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Inspiring Life & Travel in France

barefoot blogger moving to france
Barefoot BloggeR

Inspiring Life & Travel in France

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Confession: Homesick Expat in France

Homesick Expat in France

I’ve been trying to decide how to write that I’m a homesick expat in France.  

There! I just said it.

You’re right if you think I’m a “fearless traveler” who can take off immediately and take on a life-changing journey. But I’m not if you think I’m too tough to be homesick for my friends and family during the holidays. I returned to the US from Uzès to spend Christmas with my boys.

A quick getaway

As you know, I had a delightful Thanksgiving in Uzes, introducing new friends to the American holiday. Nevertheless, for the first time since moving to France, I became very homesick. The thought of spending another holiday away from home made me sad. The trip I planned to Paris would surely be a diversion, but my heartstrings were still a bit “off tune.”

Fighting the urge to go back to the States and with the map of Europe spread out in front of me, I imagined traveling by train to various well-known places, jumping off the train for a few hours to take pictures of the city’s holiday decorations, then getting back on the train ’til the next stop. It sounded fun, but perhaps it was an adventure I should save for the spring.

Two days before my scheduled trip to Paris, I decided to return to the States for Christmas. As impulsively as I had decided to move to France, I called my boys to tell them I was coming home for a visit. I planned to board an airplane on my last day in Paris and head for Atlanta.

Even with the holiday scramble for tickets, the United Airlines website produced an excellent fare and descent schedule on a flight from Paris through Frankfurt that would reunite me with my family in Atlanta in less than twelve hours. Instead of an overnight bag for the intended 2-day stay in Paris, my baggage swelled to two suitcases. They were filled with warm winter clothes, boots, and the few presents I could gather from France in my haste. Enough was packed for several months since, now that I was home, I would stick around Atlanta and the southeast until my first grandchild was born in late March.

Rescued … again

If you think a Barefoot Blogger story must have a tale of Geoffrey, you’ll be pleased to read on.

apartment in parisThe apartment I found in Paris- an 18th-century building between the Place de la Concorde and The Madeleine Church- was perfect.

It met my three demands for the short trip to Paris: 1) close to the Champs Elysee; 2) within walking distance of the Louvre; and 3) the price, with breakfast, was around US$125 per night. That would allow for at least one fancy dinner.

There was only one drawback to the charming apartment. It was on the sixth floor of the building … with no elevator.

The day I left for Paris, Geoffrey insisted on taking me to the train station in Nimes. After helping me lug my bags onto the train, we bid each farewell.

“Now I’m on my own to find a new adventure, ” I told myself.

Not so fast.

When I arrived at the train station in Paris and hailed a cab, Geoffrey was ringing me on the cellphone. I motioned to the taxi driver to turn down the volume on the radio.

“S’il vous plaît,” I said in my very best French. I learned quickly that the cab driver spoke no English.

On the phone, Geoffrey was chirping with all the cheerfulness he could muster: “Hello,”  he chimed in his heavy British accent. “Have you arrived in Paris?”

“Why, yes, ” I replied. “I’m in the cab on the way to the apartment. ” I added, “I’m not looking forward to that sixth-floor climb.”

When the words came out of my mouth, I gasped loudly. Loud enough that Geoffrey heard the sound through the phone.

“How will I get these bags up those steps to the apartment?” I cried to him. “I totally forgot about the stairs!” I added.

stairway in Paris

Without hesitation, Geoffrey ordered, “Hand the phone to the driver. I want to speak with him.”

Obediently, I tapped the cab driver on the shoulder and handed him the phone with Geoffrey on the other end.

The driver returned the phone in less time than I could offer a quick plea to heaven.

“No problem, ” said Geoffrey, “it’s all arranged,” he boasted most assuredly.

Geoffry had done it again.

The cabby drove up to the apartment building on the busy street. With no parking in sight, he drove onto the sidewalk. He quickly opened the door to the cab for me to jump out. He hurried to the taxi’s rear and unloaded the two large bags from the trunk.

As he rolled both bags through the security gate and lifted them through the entry door of the apartment building, I stood back to watch as he assessed the climb ahead. With seemingly no effort, he grabbed the suitcase handles and carried both bags onto the wide, spiral staircase, up six tall flights of stairs, and into the apartment’s front door.

On his way out, I surprised the driver with a big hug … and a nice tip. , I wished him “Joyeux Noël.

Little did he know that his kindness started my holiday in the best way.

 

Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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