While I initially thought the decision to leave Paris was difficult, over the past week it’s become abundantly clear that we made the right choice. As we move from a strict confinement in week one to likely a total confinement in week two, I’m beyond grateful to have the ability to go outside in the sun, catch glimpses of the stunning Normandy beaches, take walks through the garden, and share my Sunday Mexican food tradition with Romain’s family.
I spent the first week in confinement adjusting to this major shift in my new normal, not unlike most people. All of my work projects before the COVID-19 outbreak are now on hold. I’m making some major adjustments so that I’m ready to go when the curve flattens. Since I already work remotely, this part of the new normal hasn’t been all that difficult for me.
The true challenge for me (and likely everyone else in the house) has been trying to figure out how to live together as a multigenerational family. The triple kicker for me being that it’s not my family, I speak a different language, and I come from a different culture. Last Monday I’d never met Romain’s grandmother before, and now we’re living together.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s actually been a lot easier than I expected. Having a set routine has helped. Having Dalton around has helped. Laughter has definitely helped. I know that things will likely get more difficult before they get easier, but I’m trying to focus on the positives. So, as bizarre as this sounds, here are my highlights from the first week of confinement in Normandy.
Seeing the Ocean and Normandy Beaches
Where we are in Normandy has really gorgeous beaches. People actually call Granville the Monaco of the North. Even though walking on the beach isn’t an approved activity, I’ve still been happy looking at the water and hearing the waves.
Before the strict confinement began, Romain and I had a DIY Sunset Happy Hour. Even after the strict confinement, I’ve still managed to catch glimpses of the water on hikes and runs. The beaches in lower Normandy vary from being sandy to rocky and often are just below dramatic cliffs. There’s so much to see and do in Normandy, and the beaches are just another reason to spend more time in the area on a future trip!
Daily Walks Through the Garden
Staying at home isn’t bad when there’s a garden. Right now, it’s filled with blooming cherry blossoms, pink and white magnolias, and so many different colors of camellias. Even when the weather wasn’t perfect the flowers and birds chirping brightened my day. At this point in Paris my time spent outside would be almost nonexistent.
Lots of Homemade French Fries
Normally I don’t eat fries every day, but during the first week of confinement in Normandy I haven’t turned them down once. Romain’s brother has them down and always makes some sort of buttery, creamy, delicious sauce to accompany the fries. We even had them with bolognese sauce one day for lunch. One of my big goals from this period is to learn how to make the fries.
Mowing the Lawn with a Tractor
I was half-joking when I asked Romain’s brother if I could drive the tractor. The next thing I knew I was mowing the lawn. It was actually really relaxing and I have to say I’ve caught myself admiring my work several times. I’ll be happy to have that on my list of chores over the coming weeks.
Sunday Mexican Food Tradition in Normandy
My Sunday Mexican food tradition has now made its way from Dallas to Paris to Normandy. I bought lots of shredded cheese in Paris…like twelve packages. I of course brought the grocery store brand shredded cheese to Normandy, a region in France known for its excellent cheeses. Luckily Romain’s family has a good sense of humor, and at the end of our first week of confinement we had a champagne toast and a quesadilla dinner.
We made homemade tortillas (seriously so easy and good), and I used some of the peppers I brought from K-Mart in Paris for the quesadillas and spicy margaritas. I know Romain loves quesadillas but I was 100% sure that no one else in the family would want them. Surprisingly, everyone loved the quesadillas, including Romain’s grandmother, and actually had seconds. It made me happy and also hopeful that this Sunday tradition will continue while in Normandy.
I hope everyone is staying home, staying safe, and staying entertained. As we begin week two of our confinement in Normandy, I’m happy to report that the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and my French is improving.