The New Year has passed and 2018 is getting underway. The weather has not been so cold as expected but very wet and windy. Life is settling into a kind of routine now and I am making efforts to rebuild my life in a new town. Health-wise, not so good! A cold before Christmas, another after. Food poisoning and then a flu type bug that has taken three weeks to begin to feel as if I am recovering.
The highlight of January was my oldest friend Chris from London coming to visit me at the weekend. He was in France for a conference and made time to come and meet Sophie on Saturday evening until Monday morning. His visit meant a great deal to me as he is the first person from my old life who’s been able to meet Sophie. So that was quite a landmark weekend for me and for him too I believe. I met him at Limoges station 45 minutes away, the drive home was relaxed and we chatted about many things. I had a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge for this special occasion and opened it as soon as we were home. But there was also another reason for celebrating! Chris had told me that he was getting married in two weeks time to his partner Jo of several years. I was delighted at the news and we were both in good spirit. He will soon be one marriage ahead of me as this will be his third.
Before his arrival, I had prepared one of the spare bedrooms for his stay and was quite pleased with how it looked considering it had not been redecorated. It was nice to have a reason to make me organise another part of the house and make it feel more like my home too.
That evening I cooked a nice meal which we enjoyed while sat at the kitchen table, where we continued drinking and talking until the early hours of the morning. Chris had woken earlier than me and cleared up in the kitchen before I emerged on Sunday morning. After a light breakfast we went out for some fresh air and a walk which was a good idea. Chris remarked that he liked the town, the great views across the river and vally and my house too. That made made me happy to hear. We returned home for a very light French lunch of charcuterie and drinks, an evening with a roast chicken dinner and more drinks continuing late that night. The whole visit was very enjoyable and I was so happy that my oldest and dearest friend was able to accept my life albeit somewhat strange for him. But he was supportive and simply content with the knowledge that I was very happy. However, I am a little sad that I will not be at their wedding, but it will be a very low key affair and understand.
During the week ahead I intend to make an effort to restart my exercise and get my fitness levels back to where they were last year. I began a yoga class about a five minute walk from my house last week. I met Robert, a yoga teacher, photographer and owner of a lovely home with a superb yoga studio in the attic of his old French house. There were five other women, myself and Robert who spent the next hour and a half contorting our bodies in the pursuit of better health and fitness. The following day I discovered which muscles had been tested the most as my abs, shoulders and back were a little tender after that first session. I have since bought my own yoga mat and will be at the next class tomorrow morning.
I went to the cinema last night to see the Star Wars release in English with Karen. We decided to go to a kebab restaurant very close to my house before the film. On our arrival I noticed how the owner, the only person working there, immediately focused on me asking my name and engaging me in conversation. He enquired where I lived and complimenting me on my good French. It wasn’t very long before he boldly invited me to meet him for a drink. I could only giggle at the thought of that. Karen and I laughed about his attempt at chatting me up while we waited for our meals to be cooked. He was very interested in my opinion on his food which I unfortunately had to tell him that it was only ok and his sauces were not great.
The film wasn’t great and possibly too long. But it was nice to go out for the evening. There were only seven of us in the cinema, so perhaps that says something about the film too!
My home is becoming more organised and is feeling very much like my home now. I am starting to feel that I would like to get my guitar out and reconnect with my music again. Like my exercise, I have not engaged in either since the summer of last year and I am missing both. My ambition with my music it to play again in public but as Sophie. That would be a clear indication of my self confidence about who I am.
In two weeks time I have my first consultation at the hospital. Long overdue, but at least I am now about to embark on the next stage of my new life. I am excited and anxious. But happy to say that the positives are clearly ahead on that one. It will also have an impact on the level of passport I will be able to obtain. I need to acquire a letter to support my application to get a passport with the details I would prefer it to include. I may have to be content with a lesser option if I am unsuccessful in obtaining the letter, but it will allow me to change all my legal papers and registrations in France.
Updates: I did break out my guitar and also broke a nail much to my disappointment. I tried playing a few of the songs I had written last year. Two of them made me cry and I had to stop, I need to try again soon. My lounge/dining room is quite functional now and I hope to begin entertaining soon. One bedroom is looking good and I feel that I want to begin decorating in the house. Work at the restaurant has come to an end until the season begins to pick up again, perhaps at Easter. But that suits me right now as I need to progress with things in the house. The situation with my daughter is good and I will try to be more flexible in my approach to see if I can establish the right conditions for her to visit this year. Thanks to my friend Chris for his input on that subject. Money is disappearing too fast and I need to be prudent with my spending. If things take longer, it’s not really an issue. I’m pleased that my weight is returning to the pre-Christmas figures and I feel better in myself.
Tomorrow is the 1st of February – I have no idea what is in store for me! Other than – the new laptop I bought at the start of January had to be returned due to hard drive failure, should arrive tomorrow fully repaired. The rest I guess will reveal itself to me all in good time.