Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our year in France

Well, it's been 1 year to the date since we moved here to rural France. The beautiful Aveyron region, our little house "Les Costes" in the woods. It has been an amazing journey and we are changed people. We would love to stay here in France and start a new life, but timing just isn't right. The economy, the exchange rate and most important our business back home, Art-Works Studio. It needs us. It misses us. And it's time to go back and take care of business and get back to teaching kids art. We are refreshed and our creative juices are flowing. I'm not saying it was an easy decision. In fact I think it's the hardest decision we have ever made. We love it here. Love the people, the food, our life, the countryside, etc... But we have been very lucky to be able to take a 1 year sabbatical and move to a foreign country. We are packing up right now, getting our year into 2 suitcases. We have 2 bike cases, 2 dogs crates, maybe 1 cat crate and 2 suitcases, oh and 2 carry-ons. Oh my.

Here is a highlight of our year here in SW France.

1. we arrive exactly 1 year ago today
2. our house is called "Les Costes" but the people here in the area called it "the house of fear"
3. we road our bikes about 6700 km (which is about 4,163 miles) this past year
4. our first 30 days here were lovely, then on the 31 of october it snowed.
5. most of november it rained
6. december we were thinking - "what have we gotten ourselves into"...we were freezing
7. early december our 1st cat Maillot adopted us
8. we had the coldest winter here in 12 years
9. road our bikes in 32 degree weather
10. met so many people who are now great friends.
11. some of our friends here have never met an American before
12. got 3 chickens (fanny, rhoda and lefty) had them for 8 months and then, well....
13. in the winter i think i mopped the floor ever day, dirt, wet, dogs = mopping
14. visited so many places: Toulouse, Bordeaux, Albi, Paris, Belgium, Provence, Montpelier, Beziers and countless villages that were all breathtaking
15. saw (6) stages of the tour de france LIVE
16. climbed (3) major mountains here (cols) the tourmalet, col d'aspin and Mt Ventoux!
17. met "no regrets for me", who I can now call a great friend and a wonderful lady.
18. my family came to visit in March
19. our friends Lisa & Steve came to visit in April
20. took french lessons 2x a week, 3 hours each class, no english! loved it.
21. drank many many bottles of amazing vin rouge.
22. July our 2nd cat appeared...Mr. Fancy Pants
23. changed as a person. So much for the better.
24. had one of the best years of my life!

We'll be back in France, we both know it. It's where we belong. But right now it's back to Los Angeles and to the studio. We are looking forward to seeing everyone. I'm probably not going to update the blog anymore, not until there is something "french" to report. So all I can say is thanks to all of you who have followed "our juicy life". I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I had writing it.


La Framéricaine said...

Le Framéricain joins me in congratulating you both on having done something that most people only dream about doing--taking a one year sabbatical from life as you knew it.

It would be exciting to hear how your year abroad influences you life in Los Angeles upon your return. I hope that we will see you some day in Le Blanc with your bicycles. That place is crawling with bike paths.

Bon voyage et bon courage,

Penny said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog over the last year! You have really made the most of your time here and I wish you well for your return home :)

Leesa said...

It's been a year of growth and exploration, a year of weather, a year of wine and cycling... A year of new pets and a year of new friends...
It's been great following you around during your time here in France... a year filled to the brim! I know you will be back.. I can feel it....
I wish you and Bruce a safe and smooth journey back to the States. I hope that you will still manage to blog about your life back in the States- as that will be Juicy for all of us who have been following you through both blogs over the past few years... I am glad we had a chance to meet when you were in Paris and I'm sure our paths will cross again when you are back here!
Cheers (*as I lift my glass) to you and Bruce. As Pamela said... You both have done what a lot of people only "dream" of doing.
See you soon.... Leesa

Michelle said...

I have had such pleasure from reading your experience and appreciate your sharing it. You've clearly had an amazingly rich experience in your year in France, and I imagine you will take so much back to the US. Your art school and students will no doubt benefit.

I wish you well, and look forward to reading you, should you decide to blog.

Thank you, and all the best to all of you.

Veronica said...

I've mostly lurked here, but I've loved following your journey of discovery. It's great to follow your dreams like that. and be so open to new experiences. I'm sorry you're going -- I really hoped you were going to work out a way to stay -- but I am sure you will be back. It's so clear you belong here.

Loulou said...

Au revoir...meaning I'm sure we'll see you back in France in the future. Sorry I never got to meet up with you two.
Have a safe journey back to L.A.!

Megan said...

so glad the year went well for you and that you want to come back someday...
Hope your return to LA goes well!

Cindy in NE said...

Got to admit I was kinda' hoping you'd stay in France. I'll miss your blogs, but I wish you the best back in the USA. One day, you'll end up in France, I'll bet!

Mignonne said...

I think its sad you won't be updating your blog anymore... xx

Anonymous said...


Betty C. said...

Just ran into this post -- your year did indeed go by fast, I'm sorry we only met up once! If you ever come back to visit, we'd be happy to put you up for a few days. Take care and happy holidays!

小生 said...
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