Our last morning in France… Sitting at Bordeaux Airport on the way to Paris CDG with enough of a layover for a nice lunch and then off to SFO. At the moment we are glad to being going home, glad to be rid of the car and driving in France, glad to be done with packing our bags and moving them to a new location every week, glad to be finished trying to figure things out all the time. However, it was a wonderful trip and when we get home, I know there are some things we will miss…
The French Meal Schedule: A petit déjeuner — breakfast and truly “petit” (small) — our favorite: plain yogurt topped with fresh seasonal fruit and cornflakes; otherwise, it’s a pastry and coffee or tea — eaten at about 10AM (of course, if you work it’s a bit earlier but NOT at 6:30 AM!). Déjeuner (lunch) – a light one or Apéro around 5-7 PM — snacks of small crackers, nuts, and olives or sometimes cheese, meats, and slices of a baguette. Le Dîner (dinner) at 9 or 10. Goodness, I couldn’t keep these hours at home, but I have loved it here in France and look forward to living my retired life that way if we decide to take that final step.
French Courtesy: The regular practice of exchanging a sincere “Bonjour” upon entering any business establishment and “Merci. Au revoir” when you leave generally delivered with a certain cheery lilt, a smile, and real eye contact.
Relaxed Social Atmosphere: When the French are out and about having dinner or hanging out with friends, we have noticed that they take their time and seem satisfied just to be out. It is such a pleasant atmosphere to be around as opposed to the experience in America where everyone who is out seems to be in such a hurry, never satisfied, and always busy rushing off to the next thing.
The Beauty of the Countryside: As we have said many times before, France is such a beautifully diverse country. The geography is incredible — so many different kinds of trees, mountains, rivers running here and there galore. It’s never ending. There’s always something new and amazing around every bend.
Despite all that and much more about which I am sure we will reminisce in the coming year, we still look forward to certain things at home we haven’t enjoyed for the past several weeks… Driving right up to our (now seemingly huge by comparison) 1400 sq. ft. townhouse — into a garage even! — instead of parking down the street or in a parking garage and hauling things to and fro. And while French beds are surprisingly all quite comfortable — our own bed, sheets, towels — dried in a dryer so they’re soft and fluffy rather than stiff from line drying. Carpeted floors, smooth cobblestone-free streets, connecting on our iPhones and iPads without wifi — oh, and actually being able to make a phone call if necessary! The quiet and comfort of our own personal space.
No matter what we choose to do in the end, every stage of the process is one to be cherished for its own individual and unique experiences and this stage was no exception. For now it’s time to say “au revoir” to France and jump back into the California swing of things with a little French on the side as we continue our language studies and research for next summer.