Bonjour a tous! Tara, here, writing to you from sunny southern France.
Since we arrived, I have had a permanent smile on my face as I breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds chirp, watch the stars in the dark night sky, and taste our daily treats from the boulangerie.
Our arrival was fairly uneventful, followed by short-lived freedom before a second lockdown was implemented in France and much of Europe.
Despite all of our worry and preparation, the trip itself was quite smooth. There was a minor moment of confusion and stress when we checked in as I needed to have a return flight within 30-days of my stay due to the Schengen Agreement requirements as an American visitor. Also, France is not providing tourist visas for Americans due to the pandemic. However, as the spouse of a current EU citizen, I am able to enter freely. Thanks to having an email from the French consulate in Japan, this confusion was quickly remedied.
The flight was very easy with only about 20 to 30 people, maximum, on the 777 plane. Thanks to Japan’s good reputation of being careful and thorough, our arrival process at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport was the fastest I’ve ever gone through. Security officers checked our passports upon deplaning, then the immigration officer hesitated for a split second before stamping me through, finally our two cats arrived without even a glance at all our paperwork. That was it! We were in France!
Curfew and Lockdown
After a long drive from Paris to our rental in a village called Lorgues, we took a few days to rest and settle in. As we explored the little villages in the area, I was struck by how few people were wearing masks even if they were in groups. Since the majority of people in Japan had been wearing them, it was a little bit of a surprise. However, shortly after we arrived, a curfew was put into place in certain districts that were seeing high numbers of new COVID-19 patients. The curfew wasn’t that important or impactful on us as we are not ‘night people’, so being home between 9pm and 6am wasn’t a problem. Though, I heard from some others that it was also difficult as people were not allowed to cross department lines (like prefectures) during those times either. In any case, the curfew restrictions lasted about a week before lockdown was announced.
At midnight of October 30th, we officially went into the second lockdown. This means that we cannot leave our homes except for light exercise or to walk pets within 1km of our residences without an attestation/certificate that falls within one of nine categories that are considered reasonable for going further out. I will summarize them here:
If one is caught out without having a certificate, there are some pretty hefty fines in place to discourage people from breaking the rules.
However…, the truth is that we have yet to see anyone be stopped or questioned about their outings. From online comments, it seems that the officials are being very lenient and not taking the lockdown too seriously. We are staying close to home, though as there is no need to risk it and we are content with our new space!
Before the lockdown, we did some exploring in Nice as we are about 1.5 hours away. We also made it to the beach in Freju, though the water is chilly. Life is tres bien (very good) and no complaints. We will look forward to being able to explore more again in December, so stay tuned for an update on those adventures!
- Work, school or training: People can continue working in offices and most schools remain open. Still, remote work and masks are expected.
- Shopping: People may go out for supplies and basic necessities, though some stores will not allow customers to buy non-essential items such as clothes, etc.
- Medical care: Doctors visits or picking up medication is of course ok.
- Care of children, disabled, or family: If someone is the main caregiver or is obligated to provide help, they may go to and from on their behalf.
- Official summons: Those who may have court appointments or are requested to visit official offices may do so.
- Exercise: For one hour a day, people may do individual sport or walk their pets within 1km of their homes.
– As the words suggest, this phrase refers to the temporariness of a situation or circumstance.
e.g. Their excitement with the results was short-lived when the latest news was broadcasted.
– This may be more familiar as a noun to express a solution. However, we also use it as a verb meaning “to fix” or “set right”.
e.g. The confusion on where to have dinner was remedied when Alice invited everyone to her house.
a split second
– With the article, this is used as a noun phrase to mean “a brief moment”. You may also use it as an adjective to describe something a quick or accurate.
e.g. For a split second, I thought I had forgotten my wallet. (n)
His split-second decision probably saved them from having a car crash. (adj)
– This adjective is used to describe something as large or forceful.
e.g. He made a hefty 50 million dollars on the stock market.
アメリカ育ちで日本で９年間英語を教えた経験あり。日本以外にもAbu Dhabiでも英語を教えていたベテランの先生です。 ヨガを教える資格も持っていてとてもアクティブで、「諦めずに頑張って」とモチベーションをくれる指導スタイルで人気。
座右の銘は「We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit」。