Belle Provence Travels February 01 2014

I've been wandering about the Internet again, and I found another web site that I just have to tell you about: Belle Provence Travels.

This is a blog/web site beautifully written by an American woman (Tuula) who has been living in Provence for the past few years, and on it you'll find great ideas and advice about things to do and see and eat in Provence.  But you'll also find something more: an honest and often touching glimpse into what it really means to live and love and work in a foreign place, even one as wonderful as southern France.

To quote from one of Tuula's recent posts entitled French Resolutions:

This January marks four years that I have lived in Provence and what an amazing, and sometimes overwhelming, experience it’s been. Each year as an expat has brought its own set of joys and challenges. I remember stepping off the plane in Marseille in 2010 and contemplating turning right back around. That same day, at a rental-car agency, I watched the woman behind the desk with a combination of awe and panic. A stream of lovely sounding words poured forth as she clicked away on her computer. Compact, mid-size, or perhaps she was offering us a space-car that could take us to Mars… I had no idea as I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying…

That first year “down south” was a whirlwind of French lessons, a few tears, and many really-long dinner parties.

Moving to another country is tough. I think harder than anyone can imagine, but you just persist every day until your new life starts to take shape. Until you no longer feel like a stranger in a strange land. And, in all honesty, that takes a really long time.

But four years in, I am thankful to say that my “French resolutions” for this year don’t revolve around buying dictionaries or being able to return a pair of shoes without being deathly embarrassed.  There are far less tears and many more dinner parties where I feel like I actually belong.

If you are thinking about visiting or moving to Provence, I highly recommend that you check out this site.  But a word of warning: if you have lived in southern France and left, this site will make you cry.