A couple of years ago I had the great privilige of being in a box at The Albert Hall at 11 a.m the packed house made up entirely of colleagues from my then corporate job. The lights dimmed and a voice in the darkness uttered dramatically: ‘Ladies and Gentlemen …. Cirque du Soleil’ This is entirely irrelevant except to say that wonderful build up to introduce a feast of brilliance feels appropriate here. Because I want you to anticipate the people you are going to meet and I would love you to feel you get to know them as I try to draw them with my words. Some are people from my past, some I knew before I arrived here to live and others I have met along the way. Some are leading roles, others supporting cast but all are fabulous and the stories hinge on them. So let le rideau se leve and lets get on with the fun. The fun that could only take place in this beautiful forgotten place. The place that I hope you will love as I do. The place that has enticed me, finally to put down roots.
Just one thing – amongst this cast is only one clown, only one jester and that is me. I am the only one I laugh at but the really beautiful thing is that as much as I am the stranger, as much as I struggle with the language and as much as it is me learning the customs and traditions, I never ever feel that those around me are laughing at me. Despite the fact that I am an almost 6 foot Englishwoman who for the first 6 weeks here insisted on introducing herself ‘je suis anglais’ – which translates as I am an Englishman ….