Jean-Marc's open letter
Miam! Courge Marron Soup (Butternut Squash and Chestnut soup) & We're going to Spain!

Mudita: The Secret to Happiness in France...and Denver, Portland, Bozeman?

Petite Amie 2

We all need more mudita! Mudita is the benevolent and altruistic joy that delights in the happiness and success of others. It is a sacred joy that finds its pleasure in the well-being of another rather than by feeding envious thoughts and jealousies concerning the other. To illustrate "mudita," we often give the example of parents, who delight in the progress and happiness of their children. (Photo from our marriage. I know, you've seen it many times!) I think marriage vows should include "mudita," don't you? Comments link at the end of this post.


"Mudita" cela veut dire "une joie sympathique, une joie bienveillante et altruiste qui se réjouit du bonheur et des succès des autres. C'est une joie sacrée qui trouve son délice dans le bien-être de son prochain plutôt que de nourrir des pensées envieuses et jalouses à son égard. On donne traditionnellement l'exemple des parents qui se réjouissent des progrès et du bonheur de leur petit enfants pour illustrer ce qu'est Muditā." -Wikipedia

(Dear Reader, for today's sound file, you are stuck with me and my big American Jean-Marc is absent today! Here we go... listen to the definition (printed above): Download Mudita

Improve your spoken French. Try Pronounce it Perfectly in French or  Exercises in French Phonetics


    by Kristi Espinasse

Thursday,  following his open letter  about what could possibly drive us to abandon our dream-in-the-making, Jean-Marc and I read the blog comments.  We read them silently. We read them aloud to each other.  We read them over the phone to my father,  my aunt,  my mother. I whispered them to my dog, Are you up for this,  Smokey? Will you be OK in cargo,  headed to America.....

Though heartened by the enormous support, I knew all of the encouragement would only convince Jean-Marc to take that leap--a move I am still resisting, much like I resist party invitations. But isn't that just it? Isn't it time to open up and share life with others? I could stay in this isolated garden,  write from a perch in my bedroom,  and hibernate forever as a bear (so as not to say recluse)!

Speaking of bears, they frighten me and are beginning to serve as a filter as we note down possible towns to live in (I don't want to live in Bear Country. At the same time,  bear country has all of the qualities I am looking for in a place to settle down! Will we ever settle down?  On and on the mind goes during this potentially (we still could stay...) uprooting time, as we allow both excitement and fear to take over - - and when it does,  we each retreat to a different room and find our peace,  our internal compass. If only it would reveal the direction, NOW!

That afternoon, after being moved by an outpouring of support,  the house was quiet but for a crackling fire in the living room. I went to look for my husband of 22 years and found him sitting on his grandfather's couch,  one he had had reupholstered in burgundy velvet (the color of his future wine?) before we moved to the Côtes du Rhone. Here we are now in St Cyr-sur-Mer. Ten years and two vineyards later we are on the verge of a major life decision--leaving our authentic dream in which Jean-Marc would build a vineyard from the ground up...up into the hills over looking the sea of Bandol....

I would have the French farmhouse of my dreams--while another passion grew even beyond that: a wild French garden! This rambling garden (in which just this morning I pulled 6 earth-clad carrots) would offer more than quaint architecture, it would strengthen the foundation in my soul. So why do I keep mourning the loss of my garden when it is right there inside of me? Capable of growing wherever I go? I can plant it in a plastic cup and set it on the shelf of an Airbnb (in Portland? Will we go there?) or dig up a back yard of a home for sale (in Denver???).

Walking through our farmhouse the other day, looking for Jean-Marc,  I found him there in front of the fireplace. He had a big bright look on his face as he stared at his computer. I wondered,  What is he looking at? As I turned to see the screen I saw it -  a giant Map of the States.  And there,  seated before the giant map ,  I now saw a young man, young as I was when I once sat before a giant map...of France.

Gazing at my husband, whose head tilted thoughtfully before the map, all of my self pity began to melt away. And I thought, After 24 years of living my dream in France,  isn't it his turn now to have his own experience in a foreign land? Looking at Jean-Marc I could almost see a cowboy hat and chaps on the young man who sat considering the vast Map of America. A young man who had felt so very old only days ago.

And it occurred to me that instead of fear and regret I could now find my joy... in allowing Jean-Marc to pursue his own. And that by observing his delight in each new world discovery,  I might be delighted too. 




If We Left France Where Could We Move? Click here

Is Jean-Marc Single? Can I Buy Your Home?  Click here to read

To Come to a Decision: On Turning the Page of our Vineyard dream. (Click here).

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety


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Raisa Mayor Berriz

Perhaps...once the place in France is sold, you should embark on a tour of the United States and visit all your possibilities?Then a decision can be made? It is an adventure that awaits you and one that seems exciting to me. I myself suffer from wanderlust so in a way I envy you.

May I just remind you that Virginia has a temperate climate and an ever-expanding wine industry...just saying.


Kristi, I just know that good things are on the horizon for both of you! Wherever love leads you, you will be ok.


Whenever we moved, though just to a different house in the same town, it was always the plants outdoors that I hated leaving the most. I identify with you not wanting to leave your garden. Best wishes!


Bravo! A great day's entry, Kristi! Some day, you must come visit Maine.......


Go for it.....Denver or wherever. Don't wait until you're too old. That's something I did and have so regretted not taking the leap. You're still young enough to enjoy another place and time. Don't miss an opportunity and close a door. A new chapter and a new page await.

Donna Boggs

A beautiful post! I wish you both much happiness wherever you land!

It is a difficult time to be moving to the US though. It is a mess with poor healthcare, war on the horizon, and a farce of a government. I think about leaving the US because I am tired of the constant beating of war drums and the bombing of other countries.

Julie Farrar

As you often have done, you brought tears to my eyes with your beautiful language and beautiful thoughts. This is a word I MUST remember. I was you earlier this year when my husband declared he wanted to move instead of live through a total renovation. I've told you this story before, about all of my tears when I thought of leaving my garden for which I still had so many dreams. However, when we took our first look at the house we would eventually buy I climbed the stairs to the third floor and found my husband standing in a large, light-filled room. The brightest room in house. I could see he was in love. For thirty years he had played his drums and had his home office in a string of dank, dark stone basements. My office space hadn't great, but at least it had been in rooms with windows and heat. I pictured him in this room, surrounded by all of his things and sunlight instead of the basement boxes and detritus of our life together. That's when I knew we were going to move and I'd make a new garden here.

I guess that was my own case of "mudita." Bon chance on wherever this journey takes you.


Oh my - your post brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy. Beautifully written and how compassionate and insightful you are. Moments of clarity are wonderful if illusive. Just letting my mind wander over your situation and I think a trip around the states to the places that JM and you both really like to see how they actually feel - temporary home base could be in Denver. Caravan anybody? One thing you know for sure about your garden is that you bloom wherever you are planted. If you do this there is always a guest room in my house for you. But I live in San Antonio - I cannot recommend the summers.

