The weather has turned and we have been able to enjoy even more time outside than we usually do. There is a fantastic little place (sort of like a town square) one block from our apartment that has a bar, several café’s of varying cuisines, and a glacerie (ice cream store). My husband and I can go sit at a café or on a bench and watch our son on his scooter showing off his “sweet moves” and “drifts”. Not sure what all of that means but it really makes him happy. There are other kids and tons of pigeons (he affectionately calls them the pigeon army) that frequent the place so he has a host of beings to play with.
In addition to warmer weather, the days are getting really long. We see daylight around 8:00 in the morning and it stays daylight until about 9:00. We have blackout shutters and skylight covers so that the long days don’t disturb our sleep. I guess this is the norm when you live this far north. Although I’m pretty sure I lived north of here when I lived in the upper peninsula of Michigan and we some how managed to sleep without these luxuries.
We also had the extreme thrill of our seeing our first concert together as a family. My son and I have the same taste in music (and musicals) that includes a good bit of alternative rock and pop. When he was young, I refused to play The Wheels on the Bus or any other children's music when he and I were in the car together. The first band he identified as his favorite was Radiohead followed by Death Cab for Cutie (this probably gives you an idea of my late generation X status). Last year, I went to a Mumford & Sons concert without him and he got very mad at me. He requested that I never go without him again to a concert. So one of the ways I got him excited about Bordeaux was by getting Imagine Dragons tickets. They are one of his favorite bands and announced a World Tour that included a concert date in Bordeaux. My son has loved the Imagine Dragons for a while now. When he was only 5, their song It's Time was popular and he would belt out the lyrics “You’re never changing who I am" at the top of his lungs. I think he was singing directly to me.
Right around the same time, we had a ridiculously deep conversation for such a young child related to another song called Demons. He was asking me why the singer had a beast living inside him (per the lyrics) and if that beast tried to hurt the singer or other people. I responded that we all have something like a beast inside of us that can make us cranky, sad or even mean. After my comment, he at first disagreed and said only bad people had demons or beasts inside of them. He then thought about it for about 5 minutes (and made me play the song again). But after some reflection, he said his beast sometimes made him mad at me and even made him cry and now he agrees that everyone has a beast. He then asked if I loved him when his beast came out which choked me up as I struggled to calmly get out the words "of course". It was one of those moments that really started a dialogue about interacting with other people and our own emotions. That dialogue was continued last night when the lead singer used his captive audience to discuss his own bouts of depression and how important it is to look out for friends and family who may have hit a rough spot. Of all the amazing things we saw at the concert, this point was the first one he wanted to discuss.
When my son heard the Imagine Dragons had a new album last year, he asked for my phone so he could text my mother the exciting news. My love of music was bestowed upon me from her through genetics or sheer will not sure which. She (and her siblings) used to say she could take any phrase and find a song with the exact lyrics. And she would do it too, sometimes just to annoy my angsty teenage self. So she was the logical choice for him to text about the new album. One of the songs from Imagine Dragons latest album is called Walking the Wire. The song is about complicated relationships that dance on the edge of a tightrope. It seemed like a metaphor for our time in Bordeaux when we were leaving this past fall. We were all a little scared and even more excited to come over here and at times it felt like we were walking an emotional tightrope. We listened to it over and over again before we left (a little less when my husband was in the car because he has a rule that no song can be played more than once during a drive). Part of the chorus sings “We are walking the wire, love, so look out down below” hence the title of this post. There is inherent excited tension in that line that embodies our move here. So when they closed with that song, it was truly an amazing experience.
Getting to the concert was incredibly easy. The city of Bordeaux runs shuttles to the venue every 3 minutes before the event and back to the city after it is over. Lucky for us, the shuttle stop was just a 5 minute walk from our apartment. So it was also one of the easiest concerts to get to that I have ever experienced. No sitting in crowded parking decks waiting for your turn out, no waiting on the MARTA platform for the next train to get you out and no $40 Lyft ride to get there and back. Just a big bus of excited and buzzing concert goers chatting away. And get this, when we got to the venue, they were serving Saint Emillion Grand Cru (a fancy red Bordeaux wine) and both rosé and brut champagne for the same price you would pay for a Bud Light in the US. The champagne was perfect because I had already had a pomegranate bellini and raspberry tart before heading out. Have I mentioned how much I love France? They played all of our favorite songs and kept the show moving along even with a bit of social and self-help commentary. We of course bought a T-shirt which my son was delighted to see had both Birmingham and Bordeaux listed on the back (even though it was Birmingham UK). It was a great way to celebrate my son's last week of school before 2 (yes they get 2) weeks of spring break and a trip back to the States!