One month in France, week one.

As I walked down the stairs of our Airbnb I told my husband (again) that I was in turmoil because I couldn’t decide where to focus my energy, what my priorities should be now that we are in France for the whole month. I finished the MBSR and I thought: I’m well on the way to learning to approach things a little different. 

But noooo! My brain is too set on its anxious, overdrive ways. It controls me. And so, I resisted coming to France for so long because I didn’t want to leave my projects hanging (plus flying!) I made sure I brought everything I needed to get my work done, both on the e-commerce front and the watercolor front. But when you’re travelling and working, not necessarily all the time but for a longer period, a feeling seems to develop: “I should be out there exploring” versus “I should be working”. And so I’m here in a small, very French, studio, tramways are passing by on the street below, cars honking. I look out the window and see this beautiful European architecture in the foreground and the beautiful Alps in the background.

Grenoble France

And then it was clear as the snowy mountain against the blue sky: I love France. I love being here. I love the lifestyle but most of all, I love their culture. There are bookshops every few blocks, there are magazine shops and stands all over the place. People still READ THE PAPER on paper. And the conversations… oh my, I was here in 2014 for three months and nothing has changed, people actually have what seems, in-depth conversations, not small talk. I don’t see people walking with their phones out like zombies. Or at least not as much as in North America. There is this quality of life that feels so good. Sure, the French have their quirks and I don’t think I would be able to live here full time, despite my husband’s dreams, but I wouldn’t mind spending a full year.

Color palette in Grenoble France

We walked the streets being careful of the Tramway and we ended up in a little cinema where no pop corn is sold, so no munching and paper crunching during the film. We watched Three Billboards in a tiny theatre on a Monday night. Walking home afterwards surrounded by beautiful buildings is what romance is made of, I must say.

Chateau de Vizille

We spent the previous Sunday with my husband’s colleagues and their kids. They took us to Chateau de Vizille which is surrounded by a beautiful park. So a walk in the wintery landscape gave me the inspiration to take out some photos and practice what I learned in the Dark Botanical Photography class on Skillshare. That day I was a bit moody. I wanted to do some sketching but when you’re in a group outing it isn’t  too cool to keep people waiting so I took photos:

Dark Botanical Photos




Finally, one week after arriving here I finally pulled out my sketchbook and used just two of my new paints: Daniel Smith Moongloow and Quinacridone Gold and painted tea and tea cups beside my pile of museum brochures.

Watercolor teacups

I knew I would reach this state of calm acceptance but I also needed to not fight the tsunami that comes from being plucked out of my environment and my routine. I’m sure it’s hereditary.