Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It is on the ticket machine for the tram, it is on the credit card machine to rent bikes, it flashes through my American brain -fully awake from 3 cups of coffee- while I stare at the rack of laundry to dry.

Patientez- literally translates to Please wait- but my brain is rewiring to think Patience.

What is the hurry, really?  We have more towels so if it takes 3 days(and it won't) for these to dry, ok.  We are not hungry right now so the batter for the crepes CAN sit in the fridge for 2 hours.

Last week, I waited 5 minutes in the grocery store for an elderly man to bag his groceries the exact way he wanted them bagged, the cashier sat calmly with her hands in her lap and waited as well.  Really, what is the hurry?  The first week we were here, Kelly and I were at the same Monoprix and the cheese we were buying did not have a price.  The cashier held it calmly, waiting.  We quickly came to the conclusion that she was not helping us and was being rude.  We quickly told her we didn't want it,  paid for our groceries and left.  After the episode with the older man, I think she was telling us- no hurry, go get the price, I will wait.

I am quickly realizing that my rush is self-inflicted and maybe fueled by American society.  Americans see or hear the word "wait" and think "why?" or "what else can I do until then?"  French see the word Patientez and know that it will happen in good time, just be patient and wait.

The culture and attitude is contagious.  At church on Sunday, the English speaking Anglican church, the pastor called for the scripture reader to come up.  There were 3 to 4 pregnant pauses before a proper little English lady stood calmly, approached the lectern, and slowly and perfectly, enunciating every word, read a scripture that took up half the page.  I followed every word.  I have a very different memory of being asked to read scripture in church.  My instructions were to go up on the last stanza of the hymn (so as not to keep anyone waiting) and I felt my heart beat in my ears as I read faster and faster to get it over with.

I have a calendar at home by the back door where I list all the daily activities and appointments.  It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to wipe off each day, complete.  In France, I have yet to get a calendar.  There is no sense of urgency to wipe off a day or rush out.  I still make grocery lists, the kids are magically still on track with school, we have read at least one book each since we have been here and yet- no one is in a hurry.

Hopefully we have developed some patience while we Patientez.

Be patient....
In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.                                -Phillipians 4:6


  1. Love it! And that you are at an Anglican church! Maybe you'll come back an Episcopalian! Ha! ;-) Love the verse you close with... so true. Luck for you to be able to just leave it all behind. What a way to live! Got to run now though... have to make certain the 5th grade science project is complete and make dinner before the storm hits! Super-cell weather/Tornado watch tonight ... good times! Miss you!

  2. Lovely! We should all follow suit!