Day 27

In which our electricity is turned on, we have LIGHT 🌟 & our neighbors offer uncommon kindness…

A lamp or two really makes our house feel like a home. Now we have water AND electricity. All we need at this point is broadband!

We’re becoming insufferably civilized.

I can’t begin to explain the uncommon kindness our neighbors extended, and that the electric company electric extended, while we were trying to hook up our electricity.

A neighbor we had never met stopped by to say hello and welcome us to the neighborhood. When she heard that we’ve been without electricity for three weeks, she was really surprised. We told her that we didn’t have a French bank account yet, and without one, you can’t sign up for electricity. This us what we’ve read and heard.

She said there’s another energy company that she’s pretty sure doesn’t require foreigners to have a French bank account. We said goodbyes and gave it some thought, but before we could call an electric company, there was a knock on our door.

It was another neighbor, one who had overheard our conversation earlier. He handed us a printed email that he had just sent to the electric company – in which he asked if his foreign neighbors (us!) need to have a French bank account, and if so, if they can sponsor us!

The electric company had already replied with a resounding YES – we absolutely can sign up without a French bank account – and they gave a code that would give us access to a discount, etc.

Holy smokes !

So our neighbor – who doesn’t know us at all – had immediately gone inside and emailed the company on our behalf! We didn’t ask anyone to do anything for us, but the community came together instantaneously to make sure our entry into the village was as smooth as possible.

Such kindness, in the USA, is usually followed up by an ulterior motive – an invitation to church, for example. And in Italy and England, this probably just wouldn’t happen between strangers at all.

We say this again and again, but the stereotypes are dead wrong. The French aren’t snobs. Even in Paris, the snob metropolis of the world, everyone I’ve encountered these past 16 years or so has been so wonderfully kind.

In this photo: a new light and our new H&H chair, found on Leboncoin for €15! That’s unheard of for an H&H design.

The woman who sold it to us, told us that she couldn’t read our lips because we wore masks, so she couldn’t communicate. It dawned on me for the first time that the deaf have a unique challenge to deal with during the pandemic. It affects us all hugely in different ways.

I was so moved by her bravery and willingness to interact with strangers in a world where one of her trusted methods of communication is completely cut off. Respect!

This is something I love about Leboncoin, the online marketplace in France where we bought our chair: I love how we’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people from different walks of life all over France, how it’s given us a priceless glimpse into French culture. Not that deafness is uniquely French of course, but we probably wouldn’t have encountered this lady in our everyday life, or any of the other dozen or so people we’ve had wonderful meetings with thanks to the leboncoin website.

Here’s Sean hooking up the electricity. He’s been a master electrician all of his adult life, so this is easy for him.

We found an old mirrored armoire at Emmaus weeks ago and decided it would hide the lime green electrical panel perfectly. Sean’s going to saw it down to create a thin version of the armoire – basically a wooden box – so that we can open the armoire door to reach the wires hidden behind it.

For now it’s just the mirrored door hanging up…

I LOVE how the mirror reflects our neighbor’s decorative balcony railing, as well as the delicate flowers hanging from it:

This cements my feeling that when you buy a home, it’s almost more important to be surrounded by beautiful homes than to live inside of one. We’re almost airways looking out…

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