If we left France, Where we could move...
Monday, October 10, 2016
I think I could live anywhere...as long as there is a garden to call my own. Or is it time to share another's garden? To contribute and to humbly accept a portion of the harvest? These things cross my mind. Meantime, we continue in limbo, until the day our vineyard sells and another decision is made. Read on. (Photo taken on the island of Port Cros, at Le Manoir).
Il arrive que les grandes décisions ne se prennent pas, mais se forment d'elles-mêmes.
It happens that big decisions don't make themselves, but are formed of themselves. -Henri Bosco
ECOUTEZ - Listen to Jean-Marc read today's quote:
Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or Exercises in French Phonetics
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE
by Kristi Espinasse
I am beginning to understand that one of the most difficult things, since deciding to sell our home, is not whether we are making a mistake--the most difficult thing is to "keep it in the day."
"It" refers to the wild mind projecting itself forward into the unknown, down to the most absurd details ("Can you grow an avocado tree in Denver?" I actually googled this. Along with "greenhouses, Denver" and "permaculture Denver"). Yes, we are thinking of moving to Colorado. As hard as it will be for me to leave France and my garden-in-progress, I will be closer to my family if we move to the States. So which is more important? To tighten my grip on this French dream, now 24 years in the making--or to let go and float with the choppy current that is pulling us towards a new horizon, one dotted with all my loving family members--rays of sunshine sparkling at the edge of the sky?
These past weeks have been a maelstrom of emotion over this decision to move on (I want to stay. Jean-Marc needs to turn the page. We both want to remain together). Amidst all the confusion and mind chatter, I have decided to enjoy my garden (instead of grieve it) for as long as we are here (three months? three years?). Today I have the pleasure of being in the company of seven baby avocado trees, grown from pits, or discarded seeds. Their glossy new leaves inspire me. Any gloomy mind-chatter is being slowly replaced by a hopeful conviction: There is nothing absurd about an avocado tree, in Denver City!
No matter where we end up (a week ago we visited a home up the road, in La Ciotat...), I will remember that one thing is certain, tangible, and growing like a rescued pit. That certainty is called "Today." May you enjoy every single moment because, as they say here in France, On ne sait pas de quoi demain sera fait. We don't know what tomorrow will be made of. And as I recently said to my mom, Chances are it will be something even better than we could think up ourselves.
Not long after we moved here to St Cyr-sur-Mer, in 2012, Jean-Marc had rock beds made for me, in which to plant our potager, or kitchen garden.
RELATED POSTS: Click on the titles to read the posts
Is Jean-Marc Single? Can I Buy Your Home?
To Come to a Decision: On Turning the Page of our Vineyard dream. (Story here).
Moving to Mexico: To Fly with One's Own Wings. (Story here).
The Previous Move Which Brought us Here to The Sea near Bandol....
It was an endless lesson and endlessly amusing to grow things in these four beds and beyond.
FRENCH GROCERIES FROM FRANCE - from Dijon mustard to Provence herbs. CLICK HERE
Laguiole steak knives are for sale in many of the local French market stands. Order here.
Beautiful French Kitchen Towels by Garnier-Thiebaut. Order here.
Paris Peace T-shirt - "so many people have stopped to ask me where I got it" -Betty. Click here
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Surrounding you with today and putting an avocado pit in your pocket. I can only imagine how your vine and roots are intertwining.
Posted by: French la Vie | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 12:42 PM
The important thing is you, Jean Marc and children are healthy and have each other. Life is always full of changes, and as a neighbor said to me years ago when I cried because my husband also needed a change and we had to move from our home and city, Change is Growth, and though I wanted to NOT believe her, it's true. Things will work out.
Posted by: Barb Friedman | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 12:58 PM
A wise man once said: Once uprooted, you cannot return!
It's a hell of a decision to make......leaving your children behind?
Posted by: Maureen Winterhager | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:06 PM
Wherever you are, God's blessings to you and yours, Kristin.
Posted by: Linda R. | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:22 PM
Dear Kristin, I sense enormous sadness and anxiety just below the surface. It takes one to know one! as they say.... But rest assured that Je compatis. As do so many of your friends and followers. I will pray for a good resolution to your dilemmas. Much love.
Posted by: Margaret | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:27 PM
Kirstin, thank you so much for sharing your journey …Looking forward to more news from you , and to see how things unfold ….it is so good to read other peoples stories and learn and feel gratitude when one finds similarities….we too live in a beautiful place, outside of Cape town…and what you said in this latest email , resonates for me ….we too enjoy being here , today…and are open to see where our life journey guides us … all the best , Zanna
Posted by: zanna | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:35 PM
Dear Kristi, this is obviously a very worrying time for you all. It's the unknown which challenges us but if you consider your options carefully and then have some faith, it will work out fine. Think what is best for Jean-Marc and he will think what is best for you.
Have courage - it could all be very exciting. Thinking of you x
Posted by: Angela | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:41 PM
Hi Kirstin, I did make a very noisy very vocal nooo...when I read the beginning of your blog this time...are you seriously going to leave? This has made me quite sad, and I cannot even begin to think what you and Jean-Marc are feeling like, especially after all the hard work you both and your kids have all put into that wonderful ground around your home, and boy have you worked hard or have you worked hard. I can only hope that it might be possible, that you will have a change of heart?
Still, at the end of the day, the main thing is that you have each other and your health!
