French Letters Forever


You were right, you were absolutely half-right!  Those of you who commented here or emailed me to say “no way, you’re not really giving up on France, pas possible” were, in fact, onto something.

Ever since I wrote here that we were leaving France we’ve been suffering the most terrible fits of existential anxiety.  Every day we’ve looked at each other and said “we’re WHAT?”  Then for five minutes we’d decide to stay, then half an hour later we’d be leaving once again.  And in between times we’d be calling ourselves names, with “pack of weasels” being the most frequently uttered, for being so indecisive and wishy-washy and generally succumbing to cluelessness about our one and only lives.

Jean Claude told us to “do what you really want to do.”  Thanks, JC, but knowing what we want to do is actually our problem.  We love France.  We love America.  Since we’re unlikely to be successful in annexing America to France, we’re out of luck on having it all in one place.  But really, I do love writing French Letters.  And what would French Letters be without France?

Jacqueline said to “live in the moment.”  But which moment, when we change our minds every 43.7 seconds?  But then we started to ask ourselves, which moments are the happiest?  And lately, those moments are here in France, where we blossom and flourish like nobody’s business.

Gérard said “don’t you want to help wineries develop recipes to use with their advertising?”  Actually, yes, yes I do, I really, really do, because wineries are in terrible trouble these days, and it’s in all of our best interests that they do well and produce great wine, because what is life without wine?

Maryse said “you’ve invested so much of yourselves into learning the language and culture, why would you leave now, just when you’re really getting comfortable?”  Bingo.  Did you know that you also say Bingo in French?  Well, you do.

And at the end of all our gnashing of teeth (and desire to visit an American dentist) and pulling of hair (plus desire to replenish our supply of Aveda products) and the longings for Thai food cooked by Tum and no one else, and Mexican food cooked by anyone at all who really knows how its done, we realized that yes, we need to go to America.  And then, yes, we need to come back.

So, we’ll spend the summer giving bisous on both cheeks, three of them, southern style, to those of you that cross our path.  We’ll hang out with our dear sons and their ladies.  We’ll stuff ourselves with Tum’s great noodles and everything Mexican, we’ll get our teeth cleaned and our house rented and stock up on clothes that fit, and will fit in, in France. 

And then, we’ll come back in the autumn, in time for the start of school.  I’m already looking forward to new pens and notebooks and new language challenges to master, to raising a glass with those who share our table, and to giving our new-old friends three kisses each, coming and going, because what is life without bisous?   And to writing the first French Letters post that says “nous sommes de retour.”  We’re back!

Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France

24 Comments on “French Letters Forever”

  1. John DePaula Says:

    Une bonne idée! Mes pensées sont avec vous deux. I’m very happy that you will not be leaving France forever.

  2. Heidih Says:

    Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds! I will look forward to your new adventures.

  3. katherine wienen-van den brink Says:

    Great news ! Home is where you ‘re happy and I will be very happy to see you again in September

  4. Shaya Says:


  5. Judy Amster Says:

    We are doubly happy for you. This sounds like the perfect plan. See you on Bainbridge?

  6. Arne Says:

    You two are my heroes! Let us know when you’re back stateside. We’re planning a couple Seattle trips, now that the Sounders FC are in the MLS. See you soon!

  7. Jessica Says:

    This sounds like an excellent plan. Just make sure that you are here in October for the Opal Creek Mushroom workshop!

  8. Lucy Says:

    Great! Can’t wait to see you when you get back!

  9. maeva Says:

    hi,I m a french girl living in toulouse and paris. since one year, i read frenchletters. I understand that you want sometimes to go back to usa. but i m happy that you stay in our country. in fact I can read you again. sorry for my english. la france est grande. meme moins en 21ans je n ai pas pu decouvrir tout ses secrets. bonne journee

  10. Hope Says:

    Thank you for sharing your process with us! Your decision to make a visit home and return to France sounds perfect! I’m hoping that there will be an opportunity for us to meet while you are here– perhaps a beautiful meal with Judy, Tamara, me, et al? My Best to You and Shel!

  11. Yeah!!!!!!! David and I can now meet you in France or get you to meet us in Italy and meet up with Judy & Jeff.

  12. Marigene Says:

    So glad to hear you will be splitting your time in each country!

  13. Sandra Says:

    I am not surprised at your decision…..and very happy that we will continue to have French Letters Forever. I don’t think you really know how many people look forward to your postings and live every day in France, too….vicariously through your writing.

  14. Lauren Says:

    What a brilliant compromise!

  15. Abra Bennett Says:

    It’s very cool that you all support our decision, and it’s especially cool that so many people I’ve never met are hooked on French Letters. That really makes me feel wonderful!

  16. Jan Lang Says:

    Sounds like the best of both worlds! Looking forward to seeing you!

  17. MickeyM Says:

    What a great solution! Of course, we Writing Ladies miss you terribly, so hopefully you can squeeze in a few Tuesday sessions. And we’ll definitely need to have a potluck birthday party so you can show us some of these wonderful dishes you have discovered.

    And (usually) Puget Sound in summer is another of the most beautiful places in the world in summer, so it really is the best of both worlds.

    Bien fait!


  18. Eden Says:

    Bravi! a fine compromise. We’ll look forward to seeing you back here in Seattle this summer, and sending you off on great journeys again in the fall.

  19. Char Says:

    I’m so happy that you’e coming back for a few months. Look forward to seeing both of you !


  20. Nancy Says:

    Feet in both worlds!! Hooray!

  21. Lee Petrie Says:

    Wahoo! I apologize for not writing more often but I have so loved reading your Letters – I hope we’ll have an opportunity to hook up while you’re here! I may be up in Seattle over the summer, so I’ll make sure to check in with you to see if a gathering is possible!

  22. Rocky Says:

    I’m glad you were able to make a decision that was happy for you. Can’t wait to see you!

  23. Wolfgang Says:

    I must admit, this takes a load of my heart,
    reading your letters are

    food for the brain and mind ,

    while not being able to spent vacations or time in France.

    So you take best of your both worlds, Splendid!

  24. Margaret Says:

    Glad to hear you are coming for the summer, Abra. Where is Beppo going to live during this time? I’ll see you at the Mex Fest!

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