Nervous Mime

Do you remember the story I wrote years ago called My Italian Housekeeper about when I lived in Italy and the housekeeper did not speak English and I did not speak Italian and she was terrifying but we got along just fine! Because she talked to me using her hands and her body and pointing and drawing pictures. And we laughed.

Hugo and I are a bit like that. He is an excellent mime so there is very little that he leaves to the imagination.  And my drama training is useful in creating a response. We have spent the good part of two and a half months working together. We have our rhythm – we are good. We don’t need many words now though we use them, we love to talk in our own form of french/english pidgin.  It is a physical language, sound is only part of it.  Laughter is most of it. We laugh all day.


We drive up to collect a few of his family from the train today. They flew in from France last night. I am hoping that this ability to communicate without words runs in the family. And I hope the house is clean enough and I have cooked the right food.


In fact just between you and me I am a little nervous. And I live a life full of people now, I have many summer people to visit. Why am I nervous? I guess the mothers always make me nervous. I don’t know why.  I am only nervous until I meet the person then I am fine. And once we are in the kitchen and at the table we use the universal  language of food  and wine anyway.

But do you know what I mean?  Do super confident people get nervous too? Or just us shy ones.

Well, I had better get going. We will feed the animals and birds and then begin our journey. I do love it when the families come to visit.  Nerves are just judder bars not cattle stops.  There to slow us down a little.  So we think and plan a bit better.

I hope you have a lovely day.


42 Comments on “Nervous Mime

  1. I bet the family is just so excited to see Hugo that all you are worried about really won’t matter anyway! I hope his mom has been reading along – I know I would have been! She can’t wait to meet you!

  2. Ahah! Sleeping policemen and cattle grids in my old life, and traffic calmers and stock grids in my new one. Even when we are all speaking English, we are still divided by our origins. I think you’ll do wonderfully well in your non-vocal way: Maman will take one look at a healthy, happy Hugo and be satisfied, Papa will take one look at your table of food and wine, and ditto. Fear not, they cannot fail to love you. And if they are dubious, well, tant pis, you have thousands who do, and follow you devotedly every day.

    • Oh Kate – you SO have a way with words and I SO agree with your Maman/Papa statement . . . methinks all the four-leggeds on the farmy will look at one another and wonder at all the laughter to come . . . don’t think ‘tant pis’ will come about a’tall, a’tall, a’tall . . .

        • Kate – I can hear HER laughter all the way across land and sea! Behind whose back ?: we all know she has eyes there also . . .

          • That’s the best! Really. – I’m curling up with laughter. Would like to see your face when you will read these comments, Celi!

            • Methinks by this stage she has Irmi !!! Well . . . perhaps she will find the time after . . . ‘with love, Miss C’ !!

  3. I look up to you as super confident. So if you get nervous at times, then EVERYONE gets nervous!

    J’espère que les parents de Hugo ne sont pas trop fatiguées après leur voyage, et peuvent profiter du chaleureux acceuil que tu prepare. Skype me if gestures and smiles fail and you need an interpreter!

    Enjoy your day and your visitors.
    love and hugz

  4. I have forgotten your policy on your photos but I would really like an HD copy of the two kittens with the mug. Calendar worthy!

  5. Oooh, I feel for you …. but I’m sure Hugo and his parents will return year after year English or no English. Laura

  6. I know you will be just fine—you speak the universal language of love and compassion as you show every single day. Can’t wait to hear how it all works out. Love the kitty photos, of course. 🙂

  7. The kitty shot is so lovely. Oh, I’m not super confident at all. Oh, how I can understand you. I confirm to Elizabeth, the others are nervous too. But you’ve got one big, big advantage: You are curious, openminded and you love to laugh. Breaking the ice is the turning point: And Hugo is helping you. He is the missing link. All will be fine, Celi. – I wish you a lovely ice-breaking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy. Hugo is at your side.

  8. Yes, at the end of the day you will be wondering what you were so tied up and stressed out about. Elizabeth and Kate have said it all so well… you have no worries. Just keep re-reading their comments over and over. All will be well. Have fun and enjoy the experience! ~ Mame 🙂

  9. You not confident. I would not have thought C. I bet you are going to have the most wonderful visit.
    Adore your kitty pics today.
    Have a beautiful weekend.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  10. My ex girlfriend’s parents live in a small village in Lincolnshire. The village is twinned with one in Normandy and every couple of years they do an exchange visit. In spite of the fact that neither is particularly well versed in each other’s language they all have a marvelous time. Supper is definitely the time when everyone relaxes as they are all on common ground. If your visitors come from rural France they will admire your livestock and you’ll have another good topic of discussion. Who wouldn’t admire Sheila 😉

  11. You will be you, and they will be they and all will be fine I expect because they raised Hugo and he seems to be a wonderful young man. As to language, I absolutely cannot speak without my hands. I literally have to sit on my hands to control them if I am in a deep conversation and want to emphasize something…words are never enough to get the point across so my hands must flail and gesture and wave. I never notice that I’m doing it and it gives others a laugh so…

  12. I don’t think it matters who is coming to visit our home, we get a bit nervous. The language thing could be a bit of a hiccup but Hugo probably translates ideas pretty fast by now. If they don’t love who you are and what you do, shame on them. But how can they not? Hugo will have a delightful time sharing all he has learned from you and your generous nature that his parents will be enchanted with you as well. Have a fun and wonderful visit. Will be waiting for the breadcrumb of details about it.

