Getting Settled

We left Texas a week ago today, and it doesn’t feel like it at all. In other words, time flies. In yet more words, holy crap, we’ve already been gone a week?! Much progress has been made, though. We’re not quite finished unpacking, but we’ve got all of our books situated, which means that we’re home. Home is where the books are arranged on shelves, I always say.

On the kitty front, Ronnie James and Nounours are thrilled to be here. We have a little bedroom hallway in this apartment, an interior configuration they’ve never seen before. We put their favorite rug and one of their scratch pads there, and they adore it.

“It’s not a hallway,” Callaghan remarked wisely. “It’s a hangway. Where they hang out in the way.”

Living with Callaghan is a treat for a lover of language. Hangway. I never would have thought to invent such a word!

Here are the kitties chilling in the dining area, another favorite spot of theirs:

 

From the French Alpes to the desert in the American southwest, Ronnie James and Nounours are a well-adapted pair.

From the French Alpes to the desert in the American southwest, Ronnie James and Nounours are a well-adapted pair.

 

Ronnie James on alert, as usual. Nounours crashed out, as usual.

Ronnie James on alert, as usual. Nounours crashed out, as usual.

 

Sleeping and yoga - the two things kitties do best.

Sleeping and yoga – the two things kitties do best.

 

 

 

Happy Friday, All! Excuse me while I dive into the remaining boxes!

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Return to the Land of AZ

We are here! And as of yesterday afternoon, we have internet! Once again, we’re surrounded by boxes, and this time we’re unpacking every last one of them.

We left Austin early on Friday morning, dragging our ponderous beast of a rented trailer behind us as we drove west. An unexpectedly odd sensation: 13 hours later, we were somehow still in Texas. At the half-way point, very late at night, we stopped to sleep for a few hours at a motel. We were still in Texas! It’s not even like we left from the eastern border; Austin is in central Texas. Come to find out it’s one thing to look at a map and note the area of the state compared to other states, but it’s something else entirely to take in its vastness on the road. It seemed that we drove and drove and drove, and we were still there! Under the overcast sky, it almost felt like being in the twilight zone. But we took in some charming little towns on our way out – Fredericksburg, for one (must go back for a proper visit!) – and enjoyed seeing as much of Texas as we could until the sun went down.

The next day, right on cue, the sky turned bright blue and sunny when we reached the actual southwest. It was like we entered New Mexico under a party of sunbeams, and when we crossed the border into Arizona, the broad desert sky was like a gorgeous, familiar embrace.

 

Heading west on a Texas country road

Heading west on a Texas country road

 

In Fredericksburg, Texas

In Fredericksburg, Texas

 

Entering New Mexico!

Entering New Mexico!

 

We had to stop and do the touristy thing and get New Mexico t-shirts. And then I had to take a picture in the truck. This is me in the middle of a long road trip on just a few hours of sleep... in a New Mexico t-shirt.

We had to stop and do the touristy thing and get New Mexico t-shirts. And then I had to take a picture in the truck. This is me in the middle of a long road trip on just a few hours of sleep… in a New Mexico t-shirt.

 

Back home in the desert!

Back home in the desert!

 

Entering Arizona, at last!

Entering Arizona, at last!

 

Basking in it... and here's Callaghan's New Mexico t-shirt.

Basking in it… and here’s Callaghan’s New Mexico t-shirt.

 

Arizona - the prettiest flag in the States, in my opinion!

Arizona – the prettiest flag in the States, in my opinion!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Mess with Texas!

I was sorry to be MIA here on Monday – the schedule this week went off the rails into the great abyss of move preparation. We’re within three days of moving. We’re not overwhelmed, since we’ve been going at a pretty good pace, but each remaining moment will definitely count toward getting everything packed up and squared away.

I wanted to give a huge, hearty shout-out and “thank you” to Texas for being fantastic! When we got here we couldn’t predict we’d cut our one-year-then-we’ll-see plan short and only stay four months, but we did what we wanted to do… we went with the flow and enjoyed Texas while we were here. We spent the four months of summer in exactly the right place, and it proved to be an amazing time.

