Blog Archives


Making coins the medieval way

If there’s one thing that you learn when you move overseas, it’s to be prepared. Whether it’s a government agency, a utility, or a private business you are meeting with, it always makes sense to take an original and at least one copy of any document that any of these officials have asked from you before. To open a bank account we anticipated the need for our passports and proof of address but a marriage certificate and tax forms weren’t at the top of our list. Luckily both were at the bottom of the file folder that we take to every appointment so it was easy enough to produce those. To cancel our prepaid renters’ insurance, we needed a handwritten statement swearing that we no longer lived at that address, but at least we could write that out on the spot (with a lot of guidance from the woman who helped us). What we weren’t prepared for was receiving a refund check for the remaining insurance that we weren’t going to use. How were we going to deal with that? Read the rest of this entry

Vitamin PP?

Vitamins in milk

Vitamins in milk

Here’s a photo of the back of the milk carton that’s sitting in our refrigerator. While I’d certainly heard of vitamin D and maybe B1 and B6, I’m not so sure about B9. If taking B5 makes you look like that, give me two helpings please. But vitamin PP? That’s definitely a new one for me. But then, living in another country means that almost every day you learn something new, so it’s fun to see by the time you go to bed each night what you now know that you didn’t when you got up this morning. Read the rest of this entry

What a deal

All part of the 1 euro rail network

All part of the 1 euro rail network

Earlier this month I wrote about a day trip that we had taken over to the Mediterranean seaport of Sète. Since we both enjoy train travel, half the fun of that trip was the journey itself, even if it did start at 6:45 AM. The reward for that early start, besides getting to spend even more time in a pretty town, was that the round trip transportation only cost 2 euros per person. For comparison purposes, when we stop at a sidewalk café for a coffee or a glass of wine, the total bill is around 3 euros, so we’re not talking about a lot of money for that one-hour trip along the coast. To our delight, we discovered that the regional trains (TER) of our part of France offer 1 euro tickets every day to almost every destination on this map wrapped around the Mediterranean Sea. Read the rest of this entry

On my honor

Walking along the Aude river

Walking along the Aude river

Nearly 30 years ago, a political candidate who later became president of the United States, included in a campaign speech his desire for a “kinder, and gentler nation”. He was referring, in part, in his own words “to protect our environment, to safeguard our national heritage for future generations”. When I first heard that phrase I thought he was referring to cultivating a sense of civility that had existed when I was growing up but seemed to have disappeared. In moving to France we appear to have rediscovered both his vision and mine. Read the rest of this entry

Hometown tourist

A glass of wine at an outdoor café

A glass of wine at an outdoor café

In 40+ years of working, I don’t remember ever being told “Take the day off”. Like most people, you fit your vacation days around those of others. Other than when someone calls in sick, there just aren’t any surprises or even the opportunity to simply stop what you’re doing and walk off the job, even for a day. That all changed when we moved to France for a couple of reasons: we’re both retired now and one of the requirements for obtaining a visa to live here was our promise that we wouldn’t work. Sounds like a permanent day off…until you buy a house. Read the rest of this entry

The year that flew by

The daily view that still makes us smile

The daily view on our walk that still makes us smile

It was a year ago today that we moved from the United States to France. Part of those last few weeks “over there”, first in Georgia and then in Florida, remain a blur. There were so many things that had to happen in a specific order and within a limited time period, that there was little time to think about anything other than checking tasks off the calendar as the days flashed by. I still get anxious remembering arriving at the check-in desk at the Atlanta airport pushing two rolling luggage carts piled high with 2 backpacks, 2 carry-on bags, 3 checked bags, and a travel dog house with Heather sitting happily on top. We were about to find out if those 18 months of planning, preparation, and paperwork were going to pay off. Read the rest of this entry

Step into my laboratory

Which way to the lab?

Which way to the lab?

A couple of days ago I wrote about our first experience of going to a doctor in France and this is the follow up to that. Although we both have been going in for annual check ups in the US for years, that’s apparently not really the norm here. Your employer might require, and pay for, this kind of visit, but our neighbors have said that typically they see the doctor only if they are sick. We were still going to be more comfortable if we were at least in the files of a medical office near us, even if just to have a “no problems found” status. Read the rest of this entry


French Retirement Dream

A year in Périgord

Tales of a Brit who stopped in Lille on his way to Périgord – and stayed

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France


Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

Chez Loulou

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

Just another weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures