Living in France has taught me to be more time aware. The day is divided into ‘before lunch’ and ‘after lunch’. At midday everything shuts down, with the local church bells ringing five minutes before noon, a reminder to prepare for mealtime. Its important to have an am and pm list on the go, and to have a constant eye on the hour.
My preparation often revolves around the typical ‘French time’. The Post Office, for example, might have a sign on the door saying closed between twelve noon at two, but often it doesn’t reopen until three. The bank also closes right on twelve, even if I’m in the middle of a transaction! It’s important to arrive early, and avoid being locked in, which actually happened to me one day, and required security to reopen the doors. Slowly I am getting used to the way of life here, and how to prepare my day to fit in.
To organise myself, I also keep an old fashioned exercise book on the go, and create a ‘To Do’ list the night before. I could use an electronic calendar, but often the list changes, and its just quicker to use old fashioned pen and paper.
After some early morning photos I always iMessage my family in Perth. Just a quick message to each of them, sending my love. It’s easy to become immersed, living life in rural France, and forget the importance of family. It is foremost now that my family know they come first always. I had spent time away from home in the very beginning, and neglected to appreciate the impact of being away too long. Family dynamics can change quickly in someone’s absence, particularly a mother’s.
Before the building team arrives in the morning, I walk down to the bakery for an almond croissant or the local apple crustade. Around this time, sometimes I may also have Skype calls with our publicist in Sydney. I then upload photos to Facebook and Instagram, check emails, the website and social media sites, responding as I go. I try to respond to everything as quickly as possible, and avoid procrastination. I feel it is important to answer the emails and messages I receive personally, as people show a genuine interest in the project, and often share a very personal connection with what we are doing. One of the greatest joys of the adventure is reading the encouragement and similar experiences of the Château’s followers and family. They share this journey with us.
Meet the locals