C’est comme ça. Literally, “It’s like that.” Probably a closer English translation would be, “That’s how it goes.” The closest thing the French have to Bahala na, and really not that far away…Where Pinoys expect the worst and hope for the best, and thereby find a sense of peace in “leaving it to [fill-in-the-blank],” the French find their own peace in knowing – in much the same way – that things simply are as they are.
We arrived in Le Puy en Velay just over two weeks ago. The leaves were vibrant, rusty colors, just really beginning to fall, and the weather was brisk and fresh, if a bit cold. It’s now become wetter, with rain off and on throughout most days. Chris’ mother’s roses are in their last throes. Winter is approaching. C’est comme ça.
We are staying with Chris’ folks in the house he grew up in. He’s now officially been here for longer than at any point since he was 16. They have one room upstairs, which is where we stay, and which affords us a little bit more privacy than we’d have if we were downstairs. We’ve moved tressles and a plank of wood into the bedroom for an “office,” and will be here for a couple of months. It’s great to be here with his folks, but there are some pitfalls to living in someone else’s place, although they make us feel very welcome and at home. And I’m finding there are days where I fall right into the rhythm, just as there are days when I feel completely out of sync. C’est comme ça.
Today we went to the market…I’m sure I’ll find the time to take pictures and post exclusively on the market in Le Puy…how brilliant to compare the markets in the places we’ve lived over the last three years: Brixton, Cagayan de Oro, and now Le Puy…so completely different from one another, so much the same…
I think I speak for us both when I say that pinpointing how we feel at this moment would be tricky. There are excellent moments, like going for a run (which we were never able to do in the Philippines for a number of reasons), sitting to dinner as his dad pours us a glass of wine and we sit around a family table, or waking up in the morning to the incredible view of orange, red, and yellow just out of our little attic window. There are also frustrating times – the difficulty of meeting the dietary needs of two vegetarians and two French septuagenarians at every meal, giving up yoga for lack of space and privacy, and losing mobility (no jeepneys in France!). C’est comme ça.
But in general it’s safe to say we’re both quite happy here…this feels right, like it’s where we should be, geographically and otherwise. Sometimes it’s quite nice that c’est comme ça.