Saturday, August 16, 2014

One Year Later

ONE YEAR LATER. We're settled in the large, lower story of a country house in SW Portland. My French, winemaking husband is now the assistant winemaker at a prestigious domaine here in the Willamette valley. I recently received a diamond and a proper proposal, (one year after the fact, but better late than never,) and we're busy wedding planning for the "real" event this December home in the Hawaiian Islands. 


                                                



My nostalgia for France is like a persistent pain in my side. Going over photos and reading posts from those three years of incredible freedom, adventure, and yes, hardship and struggle, I realize that it was one of the most vibrant and enriched periods of my life. I've never loved so much or cared so deeply about anything as I did the people, places, and events that transpired in little, medieval Dijon 12 months ago. -And how I miss this blog!








That said, I'm adapting I Fight for the Phoque into a slightly older, slightly more mature novel than my free-wheeling-in-Europe and blogging days. It's time consuming and emotionally draining,(oh merciless nostalgia!)but I do sincerely hope it I Fight for the Phoque shows its face in a real, tangible form some day in the not too distant future. 


All the best,



Monday, August 12, 2013

Post the Last

After a summer spent with the new in-laws on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of France, my new husband and I are in the throws of preparing for an international move. After 3 years in France, I'm finally packing up and saying good bye as we prepare for a one-way flight to Portland on the 19th. "A" will be working on a vineyard in the Willamette valley and I shall be feathering a new nest somewhere within the city, basking in the ease of being surrounded by English, burritos, and price tags written in the same currency as my bank account. So, with my love affair with France coming to an end in a mere 7 days, I figured IFFTP deserved some closing words. 

I've ardently loved this blog and the ability to put my adventure, which started as a chronicle of a single and somewhat sex crazed swinger in a foreign city and ended as some startling steps into adulthood, into words.I regretted the anonymous nature getting a little lose and my parents and husband discovering it, which of course lead to censorship and long hiatuses, but those of you who stuck around from my lonely Paris wanderings through my heartbreaks and on to my eventual departure made it worth the while. 

Browsing through the posts from year one I'm left with a surprising but pleasant discovery that I did manage to learn something, and the most I can hope for having started this blog is that some readers shared that with me along the way. The first thing is to never underestimate the value of cashing in on your courage- especially on something that may seem small or at the time, not worth it. I was terrified to come to France alone, even for a short time. It would have been so easy to back out and wouldn't have seemed like a great loss. But, here I am three years later still abroad, with an unexpected graduate's degree and a new family. All those motivational pamphlets and speakers and cheesy commercials saying "take the plunge!" -They're right.

The second thing is never take your plans too seriously. Miss a train, let your miles expire, make changes and sacrifices when everyone tells you it's a bad idea. Mistakes are just another kind of path to the same peak. Your old plan can wait, or change, or just get scrapped all together. I abandoned everything, (apartment, long term relationship, university,) and 6 months after I thought I was completely lost, I saw my future husband across a crowded room and was suddenly found.  

Everywhere in the world there is someone waiting to meet you.  I'm so glad to find this to be true. If anything, that lesson was worth each and every challenge. 

Au revoir la France - and to anyone out there considering doing something out of the ordinary, go get em, and write a terrific blog. 




Friday, June 14, 2013

The Wedding

The long version of the wedding story:

As some of you may remember, this wedding was planned to be absolutely underwhelming. The original idea was just to sign the papers - but, as weddings often do, sentimentality was stirred in several hearts and before we knew it, our guest list had grown a bit. A's parents drove up with his sister and her boyfriend, my dad flew from Hawaii, our friends, the newly-wed French and American showed up for moral support, and good-ole Jonas, who'll you'll remember from the Turbulent Harry Saga, showed up with tears in his eyes and pleased as punch that he'd been there on the night that A and I had met. 

It was a little nerve racking because we had no idea what to expect. We'd never gotten a briefing on where to stand, what to say, etc. The parents got dressed in their hotel, A and I put on our suit and dress together in our apartment, (his mom also bought me a GORGEOUS bouquet of white and green carnations and pink roses,) and we all wandered over to the city hall. (The Palais de Duc, here in Dijon.) We followed signs to the "marriage waiting room." I had heard rumors that in France, instead of saying "I do," you say, "oui, je le veux." I wasn't sure about this though and I was getting nervous for the moment when I'd be asked. 