Sending you all lots of thoughts and a big hug x
Posted by: Lis Steeden | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 01:48 PM
The selfish part of me is screaming "nooooo...don't move from Provence!" Kristi, you and your blog have been my connection to one of my favourite places on earth. You write about it with such honest insight and humourous detail...not to mention your photos which transport me there and give me such moments of escape that I can smell the sunshine and taste the cheese...ahhh. Wherever you go, you will make it beautiful, because that's what you do.
Posted by: Laura | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:00 PM
Thinking of you and your family during this very difficult time...
Posted by: Margaret | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:04 PM
Kristi, I realize that much still needs to happen during this transition process, but, if you do decide to move to Colorado, please contact me. I lived there for 32 years before moving to Maine 11 years ago, and my two grown children and their families live in Denver and Fort Collins. If you needed a place to stay for a few days, a realtor referral, or any other type of assistance, we would all be delighted to help. Take care and don't hesitate to call on your many friends around the world - we are here for you.
Posted by: Nancy Carter | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:23 PM
... well, part of me is sad for you as I could never imagine leaving France but I am also hopeful that you and Jean Marc will be happy together wherever destiny takes you. Hugs.
Posted by: Hari Wallace | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:24 PM
This is sad for you and all your readers! I am wondering about staying in France but not a vineyard. Maybe a smaller place with a just right garden for you. Sometimes, when we must change, we go too far in the opposite direction! So, along with your loyal readers, I am praying for the next best step for you both. With your open heart sometimes the answer is right close by waiting to be noticed! Sending peace!
Posted by: jan | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:24 PM
I live in North Florida (Fleming Island ) Come here ☀️ I am going to plant a cocktail tree . It is supposed to give us limes lemons maybe a peach or orange . Also I have depression. It would be good to live in a state with a lot of ☀️ sunshine. Beach day is good for the soul. It really helps We were far enough inland to land did not suffer hurricane damage. Thank goodness !!!
Posted by: Donna | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:25 PM
Dear Kristi -- What an inspiration you are. I will add the chorus of those who would miss your notes from Provence if you moved. As my Buddhists friends say, I wish you a calm, clear mind and a peaceful, loving heart. You already have plenty of both, of course. I will be thinking of you as you sort out the next best step in your journey.
Posted by: Ophelia | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:34 PM
Dearest Kristi~ Wherever you go, you will bloom where you are planted! Much love and prayers.
Posted by: Kristine, Dallas | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:47 PM
I missed some of your weekly sharings. Did catch in one a mention of no rain.
I'm wondering if this was a big part of your decision.
I moved from Paris and London to the countryside in Maryland...could never live in a city again.
I hope you will start up a new series of writings for us. I should love to have you share how you are managing to bring some of your French way of life to your home in the States.
I go back to Europe for a fix every year...and have found out that I could no longer live there
however I miss the genteelness and appreciation of the little things in life and the beauty of towns and villages that have little plastic but loads of patina.
Posted by: Susan Villiere | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:50 PM
I also know that this chapter, during which we are able to live in France for several months each year, will someday end. But for Jean-Marc--much more so than in Ste.-Cecile, Denver has a cold climate and is very, very far from the sea...
I'm finding it very hard to grow new roots, since we left Maine several years ago, but will now be wintering in your home state of Arizona and hope to "bloom" there. Wishing you the very best with this life transition, knowing you will write a beautiful new chapter, together.
Posted by: Deb Locke | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:52 PM
Is a vineyard all that Jean Marc has ever known? Is that his first love work wise? Does he need to keep vineyard dirt under his fingernails? Maybe there is a possibility of him working in/managing someone else's vineyard. I'm sure that crossed your mind early on in this journey toward a life change. In the end, I'm sure you two will make the right decision for you and your family. You know that old saying of when the good Lord closes one door he opens another. My best to you and yours as you go forward.
Posted by: Vicky from Athens | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:53 PM
Having been at Mas de Brun a year after you bought it, I am amazed at how you two have transformed it. I had hoped to return for a visit but of course I visited you at Domaine Rouge Bleu. I never was visiting a place I was visiting with you. Wherever you and Jean-Marc land, you will make it beautiful, interesting and inviting. That's the kind of people you are.
Posted by: Suzanne | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:53 PM
As someone said to me....you've already done it! You already left everything behind, built a life in France and made it your dream! Time to think young again and make another dream come true!
Please let us visit you!
Posted by: Montie | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:55 PM
Hi, Kristi -- I've moved a lot -- a lot -- and across oceans and this continent. There is many things I'm tempted to say, but I'll just say one: What's most important is you and Jean-Marc, your maturing love for each other, the health and strength of your marriage. Wherever you go, as long as you are united (even if it's the "agreeing to disagree" united on some things!), you will be fine.
I'm praying for you too. Be of good cheer! : )
Posted by: Ellen | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 02:59 PM
Typo! "There are many things ..." : )
Posted by: Ellen | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:00 PM
Transitions and change are an inevitable part of life. Circumstances are allowing you to make some exciting changes in your life's plan. It is necessary. Embrace it. Having moved back and forth between the US and Wales, Mark and I have gone through (and are still going through) our own trials. Having our emotions, tempers, patience, and sanity continually tested is exhausting and depressing. But we haved learned a lot and appreciate what we still have. I think that going through all of this allows one to really discover what is important in life. Kristi, you are an expert when it comes to adapting to new environments, making new friends, carving out a new space to call home, and appreciating life as it presents itself. You know what you need to do. Take action and don't look back. You and JM will thrive. New adventures are on the horizon and they are glorious!
Posted by: Sandy Maberly | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:04 PM
As Jules could tell you, a beautiful painting is made of many individual brush strokes, none more important than the other. You and Jean-Marc will make a decision, and then you will make it work. It will be your next adventure together. In the meantime, Every Single Today Matters.
