Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

I Didn’t Expect To Be Sad…

This was our final week in Provence.  It has been a week of lasts:

  • The last trip to the market to buy olives, pasta, and cheese and practice my bad French with the very patient people who sell their goods there

    Buying Nyons Olives at the Grignan Market

  • One last picture of the Grignan castle sitting at the top of the incredibly picturesque medieval village where the girls go to school

    Grignan Castle the end of June

  • The last Wednesday pizza from Ivan des Pizzas – a Hawaiian, the American kind with ham and pineapple, not the French version with chicken, green pepper and onion (pineapple optional!)
  • One last pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) from the best bakery of the many, many, many we’ve tried during the year.
  • A last trip to the clothesline… one last walk to the garbage and recycling station… one last mad dash to catch the school bus…
  • And many, many, many last bisous (kisses) with the wonderful people we’ve met during the year

This year has been intense. It’s been incredibly good in so many ways, but it has also been difficult. Everything was strange which meant it was also hard – like the time it took four hours to buy lightbulbs!

I fully expected that right now I’d be feeling glad we came, but ready to get back to “normal” life in California. I didn’t expect that leaving would make me sad.

It was hard to say good-bye to so many people. Claudine, Jacqueline, Augustin, Alain and the other wonderful Chansojeux leaders who immediately embraced our children as part of the village; Emma, Christine, Vanessa, Genevieve and the lovely English-speaking people who let me have a real conversation; Caroline and the other parents who let me practice my French while we waited for the school bus; Genevieve and Jean who introduced us to raclette; Vanessa and Jerome who taught us the traditions of the galette des rois; Julien who gave us homemade pate from his own pig; JP and and his amazing food (takeout fois gras – yum); Gilbert who gave JM tips about growing crops in Provence; the staff at the village cafe who kept us supplied with coffee, bread, pastis, and great conversation; the wonderful teachers at the Grignan school …and…and…and…

We hate to leave. As the girls say, we’d like to stay in California AND stay in Chantemerle.

Au revoir et Merci

Our very warmest and most sincere au revoir and merci to the incredible people who have touched our lives this past year! Vous allez nous manquer!

11 Responses to “I Didn’t Expect To Be Sad…”

  1. Carol B says:

    Today’s post has made me sad as I’ve been experiencing your French year along with you via your blog. I’m sorry to see it come to an end, too. Thank you for introducing us to Provence and all of its wonder! 🙂

  2. Lise says:

    It is always hard to leave. And I predict it will also be hard to adapt back to “normal” life in California. You have changed, nothing will ever be the same. Remember to give yourself time.

  3. patti says:

    Who knows? Perhaps you’ll end up moving to Provence altogether. Why not? Thanks for blogging this whole year. It’s been a really enjoyable read.

  4. Emanuela says:

    Great blog with a bittersweet ending!
    I agree with Lise: it will be hard to adapt back in California, because you’ll be a different person, with a different view of the world. On the other hand, I am sure you will appreciate things that you never thought you would.
    Have a great road trip!

  5. Dianne King says:

    I’ll miss the little glimpses of Provence, Diane and J-M. It must have been just a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing it with us all!

    And welcome home!

  6. Lise says:

    How about a new blog “Back in California afer a year in Provence” ? Look at California with a outsider’s viewpoint.

  7. Gabriel says:


    I really enjoyed your descriptions of what you encountered in France. You are a very good writer. I learned a lot from your experiences and your discoveries. It is not the same in Paris.

    We will be glad to see you when you visit your inlaws.

    A la prochaine

  8. Jen says:

    Boo hoo… how the time has flown! I will miss getting regular updates from your family. Alas we will have to just reminisce over email… and one day in person over french wine and cheese. Vive la France!

  9. BCRobin says:


    As much as I’ll miss hearing about all your adventures in Provence, and told in such a witty manner, I admit to being selfishly glad you’ll be back in California. I think Lise has a great idea, about continuing to write about your adventures here. (And I have a raclette machine, to keep at least that memory alive…)

  10. Diane H. says:

    Thanks everyone for all the kind words. We’re not quite done blogging yet. We’re driving around Europe this summer and having a bunch of new experiences that we’re planning to write about, and I’ve been warned so often about reverse culture shock that I’m interested in what will actually happen.

  11. Katie says:

    Sad to leave – but what wonderful memories!