Just had a thought , may be crazy, rent out the farm house and have another vintner take care of the vines while you check out the US. If I had the money I would buy it from you so I could have my French dream. Don't worry, all will be well. Nancy

Elaine Street

Limbo is the worst place to be...... You have more than one good choice, so you can't make a bad decision. You both are good at making a place a wonderful home. Each time I have left a beautiful place and think of the favorite things I leave behind ( a wall of cabinetry that my husband built, or beautiful landscaping,) I know that we will make another beautiful place together in the future where ever it may be. I know that there are more good people waiting to be friends. I know that I will find a favorite bakery or restaurant. Trust and go. Blessings, Elaine Street

Kelly Renfrew

Wishing you the very best in this difficult decision. A new adventure awaits you.


So you and Jean Marc and kids AND SMOKEY--Yay, Smokey goes too!--will stay together as a family no matter where you go. It will be be scary for you, exciting for Jean Marc, and fun for the kids. Smokey will be fine in cargo. We've done it with our big golden, to and from France. Staying together is key! Blessings on you all. :-)

Judi in Lake Balboa

Oh I am smiling! I know that feeling of getting inside the joy of a loved one's view and how almost irrelevant my opposing view just fades away. I think it might be respect and for sure, it's love! Not that you can't add your two cents to his dream and still find a wonderful satisfaction and joy for yourself! I wish you strength in all these difficult decisions of just where to move. So many choices -kind of like when I would think of moving to France -to which of the many beautiful, interesting areas, big city, medium, countryside, little village, mountains, sea. It's difficult when one loves so many different types of locale. maybe it's time for a wild travel adventure. Buy a motor home and go everywhere for 6 months! I don't mean to sound cavalier but I'm excited for you AND I know this is a really big deal, a major change that you might want to ease into when deciding on an 'Initial' destination. Good luck with dreaming with Jean-Marc!!

Amy Worth

I've been reading, and enjoying this for years so I'm sad that you may move on from your idyllic digs.
I agree with the comment by Donna Biggs. If the Republican nominee wins the presidency it will be a disaster here. And we have many issues as it is.
I live on Long Island's North Fork. It is beautiful, a two hour jitney rice to New York City and there are many wonderful vineyards. I'd be happy to put you in touch if you'd like.


I am incredibly grateful for your and Jean-Marc sharing this major life change. It is beautifully rendered, honest, and a gift to us all. You will find the way, and in the process, help others find theirs just through sharing your own. Very grateful. I, for one, am very grateful!!

Lynnda Evans

Chaque fois que nous avons demenage, c'etait difficile partir mais nous etions toujours heureux apres. Nous sommes alles de Montana a l'est a Montana a l'oeust, a Washington, et maintenant a Arizona. Nous sommes devenues deux meilleures personnes a cause de ca. Bon chance. Votre futur sera super fantastique et magnifique!

I have read your blog for a couple of years now, and was a bit saddened of the thought of you leaving France, which would also mean, a change for "us" all. I have been to Denver and Bozeman AND Portland. Denver is NOT a friendly place for outsiders. CO in general, is prone to "You being you, and me being me". Not a good place for a couple wanting to relocate and 'fit in". Bozeman is VERY isolated.....You would have to have NO need for 'others' in order to be sustained in ALL things. Portland, OR BEST best. Pinot Noir Capital of the U.S. , and 'Cosmopolitan friendly'. In other words, "YOU and YOURS are WELCOME here!" ;) If I were to bring my French husband to the U.S. I would want him to feel 'at home' in a land that has vineyards, ocean and ALL that he is used to in France, so that he will NOT go into a MAJOR depression of not seeing the "land or sea". Dawn


What an exciting adventure for all of you. If you need a temporary home base for a few months while you explore your options, look no further than our house - you are most welcome to stay with us! We have plenty of empty rooms, enough for the 4 of you and your dog.
Best of everything for your journey.


Except you don't see enough sun if depression is an issue- stay with the drier climates of the west.


Why does it deem like so many people are going through a big shift right now? Having read your every word for years now, my own little family are also debating between France and the USA.
I just wanted to share with you a pearl of wisdom someone once gave me - if something scares you slightly, but at the same time excites you, those are the things we absolutely must do. That thinking has served me very well. Whichever you chose, your outlook in life and the ability to find the joy throughout, any decision will become the right decision. Best of luck!

Lydie Teeuwen

What a huge decision. As i am almost ready to retire I think of leaving the US and experiencing new cultures. I Have lived outside Denver for 30 years and can't imagine leaving it forever. There are many wonderful things about Denver however the traffic has become horrendous. I'm glad I work from home, The home buying situation is even worse. IF you can find a house that doesn't already have several bids, the prices are out of sight. Nothing stays on the market for long. The weather is wonderful from June to October and even in the winter we have sunshine almost every day. None of that dirty snow piled up. I have a friend in Bozeman but she is an outdoors girl and loves it. But very isolated. As far as Portland goes, the housing situation is like Denver. A seller's market. I have never been there but hear it is wonderful. But a lot of rain. Good luck in your decision.

Muriel Eulich

Just a few thoughts to share~ we've communicated before Kristi, I was born in France of a French mother but grew up mostly in the United States. As much as I see Americans telling you how horrible it is here now, I agree with you that it's dicier in France right now. I don't think that most Americans realize how difficult it is to make a living in France.
I also sympathize with your nesting and introvert qualities. As an artist I also love my long periods of solitude in order to produce work. If it weren't for my husband I probably would still live in the same sad space I lived in 40 yrs ago! But he pushes me out of my comfort zone and I believe I'm a better person for it.
We happen to live in bear country in Colorado, in Snowmass Village 15 minutes from Aspen. I'm going to send you my story about the bear who invited himself into my home and ate 6 cartons of Ben&Jerrys ice cream~ quelle horreur!!!
Anyway, our bears don't eat meat or humans, so it's not so horrible, just a nuisance every 5 yrs or so it they haven't gotten enough to eat in the wilderness. Also, flowers flourish up in the mountains because we don't get the scorching heat.
Good luck you two with your new adventure- one thing I've learned in this life is that when you follow your heart it all works out.
The following is a little story of my bear visit~
I pulled into the garage with my two standard poodles and suitcases in the backseat. We were finally at the end of a two day drive from St Louis to our home in Snowmass, Colorado. We were all pretty tired and ready to get out , stretch our legs and inhale the wonderful mountain air. I must say that I remember telling myself to call our sprinkler guy and tell him that I noticed the service door to the garage open, he needs to be more careful about being sure the house is secure when he leaves.
We've arrived and I let my two dogs out from their close quarters in the backseat. They seem more agitated than usual but then again so am I as I notice yet another thing to tell my sprinkler guy. He evidently had his dog with him when he came to turn on the sprinkler for the summer. My white door was covered with muddy paw prints, honestly!!!!
As I drag in a couple of suitcases my heart catches in my chest, no wonder my dogs were acting strange, someone had broken into my home evidently. I survey the mess in my hallway entrance, pistachio nutshells strewn about the floor and two of my paintings are knocked off the wall and laying on the floor as well. Feeling very confused as to what sort of burglar leaves nutshells, I tiptoed into the three guest rooms downstairs. Everything was tidy and just the way I had left it, hmmmmm. I then head to the front of the hall that leads to the front door and there I see a very large pile of poop, and right away I know it was a bear! One mystery solved but the big question in my mind is where is that bear now? No exit doors from the house are open so that means there must bear a bear in this house still and now my heart is beating mighty hard. Celeste and Charlotte ,the two dogs , are uncharacteristically very quiet and sticking very close to me. I can see that they are just as puzzled and scared as I am, so I make a lot of noise and start talking at the top of my lungs but we hear no rustling upstairs. Then I do what every strong independent woman does in a moment of panic, I dial my husband who is thousands of miles away in his office. I explain to him what I've discovered and that I'm afraid that the bear is still in the house and in an exasperated tone he asks what I think he can do. Well, I answer that I'd like him to stay on the line and if I scream or the line goes dead to call 911 for me. Maybe that wasn't my best problem solving but it gave me the confidence to climb the stairs. Oh my, oh my, what a vision I was greeted by~ every single door in my kitchen, every cabinet, pantry door, oven door, refrigerator door was open. Even more impressive was the sight of ALL the contents of these vessels were strewn about the kitchen floor. It was an unimaginable mess and the thought of cleaning that plus the large "dump" in my entry way was just too much for me. After all, I'm telling you, I had just packed for the summer and driven across the Midwest and I was tired! So I called my handyman and asked him if he knew of an emergency service that would come rescue me from having to do some super human clean up at 8:00PM. An hour later a very welcome van pulled up my driveway and six people did a miracle clean up for me.
I felt much better after all had been cleared away and thank you bear for cleaning out my refrigerator for me. Lots of details that I noticed the following day, for example, chocolate Easter candies were carefully unwrapped and consumed, my lovely ceramic dishes of candies were still intact although now empty. One thing that ticked me off was that my six cartons of Ben and Jerrys ice cream were all eaten by my uninvited house guest, a treat that I was actually looking forward to digging into this particular summer. Oh well, all is well that ends well, right!

