the Unexpected

• 16 September 2009

Since this was my 7th voyage to France, I thought I knew what to expect. I prepared myself mentally for certain things yet found myself quite surprised at how much I didn't see coming. For record keeping purposes, I thought I'd write down several surprises about living here for 3 months, with 3 kids, to complete the renovation of La Maisonnette du Coteau. If you are considering renovating a home in a foreign land with small children for an entire season, read on :)

I didn't expect...

1. The loneliness...not speaking the local language fluently is socially isolating; how I longed to have a casual conversation in English with a good friend.

2. Beds + bed skirts = total living nightmare...combined travel time for acquiring the proper size bed skirts, box springs, and mattresses came to somewhere around 40 hours; and it's all more expensive here too. To think, I could pick up a simple bed skirt for $20 at Target back home!

3. It would take so long...did we seriously just extend our trip 2 months?

4. It would be so difficult...I'm going to leave it at that :)

5. Finding good workers would be as challenging

6. That once you found the good workers, it would be difficult to get them here more than a few hours at a time considering how busy they were and the short work week here in France.

7. Only one leather sofa in France would fit through our second story door!

8. I would be required to do so much legwork by myself; meaning I would have to try and speak French on my own about house-related subjects! It's one thing to ask for a bunch of onions, but another to discuss the dimensions of a room and how old something is in a foreign language. If only I had a nickel for every time I made a complete fool out of myself!

9. I would see my adorable neighbors and meet a lovely blog reader right here in Beynac.

10. I would meet an old friend of my stepmothers' in Paris--and that Natasha would become my angel for a day

11. This project would be so challenging (I said that already though, right?)

12. How much joy I'd feel knowing our first guests enjoyed themselves immensely

13. How much I want to stay here now...with just the Husband; La Maisonnette is quite romantic and honestly made for 1-2 couples.

14. I could get used to "bising" without blushing

15. Produce could be as good or better than what you find in Northern California

16. To receive mail...thank you Christine for everything!

17. The Husband was so handy!

18. To gain a whole new appreciation for quiet


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