Deconfinement has been amazing, although, to be honest, not too much has changed.
The first Monday of the deconfinement it was raining the whole day, but I was determined to take advantage of it, and so I borrowed a rain jacked from Ben and walked into the centre of Montpellier, wearing a mask, but completely free of documentation.
It was very freeing having the option to do so and I spend a good while walking up and down different (deserted) streets before taking the tram back home.
And then Tuesday afternoon rolled around and Madeleine came to pick me up. We chatted in French on most of the trip to Bédarieux, taking a quick detour to Clermont l’Hérault to visit a couple of stores. The one-hour drive felt as exciting and adventures as any flight across the world I’ve taken before.
I stayed with Madeleine in Bédarieux for around 10 days until this previous Saturday. The first evening there we went for a beautiful and relaxed bike ride, which my foot after so long doing so little unfortunately couldn’t really handle.
The following day Caroline (my cousin) arrived and all three of us went on another bike ride to the waterfall nearby.
The following week we got into a comfortable routine – I had my French courses in the morning and we all had our various assignments throughout the day. We ate lunch together at noon – speaking a mix of Danish and French to practice with both Caroline and I and then around 5 pm sitting down for tea together again.
In the evening Phillip (my uncle) joined us at the table when we ate our dinner and so we spoke together in French there. We watched a lot of French films together in the evenings with ´tisane´ and chocolate – “les demoiselle de Rochefort”, “Peau d’âne”, “un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément” and more. And on Wednesdays we watched Top Chef, which I’m now hooked on.
The first week at Madeleine’s we didn’t do too much what with me having to rest my foot, bad weather in general and busy schedules, but we did celebrate my dad’s birthday Friday with champagne and crumble and Madeleine showed me how to sew my own masks.
The second week, the weather was lovely and so we went on various expeditions that wouldn’t strain my foot too much. Wednesday all three of us went to the local thrift store, where I found a beautiful skirt and after dropping Caroline off at home, Madeleine and I went on a little outing to walk around the fairy-tale like medieval town Boussagues nearby.
We continued a little further to take a walk across a beautiful old bridge and by the river.
Thursday was a ‘jour férié’ (a public holiday) and so we prepared a quick picnic and went on a search for a place to eat. We drove for a good while to Gorges d’Heric, but it seemed that the entire region had had the same idea, so we continued on, until we found a little secluded spot by the river to sit down. We had a lovely afternoon of dipping our feet in the river, skipping stones and relaxing in the shade.
I spent multiple late afternoons relaxing in the hammock that Madeleine had put up.
On my last real day in Bédarieux Madeleine took me on a little trip to ´la fontaine des yeux’ a tiny fountain said to have healing minerals specifically for the eyes, and further to ‘Notre Dame de Nize’ a beautiful old chapel nearby. The whole area had a magical and tranquil atmosphere to it and the chapel was beautiful.
We drove to picturesque Lynas and stopped at another old chapel ruin there, before heading home.
We spend the last evening eating outside and then, Saturday morning, I took the bus back to Montpellier again.
I had such a good time at Madeleine’s and it was nice really getting to know both Madeleine and Caroline.
And it was a joyful reunion with Ben and Eric back home, as we caught up on our two weeks apart and I got settled in again.
Sunday I finally met up with Julia in the city centre after more than two and a half months apart. There was almost no people and nothing open, but we just walked around for a couple of hours, catching up and enjoying finally being able to talk in person. My still hurting foot paid for the long walk later, but it was so good to see her again, and although France is far from back to normal I really appreciate the freedom we have now.
And now I only have a week left of my French courses! It’s weird to think that I’m finished soon, but the school won’t open for who knows how long, so I think it’s the right time. And now I’m just waiting for a reply from a workaway and hoping that my foot will go back to normal soon, so I can actually work at the farm I’ve written to. Because although I speak almost exclusively French with Ben and Eric (which helps me A LOT), I think living with someone who only speaks French can really challenge me to get better.