My life gets busy right away, I'm volunteering for the Aspen Food and Wine event and my sister arrives to stay with me that weekend. I'm to report to my volunteer job the following morning so we head to bed early for a good nights sleep. Around midnight my two standard poodles are making a huge racquet barking and barking at something I cannot see or hear. I assume that they can smell our bear outside so I open the balcony door and yell for the invisible (to me ),bear to get out and go away. It's very still and quiet out there so I crawl back into bed and happily sink into my pillow. But no, the dogs start barking again and these dogs really don't bark unless there is something wrong. So after several attempts to quiet them down I finally give up my idea of getting a good nights rest and agree to let them show me what's wrong. They immediately lead me to the stairs and then show me that I'm to follow them down the staircase. As I reach the bottom I finally understand why my dogs thought it best to keep me awake for my entry door from the garage looked as though a football player was trying to tackle it. Every few seconds it would shudder with the slam of a body on the other side and between slams I could see the flat door handle being jiggled.
OK, think, think, could that possibly be a bear on the other side? I had my handyman barricade the service door into the garage and I don't care how smart that bear could possibly be, he couldn't guess the code, put it in the key pad and open that garage door. SO...maybe it's the neighborhood teens teasing me about about the bear getting into my home. But that would be kind of mean, even for our fun loving neighborhood of kids. The door is still vibrating with body slams and the handle clicking and I'm moving back closer to the front entry in case we need to make a quick escape. I'm in deep puzzled thought trying to put this all together in my head when the silence grabs my attention. I look up and there in my hallway is one very big, cinnamon colored bear and we are looking at each other eye to eye. The two dogs are obediently sitting at attention and if a dog could look dumbfounded , they both were. Imagine this moment, me surprised beyond belief, two black poodles in total submission and surprise, and one big bear who also seems as shocked as we are to see us in the way of that great white box upstairs that contains the most delicious CherryGarcia ice cream!
Okay, once again I know I didn't do the correct protocol of cooley walking away without making any eye contact. Instead I raise both my fists in the air and yell with all my lungs," Get out of my house, this is my house get out of here!!!" The dogs stay quite still, the bear looks puzzled and actually backs out of the door that part of his huge form had kept from clicking shut. He backed all the way back into the garage and the door clicked shut behind him.
My sister sleepily enters the hall having missed the bear entirely and asks why on earth I've been screaming in the hall in the middle of the night. I'm still in shock and all I can do is say,"a bear, a bear was in the house". Then the door begins its shuddering again as the bear decides that he'd really like some more ice cream after all. My level headed sister suggests calling the police for help, oh yeah, now there's a good idea.
Well, long story short I would've given anything for that police man to just sit in my living room and sip a cup of coffee while I slept peacefully in my bed. I actually begged but he said no, he had his beanbag gun and walked around the house a few times, the bear was gone. He had entered the garage through a new window that we had just put in and that has since been boarded up permanently. I didn't sleep much that entire summer for I knew that my uninvited houseguest might return for just one more carton of ice-cream at any time. I sympathize because I feel exactly the same about sweet treats but I have the good sense to know when I'm not welcome.

Sent from my iPad
Sent from my iPad


"Are you up for this, Smokey? Will you be OK in cargo, headed to America....." I don't want to be "Debbie Downer," but is there another way to ship Smokey? Our neighbor is a pilot for a commercial airline and he advised us years ago to never ship our dog in cargo. He said he has been there too many times at the other end of the trip and the dog has died. I'm sorry to add to your worries, I'm just passing on what we were told.

Linda Roll

When asked the secret of her long and happy marriage, Ina Garten replied, "Jeffrey wants me to be happy, and I want him to be happy." Sounds simple enough, but it captures what married life can be in all its complexity.

I hope you and Jean-Marc find your way to what will make each of you, not only happy but content. Whether it be in France or in the USA, I wish you the very best.

John Nevin

Oh God. Please tell me you are not serious.

Audrey Wilson

So unselfish of you Kristin & yet to get the excitement & joy through Jean-Marc's must give you great hope for whatever life has in store . The USA is a magnificent country .So many different landscapes.l was enthralled by Alaska ,when my daughter lived there So wild & with majestic mountains .But each region has so much to see .A knowledge of wine such as Jean-Marc has must surely be a big plus I have said before you both have the fortitude to start again & most important you have each other !

Jeanne in Oregon

My dear friend. Loved this post and your ah ha moment. So please indulge my self interested encouragement for a move to Oregon. I was born in Portland and lived there for half my life until moving to Damascus, an area that could be considered a bedroom community for Portland. As we in this area know, we are mere minutes from a beautiful rugged coastline or some of the finest skiing anywhere on Mt. Hood. We have high desert country and huge forests. A day drive can take you into Western Canada, or a long day's drive gets you to San Francisco. Here in the Willamette Valley is some of the most fertile land for a garden, and four distinct seasons. And, I am here, and I would love to offer my services as a guide and as a friend while you settle in. Love you dearly.

Kristin Espinasse

What a great story. Thank you,  Muriel. I think well steer clear of your neighborhood.  I dont like to share my ice cream !  :-)

Anne Clark

Jean-Marc is very lucky to have you, Kristin. You really GET it! I've been with you through many ups and downs, but have never written.
You two will be happy no matter where you end up. Wishing you the VERY BEST !! (Just returned from the beautiful Côte d'Azur and
so understand why it's so hard to leave).


