Last week I freaked out. This week I am being reminded that I don’t have to freak out. That there can be civility and peace and quiet moments of happiness and that makes life easier, and will work to reduce my blood pressure. I am reminded because there is a French colleague in the office. This man became a dear friend during a tough situation. When I was working in Paris for a week and going through a really tough time, he always had kind words and a hug for me, tethering me to this world when that obnoxious pit of despair was tugging at me constantly and I didn’t have any friends or family or dog around me. I am indebted to him in a way that I can never express to him.
He reminds me by representing friendship and compassion in a time of chaos. And he reminds me by being French. I was dazzled by the civility of that country when I was there. They greet each other every morning in the office. They take breaks and chat civilly and laugh and drink really good coffee. They eat lunch away from their desks and pause a moment and say “Bon Appetit!” before eating. And they don’t shovel the food into their mouth. They experience the food and have good conversations, and some times even a glass of wine or beer. It is nice. And Paul came at the right moment to remind me of this.
Play Hard. Work Hard. We think we may do this as Americans – but not so much, at least at my company. We have the Work Hard part down, but we don’t play. It is uncivil, in a way.
Since Paul’s arrival I have been categorizing my “French Moments” – times when I feel myself start to breathe more slowly and I am enjoying the beauty that is life and this world.

Here are my recent French Moments:
1. Having breakfast early in the morning with a friend. I had to wake up early and was 15 minutes late to work, but sipping hot tea and gossiping in the early morning was refreshing and welcome.

2. An early morning walk.

3. Turning off the television to read a book.

4. Playing catch with DH.
5. LMAO when Paul loved wearing the sombrero and getting whip cream put on his nose at the Mexican restaurant when our boss told the waiter it was his birthday.

Tonight DH and I are going out with Paul. And I bet during the drinks and good food I will get to have a few more French moments.

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