Posted by: Nan Morrissette | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:06 PM
This is obviously a difficult time and decision. Please consider Northern California It is beautiful. Has vineyards. Gardens and mountains and the sea and healing love abounds. I will show you around you are welcome in my guest room too. Bon chance and prayers to you.
Posted by: Elizabeth claverie | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:08 PM
I have had to move several times. Each time is like the end of a chapter of my life and I have cried as I left my home. My tears have often been for the garden I have put so much of myself into. Each wedding anniversary my husband gave me a tree and I planted it with love and care. It was hard to leave those trees behind. In life, it takes time for us to put down roots and for them to establish so we can start to grow and flourish. Sadly, I lost my husband .... and my only son and his little family lived a distance away. I had lived in my home for 25 years at that point and had built up a wide circle of friends and felt deeply rooted in my surroundings. But a house is just a house, a garden can be planted anew ........ I sat down with a pice of paper and wrote down the things that were most important to me ...... It was clear ... It was to have regular contact with my son and my two small grandchildren. I sold my house and moved nearer to them. It was hard at first, but eventually I put down roots, made new friends, old friends come and stay ..... I created a lovely home and another garden .... But best of all, I have what is most important to me, regular contact with those I love most - my wonderful son and his little family. So my advice is to think carefully about what is really important to you ...... And put that at the front of your decision making. Just take things one day at a time and make sure you enjoy the moment. X
Posted by: [email protected] | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:09 PM
What a wise decision to keep your options open until you have sold your property and are in a position to move. I hope it happens in a timely manner for you, whether that be short or long. There are some celebrated wine regions in Australia 🇦🇺 if you are interested in a holiday before your démenagement! (Look at the world from a different angle-upside down?) May good fortune and good health be with you both.
Posted by: Janet | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:18 PM
I have followed you for many years. Your kids were just little guys when I started reading your blog and now they are grown up and beautiful.
I am sad to see this part of your journey on one hand, and know that you are making the choices in your live that you have to make.
Will the kids stay in France if you leave?
You have worked so hard on the house and the vineyard but as we age, that kind of physical work gets more difficult so I can understand that part of your decision to sell they house and grounds.
Please keep writing, we have to continue your journey. You all are in my prayers.
Posted by: Pam Wing | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:20 PM
A similar conversation going on in our household. I think we will be US-bound soon.....
Posted by: Victoria | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:24 PM
When we decided to move this spring I cried a lot because I had put ten years into my garden that stopped people walking past on the sidewalk. I even built the rock wall myself. I still had plans even after all that time (a garden is never done). So we moved to a new place with gardening space less easy to envision. But I do know that a gardener can make a garden anywhere. Since I don't want to wait ten years to get what I want I've hired a company to get all the bones in place (stones, trees, garden paths) so this time next year I'll be enjoying it instead of digging. Change is hard, but there are always unforeseen benefits (my wonderful new neighbors). Bon chance to you and Jean Marc. And remember that you really can't make a wrong decision. Your track record proves that.
Posted by: Julie Farrar | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:24 PM
It's a trite phrase and often overused but nevertheless so true: Home is where the heart is. And gardens can be planted everywhere.
Posted by: Polly Adkins | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:34 PM
Chere Kristi, it seems we are all experiencing unexpected changes in our lives. Adrift in our boats on stormy seas (apropos in my case but a picture of Snoopy comes to mind:-), your indomitable Jules seeming to find her safe port and the rest of us searching... for divine guidance? Je prie. Mais mon amie, whatever, wherever your landing, there will be beaucoup d'amis to welcome you, with open and loving arms et beaucoup de conseils.. of this I am certain. You are such a treasure, to so many, in any spot on our planet. I started following you because I am a Francophile. After ?? years I still follow you because you are Kristi. We love you. xoxo
Posted by: Cindy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:39 PM
CA wine country, except for ongoing drought worries. Pass Robles area, Santa Fe & the quieter Taos, NM.
Posted by: Norma | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:40 PM
Dear Kristi - Much of what I am thinking has already been said. Except, Until i got my depression under control, therapy and medication, I was making decisions influenced by that depression. I blew up my life twice, sold the house, ended a career, moved again. Hind sight is 20/20 they say and so I have found it true. Most of those decisions were made through a dark filter and if I had sought help earlier I would have saved myself a lot of stress and money.
I have lived in Denver - it has a lot to offer but vineyards - No. The sea - No. Avocado trees - No (sorry but true). I was raised with one in my backyard in Southern California and my dad wanted one here in Texas but not even here - it freezes sometimes. Also, You have to have a male and and female tree. A move to another continent? Seems it should come with a definite way to make a living for you and JM before you leave Provence.
My friends in Denver told me that since the state legalized pot - the cost of housing has increased every year. People are moving there for that new culture. With all that said I also believe that what ever your decision you two will make it a success. Just go into it with your eyes wide open and as much information as you can get and please do not rush.
I always learn something from your writing - today it is to enjoy each day for all of its blessings. Thank you.
Posted by: Nancy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:46 PM
So many caring comments. Please decie AFTER the election, in case T happens to pull off a victory. There are big decisions ahead, and also consider being far from kids &. Grandkids (in the future). Colo. is great -many Coloradans come to Taos , NM & Santa Fe, NM. Both are high on the rural, culture, beauty spectrum. Organic farms, big seasons, liberal environment etc. Keep positive and , yes, both of you need to have the same vision .
Posted by: Norma | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:51 PM
Change seems to be in the air... for many, including us, and now I see for you. If you are thinking of moving to US and still want to do wind (no idea), Oregon is a great place to grow grapes. Or Walla Walla or Prosser or Tri Cities. But Denver is a bigger city. Anyhoo I hope your minds and hearts embrace the change!
Posted by: Lizzy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 03:57 PM
As I read the comments I am amazed at how close each of us feel to you--including myself--and can feel the sadness, weariness and anxiety. But as you yourself said, there could be changes that you can't even imagine. Grow where you are planted, as they say. As long as you have your husband and your children, life can be good. But first and foremost, take care of yourself.
Posted by: Jill Switzenberg | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:12 PM
The california coast ...
Posted by: Jackie Clark Mancuso | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:16 PM
I hope you can breathe in this moment...and then this moment...and then this moment. Wherever you lay your head at night, I think the important connections are carried in your heart, Kristi. And no matter where you live, I know you will bring along the qualities I most admire in you - your wide open heart, your sense of humor, your authenticity, your generosity and your fabulously artistic, creative spirit. Wishing you much love as you guys figure out your next chapter. <3
Posted by: Linda D. | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:25 PM
I admire your courage, but think twice about relocating to the United States. Our political situation is noxious. Were my wife and I younger and had your courage, we might well be relocating to la belle France.
Posted by: David | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:29 PM
If you are seriously considering moving to Colorado, you might also want to check out Wyoming, since they have NO STATE INCOME TAX! They are one of the 5 or 6 states that do not, in the entire country. It would save you bundles of money and you would essentially be in the same area with similar climate. So just a thought to consider...Cheyenne or Laramie is only an hour north of Denver so flying is still accessible. Meanwhile, I personally feel exactly like David's comment above! So...May God lead you on HIS path and what is right for YOU! I enjoy your lovely blog!!
Posted by: Mary | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:56 PM
Although I don't know the details of your situation, it seems as though Jean Marc is restless and looking for "something." The saying that "wherever you go, you can't escape yourself" is true. So many times we "look for love in all the wrong places" because we are trying to fill the God-shaped void. NOTHING and NO ONE else will fill it. External circumstances mean nothing if the internal state of our being is in turmoil. We flail about, looking for something to help us make the right decisions, and yet without any certainty that those decisions will be anything but the WORST decisions. If we are courageous enough or forced to really look inside, which of us really wants to base our future on US?? With my limited knowledge and unpredictability of the world, how do I know which of the 360 degrees to take?? The assurance of being guided by the One who knows and loves me most, who knows the future provides peace to live each day with freedom and joy - knowing that I am where I am supposed to be. We suffer apart from God but He calls us to become His children so that we can have that intimate relationship with Him that satisfies all. We are all guilty in God's court of breaking His law and deserve punishment. But Jesus stepped up and took what we deserve so that we can receive what He deserves - the father/child relationship of love. It only applies if we agree and accept this trade by surrendering our lives to Jesus. "He who loses his life will find it." (Matt. 10:39.) May God's Spirit lead you both into true life that brings inner peace and purpose. Feel free to dialogue with me more about this if you wish.
Posted by: Cathy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:58 PM
When I was confronted with this same difficult decision to move 4 years ago I ran across a saying "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" That saying has gotten me through some pretty tough days along the way and continues to be my mantra when I am missing something or reminiscing and feeling sorry for myself. This year alone we have lost our best friend, my sister and brother in law at different times, married off our only daughter and saw her move away for a new job and my husband survived emergency open heart surgery---all in 9 months! Each time I searched for something that would keep me going and prevent me from falling down that deep rabbit hole of sadness and this phrase kept coming back to me. Good luck with your move and if it is to Denver, welcome home!!
Posted by: diane | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 04:59 PM
So excited to think you will come back to Colorado. I moved to Boulder three years ago from Washington DC......you know how wonderful Colorado is! And we had a bumper crop of heirloom and cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and herbs and........
Posted by: Trish Steen | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:07 PM
Wherever you end up as long as you have each other it will be home! Hears to new adventures.
Posted by: Karen Cafarella | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:08 PM
What a wonderful quote by Bosco! I'll pass it along to my students bientôt. Bonne chance, Kristi, you'll land on your feet wherever you are.
Posted by: Richard Patocchi | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:25 PM
Why not consider moving to Boise Idaho! The climate is far less extreme than Denver, a vibrant growing economy, plenty of green space and trees, river, friendly people, and we have growing, productive vineyards.. if so inclined.... the bike paths are fabulous in our city.
Home will be what you make it and defined by being with family and friends. Well be glad to show you the city.
Posted by: Melinda | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:36 PM
Your roots are so thoroughly in France. I am not one to move far from my roots, so the moves you contemplate are too jolting for me. Denver has winter, congestion & air pollution. You would be nearer your mother, farther from your belle-mère. And both of your children, who have their own apartments but are not really on their own. My married siblings and my own parents stayed in place while their children were in college. That stability of place made a good contrast for all the changes of college, in my view, and has kept us, a large extended family close together over decades. I joke that I am descended from people who came to North America from France in the 1600s and then a big group who came directly to Chicago in the 1800s from many parts of Europe, but I do not move except house to house in the Chicago area, despite chances to settle elsewhere. Where did that bravery go, leaving family behind to start theirs anew?
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle near Chicago | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:39 PM
Colorado is beautiful, Kristin! You and Jean-Marc will do well, wherever you end up 😄 Please keep writing French Word a Day, wherever you are!
