We have now entered the worse phase of moving. The... waiting...phase. The.WAITING.phase. The...w a i t i n g phase. I am convinced I am supposed to be learning the lessons of patience.
I am trying to bravely face each day with renewed hope for a potential buyer to come to our home, fall in love with it immediately, make an offer within an hour, and free us to continue our pursuit of our long dreamed of abode in the lands of distinct 4 seasons...that being somewhere in New England.
However, it takes mere seconds for those thoughts to come to a screeching halt. To quickly put life into its proper perspective, all I have to do is open any news outlet. Right there, in twenty or so news stories, I am humbled over and over again that we have the luxury to even contemplate pursuing such dreams in life.
The Ebola epidemic is so frightening. The people who are fleeing the terror of ISIS and have completely lost their homes humble me yet again. I was in a pool of tears reading about the young bride who moved to Oregon so she can pursue the "die with dignity" right in the state because of a brain tumor, which was removed and has now returned...again.
|The fields of openness driving to "La Foire des Hérolles" market in France|
Life quickly comes full circle with access to so many harsh stories of life. Several times during the day, I have to turn off the feed of desperately sad world events, sip a good strong cup of hot coffee, stare out the window at nothing in particular, and just remind myself that sitting here waiting for our house to sell so we can move to another house...should be just about the least of my concerns.
|Scenes from the HUMONGOUS market "La Foire des Hérolles" in France|
So, I pause yet again...but this time, I'll force my thoughts to a happier time...last summer's time spent in France.
Forever grateful to spend any time in this lovely country, I had the fortune to attend an incredible event that takes place in the deep countryside of France.
|Le Pizza Français...Green Peas, Hazelnut dried Sausage, Carmelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza|
First things first, I do need to note that pizza in France became a mainstay for us during our summer. As we were coming and going in between the castles of the Loire Valley, we would often stop and pick up a pizza, either at a café or at a grocery store. Pizza is one of those foods that changes from country to country. I can remember having pizza in Japan that was served sprinkled with corn kernels and handfuls of basil. Interesting combination for us.
Our initial intent in trying out french pizza was to keep our food budget in check...as well as my giving into the whiny whims of a teenage boy. Well, that isn't really fair. I, too, do love a good pizza...it doesn't take much for me to cave in when the aroma of a freshly made pizza is around.
However, as we moved from sampling pizza to pizza in France, we couldn't help but begin to rave over and really enjoy the flavor combinations of many of the pizzas.
While trying to keep the house in tip top shape for showings and not wanting to turn the kitchen inside out cleaning up after each meal, we have again been resorting to the flexibility and ease of making quick and easy pizzas.
As I was fretting over how to cook in my kitchen and cope with being ready to clean up at a moment's notice, it was Riley who mentioned how delicious the pizzas were in France and perhaps we should rotate making some of the types that we enjoyed last summer.
Good idea, I thought! Our favorite happened to be a pizza that had an artichoke spread, green peas, caramelized onions, and thick creamy slices of goat cheese. Certainly, this was a flavor combination that we don't see too often in the U.S.
So, while we have been making pizzas that remind us of our many pizzas enjoyed in France, it also reminded me, while waiting for our stalled life to move forward in the direction of a sold house, that it would be fun to collect my photos from a very special day spent in what was seemingly the middle of nowhere in France.
I was chatting with Sylvie one day, my summer host of the little gite that I rented, and she asked me if I had ever heard of a market event in France called "La Foire des Hérolles".
She thought it would be a great event to enjoy as well as to witness how animals big and small are traded, bought, and sold during one of the largest markets in all of France.
|Beautiful produce and baked goods trundled back from the Loches Market in France|
I was certainly interested indeed and felt fortunate to have Sylvie mention this huge market to us because I don't think I would have come across it otherwise. No, after having been to this market, I know I wouldn't have found it otherwise.
We drove about 1.5 hours south from our tiny town of Genillé, right outside of the more bustling market town of Loches in the Loire Valley, to the market town of Hérolles.
|Trying not to think of rabbit stew while admiring the adorable bunnies|
Along the drive, I began to wonder if we had the wrong day for the market. We had been told that thousands and thousands of farmers from all over France attend this market. However, we hardly passed or met up with anyone on the little winding country roads during our hour and a half drive towards Hérolles, France. Where was everyone?
|Much of the scenery along the drive from Loches, France to the market in Hérolles|
The mood from village to village seemed so sleepy. How could there be thousands of people all headed to this huge market in France if we weren't passing anyone?
As we neared where the little pinpoint on my GPS was indicating, I realized we were in the middle of huge farm fields. These fields seemed to be in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
We kept driving a little further and a few scraggily hand written signs said "La Foire des Hérolles" and had squiggily arrows pointing straight ahead.
I felt a few pangs of annoyance that perhaps this was the wrong day, wrong month, or wrong century for the festival and that my french understanding of Sylvie was at fault. Perhaps she was describing a market that took place years ago...and my french couldn't keep up with the details...like...the market no longer exists...n'existe pas non plus!
Unbelievably, in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere, there stood a little apron clad lady smiling and gesturing for us to pull our car into a barely noticeable grassy lane that led somewhere equally unnoticeable somewhere over to the right.
I asked her, "Est-ce que c'est ici La Foire des Herolles?" "Is this the Herolles festival here?"
"Mais, bien sûr, Madame...ici!" she grinned with a big toothy smile that beautifully wrinkled her entire face as she continued to gesture somewhere in the vicinity of what appeared to be vast fields of ...grass.
So Riley and I forged ahead, bumping up and down along the uneven fields with tall wild grasses slapping each side of our midget rental car while bees buzzed and poked at our windows.
Before long, we were bumping up and down behind a line of other cars that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Within the fields of grasses, huge clearings opened up and a sea of cars, campers, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, and all manner of country farm vehicles were bumping alongside us or parked in random haphazard queues alongside one another.
They were parked at random this way and that way. There didn't seem to be any particular guidelines or signage on how to park...rather...just find a grassy spot, squeeze your car in, and stop there.
There were campers everywhere that had trailers attached, presumably to bring and then bring home new farm animals. Families had portable picnic tables set alongside their campers loaded with all sorts of lunch items. People seemed totally relaxed, enjoying lunch, and perfectly content to be parked in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of France, and in the middle of a sea of grassy fields.
Riley and I squeezed ourselves out of the car and trudged through the tall grasses, piles of mud, and who knows what else. Like obedient sheep, we followed a growing crowd of people all heading in the same direction.
While walking through the fields, with what seemed at first a handful of people, soon became walking alongside hoards of people and eventually tucking ourselves in between thousands of people!
It was unbelievable! The roads were empty the entire drive from Loches and now there were thousands of people, animals, produce, dogs, children, food, and all manner of household goods lined up along a country road that led into the distance as far as the eyes could see.
We joined the throngs of farmers moving along the small path. There were sausages and onions being grilled on one side of the path. On the other side were tables filled with garlic, soaps from Marseille, cookies, and more garlic! Loaves of bread were piled waist high on other tables alongside large wheels of cheese.
As we continued our slow plod forward, eyes wide with the sounds and smells of this incredible market, we walked up to pen after pen of farm animals. The sights and sounds were so very different from any farmer's markets we knew back home in Houston. Chickens were being purchased and held up by the feet for buyers to inspect and then stuffed into big boxes to be taken home to their new farm. Pigs were squealing, turkeys were trotting around, rabbits, ducks, pigeons were everywhere...You name the animal...and it was at the market being bought or sold right in front of us. If I may say, it was kind of like out of a scene of "Outlander"!
This market has existed for hundreds of years. If I closed my eyes, I could try and imagine that the sounds and smells might not be too different than what we were experiencing that day.
Riley and I tried to take it all in but this was quite an experience for us. We bought one of the long thin baguette sandwiches, found a comfortable hay bale to rest on, and with eyes wide open took in as many sights and sounds as this experience would offer two Houston urbanites in the vast farm fields of central France at "La Foire des Hérolles"!