Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The good, the bad, the ex-pat life

Many of my Facebook friends have been filling my newsfeed with their wonderful Love Lists. These lists are a great way to live in the moment, a record of the beautiful and wonderful things that surround us each day. A great way to keep a positive, optimistic outlook on life.

And, though I have made a New Years resolution to try remember how lucky and blessed I am, let's face it, I'm a Jewish girl from New York. Complaining is in my blood.

So, in an effort to be more positive while, at the same time, staying true to my "realistic" self, I am following in the steps of my wonderful friend Jen, another American blogging about life in Bordeaux. This post will be about the things that I love about life in France. I'll post separately about those things I could do without.

Love List
1) The number one thing on my love list has to be my family. And, especially, our adorable French-born Zachary. Though he does not automatically get French citizenship so, technically, he is not French. And our soon to be Frenchified Owen who comes home from school with new French vocabulary and corrects my accent.

Even though there are days when I think I'll explode if I hear "Mommy!" one more time, I really am blessed to be able to watch these two munchkins enjoy life. To paraphrase Carole King, they are teaching me that you don't have to look behind.

And my amazing husband who truly deserves a Father of the Year Nomination. He has taken so much time off of work to watch the kids so I can have some me-time. He has made countless phone calls to doctors' offices, administrators, banks, even a literary club that I signed up for without knowing what I was signing up for (just to get the guy to stop talking to me so I could shop in peace). Because, yes, I could make those calls myself but it would take a thousand times longer and I probably would end up more confused than before.

2) My friend is always talking about how our house at the Observatoire is paradise and, I have to admit, some days it does feel that way. Especially on days when I don't need anything from the outside world and I can sit and watch the deer graze in the backyard or a double rainbow fill the sky.

3) My group of ex-pat friends who continue to remind me that I'm not alone on this adventure and laugh right along with me as we encounter, almost daily, WTF (Welcome To France) moments. So thank you to you all!

4) No love list of France would be complete without a shout-out to the delicious food. And, here in Bordeaux we have our fair share of tasty treats. Of course, there is the wonderful wine. Though, I must admit, I am by no means an oenophile. We have a few favorite local wineries that we like. Chateau Carignan is about a 10 minute drive from our house and has a delicious 2005 Prima for special occasions or the L'Orangerie for everyday. There is also Domaine de Merlet (I would give you a link to their blog but it is terrible and outdated!) in Pessac-Leognan. Not only is the wine delicious but they are super friendly and Owen had a fantastic time splashing through the mud and making a new friend when we went there in December 2010.

And, within a 30 minute drive, we can get to St. Emilion or Sauternes. Two well-known and beautiful appelations in the Bordeaux region. St. Emilion is known for its vibrant reds while Sauternes is known for its sweet whites (which, we've been assured can be paired with any course).

And Arcachon, a beach town, known for huitres (oysters) is about a 45 minute drive. We've spent many a sunny (and rainy) day there hanging out at the beach or at the nearby Dunes du Pyla.

And Bordeaux is known for fois gras (liver paté, usually from a goose), cepes (porcini mushrooms), and magret de canard (duck). And, of course, CHEESE. All different kinds of ooey, gooey, stinky cheese. YUM YUM!