Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beauty, hope... and French bread!!

I have decided to once again study the French language. It has got me thinking again of the summer I spent in France. For one summer, I was a "city girl". Yes, little ole "backwoods" Penni was a French city girl for a summer and loved it! Of course, it helped a lot that I lived with approximately 25 other Americans and Canadians who spoke English. If I had been out on my own,  I would have had a hard time surviving. (Major understatement!)

It is funny how vividly I remember some of the people I met that summer.  One young man in-particular stands out in my memory. I only met him a couple of times, yet I remember him so well.... he reminded me of a young John Lennon....others I knew much better and hardly remember at all. It is funny how memory works. I remember he was into Mysticism and very concerned about his Ying and Yang.  He was so sad and so serious, obviously searching for answers in this life. Since I was unable to communicate with him effectively due to the language barrier, I am thankful there was a young man on our team who spoke fluent French and was able to tell him about Christ. I wonder where that young man is now. Did he continue searching for answers or did he find the One True Way?

I also remember vividly the night of my 16th birthday. We were doing an outdoor concert for people who lived in a nearby set of high-rise apartment buildings. Quite a large crowd had gathered to hear us, if I remember correctly. As we were singing praise songs, the sun set and an amazingly gorgeous orange/red moon rose. It was one of the most beautiful moons I have ever seen. It was an amazing night filled with beauty, hope, God's Word, and good friends.

Other memories from that summer include: walking along the cobblestone streets eating fresh, crusty, french bread (Yum!!!), swimming in the Rhone River, doing more hard work (construction and demolition) than I ever thought I could possibly do (Loved the great attitude everyone had working together; singing songs when we were hot and tired.), getting dirtier (from said work) than I ever thought possible (~smile), checking our boots every morning for scorpions, and traveling through the French countryside in a little dump truck hauling rubble to the dump.

You might not think so, but those little trips to the dump were magical.  Everyone wanted to go on those dump runs and since there was only room for two passengers and since they NEEDED the guys to go, it was rare for a girl to get the chance go. However, a couple of times I convinced one of the guys to let me ride along and help. You know, I remember very little about that dump or the work we did there (thankfully). The scenery along the way was incredible and that was all I focused on. Miles and miles of lavender fields in bloom. Sadly, I took no pictures. Somehow, I doubt they would do justice to the experience any way. The smell and beauty of those lavender fields are forever in my memory.

Hmmm.... I wonder if this is why I nearly always use lavender essential oil in my homemade household cleaners. Each time I clean, I get a little whiff of France and travel back in time for just a moment or two...


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