Thanks so much for sharing. I wish you both well wherever you end up.

Terri Fogarty

Hello from Portland, Oregon. I have been reading your blog for years and feel close to you and your family, even though we have never met.

We moved to Portland thirty years ago from Milwaukee, WI. and have never looked back. We love it here. Our children moved here too, so we have grandchildren close by.
The previous commentator sang the praises of Portland, and she is right; Portland is a truly wonderful place. With a temperate climate and mountains, ocean and desert close by, we do have it all.

My husband and I have been married for 52 years and we were never afraid to take a chance. We moved several times, and it always drew us closer. But now that we have found Portland, we'll never move again. Even if Trump wins (heaven forbid), we'll stay in our little liberal bubble of Portland.

Bon Chance,

Paul Hosefros

Hmmm. Change is challenging; what you make of it is the reward. I know. After almost 40 years with NYTimes I retired to Idaho, home of my wife. And, to my point: Idaho has a superb, if small, wine country (See: Idaho Wine Country," 2010, Caxton Publishers) and consider yourselves invited, at least to see their terroire and meet some wine makers. Neanmoins, I've enjoyed your stories and journey.

Peggy Wright

If you decide to move to the USA, you must come by Washington D.C. and spend a week with me to visit all the historical places here. I will be your tour guide and host. I met Chief Grape twice when he was here, but I am sure he did not really SEE DC. It is a Must-Stop on your way to a new home in the USA.


What a beautiful, thoughtful and inspiring message you wrote today! I have read your blog for years and have never commented - until today! Well done! And "bonne chance" with wherever you move!



So if Jean Marc might want a cowboy hat,come visit Nashville.
Whomever suggested travelling around and visiting the country..good idea.
As long as you are together.


Your journey of growth and insight has touched me many times through the years. This post does it again. How can you be so relevant to my life? You have a gift of opening eyes and hearts.

Marika Ujvari


Julie C

Have to concur on this note, sad to say.

Lise Hoffman-McCabe

Bonjour, Thank you both for opening your hearts and baring your soul. Best best best of luck in what the future holds. I'm an Oregonian with a part time home in Paris. Never to be fluent in French so the one thing I know I miss are the jokes, they are often plays on words so go right past me. I imagine it will be that way in reverse for Jean Marc, but people everywhere are patient and will always explain. That must be Portland. After all who has won so many awards for Pinot Noir than the Oregon wines, you would both fit in here so well. Please do explore our wine region, it might not be the dream to work for someone else's winery but I know he and his vast knowledge would be appreciated here. Please do check out the Willamette Valley before you make your pick. Maybe you can rent your place there or rent one here to "test" it all out? Test the waters as they say. Please keep writing where ever you are. GOOD LUCK

Trudy Ramirez

Beautiful blog today. What you two are going through is not an easy transition, but with mudita, you will both navigate it with grace. I just finished a book last night that I thought you might enjoy and that might be helpful. It's called "The Magician of Lhasa" by David Michie. It's about a man going through huge changes in his life and how he navigates them and grows through them. You guys are doing great. I know you'll find your way.


Hi Kristi,
This sounds like the fruit of True Love to me.
God bless you two and all will be well as you all go with God.
Bless you, C-Marie

Patricia Sands

Kristi, go by ship ... add to the adventure and Smokey will be happy too!

Julie C

Hello again,
When we had our commercial tropical fruit farm in Hawaii, which we bought in our 50's, we eventually realized, like Jean Marc, that the physical labor required was better suited to younger people. Some workable options, (some expressed by PJ Albert in the reply to Jean Marc's post, and which bear repeating,) are to consider leasing or renting the vineyard to others, while staying in your home and garden there, allowing JM to consult or find other ways of being active in viticulture. My in-laws have done this for decades with their farms in Virginia, allowing them to keep the land in the family for future generations, while deriving an income without the physical labor. We also regularly saw this in effect on farm land in Hawaii. There are also young people interested in learning how to farm/grow grapes, who might love to intern in your vineyard in exchange for the training and lodging (check out Maybe there is a combination of these ideas----agri-tourism is a thing for a reason (probably many of them). Bonne chance, mes amies.


Sometimes those familiar lines come back to comfort us in our hours of need. "All that remains of us is love". And Home is where the heart is". Much love to you both. Tout passe. Margaret

Patricia Ramos

One thing, in particular, caught my eye in your posting today. Smokey. Please do not ever consider putting Smokey in the hold of an aircraft. Having said that, could you not sell the land, keep your house and garden, and stay in that wonderful part of the world. Having left my own country many years ago now, and after losing my husband, I thought of returning to UK, but my dogs decided it for me, amongst other things, and here I stay and am content. It sounds as if you love your surroundings, and maybe, given JM's depression, such a huge move (to the USA) would be very bewildering for him after the newness had worn off. Regardless of my opinions, I know that all will work out for the best, whatever you decide. xxx

Bill Miller

Looking at maps, the act of intrepid travelers, explorers of life. Here is a link to one of my favorites from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. version of the French Institute Geographique Nationale (IGN). Go to their online store to download free topographic and other maps.

Tapestry of Time and Terrain (USGS)

Enjoy! Bill Miller, Santa Rosa, CA


Kristi -

As you well know, the United States is a massive country. Some states are larger than many European nations. Why do I mention this? Because there is so much to explore here. Each area has its own micro-culture; some good, some not so good, but there are many, many decisions you'll have to make. I agree with the poster who suggested you do a "Jean-Marc and Kristi Victory Tour" around the country. You may find that a place you would have dismissed out-of-hand has a magic quality you would never have expected. I grew up in the beautiful Hudson River Valley. I always thought it was a great place to live: very rural and lovely, a two hour train ride to NYC, a 4 hour drive to the Adirondacks, further out west Niagara Falls and on and on. My home town of Rhinebeck, NY is where the Astor's had a mansion and more recently Chelsea Clinton got married. Franklin Roosevelt lived just down the road a bit. And though development has chipped away at some of the land, there are still places you can go to and it'll seem like you're in the wilderness. And it is full of history. Oh, and not for nothing, vineyards have started to pop up in the Valley over the last 20 years or so.

Whatever you guys do and wherever you go, be certain that you have a whole raft of friends in the US, just waiting to meet you!



Mudita. I love that! So many of us feel that for you and J-M as you embark on this new adventure in your life. I have had to take the leap several times in my life and, while some have gone better than others, I have also stumbled upon unexpected delights and discovered new depths within myself. I wish this for you both, too!
As for the bears . . .I live in bear country in the mountains of New Mexico. They are terribly afraid of people and we have never once had a "close call" in the 24 years we've been here.
Bonne chance et bon courage!


A WONDERFUL place to live is in the wine country of Sonoma, north of San Francisco. Hundreds of wineries, organic agriculture. you can garden almost year round, close to the ocean and San Francisco.

