We have done this enough times that it is a fairly routine activity. “Nesting” is a whole lot less stressful that getting the apartment ready for renters. It is an activity that we can perform at our leisure. Except for the occasional item that I NEED RIGHT NOW, most of it can take place over the days and weeks ahead. Leaving the apartment and France is stressful because: a) we are leaving France and I drag my feet on getting things packed and put away and b) a renter arrived the same day we left, so we had a specific window of time to get everything ready for renters.
Our house and lawn (British “garden”) are in great shape. Our house-sitters took wonderful and meticulous care of our house while we were away. They even prepared (tilled) the vegetable plot and planted garlic last winter!
After noticing and admiring the house/garden/vegetable plot, the next thing I noted was how much earlier darkness arrives in
Lansing when compared with our village in Provence. When one
follows the latitude lines, Vaison la Romaine, FR is on a par with Traverse City, MI, 200
miles north of Lansing.
The further north one goes, the longer the summer daylight hours become. This
morning when we woke at 6:00 (after an early night of jet-lagged sleep), the
sun had not yet risen. Provence can support tropical plants and long growing
seasons thanks to the Gulf Stream and the trade winds that bring warm air to
southern Europe (until climate change shuts down the Gulf Stream and Provence
becomes cold like Traverse City in the winter…)
There is a real comfort from being back in our neighborhood. One of my French friends wanted to know why we continue to split our time between Vaison la Romaine and
The easy and honest answer is friends. We have wonderful friends – many of
whom are also our neighbors. Hearing the description of the circle of wonderful
friends and family, my French friend had to admit that he admired the American
style of open front yards and porches where one can easily encounter neighbors.
(The French usually construct high – 8-10 ft. – walls around their properties.)