Elsewhere on this blog you’ll find a post called “This is where it all started” where we talk about how we decided to make the move to France a bit after Thanksgiving 2014. This will give you some history of our backgrounds and how the signs have always been pointing to Europe.
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About 30 years ago I was living in Chicago and Bill was in Dallas. Unbeknownst to either of us, we had a mutual friend in Steve who owned a travel agency and had rented a booth at a street fair in Dallas at the end of June, 1986. Steve invited me to come down for the weekend to help him staff the booth which I readily did. Not long after the fair opened I was standing at the back of the booth and noticed Steve talking to a handsome man holding a large cold drink. Because there was loud music playing and a lot of crowd noise, it was impossible to hear but I clearly understood when this man held up his drink, point first at it and then at me with an inquisitive look on his face. I nodded my head eagerly since an ice-cold beer on a hot Texas evening was going to taste mighty good.
In short order I was holding that icy drink, ready to quench my thirst when I put it to my lips and realized that it was lemonade. After my initial shock I started talking to this guy named Bill and it wasn’t long before I quit my booth duties to walk around the fair with him. We’ve not been separated since.It was only a matter of weeks before he had moved to Chicago where I was happily employed by the US office of the passenger railroad of Great Britain. One of the perks of that job was an annual sales meeting in the UK, so the two of us were soon off to our first big trip together to London.
Just as we were getting settled in Chicago, that office was closed but I was offered the same position in Los Angeles so we moved to Hollywood. As a major airline out of LAX, it was easy to take TWA on long-haul flights and even easier to earn free trips with their generous frequent flyer program. Learning languages is my passion and somehow I was able to convince Bill to go with me to Cologne, Germany for an intensive, total-immersion, language course. It was in this school that we met Michèle, a beautiful and intelligent French woman, who changed the course of our vacations. While still making annual trips to the UK, we now had a reason to visit France, which we did with increasing regularity.
Vacations to Italy, Belgium, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands followed but we always seemed to find an excuse to get back to France, “since we’re over there anyway”. Naturally we wanted to get in-person updates from Michèle on her new boyfriend who would eventually become her husband and then the father of their lovely daughter.
The office where I worked in LA was eventually closed but I accepted a promotion to move to Philadelphia. From there we made two other moves, further north in Pennsylvania until the company was sold and most of us were laid off. To escape the snow, we moved to the Atlanta area where Bill worked for a medical device company and I for a library, jobs from which we each eventually retired.
Although we’ve each held several different jobs over the past three decades, and lived in a variety of cities and towns, the one constant in our lives together has been France. That’s why when we were deciding on where to move next, it was an easy choice when Bill asked “Why don’t we move to France?”