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