We are scheduled to leave France on Saturday. It’s hard to believe that our time is coming to a close, but we are also surprised by how much we did in a relatively short time. We were sitting in our apartment the other evening and were talking about things we would miss about France (and Italy) and things we are looking forward to in the United States. Below is our list, with a few photos.
Things we will miss about France:
- We will miss the late evenings here–the people eating dinner at 9pm at little sidewalk cafes, families enjoying the shade in one of the many city parks, and friends getting together all over the city, every night. We live in a city in the United States (about the same size as Grenoble), but our city is not walkable in most areas. Here, you can walk everywhere…
- We love to walk and prefer it to public transportation most days (except when it is brutally hot, which it is right now). We walk every evening and throughout most days. We walk to the markets, to friends’ houses, and to the parks. Many people walk or ride bikes, scooters, unicycles…
- Which is why the general population is so fit. True, the French have very rich foods. But they are also moving all of the time and have very set mealtimes with little to no snacking between meals. It’s refreshing to see. It makes me think twice about “needing” snacks–not necessarily a bad thing!
- That being said, we do love the markets! The fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, and cheese are amazing here. We did most of our cooking at the apartment and it was so nice to go to a daily market and pick up the freshest produce. It’s all reasonably priced, incredible quality, and everyone loves the markets…
- …especially on dimanche (Sunday). Dimanche markets are very busy, and all of the producteurs are ready to sell olives, ravioles (small cheese ravioli native to this region of France), walnuts, specialty breads, fish, and so much more. Everyone races around to finish errands before all the stores close around noon. The city is very quiet from about 1-7pm, when the restaurants open for dinner service. A dimanche afternoon walk to a park is wonderful.
- Another wonderful part of life here has been the people we have met. It can be very difficult to meet like-minded people in any city, but we were especially lucky to meet some fantastic new friends here. Some are American (we can commiserate about the lack of AC and black beans), some are French (including two Grenoblois who took an entire day to show us an area that is only accessible by car), and people from all over the world. Their hospitality and kindness took our trip to an entirely new level and for that, we are very grateful.
Things we are looking forward to in the United States:
- Seeing family and friends. This needs no explanation! We have missed everyone!
- Mexican food (including but not limited to: black bean burritos, refried beans, tacos, guacamole, salsa…)
- “American coffee” aka “filter coffee.” Espresso is fine, but there’s nothing like a cup of coffee (or two) in the morning! Tim is especially looking forward to coffee.
- Effortless communication. It will be really nice to understand when people speak to us, and be able to ask questions/tell stories without hesitation. We definitely have improved in both receptive and productive language, but learning a new language (especially as an adult) is very difficult. This experience has given us both new respect for people who learn a new language and live in a foreign country.
- Our house. I am really excited to see it again and get ready for fall in Florida (although the summer temperatures will persist until mid-October).
- Our routines. We are both fortunate to have jobs that we enjoy and we are looking forward to resuming our exercise and work routines.
A few favorite Memories:
- Time spent in Paris–a late evening walk to the Louvre, watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle from our hotel room
- High-speed train rides, especially in Italy (they provide snacks!)
- Eating in Italy–the pasta, the gelato!
- Italy in general–the history, the language, and the kind people
- Taking the boat in Lake Como
- Reading in Grenoble’s parks
- Watching France win the World Cup at a French café
- Bastille Day fireworks
- The Tour de France rode through Grenoble!
- Game nights with new friends
- …and many more!
We are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to travel abroad for a substantial amount of time. The next couple of days will be very busy. Homeward bound!