The rest of the story… Here is what I didn’t have a chance to write in the last post…
Throughout the past week, as I questioned God’s plan for my life and my ability to accomplish the task set before me (completing my doctorate), I have felt a quiet voice reminding me to “be still and know that I am God.” Even when I received the discouraging email, that verse came to mind, and as I left my apartment for the market, an elderly man passed me whistling clearly, beautifully, almost hauntingly “Amazing Grace.” It brought tears to my eyes, and I slowed down to catch every note as he strode away with his wife. I had just been praying for affirmation that I was where I was supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing. No matter what, the knowledge of God’s amazing saving grace makes all of my worries seem insignificant and fade away. The God powerful and loving enough to save a wretch like me answered my prayer almost immediately and affirmed that I would “find myself” in Aix – a prayer prompted by the memory of a line from the movie Sabrina (with Harrison Ford & Julia Ormond):
Sabrina (musing): I found myself in Paris.
Linus: You were lost?
Linus: I once was lost and now I’m found.
I prayed that this time away from the familiar would give me the opportunity to “find myself” again. The synchronicity of these thoughts and prayers with that whistled tune made my skin tingle in a way that had nothing to do with the cool spring breeze. Just how many coincidences does it take before they don’t seem like coincidences anymore? I don’t believe in them, to begin with, but that was a pretty incredible set of circumstances.
The rest of the day confirmed that not everyone in Aix thinks I am an idiot and not just because “I haven’t met them all yet.” (-another Sabrina reference)
I just had to throw out my lilacs – the problem with buying pre-cut flowers. I had considered buying a live plant but was afraid that it might outgrow its container and wasn’t sure if the next guest in the apartment would want to take care of it. I still might though; it may provide a pleasant welcome to the next person to stay in my room, and there is just something about being in the presence of beautiful living things. I have usually been to busy to develop much of green thumb but would certainly like to in the future. When I finally have the opportunity to embark on that adventure and plant my vegetable garden, I am sure I will write about it. Until then, I will continue to dream and take advantage of local farmers’ markets.
The fruits and veggies at the market near the hôtel de ville (City Hall) are delicious. It’s so much easier to find organic and locally-grown produce here than in the states. The giant red bell pepper I bought on Saturday has been one of the sweetest I’ve ever eaten and has made a fantastic addition to salads this week. I am anxious to head back in a few days and explore more. I’ve decided to visit the same growers for my fruits and veggies each week so I can get to know them and become a “regular” at least while I’m here. It would be nice to be recognized and feel like I can catch up on the weeks’ activities with someone familiar. Besides, the vendors I eventually settled on offered me two free strawberries as I shopped and one after my purchase. They were heavenly! It’s great for marketing since I definitely plan to buy some on my next trip! (The picture is from my last visit here. This Saturday I will take one of “my” vendors.) 😉