November was an extremely hard month. As we announced in October’s Bordeaux in 365 Bottles, Emma passed away on November 3. Even though our cat of 16 years passed away last spring, I’ve never known heartbreak and grief like I’ve been going through since Emma died. Some days I’ve just felt paralyzed from doing anything; other days I know life has to move forward. But Emma was a huge part of my daily life, and I just haven’t found any sort of new routine yet.
Coping with the grief over the loss of Emma.
I had an incredible bond with Emma.
About a year after we got Emma, I lost my job and I spent about a year working just part time and from home. That meant that from very early on in Emma’s life, we spent a lot of time together. We swam in our pool together almost every day and we walked whenever it wasn’t too hot on our Phoenix sidewalks for Emma’s paws.
When I finally went back to work full time, I still regularly worked from home. And it was only two years later that we moved to Italy and I always worked from home. Every day was bring your dog to work day.
Emma and Angel were often my only companions, since Tim and I calculated that he spent nearly half of our 7 years living in Italy away deployed or on temporary assignments. Those years in Italy were a lonely time and having my pets to love and care for kept me sane.
Emma was my gym buddy when I took up running and we ran together every day. She was my travel partner, joining me on countless trips all over Italy, frequent trips to the beach in Slovenia, and a multi-day hike in Germany. And once we moved to Bordeaux, my multiple daily walks with her all over helped me discover this city in a way I might not otherwise have.
Some people definitely haven’t understood how I could be so grief stricken over a dog, but to me, she was so much more than just an animal.
I know time will lessen the pain, but right now my heart just hurts so much.
Trying to find a new routine…and failing at finding it.
Tim really only got settled in England in August. Two weeks after he moved in to his house, he came and picked me and Emma up. And ever since, my life has been chaotic.
September and October are always a busy time for press trips and I had a calendar full of them. In between all of that, I was staying in England with Tim and had to make an emergency trip back to Pennsylvania when my dad broke his hip. By the end of it all, I spent nearly two full months away from home.
The real estate agency on the ground floor of my building even texted me toward the middle of October to ask if everything was okay. They, and several other businesses and people in my neighborhood, had all been talking that none of them had seen me or Emma in quite a while.
And then both Emma and I were barely home for more than a week when she suddenly got sick.
Tim’s been to Bordeaux four times just since August and I’ve gone to stay with him in England twice now. But even though we see each other at least every 2-3 weeks now, the long distance thing somehow seems harder. Every time I have to wave goodbye when he leaves Bordeaux or drops me off for the airport, I wonder why I’m making the choice for us to live like this.
I joined a gym the day before everything happened with Emma. That was at the end of October. As of the end of November, I hadn’t even been to my new gym yet. And even worse, now that I’m not walking a couple miles daily on my doggy walks, I need to commit to going to the gym more than ever.
I had tons of checklists and had made a huge chunk of progress in improving old content on Luxe Adventure Traveler, had put together the landing pages for our Guide to Iceland and Guide to Bordeaux, and had plans to improve a lot more seasonal content like all of our holiday posts and ski guides. In reality, I’m barely creating and getting out all the content I need to for those aforementioned press trips and projects in September and October.
And I’m pretty certain my cheeks burn red with embarrassment any time anyone asks how it’s going opening our food tours. The truth of the matter is that I’ve barely even thought about Bordeaux Bites & Bottles since August. I had loads of ambition to complete my business plan so I could send it off to get it officially translated in to French and submit all the paperwork by December 1. That never happened. Now I’m just stressed out about it all, because I need to pull myself together and get it done before it’s time to start my visa renewal process again come March.
I’ve given myself a massive shake and know I need to get it together. But I just really want to crawl in bed and hide under the covers forever. Sometimes being an adult blows and these last few months have been an ongoing one of those times.
Trying to find a garage or space for my car.
We’ve been talking about buying a car for me for a while. It’s not a necessity and I’ve lived just fine without one for a year and a half now. But It would make some things easier and would be nice to have.