 

A little keychain souvenir

A little keychain souvenir

 

Texas is great for many reasons. Here are just a few highlights, things we especially appreciate:

–The people here are friendly, warm and big-hearted. They have an easy way of making one feel at home, and they’re genuine people. Good people. In three words, Texans are awesome.

–The service everywhere is outstanding. Texans know hospitality!

–It’s easy to live here… the cost of living (in Austin, anyway) is very reasonable.

–We’ve had nothing but solid, good experiences with the public transportation system here. There’s a convenient network of buses that take you everywhere you want to go, which includes buses that run late at night. Also, we’ve noticed that the freeways here are never too jammed (compared to, say, California).

–Austin is a good time! It’s interesting just by virtue of the fact that it’s the state capitol. There’s the capitol, itself, and there are many museums to explore.

–We’ll never forget the bats under the bridge, and with the Colorado River here in town and our fossil-hunting family adventure up north by Dallas and the countryside in between, we got to enjoy some sides of nature we’ve never seen before.

 

And the t-shirt, of course

And the t-shirt, of course

 

So the next few days will flash by, and then, like the Ingalls’, we’ll pack up our covered wagon (well, a U-Haul trailer attached to the back of our truck) and head west.

Happy Trails, y’all!

 

Spaces Where Things No Longer Reside

Though we’ve been busy with moving-related business, we did get to relax in Valence over the weekend while Chantal was here. It was nice. It was our last time hanging out in Valence, since we sold our truck yesterday and are now officially without wheels. Yes! We’ve made it to the stage where the “lasts” are piling up.

 

Saturday, 11 May 2013. Last time hanging out in Valence (while we live here in France, anyway)

Saturday, 11 May 2013. Last time hanging out in Valence (while we live here in France, anyway)

 

Saturday, 11 May 2013. Last time hanging out in Valence (while we live here in France, anyway)

Saturday, 11 May 2013. Last time hanging out in Valence (while we live here in France, anyway)

 

So, the movers are coming today, and then we’re going back down to the French Riviera for (another!) last visit with family and friends before we leave. And after we get back, we’ll sit here in the forest with no car and no stuff and try to sell everything that’s not going with the movers today.  Or we might give stuff away, if people would be willing to come out to the boondocks to get it. Here’s a picture I took of our house when we went for a hike with Benedicte (when she came to visit) a few weeks ago:

 

Our little house! We live in the upper right corner of the building.

Our little house! We live in the upper right corner of the building.

 

Little House in the Rhone-Alpes! (Just imagine the accent circumflex over that “o.” I don’t have my French keyboard with me right now).

BIG TRANSITION AHEAD

We’re moving!

In September 2011, The Universe poured us a tall glass of France. The Universe was generous.

Universe: Say “when.”

(fast-forward 17 months)

Us: When!

That was in January. Since then, we’ve been super busy preparing to move. We’re now less than two months away from moving day.

While there are aspects of France I’ll miss, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t excited to be continuing on our amazing journey as a couple living completely irrational lives.

We’re heading across the pond to Austin, Texas. It’s on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, which I love. (Yeah, I was the 22-year-old girl who moved to Phoenix “temporarily” and wound up staying for 20 years. I’m a heat-addict.) Austin has a 100% approval rating from everyone we know who knows it.

Us: Hey Austin – Joe, Holly, Nick, Davey, Eden, Tracy, Christa and the person who wrote that cool book about bats have all told us so much about you!

Austin: Only good stuff, I hope.

Us: Of course! Here we come!

Austin: You seem weird enough. Especially him. Knock yourselves out. Oh, and BY THE WAY we’ve been targeted by that crazy man in North Korea. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Well, okay.

In addition to its obvious advantage of having a legendary flock of bats under a bridge, Austin has a low cost of living and a diverse music and art scene. It’s a state capital and a university town, and it’s on the Colorado River. We’ve never been there, and we’re especially loving the excitement of that! We’re looking forward to exploring a new place together.

As for the transient bats we have with us here in France, well… they’ll just have to carry on without us, those shameless little camera whores.

 

The bat crew

The bat crew

 

Look! They're wearing pants!

Look! They’re wearing pants!

 

Posing for Myspace

Posing for Myspace

 

"Do you seriously think an Austin bat could be a cute as ME?"

“Do you seriously think an Austin bat could be a cute as ME?”