Posted by: Sandy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:41 PM
Your decision is made, so I wish you good luck with it. I can only hope the sale of the beautiful farm takes a long time so you can enjoy it and all its produce.
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle near Chicago | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:42 PM
Financially speaking, moving to the US is difficult because in France, there are so many hidden expenses that are covered...in the U.S. almost nothing...especially from the medical, education side of things.
Take your time; have the courage to choose for you and yours and not the blog folk; rest assured it is the life of your family and not the rest of us out here in cyberspace!
Courage for the journey,
Posted by: [email protected] | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 05:51 PM
Our dear Kristi,
Once again,your beautiful writing fills us with inspiration and wraps us in hugs.
Today please let US wrap YOU in hugs!
There is comfort in resting assured that our destinies were decided before we were even born.
You always land on your feet,with a smile on your beautiful face.
You will again,accompanied by your loving family.
I really like this quote by Emerson: Hitch your wagon to a star.
A wonderful thought!(though not always a piece of cake to achieve!)
Blessings always to all of you!
Posted by: Natalia | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:25 PM
I think that you and Jean-Marc will be happy wherever you settle because you have each other. Think of all the wonderful adventures you have had together. It wasn't because of where you lived but because of who you are. God bless you wherever you decide to go. We all just ask that you keep on blogging because we love you.
Posted by: Diane Young | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:28 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Kristi. Yes! For all of us currently considering where to write our next chapter, let's look forward to something better than we can now imagine! 💖
Posted by: Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:38 PM
You barely have to throw the seed in the Perigord of NC, the Piedmont. You love the food (farm), to table movement, and didn't you live in the South. Above the Piedmont area, outside above Greensboro, is the Yadkin Valley, home of all the wineries, plenty who've won incredible awards internationally. Land is cheaper and spaces are more wide open, less hectic than in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill. Hopefully, the election will bring a new governor & Senator, and we'll return to being the progressive state of the South we always were. You also cannot beat the coast of NC, and the Outer Banks. If you want to garden, stay South, Go South. The winters are mild everywhere but the mtns, but the mtns also offer much cheap, fertile land. Our small farm off the Blue Ridge Parkway, 30 Mins from West Jefferson, 40 mins to Boone ans ski resorts, offers a river running threw it and springs we get our water from. nC has over 100 wineries, farmers mkts everywhere, cultural events everywhere, and lovely people. We also farm goats, bees, timber outside Raleigh, home of the huge State Farmer's Mkt, NC State, with a burgeoning grape curriculum, a Vet Schl, and five or six other colleges within the city limits. There are many French natives in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and a nice French bakery in Cary. Just an ex. of one state where you have gardens blooming from Mar or April thru early Nov/late Oct, outside. Good luck. The coast here will draw you. Wonderful, small towns.
Posted by: Robbie Lane Jackson | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:50 PM
Take your time with your decision. We're doing the opposite and moving to France because the cost of living is very high in San Francisco and although we can have a lot here, we work so much to keep it going and then have very little time or energy to enjoy it. Plus, medical and education is far more affordable in France. Also, my husband would be back home with his friends and family. We're getting off the treadmill. However, I would imagine that the cost of living is better outside of the SF Bay Area and you could start off with a fresh, new outlook.
Whatever path you decide to take, I know that you will carve out something beautiful of your own. Sending you lots of love and caring, so wherever your new home will be, it will be one that brings you both much joy and fulfillment.
Posted by: Gwyneth P | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:50 PM
Dear Kristi, Our lives can change oh so quickly, and often not the way that we had planned. A dear friend advised me to live in the moment...day to day and I have found that since adopting that stance my life has taken on a whole new sense of peace and understanding.
While I know that you are planning changes, there is a certain amount of this living in the moment that you can adopt..enjoying that what you have...and each new moment that comes your way. It becomes a meditative process which helps make change much more fulfilling for you and a more supportive partner for Jean Marc and vice versa. I hope that you find peace and happiness in the future choices that you both make.
Posted by: BJ Tuininga | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 06:51 PM
Such tough decisions, Kristi! I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. You are a beautiful person inside and out, and will bring beauty and love into the world wherever you go.
My husband and I have done quite a bit of moving around, too, almost all because of him, until I made the decision for us to settle down in the Seattle area. We, too, now live in a remote area--an hour and a half north of the city, because he wanted to get out of the city and I wanted to buy a home (Seattle is ridiculously expensive) It's working out, we've been up here 2 years and we like it. I recommend going somewhere where you can buy a house, either outright or be sure you can make the payments on retirement income if JM isn't working. My husband is retired and I'm working very hard to pay off this house. I have a long way to go, but I'm going to do it. A house is security, at least to me. For you, it would be a true lifetime garden.
Posted by: Teresa | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:05 PM
Yikes - Denver ? Doesn't hold a candle to the south of France. Your children are in France - and your husband's mom, etc. He has family too.
Posted by: Heather | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:11 PM
You didn't provide the reasons for considering Colorado, but if Jean-Marc's heart continues to be in wine, Washington's wine industry continues to thrive and grow, being the second largest producer of premium wine in the U.S.
There may be an opportunity for Jean-Marc to be a wine maker for an existing label without having a vineyard to maintain.
Your friends here in Seattle may have made that suggestion.
In any event, the work ethic you have both shown will serve you well wherever you land.
Posted by: Larry Pflughoeft | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:14 PM
Dear Lovely Kristin,
You are in my heart ~ I am surrounding you and your husband and family with my prayers and very very best wishes. May God hold you all close, keep you safe and guide your steps amidst this new chapter. Life can be so uncertain but I am praying for peace & healing and something beautiful for you all ~ just around the corner.
All the best,
Posted by: Cindy | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:16 PM
I think that you and JM will land on your feet just like your Mom did in Puerto Vallarta, Kristi!!
Posted by: Andrea Hughes | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:18 PM
Kristi, I have read all these readers' comments, and it is so touching to see how many of us care about you and your family. We've followed your blogs for years, and seen your beautiful family grow. Your writing has gotten better and better, and we all feel so connected to you! Selfishly, I hope you decide to stay in France so that we can enjoy your wonderful stories & photos. But, like all your readers, I only wish the best for you and Jean Marc, and know that you'll thrive wherever you decide to go.
Posted by: Judy Feldman | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:40 PM
I would give anything to live in France. The US is an unhappy country these days. There are too many ignorant and violent people to make it livable. You may come from an elite milieu but you would have to deal with Americans from all backgrounds and classes. Yes, we have a class structure here and your relative wealth would not shield you from our dysfunctional reality and extensive poverty. Our health care "system" is dominated by greedy insurance companies and yet is under attack from right-wing zealots. French education is vastly superior. Children are valued over there, but here they are only valued before birth. After children are born, they are on their own. By the way, life in Colorado is famously influenced by rabid evangelicals who want to control all aspects of everyone's life. Giving up living in beautiful, ancient and sophisticated France would be a mistake. I truly wish I could live there. It's a shame, but money can buy you anything -- and if I had it I wouldn't use it to spend my time lying on some remote beach but travel anywhere I could and France would be my first choice.
Posted by: Robyn O'Neill | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:45 PM
Perhaps a trial run like renting for a year somewhere in the U.S. before making a final decision would help to know for sure. Taking time to experience American culture for JM and how it has changed for you or how you have changed in regards to it? Also, growing old in the U.S. is a perilous thing to do, I believe. There is not the same support systems in place here which can put a terrible strain on families. I live in Northern California near the coast and it is beautiful but the drought is getting me down. My garden is struggling and shriveling. And I have breathed the smoke of the nearby wildfires. My husband and I are thinking of doing the opposite - moving from California to retire in France. It's expensive here, the pace of life is fast, too many people. We want to slow down and we love France - still it's a big decision to leave. Warm wishes to you in finding your way and thank you for sharing. I really enjoy your blog.
Posted by: Kerry | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:57 PM
Kristi, whenever I have made important decisions in my life which were life-changing, I've said to myself over and over again that God has not brought me this far to drop me on my head! I also remember what Marilyn Monroe said: Everything happens for a reason...good things fall apart so better things can come together. It's been true for me -- all 74 years of my life. Life is an ongoing adventure so embrace the changes. My prayers are with you both.
Posted by: Pat | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 07:58 PM
No matter where you land, SOMETHING will grow! Uncertainty can be unsettling. Ride it out. A new step in your adventure! Eileen Much love to you both XO
Posted by: Eileen Burns | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:16 PM
I gave up my garden and Island life to come home to family. When lifestyle and health came crashing to a standstill, limbo was a place that kept me whirling in every direction looking for answers as I watered the fruits of my garden with tears. However, I needed the taste of comfort and support of relationships that nurtured and beckoned from afar. A garden of love is the best thing ever and the nice thing is, planting season always come back around. I wish you and JM all the best in opening your hearts to new adventure and change that may be hard but also exciting and bursting with growth.
Posted by: Sarahlee | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:21 PM
My prayers are with you and Jean-Marc as you wait for direction. You should come to Northern California for a visit just to get away. I'd love to have you as our guests. I know you have family in Denver but you might consider Northern California too. (I mean way north) the climate is similar to Provence and the cost of living is quite inexpensive. And half a days drive to the ocean
Posted by: Dawn Johnson | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:29 PM
What is left when one has lived a dream? Another adventure, another opportunity, a new experience. As each dream is fulfilled, it becomes an intregal part of who we are.
Trust yourselves. Between your head and your heart, you will figure this out.
And remember your Desiderata....whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Posted by: Chris Allin | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:37 PM
The wind is blowing hard here in Denver, it's a warm day but a storm is blowing in. The winds of change. They can be scarey, irritating, destructive, maybe even exciting, but we sure can't stop them. Colorado has been growing in the wine industry, lots of new vineyards popping up here and on the western slope. Lavender grows well here, too. Many parallels to your life in Provence, and even in our lives, having just returned from PV. One thing I do know. You will make a beautiful life wherever you decide to land. And you have a wonderful husband who loves you very much. Breathe. Pray. Trust. <3
Posted by: Sheryl in Denver | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:49 PM
"Bon Voyage!" was the first phrase I learned so long ago in High School french class. In fact everyday is a new voyage that is awaiting us, everyone. I am in Texas following a similar dream, but family is in California, to give up the quiet, rural lifestyle, for beach town that is closer to an established infrastructure that will support me as I age... Who knows to find love again? Being 25 miles from town does limit meeting people, : ) I wish you a "Bon Voyage" today and your collective tomorrows. Additionally wish you love and a small green house for your avocado trees!
Posted by: [email protected] | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 08:57 PM
Good luck with the decision!! I am a fellow French speaker in Colorado Springs, so I am always looking for opportunities to practice French. If you move to Denver, you'll still have many followers/fans!
Posted by: [email protected] | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 09:01 PM
Hi Kristi, I live in Colorado, one home near Denver in Littleton, the other, where we spend most of our time, in Florissant, west of Colorado Springs. Life will be different here, if you come, but not in a bad way. I read only one or two comments above, and it is true there is no sea, but we have mountains. Four seasons. A dry climate. Yes, vineyards, and greenhouses and gardens. Property is expensive, less so near Florissant, possibly because of the marijuana, not sure. Because we never know what tomorrow will bring, it is always best to live in the moment (a hard thing to do sometimes). At least, even if we don't know the future, we know WHO holds the future in His hands and can trust Him! And nothing is irreversible, should you decide after a move - no matter where - that you prefer to go back to family in France. Maybe it is different in France, but here, as grandparents, it is foolish to move closer to the kids and grandkids because their jobs/desires may have them moving again, so you can't rule out that they won't move away anyway. There are a lot of French expats in Colorado, an Alliance Française In Denver, and many francophones. You can have avocado trees and lemon trees inside! Pray, trust, relax. Everything will be all right! Bises. Leslie
Posted by: Leslie Riley | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 09:04 PM
Exactly what I am thinking, David. I AM old, and I want to stay in my little No. Calif. mountain community until the end, but if a certain person wins the election, I don't believe I can. I'd long considered France, then began mentally reviewing other options. But I've come back to the idea of France, despite all the bureaucratic nightmares. Kristi, I adore Ste-Cécile and it would be high on my list!
Best wishes, Kristi, to you and Jean-Marc. You'll eventually hone in on what's good for you both. (Am I right in guessing that Jean-Marc doesn't exactly want to build a new vineyard?)
Posted by: Lee Isbell | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 09:26 PM
Your story hits a nerve. We are pretty status quo people. We don't like change, especially of our abode. I understand your apprehension, but we are the ones who make our lives. I would rather live in France also. But Colorado is a good choice. I don't live there, but my brother does. Except for the traffic, as you probably know, it is a great place. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I live on the Gulf of Mexico, and it is Swamp country most of the time. So there are good and bad points about every place.I have enjoyed them immensely. God's Speed.
Posted by: Bernadette Thibodeau | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:02 PM
During the last four or so elections, people, often Hollywood-types, have threatened to move to France or Canada but none of them have actually left thus far to my knowledge. I doubt if any of them will move to Canada, but some may possibly buy a place in France for their portfolio. Maybe one of them would like your little vineyard. Be sure to have your agent advertise internationally.
Posted by: Sheila | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:07 PM
Funny how your current situation has brought out the "Hey, it's also great to live in ________" from so many of our fellow posters! That appears to indicate that many of us can be happy anywhere, whether that's Denver, Boise, Pittsburgh or Northern California. So while we're at it, I'll put my vote in for a small New England village or a town in New York's Hudson Valley, where my roots are...
Best wishes for what's ahead.
Posted by: Ron | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:14 PM
I second everything Nancy wrote (and particularly the last three sentences).
If you do decide to move to the U.S., please consider adding the wine country of Oregon's Willamette Valley to your list of potential new homes. It may well offer some enticing employment opportunities for Jean-Marc, and there is a large and active French expat and Francophile community in nearby Portland. Living costs are less expensive than in the wine country of California. The weather is temperate, with dry, warm and often hot summers. The valley is located between, and very close to, both the Pacific Ocean and Cascade (mountain) Range. There are non-stop flights from Portland to both Denver and Puerto Vallarta. And your son has friends in Portland!
With every best wish, Leslie
Posted by: Leslie in Oregon | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:17 PM
Funny reading that you left Maine several years ago. We moved back to Maine (Falmouth, where I grew up) two weeks ago. We lived in Florida for twelve years and I am SO thankful to be out of there forever. We are coming home just as the leaves are turning and the temperature is dropping and we are loving it. We made a run to LLBean for flannel shirts and wool socks and other odds and ends of clothing not used in Florida, and are pleased beyond measure to be here. Arizona is beautiful, too. We have a godo friend there im Phoenix, our travel agent extraordinaire. She (Susan Boehnstadt) was Kristi's college roommate and very good friend. Best wishes out there in that lovely desert.
Posted by: Nan Morrissette | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:26 PM
You and your family gave it your all. I am sorry that the vineyard did not work out as well as you had hoped. You are wise to recognize that your life needs another change, even if it is not one that you wish to make. Just deciding to sell your house and the vineyard is one step forward to a new life that you might find happier and more satisfying, wherever you land. Wishing you well on your journey.
Posted by: Susan Stafford | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:28 PM
As someone said to me when we left New England for the US South: Sometimes you need to re-pot yourself. A shakeup can be what's needed for healthy growth.
Posted by: tut-tut | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:30 PM
Guillaume Thomas (Maison Noir):
A French harvest nomad follows his dream in New Zealand
July 26, 2016 by Isabel Gilbert Palmer
Check out my piece above on wwwwineandfoodgazette.com out of Belgium ....
NZ is far away but has promise !
Posted by: isabel gilbert palmer | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:41 PM
Wait for the US elections before you decide to move back here. If it goes badly, I may want to move there.
Posted by: John A Sanders | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:42 PM
This is an interesting read and article from outstanding and successful USA globally admires chef Daniel Patterson and Depression....something that strikes or bludgeons so many creatives ....
Posted by: isabel gilbert palmer | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:47 PM
So my comments and so many many of them ring bellsl. Choices, changes, family, timing, background, relocation, new paths, new journeys, - all difficult and heart exploring decisions. One other relocation option: Canada - well developed and emerging wine regions in BC, Southern Ontario, a stable political system, excellent healthcare and education. Passion and enthusiasm for gardens, wines; plus, francophile options in Quebec,, Toronto. do consider.
