Every now and again I get struck by a bout of melancholy. Not a down-in-the-dumps doom and gloom kind of downheartedness, but more a feeling that everything is not quite in its place… as if I have lost something… or have not seen a loved one for a while. The self-diagnosis took some time… but in the end it became clear to me. Occasionally I suffer from an ailment I call Frexit, which is the feeling I get when I have been outside of France for a while.
As with any diagnosis it is immediately important to understand the root cause of the disease and in my case, Frexit is a withdrawal-symptom based sickness, brought upon by a yearning for a few major things:
No red lips: This seems to be a staple of the chic French woman. Minimal make-up, but gorgeous red lips. Whenever I am in France I always take out my brightest red lip colour and always imagine that I blend in like a local! Who does not want to look like a French woman!
No sidewalk cafes: I love the café culture in France. What is better than sitting down, side by side, sipping a café latte in the morning while watching French life go by? Wait, I know… Sitting down, side by side, sipping a drink at the end of the day and watching French life go by!
Not French fresh produce markets: The pride and confidence with which stall owners display and sell their products is inspirational. It makes you want to head home and cook something amazing immediately. And two of my favourite things – bread and cheese. The sheer variety!
Not enough long lunches: Food is something to be celebrated; in France it is a key part of life and not something to just be had in a rush. It is a time to sit down and catch up with family and friends and should not be had without acknowledging the momentousness of the occasion! It’s the way life should be!
No French in my ear: I can’t speak French apart from a few essential words, but oh, what a beautiful language. The flair with which even the simplest baguette is served – “Voila!” – will make you believe that you are having a 5 star meal! (And I must admit, the way a handsome French man pronounced my name once, left me weak in the knees! Of course hubby says it best, though!)
Lack of French wine: My favourite red wine will always be a Bordeaux, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Last year we came across a white Bordeaux (which was sauvignon blanc based) for the first time. But a newly found favourite on that trip was the beautiful blush pink rose’s of the Languedoc Roussillon.
And just like Brexit, it is important to realise that Freixt can also cause unprecedented economic turmoil and uncertainty as all I want to do is book tickets on the next plane to France. So before things go so far, as with all ailments, prevention is better than cure…
To make sure that I remain healthy this weekend I will make sure that I put my red lips on. It’s going to be a cold one here in Cape Town, so I am going to scour the shops for beautiful red Bordeaux (not the easiest thing to find here) and the long lunch is going to be nonnegotiable! I might even take out that special table cloth I bought in Provence but have been too scared to use!
Here is to banning Frexit – at least for the weekend – and santé to joie de vivre!
Do you suffer from Frexit? I would love to know why and what you do to get over it! Please leave a comment and let me know!