Oh my goodness, I am so excited.
This will be a short post. I know, it is Halloween and many of you are most likely no where near your computers but rather are carving pumpkins, sneaking bonbons and crafting smoking cocktails, as you should be. Hopefully these slightly moody photos will fit the bill? But they actually are an antipode to what I am feeling...
...for today is a wonderful day - yes, yes, beyond the celebration of the spooky and unknown, which delights me to no end in itself - for you see, my friend Ellie is packing up the truck to leave Paris behind.
She is moving down to Provence tomorrow.
To be slightly more precise, her new home will be at only about a fifteen minute drive away from ours!
Now, I have spoken in the past about the aspect that having lasting friendships as an expat has been a challenge for me. I don't always gel well with my French counterparts and my fellow expatriates are often here for a few months and then gone for the rest of the year (which is doable but challenging). So, this arrival is something of a great gift, yes, full of the good stuff.
But honestly, this is not about me in the least. That is just the candy corn on the cake.
I think that quite a few of you read Ellie's wonderful blog, Have Some Decorum and I smile to see some of your names in the comments section. For those of you who don't know who she is, well, I invite you to go and find out. As I have mentioned before, she is a fellow American, my age, beautiful beyond belief and happens to be in her fifth year of having ALS, although it doesn't define her - if anything, she is in the process of redefining - or trying to - this terrible disease.
For at least a year now, Ellie has had it her head that she needs to move to Provence. Now, who doesn't want to live in Provence, you might ask but this was no simple proposal. Her French husbands work is based out of Paris (not exactly a shabby city in itself) and that is where her daughter goes to university. And yet she knew that for the best of her well-being that she had to live in the sun.
Sun is something that we have here in Provence in spades and frankly often goes missing in Paree for five months out of the year. But the South of France also offers the possibility to change pace, to slow down, to connect with history and be surrounded by nature of the pinch me variety every single day. To have a view.
All of this was brewing in her mind far before I met Ellie in person. Those of you that have been reading here for a while know the tale: my wonderful friend, La Contessa, sent me the money (in cash!) so that I could take the train up just before Ellie's birthday. She later admitted that she was doing this as much as for my own good as Ellie's. Seriously, that woman is a living Fairy Godmother. Our meeting was...beyond wonderful. It was one of those moments that touched me deeply and shifted my perspective radically.
So when Ellie first announced her serious intentions to move down here, I was on it. We both spent hours, days, trolling through all of the internet ads we could find, looking for possibilities. And there were several. But one after one, they never panned out, for whatever reason. It was incredibly disheartening yet Ellie never gave up. She was determined. Slowly, she convinced her husband and daughter. And then, just then, the perfect house turned up.
For me, the most amazing news is that it has an annex and so her caregivers are coming down with her. They are truly wonderful men who do so much and have so many talents. I admire them enormously. They will provide for a perfect transition and keep her "empire" expanding, right on schedule.
I wrote in an email the other day that Ellie will be the Queen of Provence in no time and I believe it. With her intelligence, vitality and verve - as well as her stellar taste in everything - who couldn't fall under her charm? Not to mention that the brocante dealers will need to be put on alert, as there is a new, ruthless buyer/seller in town. No details are left unturned by this phenomenal woman.
I feel really fortunate. But I also know deep in my heart that being here will help to only strengthen her truly indomitable spirit. I have wanted this so badly for her and now, it is happening.
If you are of the type to send out good thoughts or pray, would you join me in sending some to Ellie et al. so that the move goes swimmingly? I know it will but a little extra push would be lovely.
I can't wait to see what she will write on this new page in her life.
Brava, Ellie. Here is to moving forward. Don't worry about the freaky mushroom below, I have never seen one like it in Provence! Good times await, trust me.
To read Ellie's blog, click here.
And if you are already fretting about Thanksgiving, then by all means save yourself some worries, click here.
What? Oh, you really want Halloween madness? All right, of course, I don't blame you.
I can't do better than this: http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2014/10/a-ghost-story.html
Except for this bit of sweetness too: http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2012/10/calling-all-saints.html
Happy Halloween and All Saint's Day...
With all of my very Best from Provence,