As I was preparing the pictures for this post yesterday, I wasn’t sure whether to make a simple post with pretty pictures to show the beautiful valley we live in. To show you how we enjoy this place, even on a simple Sunday afternoon walk around our village lake. Or optionally link a thought or message to it, as I am having many (dark) thoughts these last few weeks.

I started to write irresolutely, being uncertain about the final text on this page. Apparently I do that intuitively. I wrote a few paragraphs with greyish thoughts and went to bed yesterday. Today I came back to the post to finish it, I read what I wrote, and without doubt just deleted it. The whole of it.

It has been decided. It’s going to be a pretty post with pretty thoughts. There is no need for heavy thoughts now. I’m going to turn it into a positive – and party therapeutic – post with things that made me happy these last few weeks. As I was writing this, I realised that there were many things that made me smile this last period (like the last season of GoT that we watched last week and the rag footstool that I made, etc.), the list below is just of the five things that popped into my mind first:

  1. The beautiful valley we live in and the accessibility of nature (and culture).
    I have to start with this one. A year ago we made the choice to move from one mountain range to another. We had many reasons for this. One of them was that I was feeling very isolated in the old house. We could not easily walk out of the house towards something, anything. We basically needed the car to reach our goal destinations. We weren’t used to that and we didn’t get used to it during those three years of living there. So we drove around in the free weekends we had, to find a new place for us to live in, and found this agglomeration of villages that we made our home. At first we knew sensibly that we made the right decision to move, but weren’t feeling it really. Now, after having lived here for almost a year and having experienced this life, we can only admit to each other that we should have moved even sooner to a new place. We enjoy everything this valley and mountain range offers. Hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy this for at least another 3,5 years. Moving into different directions and making choices and changes is often difficult at first, but rewarding in the long run. I have to keep that in mind.
  2. Dinners with friends
    After being in France for almost 4 years, I have realised that one thing that I have missed from my old (dutch) life is being part of, or taking part in, an active and stable social circle. People that have moved countries, will probably recognise this. You basically have to start all over and make friends at a very strange time in your life. A time where many people move inwards into their existing social circles or expanding families. In an earlier life people slowly shifted in and out of your life in a very natural way, but now it’s totally different. The motion is totally different. In some ways very slow (for above mentioned reasons). But at the same time also very quick, as you meet many more people because your mindset as a migrant is much more open. But the motion also moves much more swiftly as you know much faster whether there is a fit or not, friendship wise. That recognition comes with age, I guess. Anyway, I’m happy to see that after all this time we are slowly finding, forming and taking part in new social circles that are here to stay. These last few  months have been busy in that sense and that’s a good thing. Things take time.
  3. Ticket for Artisa
    Happiness lies often more in the unexpected, than in the expected. Don’t you agree? Last week I received a free ticket to the Artisa Grenoble fair from my sewing teacher. I walked by (hooray, I can do that now, see point 1.) our local shop for handmade products to return something I borrowed during my classes and mentioned to my teacher that I wanted to visit the fair at the end of the month, and wondered if they were organising a group visit. My initial thought was, that going with a group would increase the chances of me actually visiting the fair. Just because I sometimes need external motivation to do something. Unfortunately she replied that they weren’t organising a tour. Instead she offered me a free entry pass to the show. That wasn’t what I was aiming for, but I guess this also will increase my chances of actually visiting the show. There are many ways leading to Rome, right? A small friendly act that put a smile on my face.
  4. Clearing out our bookcases
    This one is maybe even smaller. But we spent one afternoon this weekend cleaning up our books. They were a mess as we just moved them in and out the cases when we moved a year ago. And we (mostly Eduard) have read so much this year that we weren’t able to fit anything new in. So we had to reorganise and trash useless things. Now everything is pretty again. That makes me happy.
  5. Wooden hatches for our front door
    Two new wooden hatches for our front door that were fitted by the house owner recently. We have a beautiful big front door made of glass, which goes from floor to ceiling. All very nice. It gives a lot of light and beautiful views. But at the same time we are quite exposed due to this. When we first met our house owner a long time ago, I kind of asked him if he could make a wooden hatch for our front door. We basically have hatches everywhere in the house. They only forgot to make something for that huge window. We are also not curtain-people (is that a breed?), so I expected that we would need something to create a little privacy. As I have learned over the years that it’s best that you ask for the things you want, I asked. Sometimes you are then rewarded with something and sometimes you aren’t. The owner said at that time that he would put it on his long list and make one. One day. Time went by without anything happening, as it was the light part of the year we didn’t miss the hatches too much, so we ignored it. And then suddenly these last few weeks the owner started passing by in weekends to fit the new wooden hatches (among other things) and this weekend he finally fitted them. With a smile, he said that he held his part of the promise to fit the wooden hatches before winter. And then asked me what I thought of them. I said I was very heureuse with them. Which I really am, that’s why they are mentioned on this happy list. But he corrected me and told me that I could only be contente with them. Heureuse is apprarently too much excitement for an average french person. This also made me smile.

It’s a beautiful exercise by the way, to try and think of small things that are making you happy and you can influence, instead of big worldly problems that you can’t push aside by yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed by things you can’t mentally swallow, try this out! But before you leave, walk with me around our village lake. The colours of autumn are known for their positive impact on people’s minds.

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