09 December 2012

A late morning, and ten-year milestones

We are having a late morning today, since we were out until 1:30 a.m., having dinner with people who live on the other side of the river from us. We had a really enjoyable time. The evening was completely trilingual, since there French, English, and American participants around the table. The food and drink were excellent, as you might expect. Thanks to our new friends for inviting us.

Meanwhile, we've been thinking about this same weekend 10 years ago, when we came to the Loire Valley — Amboise, Montrichard, Saint-Aignan — to look at houses. We'd decided to consider making a huge change in our lives and moving away from California — the commuting, the long work hours, the earthquakes (or threat thereof), and a generally stressful, fast-paced existence — and to see if we could see a way clear to come live in France. It was something we had talked about doing for years, but without ever formulating a specific plan.

Part of moving from California to France was trading this kitchen,
which we had a big hand in designing...

Now it's hard to believe it's been 10 years already. We ended up finding and signing the papers to buy this house we now live in on the fourth day of that whirlwind visit to France in December 2002. We looked at and thought about the possibilities presented to us by 15 houses we saw during that short week, and this one had the main feature we knew we wanted. It also was what our budget allowed. We didn't know that we were actually going to pick up and move so soon. The house was smaller than the one we were used to, but it had a huge (to our city eyes) garden, some charm, and a fine, semi-isolated location.

 ...for this one, where we would inevitably spend a lot of our time.

It was as close to living out in the country as we thought we wanted. It was near enough to a small town and to all the services and amenities we thought we would need. We would have a garden. We would take long walks with the dog. Saint-Aignan is in wine country, and that's never a bad thing, because wine and good food go hand in hand. We'd be on the grid but far from the 24-hour news noise of the crazy U.S. culutre. And there are no earthquakes or hurricanes here. No blizzards. We thought the Loire and Cher valley landscapes and countryside were pretty even in December, so we knew they'd be even nicer in summer.

Now here we are, 10 years later, feeling like we might live a lot longer than we thought we would when we were living the California rat race. We're enjoying a quiet Sunday morning. Hope you have a nice Sunday too — bon dimanche ! — wherever you are.


  1. Congratulations on this milestone.

    It's also my French 10th anniversary this month - but just of my first visit to France - 10 days in Paris.

  2. No regrets then? I am sure that could be easily translated to French and a song made from it. Ah, there is a no regrets song already.

  3. I'm so glad that you made that decision ten years ago. Otherwise we would never have met :) Enjoy your Sunday in your little paradise in the Loire Valley - favourite place on earth! Martine

  4. Glad to see that you made it home OK! We really enjoyed your company and hope you will visit again soon.

    Carol & Michael

  5. As Joseph Campbell used to say : "follow your bliss". You did and you found happiness.
    There might be some regrets (not seeing your families often enough and missing the usual american "stuff"...) but it the end, you are the one who decided how you wanted to live your life and surprise! it is working for you. Congratulations!

  6. Ten years is quite a milestone. You two have made a great life for yourselves in France and I enjoy reading about it.

    It was a smart decision but not really a snap one. You already knew your French was good enough to make friends as well as handle daily living, you chose a house in good condition and with space for your dog, you sold quickly and profitably in SF, and you've had each other's support the whole way.

    Felicitations! Here's to the next ten years.

  7. Quite a milestone! Congratulations!

  8. It's been fun following your adventures for more than ten years now. When did you post your first blog?

    Your California kitchen is beautiful, but the food created in your not- shabby- at- all French kitchen is better I assume. Mainly because you can get so many foods unavailable in CA, not to mention the bread lady delivering to your door.

  9. You two are really "Living the Life."

  10. Evelyn always says what I'm thinking- true once again :)

  11. Lovely post...hard to believe it's been 10 years. Next thing you know it will be 20!

  12. Non, rien de rien, non, je ne regrette rien !

  13. What a dream kitchen you designed in California! It is just as relevant today as it must have been the most modern ten years ago.
    Evelyn did say it right - atmosphere and the attitude of the cooks not to forget the fabulous choices of ingredients you have to choose from = weigh more heavily in my eyes, as well!
    It certainly appears you guys (west coast slang) had what it takes to fit into a foreign community! Wish I was there doing the same thing!


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