Friday, June 11, 2010

Adventures in La Poste and other stories

I began the time in my workshop today at a bit of a loose end.  This always happens when a fairly big piece has occupied me over a few days.  I am left wondering 'ok, what next?'.  It is an awkward time when my hands are idle, there is only so much tidying a person can do.  But then, as I made some tea with bags sent to me from a dear friend in Australia...I had an idea!  And before it had a chance to disappear I caught it and scribbled it down.  I am now happily occupied on 2 rings and 1 pendant.  The backs of two of the pieces have been etched with drawings of kimonos.  They are extraordinarily beautiful.  Don't take my word for it though, look, just come and look at my etchings!

The first kimono design features the sea, shells and some hardy coastal blooms.

The second kimono drawing depicts a garden through which a strong mountain stream flows.  There are exotic flowers reaching high into the sky and a hint of bamboo here and there.

So, today, I braved my local La Poste for the second time.  Figuring out accurate postage rates for my jewellery to be sent on adventures around the globe is the only thing standing between me and the grand opening of my Etsy shop.  I took reinforcements this time in the shape of my neighbour who has the distinct advantage of having French as her mother tongue (and she is friendly with the post mistress which is an added bonus).  

I have so many questions and queries about international postage, insurance and customs forms, so I wanted to pick a quiet time.  We arrived.  There was only one person there, perfect!  An elderly gentleman came in with one arm, we let him go before us.  And then we began our interrogation.  But wouldn't you know, within three nano seconds of beginning our onslaught a queue of six people magically formed behind us. Complete with an obligatory grumbling new born baby!  It was the baby that actually alerted me to fact that we were no longer alone.  We left after managing to secure some customs forms, I still had more questions but I didn't want to hold up the queue anymore.  

However, as we left, another elderly gentleman (this time, equipped with both his arms) grumbled at us and demanded to know why were just chatting about life with the post mistress.  I'm not sure that a conversation regarding customs declaration forms could be considered idle chit chat and so my neighbour assured him 'Non, Monsieur que nous travaillons!' (no, Sir, we are working!).  

The interesting thing was that afterwards she was fuming with indignation and was clearly most vexed - where as I, with my limited but ever expanding french, glided out with my armful of packages feeling positive and optimistic about another little step being completed.  It is the most wonderful thing about living in a foreign country - you accept things as you see them, without prejudice, without judgement.  Sometimes, this acceptance is just a function of ignorance, but I am enjoying the freedom until I become bi-lingual like my children with their amazing 'sponge-heads'.

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