Posted by: Ellen Hill | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:52 PM
Dear Kristi & J-M,
You have done the hard part in making your decisions. Now is the time to relax & let God & the universe answer your prayers. I am always here in love and friendship for whatever you need. Hugs.
Posted by: Betty Gleason | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 10:57 PM
Kristi, there are so many encouraging words coming from your readers and I'll add just a couple more. A wise Christian woman often says this, "When you walk with the Lord, change is always in your favor." It's about keeping an eternal perspective and trusting Him with each season of our lives.
Finally, I'll share these words from Helen Keller that are posted on my fridge to remind me:
"When one door closes, another one opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which ha been opened to us..." Both of these thoughts have given me courage to embrace the change and get on with it.
So I pray that God will clarify his plans for you in this new season, trusting that He is going before you to prepare it, even as He prepares you. He surely has great blessings for you and Jean Marc wherever that may be - and you don't want to miss them!
Posted by: Alice | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:01 PM
Hello Kristin, I found your blog while studying French for Travelers last year, and have enjoyed your posts. Regarding your limbo state, I feel for you, having made a similar move from my "forever" home (Hawaii) due to my husband needing to be closer to his aging mom on the East Coast. I cried for a year before the move (it took that long to arrange) and a year after, and put our marriage in jeopardy. Here's a suggestion based on my experiences since we moved: rent, don't buy, no matter where you land here, because as you and your husband's "interiors" shift (like the flight attendants say about overhead storage cabinets--" contents may shift"), what you think you want when you get here may very well change after being here awhile. We thought we'd love living in New Mexico, until four years of arid, windy weather that was too hot or too cold and lousy for gardening caused us to move again (being a year-round gardener is my passion, so we are now happily in Northern California wine country). Buying, selling, and buying somewhere again hits the retirement budget, whereas renting and trying things out is less painful financially. Really, if you love the coast, or vineyards, or gardening, don't throw all that away; instead, look for areas that offer what you crave, or resentment and depression may arise, and that's baggage no one needs when starting over. If you move to a cold climate, consider getting a Grow Dome greenhouse---the plants and humidity in winter may save your life! Wishing you all the best, and peace and ease in the decision process.
Posted by: Julie C | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:05 PM
My pear tree is not blooming but I am getting 2nd fig crop! My camellias which typically bloom in January & February are blooming now! I think it is climate change...nature is confused.
Then there is Louisiana where U and JM might feel at home because we are French here! As a farmer's daughter, I can tell U my parents had several years of worry about climate & crops...it all worked out for them...my father would probably have dried up and died had he not been able to work "the good earth" he loved so much.
Posted by: Faye LaFleur | Monday, October 10, 2016 at 11:34 PM
Keeping you and your family in my prayers as you make your difficult decision. Would Michelle France be moving with you? I'm sure Jean Marc doesn't want to leave her behind if you move to Denver. It is so hard living so far away from family especially parents as they get older. I lived so far from my family all the 26 years my husband was in the military and my father passed away while we were in Belgium and I didn't get to see him before he passed.
Thinking about you and thanks for sharing your journey!
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:19 AM
Templeton, Carmel Valley, Salinas Valley, Santa Maria.....many different wine growing areas here in California. With the hundreds of wineries(many now organic..le terroir being most important, I am sure one of them could use the expertise of someone like Jean-Marc with his knowledge .........and most are within a couple of hours if not much closer to the ocean...and we do have sea urchins. You can grow anything here...especially avocados. You would be within a couple hour flight to Denver and Heidi, easy flights to Puerta Vallarta.
Whatever path your lives take you, whether you stay in France or migrate to the US for awhile, you will not only survive, but I expect that you will find you will flourish. I would imagine the hardest part would be for Max and Jacquie....for them deciding whether to come here, or finish school there. Remember what John said.......live each day and be at peace with it. Your family has the most important virtue.....love.
Posted by: joie in Carmel | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:19 AM
We all may be moving to France, or Canada, or Mexico if that happens.
Posted by: joie in Carmel | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:22 AM
Posted by: joie in Carmel | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:23 AM
I feel what you say...I hope wherever you end up gardens surrounds you. I was just in CO last week and loved it. Of course I come from the LA zoo and most places appear like open space to me. xxx
Posted by: Mona | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:44 AM
I have not won the lottery yet. If I had I would be there buying your house and asking you to stay and oversee all of the hired help needed to make it into the winery of your and my dreams. I am so sad to hear you may move. I have followed your blog since you were getting ready to move to St Cyr (sp?). I have read as your children grew into young adults. I have cheered you on every step of the way and will continue to do so no matter what path you take. It has been a delightful journey that I have traveled with you and I hope to continue to travel with you no matter where you go. I feel like extended family even if it is voyeurism. Being your mothers age and having moved many times in the past 15 years, I will tell you that it is extremely difficult to be far away from your children even if they are grown. Please consider that and Jean Marc's family also. I can tell that you are all very close. I wish all of you well and I will continue to follow you as long as you invite us all in.
Posted by: Sharon in N.C. | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:51 AM
I saw this quote recently about the end of a beautiful Summer vacation, and I think that it's a good way to look at bigger life changes. "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened."
Posted by: Ellen in Denver | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 01:03 AM
Change can be difficult & rewarding & I know that you & Jean Marc will be happy & successful wherever you alight. I will keep you in my prayers & send you hugs.
Posted by: Susan Carter | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 01:11 AM
You must live where I do. North/Central California.....yes, here in Monterey County we have felt the drought for several years. Hoping this year for my funny garden to rejuvenate itself with rain.
Posted by: joie in Carmel | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 01:28 AM