So Tim found me a really cute used Audi TT Quattro. My job is to now find a place to park it. I live in the hyper center of Bordeaux, where renting a garage or space in a parking garage is a necessity for car owners.
There’s a sign with a phone number up, which I took to mean spaces were available, about 150 meters from my apartment. Perfect. It’s close enough to be able to carry anything I bought home and wouldn’t make getting the car to go somewhere a huge to do.
I thought finding one that was at least reasonable in price would be the challenge – not finding a spot at all.
There’s a year-long waiting list for spots in that oh-so-convenient garage. Renting a parking spot might just prove to be nearly as challenging as finding an apartment in Bordeaux.
Most Popular Post
Originally we had planned to spend the long American Thanksgiving weekend here in Bordeaux. I was even just about to start planning a short trip to San Sebastian, just 2 hours south of us so Emma could visit her 18th country.
After everything, Tim thought it would be good for me to get away for a bit and that we could explore something in England, Ireland or Scotland. I couldn’t disagree.
At the last minute, we ended up going to Edinburgh for Edinburgh’s Christmas. The PR team behind Edinburgh’s Christmas, the kind team at G&V Royal Mile Hotel and the folks at Visit Scotland helped to make sure we had a really nice weekend. It was good to laugh, have fun and temporarily forget about everything for a few days.
Edinburgh really is stunning at Christmas. We got lucky with the weather and only had a light sprinkle or clouds during our time there. Even more amazing, I was able to write about it right away.
How gorgeous is this castle? Montesquieu was born, lived and wrote the majority of his works here. It was handed down to descendants of Montesquieu and now is a historic monument. You can tour the inside, including the library where Montesquieu worked (though the books have been moved to the library here in Bordeaux). It’s not even 30 minutes from Bordeaux and you can get there by public transportation.
Most Popular Instagram Photo
Like everything else I slacked on in November, Instagram was no different. I don’t post in real time, so I typically draft up the posts to get them ready for the upcoming week. I just didn’t feel like posting much once Emma got sick.
This one of Château La Brede was sitting in my drafts. We briefly stopped by the weekend that Tim had brought Emma home to France and I flew the drone.
I had my video feed disconnect while the drone was out over the castle, then the navigation went out completely. I generally fly manually, but thankfully the return to home function worked. Emma had no clue why we were running – she was just having fun chasing me as I ran after the drone to ensure it landed without hitting and trees or cars in the parking area we had launched from.
It was one of the last happy memories I had of all three of us together, so it made me a bit sad to post it. Ironic it was the most popular Instagram post of November when I finally did push the post button.
What I’m Drinking This Month
Wine, beer, cider, gin, whisky…I’m not sure what I didn’t have in November. Another side effect of my new ping-pong ball like existence of bouncing between Bordeaux and the UK constantly is a much more varied options of drinks, and that definitely hasn’t been a bad thing. I really enjoy learning about new wines/beer/spirits.
Last year I had missed Bordeaux S.O Good, an annual food festival showcasing the best of the Southwest here in Bordeaux, when I was at the Burgundy Wine Auction. So I was happy to be home and finally discover what Bordeaux S.O Good was all about. And with any food festival that happens in Bordeaux, there’s always wine. We wouldn’t be the Wine Capital of the World, otherwise.
Our lovely dinner at the G&V Royal Mile Edinburgh at their Italian restaurant was a bit of a trip down memory lane from our time living in Italy. It was a wine pairing dinner that included a sparkling Franciacorta and a Moscato d’Asti to finish with dessert. But the star of the show was one of our favorite Italian reds – Amarone – from Allegrini Estates. We actually visited the stunning winery while we were living in Italy, making it a particularly special bottle to share.
Bottle Count: 386
Coming Up in December 2017
I’m off to the Périgord in the Dordogne this weekend with Dordogne Périgord Tourisme on a short truffle themed trip with a small group of French culinary journalists. Provence is France’s biggest producer of truffles with 80% of France’s truffles coming from the Vaucluse, but the Périgord is what lent the famous black truffle variety their name. And it’s located right here at home in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region. The only problem is – gulp – that the entire trip will be in French.