  13. Even though you are not “taking care of” Hugo, any mother will feel nervous meeting the mother of the young man she’s been taking care of. At that unspoken core, that’s how mothers perceive things. And I am one of those quite shy people that others view as confident. A puzzlement. You will be brilliant.

  14. All will go fabulously, no doubt, and a wonderful time will be had by all!!! 🙂

  15. In high school, I took both French and German because it was my intention to travel. Instead, I have stayed right here on the family farm where there are 40 or so seasonal workers from Mexico. Some have been coming back for 30 years. I’ve communicated with them as you do, it mostly works because they are such kind, wonderful people. This year it was hard for the farmers to find enough Mexican workers, so they hired Ukrainian immigrant teenagers. It’s been so much fun watching the new crews learn to communicate and work together after a period of scepticism. I know what you mean about visitors, my house is functional, not decorative. It’s cleanable, but I don’t often have time to indulge in that frivolity. I once had a visitor, who came at a time when I was brooding chicks in the house, tell me my house reminded him of a French farm house. So maybe your visitors will feel right at home.

  16. All will go well. Nerves are a good thing. They keep us on our toes. I get them every time I meet someone new. Sometimes even with people I’ve known for years. Enjoy the visit. Tell Hugo hello from Miss A and I. 🙂

  17. I am always nervous to meet new people! Especially if they are to be in my home (refuge)

    I have just caught up with the blog today. It is not like me to miss even a day, but we have had illness in our home which put my husband in the hospital for 36 hours. He is better now, but they have not defined what caused all the fever or respiratory issues. He is very weak still, but I think he is on the back side of this.

    I loved the picture of the girls from yesterday or the day before. Those EARS and PINK noses!!!! Rowdy Teens for SURE!

  18. Enchanted is the key word used above to describe how they will feel meeting you. Enjoy!

  19. They will love you! I don’t take you as the nervous type, either. You went to Oregon and spoke for WordPress! On your own turf–you’ve got this!

  20. I’m sure they’re over the moon! I do think that everyone gets nervous. Good on you for not letting the nerves create a cattle stop.

  21. Brilliant analogy about the purpose of nerves. 🙂 Introverts may suffer longer fears, and more often, but in the life I live among famous-in-their-field friends and acquaintances, I have learned that this kind of social nervousness is nearly universal. And the most insecure people I’ve met—who worry constantly about being judged, and often are wildly competitively driven because they’re convinced they’re being judged—are generally among the most accomplished and high-powered. Guess that drive is what gets ’em there, but what a horrible way to live, if you ask me! 😉 You seem to have enough self-awareness to keep you from being cowed by being an excellent, if (hopefully!) imperfect human, and plenty of humaneness and kindness to remain sympathetic to others’ happiness. That latter is what makes you nervous, most of all: the desire to connect on a good, solid foundation of mutual respect and good humor. That wins for me, every day.

    Have a fabulous time with Hugo’s family! I don’t doubt that the scion is a sign of their general quality. You’ll delight them, as you always do!

    Much love,

  22. I’m usually nervous too when new people come to my home… after all it says a lot about who and what we are – no need for words or language! However, I think the only ‘problem’ you and they will have is they will love you and The Farmy so much, they won’t want to leave. I’m pretty sure that’s how I’d feel about it 🙂

  23. I will send positive vibes your way… though I am quite sure you’ll be just fine welcoming Hugo’s family. They may be just as nervous. What an adventure, my friend. What a beautiful life you hav. 🙂

  24. Late evening here now and I was just dying for news of The Visitors, so decided to check in. I am not surprised to see no comments from you though, as I expect you’re far too busy with your guests….. and surprising yourself at how well it is going. So I guess I will just have to wait till morning and even then not sure you’ll be able to post. Here’s hoping! ~ *huggggggs* Mame 🙂

  25. In actual fact only 7 % of communication is based on the definitions of the words spoken and that is when both parties know the same language.

    As a former GI and, in that capacity, visitor to Asia and Europe I have reminded a number of my buddies that talking louder does not make people who do not know the language understand you. Of course, I first had to figure that out for myself.

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