|Fall day along the Montée St. Maurice|
School children have a two-week long holiday called Toussaint (All Saints) starting next week, but nothing happens on the actual day of Toussaint (November 1) other than the handful of observant Catholics who attend mass and fall cemetery maintenance for those who've lost loved ones. There are no Toussaint foods or decorations. No parades or sports traditions. Toussaint breaks up the fall semester, but does little else to tell you where you are in the year. My daughter and I wanted to give the apartment a holiday feel, and we had to make our own decorations with construction paper because these kinds of things simply are not sold in France. Life here ambles on in an endless succession of days, without fuss or the need to spend lots of money.
|Halloween is a do-it-yourself venture in France|
|Ripening cherry-sized apples that grow |
everywhere in northwestern France
When the holidays are over, we’ll clean up and get ready for the Super Bowl. A few weeks later we’ll watch the Academy Awards and make our picks for March Madness. We’ll go to St. Patrick’s Day parties even if we’re not Irish or Catholic and then we’ll switch wearing of the green for Easter pastels. Baseball season will start, heralding the end of winter, and soon it will be Memorial Day, the official start of summer and a time to decorate the house, our food, and ourselves in red, white, and blue. On Labor Day, we put those things away and get ready for fall.
In the U.S. you always know where you are in the year. There’s a signpost for everyone: parties, decorations, foods, sports, religion, coffee flavors, and candle smells. It can be materialistic and wasteful, but it’s damn fun and I miss it.