Douce France is a series of little stories about my trip to France after 4 years of absence. Coming back after such a long time has brought back to life some amazing feelings and childhood memories, the greatest source of inspiration to me.
I have been away from home for 4 years but when I set foot on the French territory after my 30-hour flight, it felt like I left yesterday.
My parents picked me up at the airport. They haven’t changed much. Time has been treating them well. Dad has grown silver hair and his dark summery skin makes it look shinier. Mum is still the same, cheerful and pretty in her flowery dress. She looks even younger than my last memories of her.
On the drive home, in the outskirts of Paris, I catch a glimpse of a sad reality: a multitude of dirty tents and mountains of rubbish sheltering hundreds of refugees. I feel a pinch in my heart. But I don’t want to feel sad or angry. I am back home, in my beautiful country and nothing will take that away from me.
The house of my childhood used to be a huge farm. It’s an old two-story house, built of stone, a brown tile roof, some terra cotta floor tiles, and some beautiful long beams. Mum and Dad painted the blinds with a lovely pastel green like those typical houses from the South of France. There is a big shed, a huge attic, a cellar where I use to throw teenage parties and another smaller shed where Mum stocks all the mess. No wonder this house was the best place to play hide and seek! I remember being scared of the attic, full of dirt, spider webs and little night creatures that I could hear running around on the roof.
There’s also a fire place. I love that fire place. It reminds me of the letters I left there for Santa. It also brings back when Dad used to grill the chestnuts we picked in the woods. I can still hear the crackling sound and feel the sensation tickling my nostrils.
The floor upstairs was the best place to run and hide in the dark nooks of the winding corridor. My friends and I would run like lunatics and scare off my sister and my brother. I can hear Dad yelling at us threatening the house is going to collapse.
The first thing I did when I got home was to check out my bedroom. It looked so small and not quite like the little realm I used to rule when I was a kid! My “subjects” (aka teddy bears) are still there, sitting on my pink velvet couch and looking at me with their dusty eyes. I remember when Mum asked me to tidy up my bedroom in the promise of a reward, I would cram all my toys underneath that couch in 50 seconds.
In the drawer of my wooden desk, I found all the love letters I used to write to boys who never noticed me at school. I started to read them, laying down in my tiny bed, as I slowly fell asleep, with a smile on my face.