Le Déjeuner

There have been many adjustments since arriving in France, of which I will eventually share, but for now I will comment on "le déjeuner", meaning "lunch".  In California we navigated around traffic, in Provence we navigate around lunch hour.  The ritual closing of most businesses usually from 12-2pm every weekday provides for a bit of planning, much in the same way traffic does in CA.  In Provence you manage your business or errands in the morning or in the late afternoon.  Living here now for 3 weeks, we are still getting acquainted with this tradition.  How many times can we drive to a store only to remember on arrival that they are closed at lunch?  Very often it seems and better yet act surprised when the store actually is closed, asking ourselves in shock how this can possibly be?!  

On seeing cafés at lunchtime full of people enjoying a long meal often with a glass of wine, one might wonder do French people even work?  My observation is not to imply that the French don't work.  Quite the contrary.  In my opinion they work, but they seem to enjoy and make time for life.  It is part of work life balance, a concept which I believe tends to be a challenge for many in the US.  I think the unbalance becomes very apparent when you remove yourself from the never ending rat race.  Or maybe it just equates to the career that you ultimately choose for yourself?  In the US perhaps, I am not an expert by any means, here however I believe it transcends occupation.  The long lunch hour is a fundamental part of the lifestyle in Provence and fully embedded in its culture.  It is a way of life, a mindset and part of the social fabric of this country.  It just is...  

So as time rolls onward Eric and I will continue to adapt to this more balanced way of life and to navigate around the hours of the day.  As for me, I am just happy to soak-up this new mentality and more so to enjoy the French joie de vivre...