The arrival of spring announces our departure time from France so we can work on bringing spring to Michigan. I have already started taking stock of the things that have become part of the fabric of our lives and of those, the things that I will miss the most. I will miss (in no particular order – except that Gigondas might be close to the top of the list):
· The “Bonjour, monsieur” greeting as I walk into almost any store (followed by: “Au revoir, monsieur. Bonne journée” as I leave a store – even if I didn’t buy anything.
· Our neighbor and her kind but persistent way of improving my French
· The blue skies – like the Rocky Mountain blue skies
· Walking to the wine cooperative and filling up our wine jug @ 1.80 € per liter ($1.35/bottle at a 1-1 exchange rate…)
· Being awakened by the gate at the crèche next door
· Hearing the sounds of kids playing at the crèche
· Leaving the apartment at 5:25 for a 5:30 movie and being on time
· Benoit, Marie & Morgane ; Dominique ; Eliane ; Frederique ; Gabin ; Hélene ; Lina ; Mag ; Maria & Bill ; Marie ; Marie Dominique ; Maryse ; Michel ; Michele ; Phil & Margaret ; Romeo ; Suzanne & Charles
· The owner of « Les Gourmandines » who is so gorgeous, I KNOW that I would willingly say “okay” if she asked: “Shall I add these rotten potatoes to your bag at twice the price of fresh ones?”
· Gigondas & Vacqueyras
· Playing with the kids at the crèche next door
· Tuesday MARKET day and the fresh vegetables, fruits, meats and fish, cheese, honey, sweets, olives, wine, clothes, shoes, table cloths & souvenirs, music, carry away lunches
· Seeing people throughout the day whom we recognize and who recognize us!
· Meeting people
· Our world-class cheese store, in spite of being rebuffed in true French style when I asked to purchase cheese (Roulé) that the owner denounced as “industrielle” [not natural or handmade therefore not for sale in her shop]
· The daily air shows and the tight formation flying of the jets from the Air Force base.
· Fresh rabbit—which I can purchase entier [whole, with eyes staring and innards intact] or rablé [cut in serving pieces] , pheasant, quail
· Gigondas & Vacqueyras & Cairanne
· Walking (everyday) to purchase food items for dinner
· The View! from our small but viewalicious balcony on the 3ème étage (4th floor)
· Buying a loaf of bread each day (mostly at Pain Romaine)
· Gigondas & Vacqueyras & Cairanne & the lovely white wine from the bio-dynamic producer in Buisson
· Lunch in Faucon at the bakery/restaurant where the spectacular view is an equal match for the fabulous food
· The spectacular views!
· Being able to clean the WHOLE apartment while standing in one spot (almost)
· Gigondas & Vacqueyras & Cairanne & the lovely white wine from the bio-dynamic producer in Buisson & Chateauneuf du Pape
· Getting notes from all of our friends!
· Getting telephone calls from those few friends with no fear of international calling (Thanks, Marge/Charlie and John/Arleen) and Skype calls from those in-the-know of how to call free via the Internet (Mark/Dan, Tish, Karlice, Susie/Bob, John, and Marie)
· Visitors! (Bruce & Judy, Jim & Taffy, Marie, Karlice & Ed, Mark & Dan, Tish, Nancy & Tony)
· Did I mention wine?