Just like any move, short or long, there is a certain amount of work involved in getting settled in to your new home. Even before when we moved from place to place in France staying for only a week at a time, we did this in a more condensed fashion. Since we will be staying in the same house for two months, we have been able to take our time getting settled. Instead of having to figure everything out in one day, we’re spending the first week relaxing, resting, and taking stock of our needs for the summer. Before we returned home last summer, I made a food list and a miscellaneous list of things we might need to purchase when we arrived depending on what was on hand in the house we were renting. When we arrived, we were pleased to find that many of the items on our lists were already here.
On Saturday, we purchased a few basics beforehand to get us through our Sunday arrival when pretty much everything is closed. Once in the house, we took inventory and prepared to go to our favorite nearby shopping mall on Monday. Among other things, this mall boasts a gigantic Auchan super (duper) market. It literally has everything you could possibly want… if you can find it. For someone who used to love shopping so much, I am always surprised at how exhausting it is to make this first major trip to the store. We decided to divide and conquer, so I took a shopping cart for my part of the list and Norman used a rolling basket for his. Due to the fact that the store is so incredibly large and we cannot message each other on our phones when we get separated, we chose a central meeting place and time — harking back to the pre-cellphone days of taking the kids to Disneyland and letting them go off on their own for a while. This worked fairly well, but it is still easy to get lost. During one rendezvous at our meeting place, an elderly woman approached us and began speaking to us (in French, of course) about the fact that each of us had a shopping cart. At first I thought she was reprimanding us, then I realized she was making a joke of the fact that the husband had the smaller cart and the wife had the larger one. She was very sweet and even though we explained that our French was limited, she continued speaking to us in a very friendly manner and finally wished us “Bonne Vacances”.
After about an hour, we had picked up most of the items we came for and agreed we were spent for the day. What is so exhausting about this process is that, like in the U.S., there are so many brands and we really aren’t familiar with any of them. This leads to a lot of price-checking and label reading. In addition, things are not necessarily organized in the same manner to which we are accustomed often requiring much searching for one item. For example, who would have thought clothes hangers would be across the aisle from house paint? In the end, we had a salad spinner and good knife for the chef plus extra ice cube trays and hangers and a myriad of food products including the requisite bread and wine. We were ready to check out and head home. Today we made another trip to a different store in attempt to complete our list though it seems there is always something more. Tomorrow we plan to get up a little earlier to enjoy the bounty of the farmers’ market in Périgueux. It’s time for some farm fresh, local ingredients.