My Opening Farewell


It’s coming.  The moment we’ve wondered about, dreaded, longed for, avoided, embraced: the moment we leave France.  Every day recently we’ve asked ourselves whether today will be the day we decide, and every day the answer has been no, let’s do anything but make that final call.  Let’s do crossword puzzles, take a trip, do the recycling, go out to lunch, learn how to use the gramatically gorgeous passé simple, buy something heavy and impractical to ship, you get the picture.  Do anything but decide whether to go or stay.


And so I’ve been leaving you, dear friends of French Letters, a bit high and dry, while we ourselves have been à la dérive, drifting aimlessly, unable to commit, even to ourselves, to casting off yet again for another shore.  We love our life here and hate to leave it, but we’ve come to see that we have to get out from under its spell in order to understand where our future really lies.  And if you’ve been reading since the beginning of this adventure you’ll remember that once we had another life that we could barely bear to leave.  We don’t know if it’s still there, but we need to go and find out.


So “come, friend who’s been with me on this long journey, let your horse rest a while, while you drink a few drops of wine without letting yourself become drunk.”  That will be my motto for the next two months, as we collect ourselves, our cats, our multitudinous memories and much-multiplied bunch of belongings, and get ready to head westward.

We’ll still travel France’s addictively lush paths together for a while, we’ll drink and eat the best of the season and toast our friendships, but our horses will be taking it easy, gathering strength for the journey ahead, and we won’t permit ourselves to become too intoxicated with what we see in the meanwhile.  Because that’s how we got where we are today, having drunk deeply of the oh so sweet vie française, and now it’s time to pause, emerge, and breathe the air of change once again. 

I hate goodbyes, and it’s not time for them yet.  But goodbye is in the air, along with the last winds of winter.  Spring will be here soon, the season of change, and spring is no time for regret.  As usual, Jackson Browne said it best:

“There’s a train every day, leaving either way
There’s a world, you know
You’ve got a ways to go
And I’ll soon believe it’s just as well
This is my opening farewell.”

Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France

13 Comments on “My Opening Farewell”

  1. Wendy Says:

    Abra and Shel we will be thrilled to see you back in Seattle! And can’t wait to meet the new kitten 🙂

  2. Jim Berry Says:


    I’ve extolled the mystery of your chef business back in the States to a young friend (at our spa) who once was also a chef although I know none of the details other than she has a young family and now stays at home.

    I will give the French Letters website to my friend about whom I know little except that the time she can run on a stairstepper is measured in hours.

    Hope you and Shel are well and prepared to begin again.

    Best wishes,


  3. Lauren Says:

    What a great adventure and I’m sure this moment is bittersweet. We look forward to having you home in Seattle.

  4. Sandra Says:

    …and “They” say “You can never go home again!”

  5. Amy Says:

    Here’s hoping that we will see you once again when you reach Seattle. We have enjoyed your adventures vicariously. Well done.

  6. Char Says:

    Shel and Abra…Things have been pretty quiet on ‘our side of the water’ since you’ve been gone. Look forward to seeing you again !


  7. Jan Lang Says:

    We will be happy to have you back. It’s been an amazing journey to follow on your blog!

  8. Lucy Says:

    I’ll miss our visits, short and sweet as they have been up to now!

  9. Eden Says:

    I have loved your blog & living vicariously through your adventures and thinking about making a similar expotition to Italy someday, but it will be great to have you back in Seattle.

    Enjoy the rest of what France has to offer you, pack all that lovely pottery carfully, and we will look forward to a grand celebration once you’ve returned & settled in a bit.

  10. Nancy Says:

    For my part, I intend to continue savoring your adventures, as you care to share them, until it’s truly time for you to move on. “In every wood, in every spring, there is a different green.”

  11. I’ll believe it when it happens…………..xx

  12. Karen K. Says:

    Welcome back, or welcome forward, whatever may happen.

  13. Wolfgang Says:

    Seeing that you leave France makes me sad!
    I loved every single word and will miss it when you are gone.
    Never forget the joy and laughter you brought to everyone reading your diary.
    Where ever you are relocating , please keep the writing!
    You add a zest into everybodys ” a metro a dodo”
    Thanks for sharing

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