Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Gift

Two years ago, during a telephone conversation with a friend that involved a lot of discussion about the twists and turns both of our lives had taken during the previous year, he said, in frustration, “Screw it…let’s just move to France!” Yeah, wouldn’t that be great? We’ll begin every day with a tiny cup of espresso and a croissant, we’ll finish each glorious day with a bottle of Bordeaux and some fabulous stinky cheese and bask in the absolute beauty of the language that will land on our ears like music. We will spend our days exploring the countryside, learning the history and reveling in our good fortune. We will……we will….we will…..! Don’t you just love a good pipe dream?

Our conversational game was very similar to another familiar sport we all play called “What Would I Do If I Won the Lottery?”. 

This morning I opened my terrace doors to find, once again, the amazing blue of the Mediterranean sky and sat down to a tiny cup of espresso and a baguette (no, not a croissant…too many of those and the terrace won’t hold me). Last night I finished the glorious day with a bottle of Cotes du Rhone (not Bordeaux tonight) and a bit of Camembert as I listened to the passers-by below my window speaking in one of the world’s most delicious languages.

My friend remains in Minnesota, his life still twisting and turning, as lives tend to do. But I am here….YES, I AM HERE!.... in a city in the south of France called Aix en Provence. Living the pipe dream…on a shoestring… but living it nonetheless.  

I have always said that I am the luckiest person alive and always have been. I just keep getting presents; some beautifully wrapped in heavy paper with intricate bows and decorations, some wrapped in the comic section of the Sunday newspaper, and some wrapped in some smelly piece of paper that likely stored fish or liver and has come out of a dumpster that’s been sitting in the sun for at least a week. But all are gifts nonetheless. They just have to be unwrapped with a certain expectation. This is what I’ve learned.  

This dream began with one of those aforementioned gifts wrapped in putrid paper from the dumpster. It smelled of disappointment, broken promises, angst and anger. It was slimy and greasy and it held no promise of being anything good. But I opened it…because, heck, who doesn’t want a present? 

And now we get to continue opening it together.


  1. Nice start Delana - you already have me hooked. Matt Kottke

  2. Yipee Delana, you did it! Congrats on this new adventure

  3. Hey, I think your one of the smart ones. Living your dreams to the fullest - whatever life throws at you.

    You sound like the female version of Russel Crowe's movie "The Good Year", without the inherited mansion or the wealth. A good movie by the way (in my opinion).

    I have to dig up something sometime around here in could ol' Wisconsin to send you. Hopefully, the little Francais slang manual I gave you has come in handy.

    Great to see you are blogging. You will find it will become nice outlet to express yourself.

    Matthew Storz

  4. What a beautiful writer you are. I look forward enjoying many more dreamy chapters of your adventure.

  5. hi Delana - this blog is great! Of course not everyone is so brave as to give up all the securities that keep us grounded day to day - the job, the family, the familiar house. But life expands or contracts in opposition to our fears. You go girl! To your new big fat Life! Holly Poirier

  6. Love it! We are hoping to be there this summer avec les gamins! I'll keep you posted-you are missing a cold damp day in Eau Claire. The best looking produce has been shipped to us from far away and looks like eating plastic would taste better. I miss the markets there. Love the blog-you should get a publisher lined up.

  7. Delana -- Congrats! I look forward ot reading more posts. Having once visited Aix en Provence, I know you're living in something close to paradise. Not without its warts, I'm sure, but her in Minneapolis I'm feeling warmer just looking at your pictures. A bientot

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  9. J'ai lu avec délectation tes débuts de "blogeuse" Aixoise… j'ai toujours été fascinée par les gens capables de tout abandonner pour vivre une autre vie ailleurs… il faut du courage, de la détermination mais c'est aussi très jubilatoire…
    Et tu sais très bien nous faire partager tout ça…
    Je suis très impatiente de lire la suite…

  10. Merci, beaucoup Marie-Martine. Maintenant, mon vie est vraiment public! Mais...attention. Tu me connais. C'est possible que tu pourrais apparaître dans une de mes histoires! Je suis désolé pour mon français triste! Bienvenue!

  11. Ah, I looked back and see you are in Aix. What a gorgeous part you chose - we had a holiday around there three years ago and remember it all with great times spent.

    As for being 50 (I'm 52) - you look in excellent shape :)


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