25 June 2007


So at least I look like I could have children.

Well, that’s something!

I’m starting to find the monthly disappointments a bit boring. I’m starting to get impatient... But never mind. At least we’re making the most of our ‘no-children’ life. DIY, gardening, going out for dinner on a whim, reading, writing, watching Desperate Housewives till late without worrying about being woken up at 6 a.m. the next morning. Yay!

I went to the gym last night. I nearly didn’t go because it had been raining like mad and because it was getting late, but in the end I went because I had worked for 7 hours proofreading some French revision cards, trying to finish the project (and failing miserably), and my whole body was starting to ache: neck, back, arms, fingers. It was time for a good walk uphill on the treadmill and a vigorous work-out on the so-called transporter.

If I had decided not to go to the gym
and if I had decided to do 10 minutes on the transporter rather than 15 minutes (I nearly stopped at 10 minutes, but then thought ‘Come on, you can do another 5 minutes!’)
and if I hadn’t realised that it was 7 p.m., when the Legs, bums and tums class finishes and all the girls rush to the changing rooms to put their decent clothes back on and hurry home to their Friday-night TV/film/meal
and so if I hadn’t rushed, myself, to be in the changing rooms before the LB&T girls’ invasion
and if I had taken that little bit longer to tie my shoelaces...
I wouldn’t have met this lovely French woman who was coming out of the LB&T class.

Let’s take this further.
I wouldn’t have heard her speak French and would have been none the wiser when I saw her in front of me just about to go out the door. (I probably wouldn’t even have noticed her!)
I wouldn’t have had time to think ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have another French woman in my circle of friends? Or at least someone to go to the gym with?’
I wouldn’t have had time to think ‘Shall I? Shan’t I?’

She was walking quite fast ahead of me. I only had three seconds before it was too late to approach her. I thought ‘What the hell? Why not?’ and then the words spilled out of my mouth:

‘Bonjour, je vous ai entendu parler français, vous êtes française?’

And this maybe was the start of a great friendship. Only time will tell.

Yes, she replied, she is French. In the couple of hundred metres that separated the gym from the car park where, presumably, she had parked her car (I can just walk to the gym, I don’t need a car), we learnt where we both lived, that we were both married, that our husbands were English. She told me that she had just moved from a town 20 minutes away, I told her that I have been in this country for nearly 12 years.

‘My children go to the international school in C.... [10 miles away]. That’s why we moved.’

Indeed, they’re now a lot closer to the school than they were before.

And it so happens that that school is in the same town where Monsieur l’Anglais is going to start his new job next month.

You see? You see the link? SERENDIPITY.

If I had been lazy, I wouldn’t have met this woman! I love serendipity. I love understanding the reasons behind this or that. I love creating my own life, too, and this is a perfect example of life creation, because it was all under my control: If I had stayed at home, if I hadn’t pushed myself a little on the transporter, if I hadn’t looked at the wall clock at the gym... and then of course, if I hadn’t had the guts to talk to the woman who had just spoken in French to another French lady...

When we were about to part ways, French Woman said:

‘Do you have children?’

It always stuns me when people I don’t know ask me that, because I still think of myself as 20 years old and therefore as looking very young, innocent and sooooo unlikely to have children already! Yet I am 30 years old, I’ve been married for nearly a year (can you believe it!?) and we’ve been trying for a baby for a few months, so it’s completely plausible that I could have children. I shouldn’t be so shocked.

‘No, not yet!’ my answer came.

Maybe French Woman and I will be great friends.
Maybe our children will go to school together.
Maybe her husband works where my husband is going to work.

The possibilities that serendipity opens up!

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