Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Au Revoir, L'Auvergne


T'was a sad Monday morning. Everything had been put away, the house thoroughly cleaned and the water turned off. We turned the key in the lock one last time, said one more quick good-bye to our wonderful French neighbors who take such good care of the house when we are not there, clicked one more photo and drove down our hill for the last time in 2011.
I admit, I cried.
It is so difficult to tear myself away from my little Auvergnat village, from our friends and from the sheer beauty of the green hills. Yes, I love my life in Brooklyn, but here is where my heart is. Here is where life seems real to me.
Now, I will count down the days until I can put the keys back in that door. Soon, very soon, I hope.
Merci à tous mes amis auvergnats, surtout Marinette, René, Michel, Claudine, Corinne et famille, la famille O, Charlène et famille et Mr. et Mme. M.
Restez en bonne santée. Vous me manquez déjà. Prenez bien soin de notre petit village sur la colline. Et encore de bonnes vacances avec des jours bien ensoleillés.
To Elaine and Richard and their great group of friends, thanks for including us this summer. It was great hanging out with you. Hope to see all of you next year.
And here is a blast from the past, a few family photos taken at the house in the 1970's, so that you understand my attachment to the place.

Me in front of the fireplace in 1972

My mother sitting on the stone bench in the front yard
And both of my parents with our donkey Balthazar at breakfast in the yard, circa 1973-74.


Ferran said...

It is not easy thing to have your heart in two places where you feel like home. I know it very well, although in my case it is a bit less complicated thing to manage: Berlin and Barcelona are just "around the corner".

Nice pics of l'Auvergne, which added up to your family history in the region explains your feelings for it.

Less than one year for the next round! :)

Hi from Deutschland.

Anonymous said...

It is with tears in my eyes that you say au revoir. I will miss your French adventures and wait for (y)our next trip home. Welcome back to Brooklyn.

Katia said...

That is too sweet. Just ten months to go....

Katia said...

Hi Ferran,
Yes, I can imagine that you go through the same emotions as you go back and forth between the places you love.
How often do you get back to Barcelona? Or do you hop back and forth?

Anonymous said...

Oh My God. That Donkey named Balthazar. Looks happier than the one is that French film of same name.
Welcome home!! Look up, no more bird cage!
Love the family photos. What a lucky family you have.

Katia said...

Hi Anon,
Well, actually, our donkey was named after the donkey in the movie "Au Hasard, Balthazar." My mother had seen it and thought it would be an appropriate name.

Just like in Ireland, donkeys were a common sight in France till the 1950's. When we bought ours, he was a big sensation in our village and everyone knew him.
He was stubborn, yes, but also very, very smart.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!! We're all in the same boat... Half my heart is in Europe also. You mother is beautiful.

Katia said...

Thanks so much, Anon. I love that picture of her. She was an amazing woman who loved France and especially her house on that hill in the Auvergne.

Ferran said...

Actually quite often, Katia, every three months or so. But as I said above, well, of course in my case it's really easier than in yours: 150 euros, a bit more than two hours flight and... hop, I'm at either one home or the other :)

I think I can very well imagine your emotion, every year, as the dates to go to your home in l'Auvergne approach.

Your family and I are definitely lucky: we have two special homes :)

Bonne journée!

Mrs. G said...

Greetings Katia,

Thanks again for my wonderful vacation - although vicariously.
Take heart!! The way time flies - you'll be back in L'Auvergne before you know it. At least you can STILL go back (my parents closed on the house and my "permanent" bedroom of 40 years will soon be a memory.
Glad you made it back safe to Brooklyn! REST!!!!!

Mrs. G said...

P.S. Katia,

Love the old photos. Your mother was beautiful. Her apple (you) did not fall far from the tree. You haven't changed much my Dear. That's called good genes!!

Katia said...

Hi Mrs. G,
Thanks for your lovely greeting. I will take you along again next year, and you are right. Even here time flies, so 10 months will go by quickly.
I can imagine how you feel about your childhood home being sold. That is such a defining moment in every one's life. Can you ask your parents to take some photos, just as a keep sake?

Timothy Reed said...

Did you get a photo of yourself in front of the fireplace on this trip?

Katia said...

I thought about it, but never got around to it. I'll try to take one next year.

cindy394 said...

charming and your family pictures are wonderful- so poignant. thanks for sharing-

Katia said...

Thanks, Cindy