I know the new year is well underway when that time to start printing off my telephone book sized dossier for my French residency renewal rolls around again. I almost made a major mistake too, which means I’m getting pretty comfortable dealing with the part of French bureaucracy. I thought I had until mid-March to start the process of gathering everything up and requesting my appointment, so it’s a really good thing I double checked the expiration date on my residency card.
And while I never like paying any government money, it felt like we reached another new milestone in this journey to adapting to life in France when we paid French taxes for the first time at the end of 2017. We’ve both got tax ID numbers in France now, and that means we can introduce new headaches of French paperwork in to our lives, like applying for our Carte Vitale (French healthcare).
Ooh là là, the more entwined we become with everyday life here the more it makes me never want to leave and learn how to deal with all this sort of thing in any other country. It’s an ever evolving process here in France, as it is. Though every time I walk out of some administrative office having dealt with the latest, like when my bank refused my tax payment and I had to present myself in person at the Office of Finance to argue away the late charge, it feels like a little victory. It’s never easy being a full-fledged foreign resident in France, but those days dealing with the heaps of paperwork make the other 350-ish days all that much sweeter.
Still grieving the loss of Emma
This month marks three months since Emma passed away. As our pets get older, we know that it’s inevitable that they’ll leave us. But it doesn’t make it any easier.
For some people, a dog is “just a dog”. But for me and Tim, Emma was our best friend and like a child. Our entire world revolved around her.
And as a result, she loved us unconditionally. She gave us more love than we could ever possibly repay.
We both miss her every single day. Some days, the grief is debilitating. It can be an effort to even get out of bed. My chest has a continual ache. I’m suddenly sobbing uncontrollably, and I don’t even see it coming or what in particular opened the floodgates.
In the beginning, those debilitating days were every day. Then the debilitating days became most days. Three months on, those days are way less.
It’s becoming the new normal that Emma isn’t there at the door waiting when I come back from the grocery store. I don’t roll over to look for her on the floor when I wake up. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to check that she’s okay.
But what’s becoming the new normal also makes me feel so guilty. Guilty that today I didn’t cry. Guilty that today it hurts a little less.
Grieving is a process, and one I’m still working through. A process I know I’ll be working through for a while still to come.
All I can really say is if you have a fur baby of your own, cherish every moment with them. Take a million photos and videos, because that million will never be enough when they’re gone.
Ever wonder how we decide which new destinations we travel to? It’s actually not a whim or just because we want to go.
We spend all year researching and partnering with destinations that make our cut for our annual “Best Places to Travel” list. And our list is always one of our most popular posts all year long.
Have you checked out our 18 picks for the best places to travel in 2018 yet?
Bonjour from Gourette in the French 🇫🇷 Pyrenees! We’re off on our first trip of 2018 for a ski 🎿 getaway with @gourette_pyrenees. Gourette was the first to install ski lifts in the Pyrenees when the resort opened in 1935. Things have come a long way since then. We experienced one of the most recent attractions at the resort: spending a night in the Wild Dôme with @laventurenordique. You can see our dome nestled in the trees just above the house. Our night began with a snowshoe hike after the resort closed. We eased our sore muscles in the jacuzzi, before enjoying a dinner in our dome with champagne, foie gras and a traditional soup from the area called garbure. Then we woke up to this view this morning as the sunrise turned the sky shades of pink and gold. It was a fantastic experience! . . . . . . . . #gourette #Pyrenees #enmodebasque #BearnPyrenees #paysage #hautespyrenees #ossau #laventurenordique #pyreneesbearnaises #npyski #monpaysbasque #nouvelleaquitaine #focus_on_nouvelle_aquitaine #nelleaquitaine #sudouest #ilovefrance #myfrance #travelfrance #igersfrance #explorefrance #livetravelchannel #lovepyrenees #béarn #bearnpyrenees_tourisme #pyreneesatlantiques #destinationpyrenees #enviedunedose #droneworld #birdseyeview
Most Popular Instagram Photo
Drones provide such a unique perspective of the world. We love flying ours and capturing aerial photos that give us a bird’s eye view.
That’s how we captured this aerial view of the Gourette ski area and the Wild Dôme we stayed in right on the slopes. Flying in the cold and snow was a first for us, and the number one rule when flying a drone is to fly responsibly. We shot this before the ski resort opened for the day.
What I’m Drinking This Month
I’ve been giving my liver a much needed break the last few months. I’ve already received the invitations for 2018 Bordeaux En Primeur, and as we roll in to the spring and “press trip season,” I know my consumption of wine is about to greatly increase again.
Bordeaux does have a new attraction – a whisky and gin distillery right in the city. Since Tim and I have gotten in to drinking gin and tonics lately, we did check out Moon Harbour.
We’ll be writing all about it soon, but the distillery is set in a diesel storage tank alongside Bordeaux’s WWII submarine base. The unique setting alone warrants a visit. But co-founder Yves’ personality and passion is infectious and makes the 1-hour tour and tasting a must-do in Bordeaux.
Aside from the G&T’s, we also tried the AOC white wine Jurancon that is produced in Pyrénées-Atlantiques on our Gourette ski trip. And our Wild Dôme experience started with a bottle of Serge H. Brut Tradition.
I also attended an exhibition of our friend and local artist, Arnaud Faugas’s, work. It wouldn’t be any sort of exhibition in Bordeaux without wine flowing, and Château Seguin 2012 flowed freely through the night.
Bottle Count: 402
Coming Up in February 2018
For a month that is usually a pretty quiet one, it’s turned in to a busy one. I suppose it’s a good problem to have.
We’re already in to February, but Tim got a long weekend off and flew to France last minute. We’ve been wanting to visit Carcassonne, so we spent a relaxed weekend there exploring, eating and visiting wineries.
I’ve been asked to be a judge for the Travel Retail Awards. I can’t say what specifically I’m judging until after the awards have concluded, but I’ll fly to London to spend a couple of days using, reviewing and judging various products you find in airport shops and duty free.
Then I’ll fly home for just a few days before I meet Tim in Malaga. He’s wanted to hike the Caminito dey Rey, once known as one of the world’s most dangerous hiking paths. It’s been repaired and re-opened, so it’s not the heart thudding experience it once was for the daring that hiked it despite the warnings of potentially falling to your death.
February will wrap up with both of us heading back to England, where I’ll hang out at Tim’s place for a bit. He hasn’t explored too much around Suffolk and Norfolk, so we’re hoping for some decent weather on the weekends and to get out a bit there.