Le Métro et moi – week 5
Published 6th October 2014
‘Il y a des jours’ (there are days) when I feel like, jumping on (not under – not yet) the Eurostar and ‘partir précipitamment’ (hotfooting it) back ‘sous la manche’ (under the channel). Maybe it’s ‘à cause du froid’ (because of the cold), or the fact that ‘je suis enrhumée’ (I have a cold) or maybe it’s the end of the expat ‘lune de miel’ (honeymoon), or ‘maintes’ (numerous) little things that are just more challenging abroad. I don’t want to ‘me plaindre’ (complain) but nor do I want to ‘faire semblant’ (pretend) that it’s all ‘un long fleuve tranquille’ (a bed of roses). Otherwise you’d all be coming out to join me – and I still haven’t had my ‘cuisinière’ (cooker) delivered ! I cheer myself up with a free ‘premier dimanche du mois’ (1st Sunday of the month all French museums are free or reduced) visit to the local Musée Maurice Denis and all of my little ‘ennuis’ (problems) fade away in glorious colour.
‘Toc toc’ (knock knock). ‘Qui est là?’ (Who’s there?). It’s me – remember? – from the ‘association d’accueil’ (welcoming association). I let the lovely lady in and she sits down and we natter away about why ‘je suis partie’ (I left), why I’ve come back ‘je suis revenue’ and ‘combien de temps je reste’ how long I’m staying for. I tweak it as I go along so that it sounds like there was some method to my madness. ‘Bienvenue!’ she says warmly! “Join us for the town’s ‘pot d’accueil” (welcome drink) and so, a week later, I am handed a sticker with a green dot which shows where I live – and I mingle with other, (shy) ‘timide’ stickered and dotted ‘nouveaux venus’ (newcomers) over exquisite ‘fait maison’ (home-made) ‘amuses-bouches’ (tidbits). I meet two ladies ‘très sympathiques’ (really lovely) with whom I ‘èchange’ (swap) life stories and phone numbers.
I take ‘quelqu’un’ (someone) to the hospital as a ‘patient en consultation externe’ (outpatient). We arrive and take a number – like at the shoe shop. When the number is called, we go and pay and only then do we get to see the doctor. It is an experience ‘qui donne à reflechir’ (sobering) to someone caught between 2 health systems. I hold on tight to the ‘l’escalier roulant’ (escalator) as we leave but by the time we’re back home I’m balancing on ladders changing ‘ampoules’ (light-bulbs), cleaning first floor ‘volets’ (shutters) and crossing my fingers.
See Maruice Denis’ beautiful paintings at www.wikiart.org