two hour walks through the vineyards. we have such a great time laughing and getting in shape, not to mention it helps my French immensely. i've gotten a lot of great parenting advice from them too, which is a great resource. and i know that if i ever have a question about anything, they can help. lately we've been talking a lot about potty training. what fun! i'm back working for the same company that i've worked for for the past two summers. this summer, i'm at the airport every Sunday welcoming British tourists to Corsica. i love talking with people and it for sure gets me out of the house at least once a week. Henri does so fabulous with the girls that i never have any worries about leaving them with him. i also continue to write about Bastia for easyJet's inflight magazine.
i also feel like i am finally "getting" things here. i think it helps that i am more confident in my parenting as this is my second time around so i can participate in conversations. i don't have to give blank, dumb blond looks when people ask me if Livia will be starting on soup soon. i now know that, at least here in Corsica, they give their babies soup as the first "solid". i am way more confident in my language skills, even though i have such a long ways to go. but confidence is so key in this area, plus i am finally realizing that people don't care if i make faults. i am the one that gets annoyed about not saying something perfectly, but i am trying to just let that struggle for perfection go. it's not easy.
in the future, i am looking forward to Ayva starting at the maternelle in September as this will help us integrate even more into village life. i'll be able to meet more moms which will totally help with my social needs. of course, it won't really hit me that my little girl will be going to school until August sometime. i'm sure i will shed some tears come September! Also, i finally found a place to take French classes and they even have childcare available starting at 6 months old. Livia turned 6 months today, so i will start going at least once a week. Henri's French needs a lot of help, so i am hoping to drag him along with me.
another big thing happening in the future, is that we are mostly likely buying a house! we are still waiting to hear from the mortgage broker to see if we have been approved or not, so it's not quite official yet. in our area, land is very expensive as many rich foreign people have come and scooped up all available land or people have their land for sale at high prices trying to attract these buyers. young families like us can not afford to buy. so the mayor of our village donated a piece of land that they are now going to put in what is essentially a little subdivision. these houses are not huge, and in fact, the one we are hopefully going to buy is smaller than the apartment we are living in. but it should be sufficient for us and I am looking forward to having a yard and a garage. the only problems is that they aren't scheduled to be finished until end of 2010, beginning of 2011. nonetheless, it will be exciting to live in a brand new house! there is quite a lot of new construction/building plans going on in our little village and it will be interesting to see everything develop.
so that's my life here in a nutshell. work went well yesterday. my two amigos and i went on our walk this morning. i missed a few spots with sunscreen and now have pink lines traversing my body. i am going to Calvi Wednesday night for a BBQ. Ayva continues to "fait pipi et caca dans le pot" and Livia is a happy chunky monkey who puts anything and everything into her mouth. she squealed herself to sleep tonight. it was one of those annoying/cute moments of parenting.
life is good.