Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My 42nd Birthday!

En Français . . .

Je m'excuse auprès de tous mes amis français.
Je sais que je vous dois beaucoup de mises à jour sur notre nouvelle vie en Amérique - avec des images.

Pour l'instant, voici quelques photos de ma fête d'anniversaire cette année.Notre merveilleux ami Danny nous a emmenés à San Luis réservoir, où nous avons roulé son jet ski génial pour 4 heures d'affilée. Nous ne s'arrêta que parce que nous avons manqué de gaz. Il a été un de mes meilleurs anniversaires jamais!
Vous me manquez tous beaucoup! Nous ne pouvons pas attendre pour revenir en France.

Gros bisous!!

In English . . .

I apologize to all of my French friends. I know that I owe you a lot of updates about our life back in America - complete with pictures.

For now, here are some pictures of my birthday celebration this year.
Our wonderful friend Danny took us to San Luis Reservoir, where we rode his awesome jet ski for 4 hours straight. We only stopped because we ran out of gas. It was one of my best birthdays ever!

I miss you all so much. We can't wait to come back to France!

Love to all!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bastille Day

We missed Bastille Day (le quatorze juillet) our first two Julys in France, but we caught the festivities this year!

Bastille Day is technically on July 14. However, to maximize the viewing pleasure of the fireworks around l'etang, each of the villages on l'etang celebrates a different night. So, it all started in Bouzigues on July 13 (followed by Balaruc July 14, Meze July 15, etc.).

The Bouziguads (both by birth and by general acceptance) gathered in front of the mairie (town hall) at 9:30 pm. Everyone received a French flag, and each child received a lantern (a paper lantern on a bamboo pole with a candle inside - obviously OSHA does not exist in Bouzigues!).

When it finally got dark around 10:30, the parade through the village began.

We ended in front of the port where the fireworks show dazzled us!

For us, it was very magical. Before the village festivities began, we ate dinner at Sophie's where we met Hamza (Sophie's fiance) and Jessica (Sophie's best friend) and Milan (Jessica's son and Sophie's godson). It was very fun, and we were thrilled to finally meet Hamza, Jessica & Milan!

At the festivities, we got to hang out with Debb, Reed, their granddaughters, and we got to see all of our other French friends!

It was almost like Bouzigues was having a going-away celebration for the Billats. How cool is that?!

Sabrina, Cyrielle, Laurent, Axel, Logane, and Jordan joined us for the fireworks, too.

A perfect end to our last summer in Bouzigues. We are very, very lucky people.

Love to all!!

Our Last Fun Day in France

We were lucky enough to spend our last day of fun in France with Debbie, