Bonjour. It's good to be back!
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Last month's sabbatical began in Paris... More in today's letter.
We will be back to the regular format of French Word-A-Day soon. Meantime, there's a letter waiting for you, just below, and a few ways to say 'hello.'
You know the word for "hi" in French. Here are some other oft-heard salutations. Have fun changing up your greetings next time you see a friend.
- salut (hi!)
- coucou (hey there!)
Bonjour! When last we spoke I talked about a one-month sabbatical. What I didn't tell you was how nervous I was about taking it. There was that risk of never coming back....
For decades (since young adulthood) I've lived with this belief that I am an all or nothing person. That, for example, if I dared keep this gig as a writer, I'd better keep on track--or veer off to The Land of Flake forever. (Flake--flakiness...).
But I have also secretly suspected that, deep down, I'm NOT an all or nothing person. That there is a resilient, flexible, can stop and start again soul at the helm of my personcraft, or being. Sometimes we just have to throw off our life jackets and test the waters. Thank you, dear reader, for waiting there on the raft for me! You promised to be there when I swam back. If you are reading now you can see my outstretched hand. I'm ready to get back on dry ground. Are you still ready?
One, two, three... heave!
Before setting off for a new season of writing, I'd like to take a moment to thank those readers who joined me on the one week AmaWaterways Paris to Normandy cruise last month. What a warm-hearted and fascinating group you were.
Thank you Joan and Glenn, Jean-Marie and Mark, Chris and George, Celia and Martha, Julie and Brad, and last but not least, thank you Nan and Tom and Charles and Martha (these two showed up for a surprise visit when we docked outside of Paris!). Thanks also to readers Julie and John (who were on the cruise just before us, and who took the time to leave a message in my room. I was delighted to read it!).
I would also like to thank my best friend Susan Boehnstedt (aka "Rouge-Bleu") of Critics Choice Vacations. Susan invited Jean-Marc and me to host the cruise, after highly suggesting our candidature to AMAWaterways! (Thank you Denise, at AMA, for making this possible!)
Going on this cruise was the best chance to see a beautiful part of France. And while it is hard to pinpoint a favorite endroit, or place--or a favorite thing about the cruise--I will share a comment by Jean-Marc, one that wonderfully captures the gift of cruising with AMAWaterways:
C'est bien reposant! How restful this is! (This, coming from an overworked winemaker and business man, is the best compliment one could give. So thanks to the hard workers at AMAWaterways for keeping an impeccably run boat. We enjoyed our chance to travel with you!
I leave you now with a few pictures from our cruise along the river (more photos to come). I hope these images will inspire you to travel the waterways of France. For more information, contact Susan at Critics Choice Vacations: [email protected] Phone: 480-831-9076
There were so many breathtaking landscapes along the waterways. We stopped in Les Andelys for a view from above.
In Rouen we stood where crowds witnessed the demise of Joan of Arc (flames once went up where now you see the plaque on a bed of flowers.)
I didn't get a picture of the irises that grown on these traditional rooftops. But I did get a snapshot of this little Norman boy as our tour bus cruised past.
Taken with Susan's camera (that's her, left, me, right). I think Linda took this photo. Linda is Susan's longtime friend from their days in Douglas, Arizona. It was a pleasure to meet Linda and spend pre-cruise time together in Paris. I especially enjoyed our lunch together in Île Saint-Louis where we chatted about Susan (were your ears burning, Rouge-Bleu?). The picture was taken in Honfleur, where we froze. Thankfully Celia (mentioned in the Thank you section, above) had this handmade bonnet on hand.
Here's Linda with Susan, in Honfleur.
The most touching moment of the trip was our visit to Omaha beach. I leave you with this image (more to come). This is Janet, whom I met on the cruise. I found her all alone. Lowering her umbrella, she spoke to the lost heros. Her gesture puts words to the gratitude in all our hearts.
Everyone loves this holiday CD! Listen to A French Christmas and "Mon Beau Sapin", "Saint Nuit", "La Marche des Rois", "Petite Ville Bethléem", "Il est né Le Divin Enfant". Order CD here.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Welcome back! I'm eagerly awaiting your stories of this past month's adventures.
Posted by: Evelyn | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Hi again Kristin!,
We have a cottage in the very south of Normandie and my neighbours always say "coucou".
Great to hear from you again and thank you for the photos. Makes me feel like leaving my office,grabbing my passport and heading for the tunnel.Glad you had a good trip.
Posted by: Angela | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Welcome back! It's good to have you back again.
Posted by: Linda | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:22 PM
You were missed!
Your cruise through Normandy from Paris brought back many fond memories from 20 years back . My husband was a Navy captain and was so moved by the site of 10,000 crosses I had to escort him away. He was also descended from Vikings, which settled Hon Fleur and thought Sven could have done a better job. ;o)
Since then, we've cruised the northern European rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest and enjoyed a Med cruise from Barcelona to Dubrovnik. Loved every lovely minute and appreciated every mile.
Thanks for sharing, Bob and Fay Butler
Posted by: Fay Plauche' Butler | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:23 PM
YAY! Welcome back!
Posted by: Audrey Bresar | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:25 PM
you were VERY much missed! welcome back!
Posted by: janet b. | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:26 PM
Honfleur looks amazing! The place where many of my ancestors set sail for New France in the 1600s! I just learned about my long roots in New France and then France, and I am still amazed to know the names from 400 years ago. Were any of those buildings in your photo standing back then?
Love to see even more photos of Normandie from the big boat.
Glad you are back, I missed your posts.
Posted by: Sarah LaBelle, near Chicago | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:35 PM
I was so glad to see your post in my mailbox this morning! Thank you for returning!
My husband and I spent 8 days in Normandy in mid-October. It was a wonderful yet humbling experience to walk in the footsteps of so many brave soldiers. Thank goodness our American Cemetery re-opened while we were there and my husband was able to assistance with the folding of our flag at the end of the day. Everyone should visit Normandy, walk on those beautiful beaches and be reminded of what took place.
So glad to be receiving your posts again! I will order that Christmas CD - I speak almost no French but I love hearing the language and the songs are sure to bring back fond memories of my two visits to France!
Posted by: Vicky Dickens | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I missed your daily missives.
Posted by: Bob LaRock | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Welcome home, Kristie!
Posted by: Kerry | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Coucou! Welcome back and so glad you enjoyed the cruise!
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:02 PM
thanks for coming back
Posted by: JJS | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:08 PM
Glad you´re back :-D I have missed your interesting reports and great photos. Hugs/Christine
Posted by: Christine Lundin | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Oooh, now that is almost freaky! I was just thinking about you earlier today! I swear! And then I clicked on and poof here you are back from your hiatus. You were sorely missed and I can't wait to reading your missives again. The cruise sounds just wonderful, so glad that it was a success...
Posted by: Heather in Arles | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:18 PM
What beautiful pictures of France! I, too, am filled with nostalgia just looking at them. When our three girls were children we used to base our caravan at Le Picard camping Tournières. We would get across to Normandy several time a year. I remember going to the local shops at Le Molay-Littry to buy delicious pastries. The local people were so friendly. There were trips to Bayeux, Caen (William the Conqueror connection) to the local beaches - Omaha with its stunning beaches; Gold with is war museum. Now my little three year old Hannah has turned 23 and is au-pairing in Paris - learning to speak French and hoping to get into a dream job as a writer. She too has a blog - on film. How time flies!! So let's all make the most of it! Bravo on your own beautiful and very heartwarming blog Kristin. Thank you for all of them.
Posted by: Suzanne Lamarque | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:20 PM
we have a home in S of France but are having to live in UK at moment, so reading your writings makes me feel we are keeping in touch with our little bit of France. It also helps me with the language (at which I am far from proficient, though my son is of course fluent, after just a year in a French school).
Actually, it's not just the subject matter nor the inclusion of French words and phrases, I do enjoy reading your stuff regardless, as you craft the pieces well. It's inspiring.
Posted by: lorraine | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:21 PM
bienvenue de retour!
Posted by: Herm in Phoenix, AZ | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Just this morning, I was thinking how very much I've missed receiving your communications! You teach me something new with each entry, and I know my conversational French has improved and prepared me for our next trip to France (Sept. 2014). I hope you feel rested, renewed and ready to teach us, your faithful readers, more about life in France. You are a gift to all of us. Welcome back!
Posted by: Kathi Koegle | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Dear Kristie, The cruise could not possibly have been better. Tom is working on which one we will do next - and we see no reason to change cruise lines. AMA Waterways is excellent. Susan did an amazing job putting every tiny detail together for Old Tom and me; from the moment we arrived in Paris' CDG airport, until we returned for our flight home, everything went smoothly and effortlessly. Wow. I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know your readers on the boat. But the very best part of the trip was the time spent with you and Jean-Marc. It just feels as if we have been friends for a long time. Partly, I suppose because we heard about you for a few years via Charles and Martha. Tom and I are very happy to be able to look forward to your blog again. It is a great way to start the day. Best wishes on the new book. Love you. P.S. We went back to the philosophy bookstore at The Sorbonne and O.T. got your recommended Montaigne. He is working on the translation. Great suggestion, Krisiti. That should keep him busy for a long time. Ha!
Posted by: Nan Morrissette | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:32 PM
So great to read this blog again! Beautiful photos, Kristin!
Posted by: Katia | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:44 PM
Glad you're back. Looking forward to reading your lovely words again!
Posted by: Angela | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:48 PM
I did think of you during your hiatus, but I did not worry that you wouldn't be back, because it is clear that you love what you do. Since I am myself discovering the pull of writing a weekly blog, as well as how to live with the ever-present since of deadline, I fully applaud your decision to take a planned break and return. I am now half way through my vowed one year (www.winonamedia.net)of posting every Wednesday morning, and I am wondering if I can/should/dare take a break in mid-May. So, bravo to you! You are a role model in bravery. And the images in words and pictures of a different climate is wonderful for us who have the dark and cold of Minnesota just now.
Best, Leslie Schultz
Posted by: Leslie Schultz | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Welcome back Kristin! My cats and I missed you!!!!
Posted by: Sevahn Merian | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I'm very happy you're back and glad you found your hidden resilience a
& flexibility. Here's a hand to help you to shore.
Posted by: Jacqueline Morstad | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Kristin, Just yesterday Jim and I mentioned how much we missed your blog and when you would return. So glad to have you and your wonderful writing and shared experiences back in our lives.
We've been in touch with Susan about upcoming cruise opportunities in France. Hope to see you again and will continue to enjoy your blog.
Posted by: Laura | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:13 PM
What a wonderful surprise graced this morning, Kristin. So glad that you are resilient and are offering once again a moment of quiet interlude as we move through life's daily challenges. As one of
your readers who had the great fortune to
join you on this indescribable journey down the Seine, I will never be able to wholly
express our gratitude to you, Jean Marc and Susan for investing so much time and effort to make it happen. Jean Marc has left us with a new understanding and appreciation of making and tasting wine. My husband and I were so excited to be back in France... floating down my favorite river brought a heavenly sense of serenity. What we did not anticipate and what turned out to be the best part of the trip was sharing it with the three of you and all the nice, genuine people you mentioned above. Really, really nice, genuine people. You brought together something very special there. Your posting today captures the shared memories beautifully. The last photo is overwhelming...so poignant. I smiled all the way through this post, savoring all that you described. Then, a twist at the end that came with the last photo. Wham! Tears..as you remind us (as you often do) of what is really meaningful in life. So glad you are back!
Posted by: Chris Allin | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:19 PM
How happy I was to see your post this morning and to learn that the trip was so wonderful for you and Jean Marc. Coincidentally, my husband and I were just recently in Paris, where we stayed on the Ile St. Louis, and in Normandy. We, too, visited the D-Day beaches (Omaha, Pont-du-Hoc, and Utah) which was one of the most moving and humbling experiences of our lives. Perhaps we crossed paths without even realizing it. Welcome back!
Posted by: Cassie Alexandrou | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:25 PM
What a treat to see you appear in my emailbox today! As always, I waited to open your written and photographic gift until a quiet moment with a steaming cup of tea--so I could savor. Don't stop, but do take restorative breaks! Thanks for the thought-provoking posts you send around the world. Cheers from chilly upstate New York.
Posted by: Susan Dautel | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Great to see you back in my mailbox today! So glad you took a break though. Maybe a good idea to do once a year?
The photos are wonderful and the one of Omaha Beach, very moving. What a lovely gesture.
Posted by: Ophelia | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Now the season is REALLY festive.
I think we have to seize and protect the ways we rejuvenate and take care of ourselves. I feel as if there is more of a rhythm of this and an understanding of it in France than in the U.S.(think August vacations!). What is your impression? When we are our own bosses it's doubly important. Brava!
Posted by: Leslie NYC | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:43 PM
What a delight to wake up to your return this morning! You were missed! Amazing, moving picture on Omaha Beach! Welcome back from beautiful Tucson!
Posted by: Diane Kish | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:51 PM
As Laura stated earlier, you have been missed! We look forward to your regular posts once again and may you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!
Posted by: Jim | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Welcome back, Kristin,
I have missed your posts.
I have take that exact same River Cruise albeit with a different company. That was when I was in Paris to mail the painting to you. After Paris we got on the ship and headed north and stopped at the places you were at also. Just looking at your photos takes me back to my trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I highly recommend it to anyone who is slightly curious. It is a wonderful part of the country. I'm interested to find out where your next River Cruise takes you.
Posted by: Roseann | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Hi Kristn! Thanks for mentioning John and me in your message. I'm happy you got our note on the cruise. I loved your pictures of the cruise -- they look very much like our own! I especially liked the one of your friend writing "Thank You" in the sands of Omaha Beach. Wasn't the American Cemetery one of the most moving places on earth? I've missed you and your word of the day! Though we've never met, I feel like I have a friend in France. Joyeux Noël!
Posted by: Julie Flaherty | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:01 PM
So glad to have you back to brighten my day. With your courage and grace. You have been missed,
Posted by: Lanier Cordell | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Welcome back! We are planning our first trip to France in 2014. Your wonderful tales and photos make me feel much more comfortable taking this big step! Thanks for sharing. I love it when your husband and children contribute to your stories. Keep up your good work!
Posted by: Marilyn Thomas | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Great photos - taking a break is good for the soul and welcome back!
Posted by: 24/7 in France | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Welcome back and thanks for sharing the photos! I love the one of le petit garcon in the window. :-)
Posted by: Chanelle Carlin | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Welcome back Kristin,
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! Sounds amazing. Maybe I'll try to catch the next excursion!
Posted by: Beth Fiacco | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Welcome back. I missed you. Thanks for sharing photos of your adventures, and for the very touching "thank you" on Omaha beach.
We spend much time, over many years, in Brittany and little in Normandy. Widowed and remarried to a retired US Captain I think it's time to visit Omaha beach.
Posted by: Ronni Ebbers | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Welcome back Kristin
Posted by: John CARR | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:15 PM
Welcome Home, and Merci Mucho for poignant photo from Omaha Beach!
Posted by: Marjorie Cannon | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Welcome back! Beautiful photos! Sounds like a wonderful, restful way to see that part of France :-)
Posted by: sandy | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Reading your post this time I was struck by how much I enjoy reading of your inner thoughts including your doubts and stuggles. Is to me evidence of how living can be a work of art when practiced with the awareness and gentleness you possess.
Thank you so much for your inspiration and connection to my most favorite place!
Posted by: Maria | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:26 PM
My heart is happy - You're BACK! I really missed your French missives in my email basket. And see, you can do it - come and go, start and stop - you're much stronger than you give yourself credit for! Loved the photo at the end of the post of the words on the beaches of Normandy in tribute to our fallen soldiers. Two simple words. So deeply meaningful. So moving. xx rk
Posted by: Robin Katsaros | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:32 PM
So glad to see you back! My husband and I have the Paris to Normandy cruise booked for July of 2014! We could not be more excited. My uncle was laid to rest in the Canadian War Cemetary at Bretteville, July 1944 and we plan a side trip there to pay our family's respects.
Posted by: Joanne | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:42 PM
So glad you had a wonderful trip AND that your voice is back in my inbox! It must be heartwarming to know so many of us, scattered all over the world, feel like we know you and miss you when you're gone. Welcome back!
Posted by: Elizabeth | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Welcome back - I've missed reading your work! This past summer my husband, sister and I visited Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. We found it to be profoundly moving, especially for my husband who is Northern Irish and lost relatives in the war. It was a little unnerving to see swimmers and sunbathers there in the very area where so many men died. We took our shoes off and waded too. Having our feet in the same water gave us a sense of unity.
Glad to have you back!
Posted by: Mary Jo Nairn | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:49 PM
I missed you; day did not start cheerfully without. Vivian
Posted by: Vivian Langley | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:50 PM
So good to have you back, I've missed your posts.
Posted by: cheri | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Welcome back, Kristi...it is good to have you back in the saddle (see, you climbed up all by yourself). I, for one have been cranky with wordaday withdrawal and look forward to the next installment!
Posted by: Sue Lennox | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 04:56 PM
So glad you're back. I am looking forward to hearing about and seeing more of your trip.
Posted by: Barbara Bottini | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Bonjour! Good to have you back. Looking forward hearing your stories of the past month. Thanks for the beautiful pictures et a bientot!
Posted by: Annie | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Welcome back. I missed you and was so happy to see your post.
Keep it going! Phyllis
Posted by: Phyllis Adatto | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:07 PM
So happy you're back! I really missed your blogs, but glad you had a chance to have such a lovely vacation. Normandy is such a wonderful place - thanks for the photo of Honfleur, a place I enjoyed visiting - as well as Normandy Beach.
Posted by: Judy Feldman | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:10 PM
wondered where you were and assumed you were on a jaunt somewhere or taking a well deserved quiet break for quiet time! coming to your part of the world soon. Any suggestions on villages east of Marseille to locate as we visit the many museums of the Cote d'Azur area?
Posted by: alicia | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Coucou, glad to see you back, plan on spending 5 weeks in Europe next Sept., hope to get around to say Bonjour and see your new digs in Bandol, Best to you and yours, have a great Holiday. Lou Bogue
Posted by: louis bogue | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:44 PM
So glad to see you back!
Visiting "Bloody Omaha" and the American Cemetery above the beach is about as moving as one can get.
My lovely wife, Melissa, fell in love with Normandy on our first visit. Each time we've visited we've hired a battlefield guide for two days and it really has allowed her to understand my passion for studying it and to give her a glimpse of what her father experienced in a career as an Army officer with two tours in Viet Nam.
On our September trip, we were down in your neck of the woods, though way over in Avignon. We did also visit battlefields, since I've studied and lectured on the fighting during August of '44 in southern France. It included a tour by Colonel Pierre Balliot, who drove up from the coast to show us around.
Posted by: David Navarre | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Very happy to receive your post this morning, Kristin! Welcome back!! We all need a break now and then and it is truly refreshing and rejuvenating. We missed you!
Posted by: Julie Schorr | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Welcome back! I was so happy to receive your post again! For sure missed your blog ,yet, am glad you took some time to rest, rejuvenate and have some fun along the way!
Loved the pictures, especially the ones with a bike and, of course, the one that showed a women writing "Thank You" in the sand.
Posted by: Georgia Schall just north of San Francisco | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:00 PM
So glad to have you back. I have missed your writing very much as it always brightens my day. You have brought a smile to my face. Thank you! Frances in Napa, California
Posted by: Frances | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Bonjour Kristin! Glad to read you again. Your lovely photos remind me of my last trip to France in 2011 when we visited Normandy. I'm anxious to return.
Antoinette French Design
Posted by: Toni Cerillo | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Sounds like you had a "bon temps". What a great way to travel. Looking forward to more photos of your memorable trip.
Edie from Savannah
Posted by: Edie Schmidt | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Welcome back, Kristin! I love your blog and have read your books and sent copies to friends. My husband and I were on a Uniworld Paris to Normandy cruise in October 2013, so loved reminiscing with you. Our visit to Normandy was incredibly moving. We could not visit the American cemetery because of the US government shutdown, so visited the beautiful British one instead. We remain grateful to all the allies who landed in Normandy. We agree with Jean Marc- the cruise was so relaxing! Thank you for the photos and comments. Looking forward to enjoying your blog with my morning cup of coffee. Bien amicalement, Carol Carney (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)
Posted by: Carol Carney | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:10 PM
C’est très bien de vous voir Kristin – aussi de lire encore les événements quotidiens di votre vie. Josephine in the UK (You can see I've been practising)
Posted by: Jo Statham | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Hi Kristi! Welcome home. We've missed you. The cruise photos are fabulous. Seems you had a wonderful time! God Bless! xoNancy L
Posted by: Nancy L. | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Welcome back, Kristen! You were missed. Beautiful pictures that brought back many memories.
Posted by: Bill in St. Paul | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Yippee! You're back at it. Your posts have been missed bt me and my French IV and V (AP/IB) classes. Let your most interesting life saga continue!
Posted by: amy stell | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Welcome back! My morning routine hasn't been the same without you! It amazes me that you manage to find your muse several times a week. Rest assured that your writing and choice of subject matter brighten many lives all over the world. I was particularly pleased to see all the positive comments re AmaWaterways. My husband and I are signed up for a July cruise with them from Prague to Budapest and now I'm looking forward to it even more eagerly than ever.
Your Omaha Beach photo brought back a flood of memories of trips we've taken there. The entire area--the Beaches, Arromanches, Port Winston, the American and German cemeteries, the Peace Museum in Caen--is one every American should experience. You probably wouldn't have seen this in November, but, like Mary Jo above, we felt a bit disconcerted at first by the laughter of children playing on the beach and families pique-nique-ing as though they were completely oblivious to the drama that unfolded there. However, I came to realize that this is THEIR beach and life goes on. Those who gave their lives on that beach would probably have their hearts gladdened by the enjoyment of renewed freedom on their battleground. That's what they fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for!
Posted by: Jan in Colorado | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Welcome back. It's good to get away sometimes and enjoy a fresh perspective on life ... and then ... home again, home again jiggity jig (can you believe that when my daughter said those very same nursery rhyme words to a group of friends at college, none of them had any idea what she was talking about?! : ) In any event, it'll be nice to open my email to your missives.
Posted by: Linda R. | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Welcome Home, Kristin!
Posted by: Bill Facker | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Coucou! (That's the one I get the most in French e-mails). Bienvenue de retour. It was so great to spend time with you on the boat and to have such great conversation with J-M on the drive home. I hope the kids and dogs survived the week without you. Here's hoping I can head south to Bandol sometime in the near future.
Posted by: Julie Farrar | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Welcome back! What an exciting tour. Looking forward to more pictures. Thanks
Posted by: Wilma Farrowe | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:16 PM
WELCOME BACK ! I KEPT CHECKING THE CALENDAR AND WATCHED TO DAYS DRAG ON. SOUNDS LIKE YOU HAD A GREAT ADVENTURE.
Posted by: GUS ELISON | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Welcome back! While you were shivering in the north, we were trying to stay warm in Aix ;) Hope to see you next time we're over-
Posted by: Anne - Music and Markets | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:17 PM
So glad you are back and that you enjoyed your sabbatical. I was in Honfleur in September but took the train rather than a boat, which sounds marvelous. Honfleur is tres charmante, the weather was lovely, but way too many tourists . . . like me! Planning next year's France trip and hoping to make it to Provence.
Posted by: Sue in Seattle | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:30 PM
you matter to us all, your family of readers, and wlcome you back not just as an author whose column we read, but as a personal friend.
Posted by: Susan | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:32 PM
Glad you are back Kristin! I hope you had a fantastic break
Posted by: Christine Dashper | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Welcome back!! I hope you had a wonderful break.
Thank you for posting the pictures of Normandy-- I spent a week in Cabourg with my sister years ago-- brought back great memories of that area.
Posted by: Kristen | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Welcome back!!!! I really did miss you and your stories. But I kept thinking what fun you and Jean-Marc were having! Beaucoup de bises!!!
Posted by: Joanne | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 09:45 PM
And we welcome you back with open "bras"! (Sorry, couldn't resist!) Good to see your column show up on my email! We have missed you, ma chere :-)
Posted by: Candy in Colorado | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Hurray!!! How could you possibly not come back Ms-Have-a-Chat??!! So many adventure to write about...so many friends enthralled!! x
Posted by: Gretel | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 09:53 PM
So glad to have you back. When you left, I thought "well, good for her. I'm sure she needs a break, I know I would!" but I had no idea how much I would miss your column. I've been reading for years, and enjoy each and every one. I look forward to adding this blog back into my daily (thrice weekly) rotation :)
Posted by: Seana | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I'm jealous! What a fantastic trip it sounds like. I've been to the area - many, many years ago - but a river cruise would be a wonderful way to see it. Any everyone should see the Normandy beaches and American cemetery - most moving place I've ever been.
Thanks for sharing, and welcome back!
Posted by: Julie | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 10:50 PM
What a treat to meet you and Jean-Marc in person. I especially enjoyed our dinner together. Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" doesn't know how many lives he's touched for the better. So, a personal thank you from me- because of you we went on the cruise, and the time in France notwithstanding, I met and connected with some of your readers. It was because of you that we were drawn together- and was my favorite part of the trip. Merci, chere Kristin.
Joan in Auburn
Posted by: Joan Simon | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 11:12 PM
Welcome back!! Really missed you!
Posted by: Devra Long | Wednesday, December 04, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Quelle surprise agréable ce matin d’avoir de tes nouvelles, Kristin. Merci pour les belles photos. On voit bien que vous vous êtes bien amusés pendant la croisière.
Posted by: Millie | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 12:25 AM
I have missed you,too, and was very happy when I saw FWAD late this afternoon! Your trip sounded fabulous in so many ways; I'm glad that you and Jean-Marc had such a fine time with old and new friends. You have received so many heartwarming letters which show how much we all love and appreciate the very special person you are. Thank you.
Posted by: Cynthia Lewis (Eastern Shore of Maryland) | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 12:43 AM
Welcome back, Kristin! I just started learning French about two months ago, discovered your blog, and thought that it would be a help in the process. I was disappointed after receiving only 4 or 5 blog entries to discover that you were going to be gone for a month, but I put the time to good use...I read 2 of your books!! I thoroughly enjoyed Blossoming in Provence and Words in a French life.
Thank you for sharing the experiences of you and your family, as well as your love for the French language and culture. I look forward to reading your posts in the coming year! Merci beaucoup!
Posted by: Keith in Michigan | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Oh by the way it!s really YT not Ot.
Posted by: Tom Morrissette | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Kristin, when you signed off prior to your cruise I thought how am I going cope being deprived of Kristie's emails during November. The days have sped by and here you are back again, I never doubted you would be, you write as if you are talking to each of us over a cup of coffee and a delightful French pastry. The first trip to France I was able to include a trip to Normandy and apart from Honfleur where I would love to return to paint, I was really emotionally overwhelmed when I visited Omaha and the surrounding area. It is good for us all to be reminded from time to time of those turbulent years and the sacrifice of the young men, merci your artiste ami June Qld
Posted by: june furey | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Kristin, Guess I'm just another one in a million to say "welcome back"!
Wish I had been on the cruise. If another is offered, please keep us all informed!
Posted by: Jill Switzenberg | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Welcome home! You were greatly missed!!
Posted by: Jan greene | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:30 AM
So good to hear back from you--glad the trip was a big success as well--we took a cruise on AMA Waterways a few years ago--along the Danube and enjoyed it very much as well.
Posted by: Robyn France | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Delighted that you took some time out for you- excellent self-care! Welcome back, and continue to nourish your own soul too, as you do so much for the FWD community. x
Posted by: Leisa Smith | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:49 AM
I will join the chorus in welcoming you back! Looking forward to stories and more photos of the cruise.
Posted by: Tish Tyler | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 02:52 AM
Bienvenue a chez vous! So glad to see the photos and read your report.. Looking forward to more. You have been greatly missed but we were happy you and Jean-Marc got away and had a lovely voyage. Normandie et Bretagne sont tres belles, n'est-ce pas? You got back just in time as I was getting rusty, language-wise.
Posted by: Diane Young | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 03:03 AM
So happy to hear from you again and see some photos from the cruise. The final one of the "thank you" in the sand is so poignant. Those dear brave souls are not forgotten, both in Normandy as well as in fields all over the world. Prayers for peace. Best to you and J-M--welcome back and mille mercis for your wonderful blog. Hugs,
Posted by: Pat Cargill | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Welcome back! I've missed reading your posts, but am glad you have had some well deserved R&R.
Posted by: Sally | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 03:44 AM
It is great to have you back! I am glad you enjoyed your time off. It is always nice to step back for a bit, relax and not have to meet deadlines, or be anywhere in particular;unless of course it is a cruise. I am looking forward to reading what you have to share.
Posted by: Buffy | Thursday, December 05, 2013 at 04:50 AM