My husband and I are trying to determine what the next phase of our life looks like.
We are in the fortunate position of trying to ‘reinvent’ ourselves. Not a case of requiring new identities, but rather an opportunity to combine our years of career experience with personal passions, and attempt to make a living doing so – wish us luck.
Each of us is attempting to consider new and different work opportunities, while fostering more time for pet charities.
As part of the process, we took a long pause and spent 13 months in Provence enjoying life dans le sud. Although at the time it looked and felt a lot like a holiday, our long sojourn allowed the two of us to ponder what could be possible in the future.
Now, we are considering alternatives.
Do we sell our house in Canada? Do we look at short or long-term rentals? What do we do for work?
As we reflect on these options, we have been making some back and forth airplane trips to France. This is certainly a time of flux for both of us, exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. We have one foot in each place at the moment – nous avons les pieds en deux endroits.
We have ‘inventory’ of clothes and sporting equipment in two countries. We are proud owners of a series of plastic storage boxes filled with some of our favourite sweaters, bathing suits, flip flops and other treasures awaiting our return.
On our last round of trans-Atlantic flights, I began to think about when I begin to feel like I have left one country and arrived in the other.
Is it when the cabin door closes? Is it when you change the time on your watch? Is it when you wake up for breakfast just before arrival in Europe (actually 3am)? Is it when the customs agent greets you (if you are lucky not to get the scowling one) and stamps your passport? Is it when you see the French newspapers?
I guess for everyone it is a bit different.
My routine is a bit like this. As I leave Canada, I start making my grocery list for our first trip to the InterMarché.
What seasonal fruit and vegetables will be available? We will need some local olives. My husband loves the citron pressé; we will need some stock.
The hiking group will be walking on Tuesday; what should we get for our picnic lunch? Don’t forget the fromage blanc: yummy for breakfast, as a snack or even as a dessert.
After stocking up on the basics, we will head to our preferred baker, butcher and purveyor of local cheeses.
Even if we still have nine hours to fly, customs to clear, and our bags to unpack, I have arrived. Maybe I will even make daube Provençal for dinner tomorrow.
All images: Carolyne Kauser-Abbott