30 May 2014

We Got 'Em

It's official. We have French visas for residence in France!

Considering all that has been riding on obtaining these documents, I am so overwhelmed with relief and gratitude that I haven't had the chance to truly be excited. God continues to open doors and provide in all the areas we must trust Him to do so. My faith is maturing, my instinct to trust rather than fret is developing. This is good.

And when I step back from the mayhem ... I am very excited.

22 May 2014

Lavender Pots on the Ledge

Aigaliers, France

I love the simplicity of this line-up. Hearty lavender plants in simple terracotta pots. And look up a bit. They painted the base white of some ... and all's the merrier when it chips and shows wear.

17 May 2014

To Go and Return Again

After a whirlwind tour of San Francisco, we are back and done with the visa paperwork portion of our adventure. Phew! After leaving the girls at home with my mother, (thanks, mama!!) we flew in Wednesday evening and took the BART to downtown. Dropped our bags at a little "French" hotel. (Didn't really plan the Frenchy-ness of this, it just worked out ... room for three and a breakfast!)

Once we dropped off our bags we walked down the street for dinner and ended up at Café de la Presse (I swear, it wasn't planned.) and while we were waiting for our meal alfresco, I wandered down the street a bit and managed to be mistaken for a nervous-looking man's blind date, Noelle. Nope. Not Noelle. But thank you so very much for considering me a candidate.

09 May 2014

A Cute Little Place to Stay

Paris apartment rented! One of my great travel loves is Airbnb. It is near impossible to find accommodations for a family of five abroad that are not outrageously expensive. Even rooms for four are spendy, but five ... forget it. And I've yet to find roll-away beds in Europe. For us, renting apartments has been the ticket. For a fraction of the cost, we get plenty of space, a kitchen and often a washer. Additionally, we end up in neighborhoods of the locals versus tourists. Always a plus, from my perspective.

Now of course, there are no concierge or bellboys or Zagat ratings ... but if you choose well, you will have hosts that are accommodating and helpful. For instance, our flight into Paris arrives at 6:30am on a Tuesday. (This means we will be an exhausted family of five with a mountain of luggage ready to crash by 8:00am. As we have learned from experience, aimless jet-lagged wandering is not ideal.) Our hosts allowed us to pay for a "partial night" for the day before. We will not sleep there Monday night, but arrive early Tuesday and have immediate check-in. Hurrah! So worth it.

And isn't this place cute? We will only be here for two nights, but it seems a lovely stop-over before we head west to La Cressonnière.

Now. Time to nail down a place to stay in New York, the first part of our leg. Whenever I start to get stressed out over this adventure I am reminded ... these are blessed problems to have.

06 May 2014

Sorting the Details

Leave it to the French to eschew the manila envelope for an understated brown-wrap envelope. It was addressed to M. et Mme, as well. (Monsieur and Madame ... I feel so fancy.)

Of course, as soon as I opened this package from the children's école, regarding their classes in the fall, I had to yank out the dictionaries and chat with my good friend Google Translate to help decipher the directives.

I am so proud of the children to be willing to dive in like this, but also nervous, as well. The language takes everything to a whole new level of intimidating. Choosing to pray instead of worry, however, knowing God is capable of redirecting our path (homeschooling is always an option) or equipping us for the challenge.

In other news, we also purchased our plane tickets! Visa appointments are next week and we have to come with tickets in hand. Tickets to Paris from the northwest are expensive and require lengthy flights, so we decided to get clever. Turns out two flight legs is cheaper and appealing! We will first fly to New York and spend a few nights there. We'll sight see a little, adjust to the time zone by 3 hours, and break up the journey! We were not looking forward to a 22 hour hop across the globe with three children and all of our baggage. Even though we will just be bringing clothes, computers, and some other random pieces ... this will not be a light pack like last time. After a little Manhattan whirlwind, we'll take off once more for Paris via Reykjavik. I know it's just the airport, but how great is it that we get to stop in Iceland? I've always wanted to go.
As for now, we are prepping the house for sale and Pops is on his second day of remote-work for his new company. It will be new and different and fun to have him at home so much. I am sure we'll have to work out rhythms that foster productivity and sanity for us both, but I think having him around, even if he is busy working, will be such a blessing once we are in France.

And on the docket for this month? Cramming all of the doctor's appointments and procedures in before our insurance coverage ceases at the end of the month. We will only have catastrophic coverage until we leave. For a mama with three kids and a slew of her own health issues, this is a whole new opportunity to turn things over to the Lord!

Tips? Encouragement? Words of wisdom? Send them over. I need them all!

02 May 2014

This Little Big World

This past week, the magnificent Gigi sent a Wall Street Journal article to Peter about current restoration project on the Colosseum in Rome. We were enjoying the article on its own merit, but then come to find ... the last paragraph has a quote from a co-worker of our archeologist friend in Rome, and mentions the institute that he works for. So fun to find!

And speaking of finds, I'm always amazed at the people and connections God brings. The "Professor" has become a dear friend of ours and even came and stayed in our home last year while he was over in the States on business.

He fit in like family.

We've already been emailing about our impending move and giddy over being "neighbors." (France and Italy are technically neighbors ...) Amazing how small and personal this big world really is.