Each year I fall further and further behind with adding the Year in Review. There are always plenty of things that we’ve seen and done, so I’m not so sure why it takes forever to get it written . . . well actually, I do, it’s just hard to admit that I procrastinate too much when it come to doing it!
2016 had some real highs and lows. There was plenty of travel, for Tracy, Alan spent a lot of time babysitting Sami and Lou.
We started out the year anticipating our daughter’s graduation from the University of Phoenix, the last of the kids who were in college when we left for France in 2013. We ended the year with the addition of a 17 year old into the household.
January was busy with the preparation for our move from furnished rentals to an unfurnished rental and a three year lease. We had found a place that we really loved but after waiting for six weeks, we found out late in January that the owner did not wish to rent to foreigners. So we hit the ground running needing to find a new place to live before our visa renewal appointment.
A friend had told us about France’s version of Craig’s List, Le Bon Coin. We lucked out with our first attempt and found a cute little one-bedroom apartment near the beach and the rental office was just a 10-minute walk away. Camille was amazing and within a few weeks we had a three-year lease as well as keys to an unfurnished apartment.
February was still sale season so we spent the entire month moving our meager belongings to the new place while making trips to various stores in nearby Perpignan looking for just the right items to put in the house. We kept everything fairly modern looking with whites and greys that don’t fight too hard with the speckled tile floors and the red cabinet in the kitchen.
By the end of February we our new place furnished and were ready to move in March 1. By the end of March we had our first “parfait” at a visa renewal thanks to the addition of an electric bill in our name!
February and March were big months in the family as well. Miss Alice joined us in February and Miss Lydia in March. Yeah for big families!!
April was spent visiting a few sites around the area (including Camp du Rivesaltes, a post was just recently added to the blog — sat in draft form for quite a while) and seeing friends Joan and Greg before they left for their travels.
May was spent preparing for Tracy’s trip to the U.S. to see daughter Dallas graduate in June. And June was spent apart with Tracy traveling from Oakland to Sacramento to Reno to Salt Lake City to Colorado Springs back to Reno and then on to Las Vegas. A great time was had and new grandkids were met along the way. A great friend, Echo, helped with the driving and chatting and visiting and cheering for Dallas’ graduation.
July we had our first visitors in our new apartment when Kyle and Alex stopped by on their way to explore Italy. We had such a great time visiting with them and showing them around our little town.
August was more traveling for Tracy when friends, Tammy and Ashley, came to visit. A five city, 10 day tour of Europe ensued and left travelers ready for a good rest, warm beach and chilled wine back home.
September and October were spent getting settled back into the post tourist season in Argeles. Getting our last tastes of favorite foods from restaurants that would be closed until the next season right around April/May 2017.
November was all about getting ourselves stocked up with things to do inside for rainy days and cold days and really windy days.
December just sucked. After nearing six years of fighting for her life, our granddaughter Lillian lost the battle. Alan had just sent his passport in to be renewed and was not able to travel with Tracy, who went back to the States to say goodbye in person to her little princess. The funeral was lovely and Lillian’s mom, Danielle, gave a eulogy that was breathtakingly beautiful. The girl is completely gifted as a writer and brought tears to many of the eyes of those who attended. The family all came together to celebrate the life of our warrior princess.
Tracy stayed through the holidays with her mom who was having knee surgery shortly after Christmas and then left to spend nine days with the Las Vegas son, daughter and grandkids before joining Trina and EttaKimiyo at McCarran International.
Upon her return to France, Tracy had in tow a 17 year old niece, EttaKimiyo, with a backpack, a student visa good until the middle of December, and a slightly bedraggled sister who was carrying the rest of the nieces luggage. A couple of days of getting settled in and sister, Trina, was back on her way to Reno while Tracy nursed a moderately intense case of DVT. Alan finally got to travel a bit when he escorted Trina back to Barcelona to catch her flight home.
Now we are working on high school classes again, with EttaKimiyo. Teaching her how to use the bus system, plan and cook meals, manage her time with six classes and how to do laundry in France.
Alan and I decided a long time ago that if you purchase food at the grocery store and do laundry in a foreign country that you are considered travelers, not tourists. We are teaching Etta to be a traveler!