Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Lost in Aveyron
My Aveyronnais friends often ask me how I "got lost in Aveyron": Comment tu t'es perdue en Aveyron? In other words, they want to know how an American -- certainly from a major city full of skyscrapers -- could end up in their peaceful, rural département. There are only a handful of us in the Rodez area, and for the most part our spouses are French, and often Aveyronnais. My husband, though, is from the North of France, which makes my presence here even more of a curiosity.
The simple fact is that we came to Aveyron because my husband found a job here. We had been living near Tours, but he liked neither the area nor his job there, and got an offer to work in Rodez. I must admit I didn't know what I was getting into! A lot of French people barely know where Aveyron is, and I had only a vague notion that we were going back to the South. We had started our life together in Albi, which is resolutely part of the Southwest, and I was pleased enough to be headed back in that sunny direction.
I didn't know at the time that we were moving to one of the most rural and isolated parts of France, yet one of the most charming and dynamic. It is hard for me to realize that 10 years ago, Aveyron was just a spot on the map to me, that I knew nothing of its customs, geography and tourist sites. Somehow, now, it is difficult for me to imagine life elsewhere in France. I am lost in Aveyron.