Phyllis Morton

Look before you leap!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Might I add these two words to your lovely (thanks for enlightening us!) mudita? Caritas - Latin, "to earnestly desire the achievement of wholeness by the beloved" and the root of comfort - from the Latin con fortis, "to be strong with."

BTW, you two are tossing about some of the same cities I have been - Portland, Denver, Bozeman. Though I think Bozeman might be too much winter and with no where remotely near by when I do want my city fix. I have added to my confusion by considering also Boulder, Boston, Portland (Maine) and Charlottesville.

But, you bring with you true love and each other, and that makes quite the difference.


Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

Oooh, Aspen and Snowmass are so lovely. The sound of the Aspen tree leaves gently rubbing together is heavenly music to be sure.

mary tindukasiri

I am sure that you and Jean Marc will thrive where ever you are planted. The love that you have nurtured and shared is all that is needed. Adventures of the heart are always the most exciting and soul-expanding. Blessings for the journey. xoxo Mary

Sophie Day

As usual Kristi, you are too hard on yourself. You are far from being a bear, recluse. You enjoy visiting with people and exploring places with those you love, i.e. your recent visit to your mom in PV. I've read your blog for several years now and see you become a strong woman with definite ideas of how you want to live your life. You've become a gardener which is a very fulfilling passion but by its nature also a singular pursuit. Nothing wrong with that. Also one becomes more discriminating as one gets older; also nothing wrong with that. I'm sure wherever you and Jean-Marc come to rest, both of you will continue on your paths of growth and exploration. Bonne chance, Sophie

Marcello Vittonelli

I have been reading your blog for over 4 years. I am a francophile and the thought of moving to France has been a pipe dream of mine since the mid 1960s when I was a French and languages major at UCLA and had French posters all over my walls. Becoming a photographer after college, my first trip to France and Europe was in 1972. And I have made many, many trips over the years shooting for pleasure and for clients. I am an addict for the antique markets in France and England. Two of my family's favorite movies to reinforce our interest in getting a place in France are "French Kiss" with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline and "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard. And I have read almost all of the books by Peter Mayle. But living in France and particularly in Provence is not as perfect as it is in the movies. And I think of my concern that over 70% of France's electricity comes from nuclear power plants which are all over France. In the US we had 3 Mile Island and 2 in California where we live have been shut down due to problems: San Onofre and San Luis Obispo. I empathize with your decision to move and we went through a similar one though just to move from Los Angeles whose county has 10 million people and the traffic is horrific along with the air quality and crime and high cost of renting or buying a home. We crossed off possibilities in the US such as the East Coast: too much population density and all those nuclear plants and storms every year. Crossed off the South East and Gulf states: hurricanes and storms again. Crossed off the vertical midwest: tornado alley and the massive floods there and in the East. We don't like the Northern states because of too much winter snow. We used to live in Seattle and that had too much rain and snow. And the Mt. St. Helens volcano. So, we stayed in Southern California and 3 years ago moved 2.5 hours out of Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley where Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells are located. These are affluent communities and President Obama visits here every year. The only problem is we are 20 miles from the San Andreas Fault which runs from the Salton Sea through LA and up to San Francisco. So, the West coast is vulnerable to quakes. We lived through the big earthquakes in LA in 1971 and 1994. And no smog in our valley because it stays on the other side of the mountains in San Bernardino and LA counties. But, the desert is not a place for your family. Not much rain for your garden. I would suggest Oregon which is lush and green. My mother was born in Portland. For you, Colorado would be a good choice too. I hope you like snow. I would advise against Montana which is in an area called the American Redoubt. Google it. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is sitting on top of a volcanic disaster which could happen tomorrow or 100 years from now and a major eruption would affect 5 states in the area. I don't like volcanoes either and that's why I decided against moving to Hawaii even though I like the Hawaiian lifestyle with the ocean all around. So, please check out Oregon and Colorado for you and Mark. You can have nice gardens there. Will there be another lifestyle blog? Thanks for your years of sharing your French lifestyle. I can still visit France but now am happy in our new home. We have an international airport in Palm Springs so we can still see the world. All the best to you and Mark and your children and pets. Marcello


Have you considered Asheville, North Carolina? We're in the mountains. It's not too hot in the summer, not too cold in the winter. It is "Fantastically Yoga-Friendly," "One of America's 12 Greatest Music Cities," "The Biggest Little Culinary Capital in America," "#1 Beer City USA," and "America's #1 Quirkiest Town."We are only a couple of hours by car from the beach. There are lots of Francophones and even vineyards. We do have some bears though - but we co-exist well.

Deborah Berlin

Beyond all the potential uprooting (I love that word you used!), my first reaction to both Jean-Marc's and your most recent posts is WOW! You are both beautiful writers, willing to bare your very souls to us, to each other, to yourselves privately. Just that alone makes your journey a successful one so far. With more success to come. I can personally imagine you in both countries and of course, moving to the States will never break your link to France. And staying in France will never cause the end of your attachment to the States and Puerta Vallarta. If you make the move, there is always this exact feeling that could return (as you wrote, C, will you ever settle down?). Sue and I face these feelings regularly, perhaps daily. You've both expressed them in a way that makes us recognize even more clearly that these feelings are ours as well. I say that to help you see you are not alone. Selfishly, I want you to move to Portland, especially because we love that part of the US and will be there in a few months as our choice of where to vacation next. Selfishly as well, I want you to stay in France because we want to be able to visit when we are there, to continue the bits of friendship we started a couple of years ago. Isn't that helpful? Ha! I'm raising a glass to your fortitude, your frailty, your companionship, your love and admiration for each other, your open hearts and minds, your love for the rest of us and all the unimaginable decisions you are taking by the horns to change the course of your tomorrows. Xxoo from us both!

Deborah Berlin

Georgette! Yes to Asheville! We are in Highlands and so that would be so fun! Thanks for suggesting that to them!


May I suggest the West Coastal areas of Napa Valley, Solvang or down toward San Diego in Ramona, California which is now bursting with new small vineyards and wine tasting rooms. Ramona is still rural and yet on the weekend it is full of traffic from people that live down the hill...please Google it! Also you will have a short drive to reach the border of Mexico where your mother lives and Colorado isn't that great a distance either.

Deborah Berlin

That "C" was supposed to be a "K"!


How did Bozeman get into the running? I've been there, briefly, in the summer. It was nice enough but the winters are so long! Here in New England we struggle to get through winter, but check out the weather in Montana and I'll bet it gets crossed off the list. I may be wrong but I believe the winters last 6 or 7 months, mid October to mid May. Definitely bears too, and not too exciting culturally, I bet. Thanks for teaching us about mudita and best of luck. I hope you both get everything you need and want.


Hi Kristi and Jean Marc
Life is such an opportunity for adventure. France will always be there. Funny how we all dream of living in different places. I have always wanted to live in France - (its the growing up in Montreal/French thing ) We try to go to France every few years and then my curiosity settles for awhile. I don't think I'd leave beautiful Vancouver - ocean and mountains and great cycling. Even the rain is awesome. France is fabulous but so are so many places in the world. I honor the two of you in this life changing and very exciting new time in your lives. There are great people and new friends awaiting whereever you end up. It'll be like opening up a new surprise everyday !! BTW - We have some great French patisseries in Vancouver now - even a "Laduree," and " Thierry" (awesome pain au chocolat) and "Faubourg." A little part of France is everywhere !! Bonne Chance et Amusez-vous bien !!!. A Bientot, Patricia


How wonderful that you have been able to see how the possibility of moving (back) to America could be for your husband, as exciting as your moving to France so long ago. What a gift you can give him, encouraging this adventure that you can help so much with!


