One cannot organize an adventure any more than one can rehearse spontaneity. ~Trevanian (Rodney William Whitaker)
Transitions are rarely easy no matter how welcome they are; my blog posts have offered plenty of evidence of that. They have dealt with the adventures we experienced both in our day-to-day life and our foreign travels. Moving to a different culture definitely stretches one; but we can also say returning to the culture that you left is not always a piece of cake
When we first arrived in Grenoble, new acquaintances would ask what we missed about home. The stock answer we gave was “family and friends.” (All true!) We didn’t mention the stores where we could find almost anything we wanted, sometimes were open 24 hours a day, and would not close for one-and-a-half-hour lunch breaks. We neither told them about the abundance of mozzarella cheese in our land of plenty nor expounded on the plethora of different varieties of beans, especially in the southern states. Are you noticing a concern-with-food pattern here?
It wasn’t until we had been home for about a week that we realized how much now we miss Grenoble and our friends there. When we had first arrived in France, we were always saying, “in America….” Now find ourselves saying, “in France….” We ask forgiveness of our American friends if we make these comparisons to you, and we hope you can understand the loss we feel. For those of you who have been asking us what else we will miss about France, we’ve come up with a short list.
What and whom we will miss . . .
Friends and Colleagues at Open House Grenoble, Sweet Home Grenoble and GEM (Grenoble Ecole de Management) and those we came to know through connections outside those groups. They welcomed us into their circles and embraced us.
Denis, our boulanger extraordinaire,who greeted each patron warmly and treated each as though they were his most cherished customer. His baguette became our favorite not only because it’s the best we’ve ever eaten but especially because it was served with his sincere smile.
Marché de l’Estacade, the vibrant market, which provided fresh fruit, fish, flowers, vegetables, olives, cheese, and meat six days a week, under the railroad trestle within a four-minute walk of our apartment.
Politesse. It may seem corny, but we came to anticipate that as soon as we entered a shop, le vendeur (shopkeeper) would greet us with Bonjour, Monsieur-dame! (Sir and Madame concatenation) As endearing as “How y’all doing?” is, it doesn’t quite have the same ring.
Les montagnes, namely the Alps, the Belledonne, the Vercors, and the Chartreuse Mountain ranges. The breathtaking views of these three ranges as we stood on our balconies are indescribable.
Beautiful, historic buildings that were built before America was even discovered and made us wonder how they made them so exquisitely without even a calculator let alone a CAD (computer-aided design) tool.
Transportation systems that allowed us to go practically anywhere we desired in relative ease and comfort and saved us from driving. And being able to use our own two feet to get to most places that we had wanted to go: GEM, centre ville, and outlying parks. (Our legs have never been in better shape.)
Les chiens who dutifully follow their masters off their leashes or submit to being carried in bicycle baskets and grocery carts, all the while ignoring the rest of the world. (See also Dogs Unleashed!)
Leisurely sipping a coffee at le café du jour (coffee shop of the day) while trying to understand the fine points of French idiomatic expressions.
Easy European travel afforded by living in Grenoble. We could hop on the Rhône-Alpes navette to Lyon aéroport and travel by easyJet, Lufthansa, Brussels Air, and other airlines to our hearts’ content. For a lark, Steve toted up the number of flights we made during our stay. He came up with 26 flights touching down in Europe, Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Graffiti paintings on the shop doors that made walking down the street feel like strolling in an art space.
Wine, excellent and inexpensive, which goes so well with that baguette and St. Marcellin cheese of which we have become so fond.
Cheese, the bountiful selection that threatened to overwhelm us by the multitude of choices and incredible tastes.
And some of our friends who helped over the rough patches….
Last, but certainly not least, I will miss writing this blog. Thank you for joining us on this fantastic journey in our lives. We hope at times that we’ve made you smile, opened your eyes about things you didn’t know, or inspired you to do something you thought you might never do—embrace an adventure as we did!
As Mark Twain so wisely said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
(Thanks to our friend, Michelle Onofrey (Brock), a true entrepreneur, from Open House Grenoble for introducing us to the above quote.)
Thanks to la ville de Grenoble for this very welcome video of some sights you might recognize from our previous posts of the town which we called “home” for too short a time:
*Good-bye, Grenoble. We miss you.