MA-losophy in France: What a Coincidence?

I will have a dozen or so blogs about my trip to France in the Summer of 2013.  Expect the MA-losophy style while also getting tips that you may be able to use when traveling with family in Europe (in my case with 11 people total) and my ability to maintain my sanity (most of the time).  While I receive compliments on my ability to speak French, I am far from perfect and it is a continuously humbling experience.  The following are some of my adventures as the only family member that spoke the language and was most exposed to the culture.  Wow, did I learn many lessons.  Read on…

Is Anyone Really a Stranger?

Avignon, France homey amenities creates a neighborly feel

Renting space with fully-equipped kitchens, patios, and other homey amenities creates a more neighborly atmosphere.  We had some wonderful French neighbors who gathered for a few days to sing, socialize, eat and drink.  They were also grandparents and when they saw my two nephews (ages 2 and 4) they sent a small plate of sweets to share.  Later, as one of our neighbors shuttled by with many bottles of wine in his arms, he handed one to my brother-in-law in passing.

Later, my brother-in-law spoke in English to one of the 8 plus in the group who studied in Mansfield, Ohio for one year.  She graduated high school in the U.S. and proudly announced (when I spoke to her) that she even wore a cap and gown.  What’s more interesting is my husband’s Grandmother and Grandfather taught high school around this time.  Could she have known them?

The next morning  I saw the jovial group as we were leaving for the day.  I asked in French, “Who attended school in Mansfield, Ohio?” A tall, graceful, 60+ year old woman stepped out of the crowd and introduced herself, “C’est moi. Mon nom est Michele ” (informal and friendly, as she could have introduced herself as Madame as opposed to her prenom [first name]…).  “Me too! [Moi, aussi!]” I responded and kissed her on each cheek.  We chatted in French and I quickly mentioned a number of small things I learn while I’m in France versus studying from a book (the difference between “plat” and “assiette” for meals, for instance).  Michele advised me to learn one new French word everyday to improve my fluency.

I now wish I would have quizzed her a bit more about Mansfield, “Did you happen to meet instructors with the last name Mitchell?” But, my family was in the van waiting and so it was “a bientot” [see you soon or until later], I thought.  Eight plus friendly French bid their farewells, and one gentleman said in a heavy French accent, “Bye.  Good to see you!”  Smiles all around, I air kissed the entire group on both cheeks, I jumped into the van and went on to our next adventures.

When we were out we agreed that we should purchase a bottle of wine for our kind neighbors, but sadly au revoir [good bye] would have been a more accurate phrase that morning.  I noticed that their place was quiet so I went to the rental desk asking about Michele and her friends.  (In French), “I’m sorry, they are gone, but they left you a note.” On my brother and sister-in-law’s patio table was a note saying, “Have a great vacation and safe trip home… From Michele & the Frenchies.”

I would have liked to have known them better and maybe Michele actually met my husband’s Grandfather or Grandmother.  Wouldn’t that have been an amazing discovery?

I’ll bet she did.

The MA-losophic Message is that we all are connected or, at least, can be with a little effort
It may sound strange, but when I don’t feel like I have enough time to get to know or spend time with certain people I experience a type of mini-mourn. Yes, life is busy, I get over it (I did say “mini”) and move on, but I have experienced fleeting feelings of loss from time to time that catch me by surprise.  Have I known certain people before or are there just a whole lot of people who are interesting, kind, funny, clever…?

I schedule time to get to know people or catch up on a regular basis. Hearing peoples’ stories and connecting with them has been a very important part of my personal growth. Today, we know that connecting with supportive people on a regular basis increases our happiness levels. So who are you connecting with? What is your support system?

To learn more about my mind over matter practice, my self-help books, workshops, and techniques to create comfort for yourself and others, go to www.MichellePayton.com.  Speak to you soon.

2 Comments Posted in Family, Walking your path
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2 Comments

  1. Great piece. I agree, it would have been a treasure to know if they studied in the US with Karl’s grandparents…alas, it is a true and beautiful dream that they in fact did!

  2. I love the stories. Engulfing yourself in life makes you a gifted storyteller. We do love stories learning about the events in ones life that added growth thrills me. I love to feel like a spiritual human and true life does that.
    Its amazing how many people brush each others lives. Living with eyes wide open -now ther’s a talent. Thanks for all that you do.

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