Our compass bends toward “true home”: to that place where we must return, “définitivement.” The day of leaving France has been foreseen since the day of our arrival, but set aside, well out of sight, until now. Our plane leaves Marseille on September 3, at 10:15 am. We will be ready.
Leaving our home in Aix en Provence is bitter-sweet. We yearn to see friends and family in the United States, yet we feel a real longing to stay connected with our friends and life here. And our little SweetPea will not return to California with us. She will remain in the forest where she loved to ramble, sheltered by pines and chestnut trees, with her splendid view of Mt Sainte-Victoire. She is a part of us that will always be here.
It’s impossible to describe the complete welcome we have received from “la tribu” Faillard. They have become our extended family, with whom we have shared so many moments of joy, laughter, worry and even a little sadness. Their generosity is unparalleled, and their energy and determination to live life fully are inspirational.
We had a little gathering here in our garden at the end of July to thank many of the wonderfully generous members of the Senior golf teams at Set Club with whom Ken has played all year. There were about thirty men and women who shared with us that evening their great humor and warm wishes. They admire Ken’s stellar golf, his easy camaraderie, and his willingness to help out on the teams whenever needed. They will miss him.
I will miss so many things about our life in France and Aix in particular.
I will miss the beauty of ancient chapels.
I will miss the everyday joys of tourism and markets.
We will miss the mountains that are so close. In a day we can pass through France to Switzerland to Italy and back again to France, winding through alpine glory.
We will miss the Calanques. The beaches are too populated for my liking, but the rocky promontories that shelter fishing coves along this part of the Mediterranean are treasures.
We will miss the evening magic of suppers on the terrasses with friends, especially when we were able to celebrate our friend Jan’s birthday at a friend’s home looking out over the 18th hole of Set club. Jan’s visit in August led us to re-experience the pleasures of Paris, villages in the Alps, and the tiny towns of the Luberon.
Leaving our little apartment was hard for Jan, and will be hard for us, too.
But it’s time to go. Our contract for our brave Dacia Duster (made in Romania for Renault) expires the 3 Sept. (I say brave because any thing and any one venturing onto the roads in France is brave.) Our long-stay Visa expires 4 Sept., and we don’t wish to incur the wrath of the Customs officials who have kindly let us stay for a year.
It’s time to take our bearings and prepare to set a new course.
Thanks for traveling with us this year. It’s been fun to prepare this little blog each month, and perhaps I’ll be able to continue it in some fashion. Keep your ears and eyes open to see what the new chapter may be.
Until then, we wish you well.
As always we are happy to hear your news.
Karen and Ken
Karen@karenmerriam.com and firstname.lastname@example.org