There was obviously a big marriage ahead of us as we could hear them clapping and cheering, and it took them a while to file out of the room. Eventually we were called in, the family were seated, and A and I stood before the mairie, where we were read a long missive about the laws of matrimony in France. It got a little tedious, though my heart was racing and I was clutching my bouquet with nervous white knuckles. Finally I was being addressed and I knew I was supposed to say something. I sort of mumbled, "oui.." and then tentatively  "j-je le veux." "We can't hear you!" The mairie insisted. "OUI!" I shouted then, more or less terrified. Before I knew it A had done the same, we'd kissed, cheered, and then were busy signing the papers. I tried to invent a new, more elegant signature for the moment, but mostly defiled our marriage document with a scribble. 

Then we exited out the back where our friends threw rice at us and the heavens threw.. hail at us. -But no problem, honestly, I was surprisingly overcome with joy. So was everybody, seemingly, and we laughed and kissed and smiled and took a whole bunch of photos and, before we had realized it was happening, our "fake," "no frills" marriage had become the real thing.  

We drank champagne back in our apartment and went out for dinner in the evening. It felt amazing to finally have gotten over the hump and passed from girlfriend to wife. I thought it would feel old and strange, I thought it would feel old and strange all the way up to the moment I was standing in the city hall clutching my bouquet, but as soon the words were said and the deed was done, there was only elation, and a whole lot of gratitude.  






and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time my face has ever appeared on IFFTP

Monday, June 3, 2013

May 25th 2013, I Got Married.

Well, on May 25th I got married. I'm deeply in love, happy, and all around moved by the occasion, but I do feel a bit like I'm standing in front of a dark window trying to see out. The skepticism about love and relationships I've cultivated all my life in order to be a practical and realistic adult some day, (an absurd notion, I know) has me trained to feel that a marriage between two people so young is bound to.. deflate. I sort of doubt my husband and I know each other half as well as we've even come to know ourselves, which is probably not at all. Are we even people yet in our twenties? There's no question we both have a lot of growing to do, and it seems reasonable that we will outgrow one another. 

I think a lot of people expect their wedding to be one of the "happiest days of their life" and plan on it to such an extant that all the expectation washes over the love and sincerity of the occasion and all they get are a bunch of plates covered in cake crumbs and scads of posed photographs. (Not to mention a huge wedding tab.) It's interesting: A and I had such little expectation, and such a small ceremony, I think both of us were surprised by how happy we were. Several times since then I've thought it was one of the happiest days of my life. Who knew?

Here in France they say, "marriage pleveuse, marriage heureuse." A rainy marriage is a happy marriage. Well, on the day we got hitched, it rained, hailed, thundered, and blue sky and perfect sunshine appeared sporadically throughout. It was bizarre. Does anyone know the appropriate proverb? As everyone keeps telling me- everybody goes into this sort of thing the same way: knowing nothing, but hoping for the best. In other words, while we have a lot of growing to do, I may as well count on us growing into our relationship, rather than us growing out of it. 

 


..and, yes, before anyone blows a gasket, there will be photos and details to follow

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Frenzied Five

Busy busy busy. If wedding planning for a throbbing, frenzied guest count of 5 is this much work I shudder to think what a ceremony of any "normal" size might be. Housing the parents, choosing/booking the wine bar, hair appointment, mini wedding dress, the future mother-in-law has now talked me into a mini wedding bouquet, (for those interested I'm going with green and white carnations,) - not to mention travel documents, international paperwork, uh... city hall parking permit? Geez.  Dijon also has a requirement that all weddings, no matter how small and lacking in hullabaloo, are published in Le Bon, the silly local news paper. So that as well requires effort and attention. Oh lets not forget, translations, international prenuptial agreements, and lots, and I mean lots, of visa related paperwork.  Those of you doing the real thing, you have my sympathy.



In other news my dad arrives undoubtedly bewildered in Paris tomorrow morning, having come all the way from the Hawaiian islands. Im going up first light the day after via train to meet him and take him around for a day. I managed to get him a hotel up there and another on our little street here in Dijon. 

I still have a heated bar fight I'm itching to recount to the online community, featuring my intended in the streets vers 4am with blood on his fist all because I got my hair pulled in a club - but that's a story for the next post. -not fit for wedding banter. 

a bientot!


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