After a glorious and whirlwind week in the Dordogne, we unfortunately had to say aux revoir to our new home and fly back to USA.  We drove from Le Bugue to Paris in miserable, drizzly weather. It was as if even the weather was sad to see us leave. A lovely boutique hotel in the 17th arrondissement was home for the night. I used to live in that area on Rue de Courcelles and love revisiting when I go back. We started with a mad dash in the rain to an inviting brasserie for an aperitif. (one of the best inventions – who does not like a little drink and snack while relaxing before dinner). A glass of champagne with some nuts and olives hit the spot while we people watched. One of my favourite pastimes. We walked around the square and settled on a cozy looking restaurant for dinner. Actually, if I remember correctly, it was the place right next door. But, who would not want a change of scenery? We had a delicious meal and great wine and headed back to the hotel for our last night on French soil – for a while at least.

The next day was back to work but now we had so much to do. First off was to sell the house in Studio City, decide what furniture we wanted to get rid of, what we wanted to sell, where would we stay once the house sold, find a moving company, storage etc. etc. etc. Look into whether we should sell Stuart’s bikes or take them to France. Stuart had 2 BMW motorbikes. As far as the bikes were concerned, it made sense to sell them as registering them in France would be a very complicated and expensive process and that was before even taking account the cost of shipping them over. But, do not fear, Stuart has already been scouring “Le Bon Coin”, the French equivalent of “Craigslist” to find a replacement. He has decided to downsize to just one bike. Makes sense because our new garage now includes tractors! Selling the house proved fairly easy. The most difficult bit for me was not being able to decorate for Christmas and the holidays as the house had to be on show quality at all times. Running around each morning before work putting out fresh towels, hiding the toothbrushes and shampoos, sweeping the floors and making sure we had fresh flowers out at all times was a bit tedious but it all paid off and before we knew it, February had arrived and we had to vacate the house. Luckily we found a furnished sublet in Santa Monica and moved right in with 3 suitcases and nothing more. What we had decided to keep was in storage, enough to fill a 20′ container and the rest had been sold on “Craigslist”. I must admit that I was a bit dubious about selling stuff but it really worked out well for us. Stuart was great at fielding all the emails and calls. Now, it was just going to be a waiting game until we decided when we should actually move for good. Already, I was getting impatient and so eager to move into our new home. I told everyone who would listen about our new home and shared pictures compulsively. A few years until early retirement now seemed like a lifetime.