It's hard to believe that it's been over a year since we said good-bye to San Francisco
and started our long journey across the country
and back to the Midwest. It's hard to believe that exactly one year ago today, after a very frustrating trip
, we arrived in Montpellier, exhausted and scared without a place to stay. Relatively speaking, a year is not that long, but in other ways our life before France seems a million years ago.
When I think about picking up our lives in San Francisco and leaving our beloved city that brought us so much joy, this is the memory that plays out in my mind: We're getting ready to leave. The moving truck is packed, the house is clean and empty, and we're headed to the Penske station to get the car attached to the truck hitch. Michael starts down in the street in the 16-foot moving truck that's carrying our entire world, and I'm left sitting in the car in the driveway with Fig. I turn on the car, and literally, the second
I turn it on, Journey's, "Lights" comes on the radio. I laugh at how fitting this whole scenario is and stay in the driveway for another second looking up at the house. Our first house together that witnessed so many memories, our proposal, the start of our life together and the end of our chapter in California. I pull out of the driveway and start down Sanchez street towards 24th. All of Noe Valley is glittering before me in the elusive April sun as Steve Perry belts out, "Oh I wanna be there, in my city...
" and I lose it. I sob and sob and sob the whole damn way to the Penske station in big ugly cries thinking, why am I leaving you?
By the time I meet up with Michael, I'm a mess and all he can do is hug me and tell me everything is going to be ok.
And of course everything is ok. It's great, actually. But that memory reminds me that even though moving to France was a no-brainer, actually leaving San Francisco was not easy. It's one of the hardest things I've done and there are some days here that I long to have that life back. But even if we did go back to that life, I know it would never be the same. The dynamic has changed, shifted, evolved. We aren't the same people we were when we left San Francisco and our San Francisco has changed too. Time did not stop for us.
If you had a chance to read the Design Sponge post
I wrote a few weeks ago about Montpellier, then you already know how much I've grown to love this city. The vibrant culture, the slower pace of life, the amazing weather, and of course the food. We're getting the chance to live out our dream, and the experience so far has been everything we've hoped for. It's so wonderful to be able to spend so much time with Michael, just the two of us, traveling and exploring our new world. This past weekend I read back through a few of the posts that I wrote before we moved and when we first arrived in France, and I had to laugh about some of our early assumptions and perceptions. I never thought I would find a French wine I love as much as a California Zin, and I certainly never thought my first choice for a dinner out on the town would have anything to do with steak or duck. The language barrier has been about what we expected, but that obstacle has taught us a lot about patience. Not being able to communicate is a very humbling experience and we've definitely learned to just take things as they are and roll with the punches. Sometimes you think you're drinking lemonade but it turns out to be lemon concentrate, and that's just the way life is going to go that day.
another gorgeous day in Montpellier
While at times very frustrating, these experiences have been once in a lifetime opportunities. They've taught us about ourselves, forced us to grow in ways we weren't sure we could, and brought us even closer together. The first year in France has been pretty amazing and we're just as excited about Year Two. We have plans to keep traveling and to explore more of the region surrounding Montpellier. There are trails to hike, museums to visit, and food to eat. Our time here is not over and we're very grateful to have another year in France.
we can't leave yet, when there is still so much wine to drink!
So when we leave France, where will we go? What's next? The fact that we have no idea is exciting, thrilling, stressful, and terrifying. But that's half the fun, right? We don't know exactly when we're leaving and we don't know where we'll be going, but we do know one thing. And that one thing has been our singular focus lately, driving our decisions and bringing us so much joyful anticipation that we could just burst with the magnitude of it all.
We won't be coming back alone.
15 weeks along and feeling good!
Yep. Year Two in France is going to be pretty awesome.
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