Almost two months after Laurie and our daughters arrived in Puyloubier, France, I finally flew in from Seattle to join them for the last 10 days of their stay. After landing and making a quick stop for lunch in Marseille, Laurie took me to the house and into the life they have built here.
These first few days have been a mix of family time and travel around the region. What’s made this different from previous trips is that I dropped into a home away from home, not just a vacation. Sure, we’ve done lots of fun touristy stuff (long lunches in Cassis, beach time in Villefranche, people watching in Aix-en-Provence), but these are built around their regular routine here in Puyloubier.
The highlights of my visit have included drop off and pick up at school, where Sophia’s in first grade and Sasha’s in Kindergarten. I show up with all the other parents, and the teachers and staff at school greet me like any other member of the community. Friday night, we entertained a family for dinner on our terrace and we spent the following evening with friends at an apartment in downtown Aix. After taking a ‘vacation’ the past couple days to Nice, we came back home for Sasha’s birthday party, which she had together with one of her friends from school.
It’s hard to call life in Provence a routine. I’m certainly in vacation mode. But it feels different – wonderful – to be in a foreign place for a short time and to feel so at home. Laurie, Sophia and Sasha managed to make Puyloubier their home away from home in these past two months.