Wednesday, August 15, 2012


There was a span of a few days between the movers leaving our apartment with the last box and the day our flight was scheduled to leave for the United States. As much as I plotted and planned, I found it impossible to manage all the loose ends that needed tying up AND fit in a trip to Provence… Eight hours in the car proved to be too much to cross off one last thing from my wish-to-see-while-in-France list: the Provence lavender in bloom.

Instead we tried to cram as much time as possible into those days with good friends and good food, and of course we did manage the other crazy long drive to catch the Tour de France as it wound its way through the countryside just outside of Brive-la-Gaillarde. It was a hard week as I was sad to leave my friends and new life, but also because I felt I had missed this opportunity. I just can’t imagine that we will be back in France in the near future and when we do make the trip, I don’t know if blooming flowers would take priority or that the season would be correct. I finally become resigned to the fact that it wasn’t in the cards for us this year.

We said our farewells. The mom & baby club organized a farewell lunch for Marine and me, and after saying my goodbyes to the moms I saw most of them again at a girl’s night out later that week. I said my goodbyes again, only to be invited over to dinner almost every single night that last week by our dearest friends, resulting in more goodbyes. It was on our way to Vertaizon for a barbecue with Marine and several other families that my disappointment over not seeing the lavender was completely forgotten. We crested the hills to the east of Clermont only to see a patchwork of sunflower fields, fully in bloom and yellow heads turned in perfect  harmony.

Roberts was patient and helped the boys keep calm while I exclaimed over every field, taking several detours to find the best vantage points to snap a picture or two (or a hundred!). Similarly to how rapeseed is processed into canola oil, sunflowers produce sunflower seed oil in France, which differs from the typical sunflower field in the southern US which is planted as a dove-field. With a backdrop of rolling hills and the sun low in the sky behind us, the sea of blooms held me in thrall until I remembered that we had a dinner date. And so we drove on to spend an evening with friends, saying our goodbyes over a plate of barbecue while the kids splashed in the pool and the sun slowly set over the sunflower fields.

Those last nights in France truly were amazing. Although we ended up saying goodbye too many times, we had ample opportunity to find closure and reconciliation. France: “d’accord, you wish to see lavender? Non, il n’est pas possible! The lavender, it is in Provence, and you Americans, you are not. I give you something else to look at. Regardez, tournesols!


  1. I adore these images, it's like a sea of sunshine! Thanks for sharing :-)

  2. What beautiful photos. Although I love lavender and can imagine how wonderful it might have been to see fields of them it looks like you managed to cram memories of a different colour into your last few days!

  3. How absolutely spectacular? It looks like a painting. So pretty. I'm glad you are getting settled in back in the States. Transitions are so hard.

    But, your post really inspired me. You built such a wonderful life in France in just a few years and made some dear friends. I'm so hoping that I can have that here now that we are getting settled in.

    And I know that you will build another wonderful life in SC. Best of luck with everything and I'm so glad you will continue with the blog!!


  4. I wish you a successful transfer to the US, Liene. As your very rich posts attest, you have certainly made the most of your time in la Belle France (and Europe!,) and are leaving with so many memories! I will keep following your adventures... Keep blogging. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  5. I am so glad to learn what those yellow flowers are. When we were in France, we drove by fields of them and never knew. Thanks!

  6. What a lovely and sunny farewell.

  7. Lovely photos. There's something so fundamentally French about sunflowers. Pity you had to leave!

  8. Found this through the #AllAboutFrance link-up and really appreciated the beautiful pictures of flowers. We're also back in Greenville after being expats in Clermont-Ferrand, and it's fun to read about the experience of others! I'm also blogging about life in this region at .


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...