Dear Kristi,

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from history. Were it not for the French, there would be no America and vice versa. We share a unique connection that few nations, if any, can claim. French settlement of the Mississippi, French fur trappers mapping the west, French support of the American colonial rebellion, French art, French cuisine, French fashion, and even our precious Lady Liberty are every bit as integral a part of the American story as George Washington. If it were not for the desire of the French Everyman to turn the page to a new chapter in his life and resettle in America, much of the dream of the last three centuries would be just that...a dream unrealized.

America beckons you! Don't resist. Turn the page. My wife and I are new Denver residents, having uprooted from a youth in California with a decade each in Nashville and St. Louis. Far from feeling unsettled, we have already come to adore Denver. As a community, it is the most welcoming, progressive, healthy environment in which I have ever lived. Come and plant your garden! Jean-Marc, come and find new adventures, renew your spirit. You are welcome here!




Jeanne, We live in Damascus, Oregon, too! Hmmm. Wonder if we've passed in the Safeway Market? Fun to imagine.

And Kristin, I just want to add to this that we have lived in Oregon since we were first married. We love it here. If you and Jean- Marc would like to 'hang out' here for awhile, we have a large home with extra bedrooms. We'd love for you to stay awhile and explore possibilities in this lovely area.


Diane Heinecke

Both of you are such blessings to others. I have been enjoying French Word-A-Day since its inception. I feel I have traveled with you through so many ups and downs of your lives, thanks to Kristin's honesty and transparency. In my opinion you are both brave, hard-working, faithful and dedicated to each other and your children. God will bless your next adventure too. Bloom where you are planted (or re-planted). Maybe it's time to love yourself as much as you love others. Thank you for exhibiting mudita in your writing and your lives.

Paul Guerin

Come to Mill Valley, California.....we have redwoods, sea breezes and nearby a single bear!


I cannot help feeling very worried about your decision-making process, Kristi and Jean-Mark. In your post, you talk about how all the encouragement you are getting from others is influencing you, or particularly J-M. It is oh so easy to encourage others to to do risky and exciting things and then enjoy reading about it. I say, heed your own caution Kristi. What you are feeling in your gut is more valid than other peoples' comments. Your portrayal of J-M's enthusiasm for the US move reminds me that when you are in a hard place, somewhere far away and very different can look so much better. But also I am seeing that old European emigrant belief that everything is open for the taking in the US.

I don't think we have heard what Jean-Marc and you are expecting to do in the US to make a living. Talking that through and seeing the options realistically may help lead you a clearer idea of what location would be best. Why not take up some of the invitations that have been offered and stay in a few places to check them out.

Have you both discussed how adaptable J-M is to leaving his culture and friends. You know the difficulties of cultural transition Kristi. A man over 50 changing country and language must expect sadness and loneliness to rear their heads. Can he prepare for that?

I make no apology for not being a cheer leader. I just know that this is probably the most consequential decision you have to make that will affect the rest of your lives. I wish you strength and common sense as well as dream fulfillment - all are important.


If the cold didn't bother you:)..many many beautiful spots in QC Canada:)
I am sure everyone would welcome you both with open arms..and coats:)
Sweet the wedding pic too.

Claire O'Connor

Kristi, if you want to avoid putting Smokey in a cargo hold on a plane (which we certainly did with our darling chocolate Labrador when we moved from Arizona to France several years ago), you might consider sailing on the Queen Mary 2 instead of flying, as we did.

The QM2 is the only transatlantic line that offers a kennel program. The cost of the passage for humans is not all that much more than airfare, plus you get a week's worth of a 5-star vacation. The cost of the kennel is not terribly cheap, but it was so worth it for us for the peace of mind. Plus you have the option of visiting Smokey whenever you like, and even taking him for a little walk in the designated area.

We did have to get ourselves to the embarkation and disembarkation points, (Southampton, England and Brooklyn, NY) which involved a road trip on both ends, but that was actually part of the great fun and adventure of the trip. Though, it did add a lot to the logistics end of things. We found it enormously helpful to have this longer journey to emotionally process the big (internal and external) transition of the move. Not to mention, it all but eliminated the jet lag aspect.

Another bonus is that you can bring as much luggage/baggage as you want to on the ship, limited only by how many bags you can comfortably fit in your stateroom (which has oodles of room below the bed). So that saves you a bit on the huge cost of international shipping of household goods.

I'm available should you want any more info on how we pulled this all off. We'd do it again in a heartbeat! It was a life highlight in all ways!

joie in Carmel

there is always coming over by ship.....and you can get some good deals when they go from Europe to here.


One of the hardest lessons in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.


Bozeman is nice and its growing. One of the more expenses areas in Montana. I lived in bear,moose,deer, fox, and many other critters country.When I lived in Lima, Montana. I miss the wildness, the big sky,and the wide open space's. I don't miss the cold,wind and only having 2 months of summer. There were days where the only sounds I heard, were the sound of the silence. Would I move back..If my husband was still alive in a New York minute. Now I live back in Boise, I do love it here. So much to see and do. What ever choice you make for your new home, just remember, there is good and bad in every thing. Take a deep breath and jump...enjoy the journey of life.

Barbara Blizzard

As you and Jean-Marc look at the map, think about making a visit to Hood River, Oregon. We are 60 miles east of Portland, in the Columbia Gorge. We would love to welcome you to spend a few days with us to see the area. My husband, Frank Levin, could introduce you to some of the local winery owners. We met you both on your first visit to Portland at Cork. Perhaps as you get closer to making your decision, you could take a vacation to visit some of the areas that you find interesting.

joie in Carmel

Templeton, Paso Robles, Santa Maria.....some good wines coming out of there and the cost of living is less expensive than Napa. And oh,my could you have a garden. Santa Maria a half hour from the ocean, the others maybe two. Even the Sonoma area is less. Of course I am partial to where I live....Carmel, Monterey area. Many small and medium size wineries around here and larger ones down the Salinas Valley..... 2 hr. drive to San Francisco. Direct flights from San Jose to Denver....and we may be getting the direct one from Monterey again. Oh, my god-daughter went to design school in SF, but applied to many. I will ask her which ones she liked.

Kitty Wilson-Pote

Oh, Kristi! Your luminous moment of life-changing mudita - what a glorious epiphany! The universe is opening to you and Jean-Marc just as your own heart has opened here, like a lotus arising from the muddy earth of confusion. Everything eases as we come to 'trust the process' for real. Beautifully written, the new energy permeating every word.

Linda Karber


This is a beautiful post today about your love. I will never get tired of your wedding photo. I remember your post about that day, you and Jean-Marc driving to the ceremony...You made me feel like I was there with you! If you have a chance, could you please post again the photo of you two on one of your first dates, maybe it was a seafood restaurant. I loved that photo! I had saved it in my French-Word-A-Day folder, but cannot find it today. It always made me smile.


