TODAY'S WORD: avoir la niaque (also: avoir la gnaque)
French: Être très motivé, être capable de soulever des montagnes. (Wikipedia)
English : To be very motivated, to be capable of moving mountains
ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word:
Avoir la niaque. Aujourd'hui, je n'ai pas la niaque pour continuer ce projet de vignoble au Mas des Brun.
To be motivated. Today, I am no longer motivated to continue this vineyard project as Mas des Brun.
JEAN-MARC'S OPEN LETTER
Kristi's last post about our interrogations on our future have generated a lot of comments and we would like to thank you for the kindness and thoughtfulness of all of them. Even if some of you have supported us in our thoughts, true is that some of you did not understand the reasons of a potential move to the US which can actually be questioned and debated for many reasons.
But first things first : Why do I feel the high need to discontinue this wonderful venture with Mas des Brun ? Well, to summarize it, this is the story of somebody who somehow thought that most difficult part of the job had been done when we moved here (after a lot of searching, we had finally found the right place) and who has been totally blinded by the enormous amount of work needed to create this winery. I have so wanted to root down in this area that once we found this "promise land" and had the chance to create a vineyard, I did not see the immensity of the work needed. Because I was in a sort of "euphoria" phase, I kept telling myself that one way or another, I would find the solutions, all the while discovering the immensity of the tasks. After 4 years of working hard, most of the time taking bad decisions on problems to solve, I have the feeling that I totally burned my wings, especially when, since last year, we are having to face a very difficult and potentially very big problem with administration after the decision I took to clear a parcel (removing many trees) in order to plant vineyards so as to move on with this difficult project to build a vineyard. This case has also corresponded to when I broke my elbow and when the first signs of depression hit me as I started to realize that I was meeting more and more problematic issues on my project.
After almost a year of thinking black and even some very low moments, I now realize that I am 50 years old, that I don't have the financial means to make this project happen (at least to reach its initial goal which is to plant 10 acres of vines), I would need to hire somebody to help me which I can't (I am not paying myself already) and that it will take me another 10 years to eventually put this vineyard to orbit. By then, I will probably have totally broken my back, worried most of the time, praying for sun when rain comes in the Spring, for rain while the summer drought hits the vines... And then, I tell myself : I hopefully have 25 years to enjoy life on this beautiful planet... Of course France, and especially where we live, is gorgeous but there are so much more places that I would like to discover. Since I certainly don't want to continue being depressed and anxious ("je n'ai ni la niaque, ni les moyens), I now feel the need to turn the page, while staying positive, which explains our decision to sell. After all, the sweat, the broken back, the worries might be compensated by a little profit since we did pick our first grapes this year, built a small winemaking facility and made our first official wine to now have on the ground 10 000 vines when there was nothing growing 4 years ago.
Now, why the US ? Well, because this is also our family's culture. Even if we have always lived in France, we feel the US is home too. Kristi's family live there and we have not seen them often. We want to be able to enjoy them more often. We also have very good friends and it is indeed a country where I could express my wine knowledge. I only had great times while visiting with our family or touring the different States with Domaine Rouge-Bleu.
I know well that social security is not the same but we have the chance to still benefit of the French social security in case of serious emergency. Some people tell us that USA is not secure. Well, I am not sure, which is safer: Europe (situated at the door of a potential third world war that can happen in Syria, Israel, Turkey...) or the US. I am not mentioning here the potential issues with war migrants and terrorism which I think is much more worrisome in France than in the US.
Some readers are concerned about our kids : Our plan to is to bring Jackie with us and find her an Art School to develop her fashion skills. Max is currently in a Business school with one year to spend overseas and he is almost 22... About my own family and my Mom, my sister now lives 30 mns away and my brother 1 hour away. I have taken care of my Mom since I was 20 and I don't feel bad if I have leave her, coming to visit her probably once or two times a year.
Colorado ? OK, no more sea urchins but Nature is just splendid there and I love the mountains as much as I love the sea. Also, global warming will certainly make the winters smoother. Heidi and her kids live there and it is very central to go visit family in other States with even a direct flight to Puerto Vallarta where Jules lives. But if it was my call, I would choose Portland, OR which is my preferred city in the US. The only restriction for not moving to the US would be a total unexpected and very worrisome election result on November 8th....
But we are still here, thinking about options in our lives and so far nobody has made an offer to buy our place. You, Dear readers with your kind comments are helping us make the eventual decision. Nothing will happen if we don't sell this place and we might not sell it if we don't get the price we want. We also might ending up 2 miles away if we sell (see this update written 10 months later...) and we also might live here forever. Only God knows, let Him guide us.
In a field of ancient olive trees, Jean-Marc waters his baby vines during the drought
RELATED POSTS: Click on the titles, below, to read the blog entries
If We Left France, Where We Could Move
To Come to a Decision: On Turning the Page of Our Vineyard Dream
Accidental Cassoulet : An update on Depression
Photo of me and our daughter, Jackie, taken behind our home.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety