We are back in Bordeaux after a good bit of traveling for work the past 10 days. I was so lucky that my son was off school for his mid winter break and could join me. Not to mention the fact that my husband was brave enough to walk around Rome and Paris with a 10 year old the whole time I was working. But now we are back and winter is in full swing. While it is 80 degrees in Alabama, it is about 40 here and they are talking about snow. It never snows in Bordeaux so people all around are quite animated about the possibility that the white fluffy stuff native to the mountains may grace us for a few hours. It snowed in Paris a couple of weeks ago and shut the city down so I am waiting with baited breath to see if we get that taste of winter too.
Even though it is cold, we still got out this weekend to explore and enjoy the city. There used to be a circus set up at Quinconces, a major transportation hub in Bordeaux with a huge open field in the middle of it. But when we returned, there is now something set up that I can only describe as a county or state fair. There are carnival rides throughout, the type that make me nauseous just looking at them. They have fun house, shooting galleries, rubber ducky plucking, and cotton candy that can be infused with one of 20 flavors including Red Bull (WHAT?). So we headed on down on Saturday night to check it out. My son went on one ride and then said, let’s come back when it warms up. So I guess the carnival is still on our to do list. Luckily it will be here until the end of March.
We are also back to school, work, language lessons and everything else that has become our life here in Bordeaux. Returning here after being away felt just like being home which is weird because Bordeaux is certainly not my permanent home. But I actually feel like it is home. I have missed the markets I regularly frequent for groceries and the walks along the Garonne. I have also missed just strolling down Sainte Catherine to people watch and look in the shop windows. Further confusing my sense of identity, I don’t find myself missing Birmingham. I don’t know if that is because we still have 4 months in Bordeaux so I am not looking that far into the future or because this has become home in my head.
Part of what is so comforting about being in Bordeaux is the pace. We don’t have all of the activities (karate, school carnivals, social obligations, cub scouts, work dinners, etc) that are ever present in our lives in Birmingham. We just get to be together in this amazing city that is incredibly walkable and easy to navigate. It’s small enough to explore the whole thing and large enough to find a new restaurant down the block every week. So we just spend our extra time finding new things to do, to see, and to eat. I am curious how much I will be able to take this back with me to Birmingham. There has to be a way to live a less hectic life with plenty of time to explore. In the back of my mind, I am already trying to find ways to reorganize my life in Birmingham to make that happen. Hopefully by the time we step off the plane, I will have solved the puzzle!