Diane Covington-Carter

Such a lovely thought of having joy in other's successes and dreams. We are all pulling for you as you go through this major transition. You will find the answers together.


Mary Rack

I agree with Leslie! Bozeman is a paradise - in all seasons - for serious devotees of the outdoors. A nice place to visit, perhaps. But, as my friend whose daughter and grandson live there has found, it is quite isolated, and EXPENSIVE to reach by air. Why not join us in the Kansas City area? We have it all, even vineyards!


Take courage and go for it! You have your whole lives ahead of you and still young enough to create your new dream. THIS VENTURE will give you so much to look forward too, I really wish you both every success , Now get on with it and enjoy yourselves. Love always elizabeth

Karen Reuter

Dear Kristin and Jean-Marc; .....I've been following your blog for years. We live in Salem, OR and love it. We also love wine and have a son and daughter-in-law (Patrick Reuter and Leigh Bartholomew) who are in the wine making business in Oregon. Their biodynamic vineyard/winery is Dominio IV (check out their website @ They live in McMinnville, OR. A charming little city right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, about 40 miles to the west of Portland and not far from us. They are raising they 2 sons in this idyllic place.
Recently, they purchased vineyard property just outside the city near Carlton, OR. These towns are in the heart of the Dundee Hills. The perfect place to grow grapevines in the Oregon west hills and no bears. Many wineries are small operations in need of your expertise Jean-Marc. The large California wineries are just now discovering this area and are trying to buy these small wineries and vineyards for future production. I know you would be able to 're-plant' yourselves here. Of course, it's not the same sort of weather as the south of France but anything will grow in this soil... We have plenty of rain in the winter and warm, mild, dry summers. Our wines are winning world-wide recognition. We would love to welcome you to our world. Please consider this offer. Both Patrick and Leigh are well established with the Oregon wine community and would welcome you to Oregon and McMinnville/Carlton.

Betsy Shequine

Kristi: I just want to tell you how much I admire your willingness to live your life out loud and subject to comments and criticism as well as encouragement.
It is often in the the crucible of indecision that we find our real selves.

Cathia G.

Hi Kristi! You are fortunate to have the means and desire necessary to implement big life decisions. I'm thinking your mind is not yet clear enough, has not yet precisely beamed into your future, is still very much in the present with its plateful of attention stealers. Perhaps you have a lot yet to mentally process but the processing will get you to that decision point. Maybe you have some of those early morning flashes of genius where an answer to a problem is miraculously apparent---this is the brain at work before the day's trivia conceals the inner-workings. Those inner-workings will get more and more to the surface and you will make your big decisions--fully awake! Thank you for your interesting blog--I wonder where it will take me next?

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

My reactions line up with those said well by Carolyn. You may have plans for the new profession that we have not heard, but that aspect seems important to me. You live now where there is a lot of sunshine and warmth, which you abandon as if you will not be waiting months each year for both in the places you consider now. Now the Alps are a short vacation for you, back home to sun and warmth. My Southern California friends find all the rest of the country too cold, too cloudy, too humid for more than a visit.

The main words that struck me were euphoria at the start and soon depression when the work is wearing, results not as spectacular as hoped. Any business in agriculture has real challenges over 5 years time. The economics change, the weather is the constant challenge. You are thinking this through, trying to please both of you and I am sure you will find a workable idea and a new philosophy for addressing life and the challenges in every locale, every profession. Bonnie chance.

Jeff B.

Mudita....beautiful. I've been reading for a long time, and never comment, but I had to say that this was one of your sweetest letters.

Patty Cargill

Your capacity for love carries with it another trait, upeksha*, one not easily attained, but from your beautiful writing today, one that is blossoming from your affection and deep caring of J-M. You are finding a way to "look over" and see a way to move forward however that may be. Our best to you as you find your future with your dearly beloved.

This does not mean, I don't think, that you won't be torn in different ways, experiencing all sorts of emotions. Feelings are deep and mixed during big life changes like this, but you are showing a strength and depth of understanding that will help to see you through. Our love and very best to you all. We will be there!
"The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even- mindedness, or letting go. Upa means “over,” and iksha means “to look.” You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other."

Karen Brown

I am not sure where to begin, I have been reading your French Word A Day for a few years (I have all of your books) I too will be sad to see you leave your beautiful French Farm house. But no matter where you go it will always be a part of you. I always went to Jean-Marc's Wine Tastings when he would come to Minneapolis. (Before I moved to Atlanta). You seem to have come to a fork in the road - not sure what direction to go. No matter where you go there are always new dreams to dream and new adventures to be explored. You may not have to give up on the old dreams - they just take a different form. You two have deep love and respect for one another (hard to find that today), trust in that to help you. You have mentioned places to live if you move here to the states: Montana is BEAUTIFUL!!!, but so is Portland and Denver. Follow your heart..when you feel the decision is too great or over whelming...Pray.

Karen Brown

I am not sure where to begin, I have been reading your French Word A Day for a few years (I have all of your books) I too will be sad to see you leave your beautiful French Farm house. But no matter where you go it will always be a part of you. I always went to Jean-Marc's Wine Tastings when he would come to Minneapolis. (Before I moved to Atlanta). You seem to have come to a fork in the road - not sure what direction to go. No matter where you go there are always new dreams to dream and new adventures to be explored. You may not have to give up on the old dreams - they just take a different form. You two have deep love and respect for one another (hard to find that today), trust in that to help you. You have mentioned places to live if you move here to the states: Montana is BEAUTIFUL!!!, but so is Portland and Denver. Follow your heart..when you feel the decision is too great or over whelming...Pray.


We had to leave castelnau magnoac precipitously four years ago...bec of my husbands depression and move back to maine. If you do anything, check out the entire country, rent first, and find a place that settles your soul....AND find a place where at least half of the people think similarly to you.

In the end you both will make the right decision since you love each other. A good time in your lives too since you are not getting any younger.. We can create our own space wherever we are. I live in Arizona: mountains, desert , cowboy boots and wine country.

However very hot in summer. Northern California , Oregon, Colorado sound best for your needs.

God and your inner self will guide you and I wish you many blessings along the way. Mary-Audrey


I see you are thinking of putting Smokey in the cargo hold of a plane. I did a little research a couple of months ago for a friend who is moving to France, and found a well-used, preferred way to transport pets between the two continents, the Queen Mary II!! Please check this out if you have not already done so. It takes about a week to sail from France to New York. The ship has a nice kennel with outdoor walks for dogs. Their pet guardians can visit them whenever!! Don't know the cost.


There are many good thoughts shared by your readers about where to live in the United States. One of the thoughts is that you and Jean-Marc can make a decision about where to live in the United States, if your current place sells, and yet, it does not need to be seen as a permanent choice. You can change your minds and move again, even return to France. Whether Clinton, Trump or someone else becomes the next U.S. President, makes some difference, but not enough difference to the matters of our hearts, minds and souls, which truly affect our happiness and general well being. There are choices for the different seasons of our lives. Also, your choice to share your thoughts and feelings "out loud", as one of your readers described, helps me, too. My family is in the middle of a few decisions, as to where we will next move to, because we have lived in the same home for many, many years. It's a process, for sure. None of us are in complete control of the circumstances that help shape our lives or where we live. We have lots of help, though, and I also am a woman who knows prayers are answered, and oftentimes, not in the expected ways. We don't live in a perfect world, but thankfully, there are a lot of perfectly wonderful people all around. (Not perfect people, but perfectly wonderful people....big difference!) Sometimes I tell my children to put on their sunglasses, because their futures look bright. Yours looks mighty bright, too!


You two have bared your souls in beautiful writings and photos and have fed the souls of your readers for years. Here is another offer of a temporary haven in the U. S. while you explore your options. Big house between Albany and Saratoga Springs, NY, occupied just by me (busy lawyer rarely home) and friendly cat. Lots of room for you, the kids when they want visit, and your pup. Weeks, months--whatever you need to collect your thoughts and decide where you next want to flower. Lots of privacy, big kitchen to putter in, WiFi for use in sunny writing rooms. Rent consisting of help with the tarte de tamate that I keep wanting to make but never get around to!


Exciting times ahead however it works out. Details are being worked out by the Devine Planner while you are waiting for the plan to be revealed. Have y'all considered Fredericksburg, TX? We have a rapidly growing wine industry and you could live in an old rock house similar to those you dream of. It's just a thought for your consideration and the area's wine growers could use some expertise to take it to the next level. sante'


And Jean Marc could wear the cowboy hat and chaps!

Dawn Johnson

I loved the part about seeing Jean-Marc in a cowboy hat and chaps! It reminds me of when my husband and I we're engaged. . We were both working in Wyoming and he took a ranching job in southern Oregon while I stayed in Wy to finish out my job and sell my house etc. I had visited him in Oregon and loved the area however as the wedding drew closer he took a "better" position on a ranch in northern CA I didn't have time to go see it before the wedding but I learned it was 40 miles from any town and had no electricity. Talk about cold feet! But I went anyway and moved to my then unseen home lock stock and barrel just three weeks before the wedding. It was a major lifestyle change for sure but I loved it. Heath issues with my husband forced us to move from there just one year later but it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am a Francophile like so many of your other readers and it too has always been my dream to own a country house in the south of France, a place much like yours. I'm so glad I had the chance to visit it amd meet you both last year, I will forever cherish that day. I have endless books including yours about life in France and about people buying and renovating little places in villages etc. I have all the requisite movies that I've watched dozens of times and know the dialogue by heart, (so now I just put them on in French to practice.). But the reality is that my husband doesn't share that dream and I wouldn't want to miss out on my grand children's' lives. In a eutopic world I would have two places and share time in both. But in the meantime, I will have to settle for as many visits to France as I can and do my best to "live French" here at my California farmhouse complete with periwinkle blue shutters, a fountain, lavender and sunflowers in my garden. I've created my own decor I call "French Cowboy" that is a reflection of both of us. 34 years together and counting. I say all this to remind you that you can take your French culture with you and plant it along with your new potager where ever the Lord leads you. Simply trust him to open the doors that would be His will. My daughter lives in Salem OR just south of Portland so if you wind up in that area, we could visit, and I would love that. I agree with others' comments that you should take a sabbatical and just travel around the country and visit all your readers and see where you fit the best. Prayers and bises to you both.


Our dear Kristi,
Wherever you find yourselves, that is where God is guiding you to be.
Changing countries,as you well know,is not always an easy task.
But you have each other,and you have motivation.
Sometimes the most unexpected of places turns out to be THE best!
Remember Voltaire's Candide? There are instances when we all need(literally!) to just rest easy and "cultivate our garden".
I couldn't count how many times I have remembered this and how it never fails to help.
Blessings to you and your dear family.
Natalia X

susan rousseau

HI Kristy and Jean-Marc,
I have only commented once before, although I've read your blog for the past 12 years since meeting my french, winemaking husband from Gascony. Your current decision speaks to us on a very personal note as every day my sweet husband misses his homeland, family, cuisine, and particularly palombe hunting with Pépé, his grandpere (94 and still living on his own terms!)
We live in Napa Valley...that other wine-growing/making region. I was born and raised in Texas...far away from anything wine or french related...However, here I am, a vintner! We make californian wines from varietals of my husband's home region including Colombard and Tannat. He has been able to do this project his way, beginning from giant bank-rolls here!...producing and selling his beautiful wines. Alors, he is getting tired. And grumpy. And he is only 41!!! We completely understand your predicament as he loves making wines, but the wine business is brutally time consuming, as you know. Not to mention growing the grapes!!! We have recently been considering the logical next step of buying land to grow our own grapes with winery and home. Big sigh...
I know that means exactly what you were thinking and saying out loud, Jean-Marc...another 15-20 years of backbreaking, stress-producing investment of work! My husband began this project after we met and fell in love, to do something here in the US that he wanted to do well. Now, our son is in college and he is smelling freedom...while I am tasting it. All that to say...
I hope you find your right spot...nothing is permanent, everything changes. I believe it's simply all about how we enjoy the ride, and how awake we remain for it.
If you find yourself wanting to visit Napa Valley, please reach out. We would love to share our little piece of it with you. I would never suggest living here, way too expenisve, but the wine is good, the country is extraordinary, and many folks think like you. In fact, my french group has read your postings for all these years. It would be our pleasure you host you should you ever want to visit. I would imagine you already have friends nearby...
Too bad, we would consider your place, but will certianly buy in Yann's birth-land soon to be closer to our family there...although I LOVE bandol, cassis...lovely country.
Bon chance, we are rooting for you!!!


Thank you so much for sharing. Your honesty is breathtaking! I know you are faithful people, so I'm confident you will come to a good decision as you ponder your options. Please know that I will be covering you in prayer.
I have seen a number of negative posts (sorry about that, I'm sure they mean well!) about our politics, healthcare etc. America is a beautiful country and our people are warm and caring. There are many options for healthcare and education and even thought we are currently in a tough politic season, remember we have three branches of government and are electing a President, not a King, so no fear. You will be most welcome wherever you decide to plant your next roots.
I do like the advice regarding traveling about before making a decision. You have many faithful readers who would love to welcome you into their homes as guests (me included-we're in Georgia-we too have vineyards) and it would provide a good perspective to spend some time in different climates and communities before making a decision.
You know home is wherever you are together. I'm sure you will find your way and I look forward to hearing all about your adventures!

Lin Powell

This move will be a wonderful exciting new adventure for you. Of course it may seem scary just thinking about it since it will be such a major change, but remember it need not be permanent. If you try it on and find it is not all you had hoped for, you can always return to France, this time finding something smaller, more suitable for this stage of your lives. But this time with a clearer understanding of what you want rather than regret for things you did not try. I predict the change will be just exactly what you need. I am excited for you both, and happy that you can face this change together, supporting each other in this stage of your marriage and your lives. Deep breath. You can do it.

Meredith Entin

Hi. This might be helpful to read:

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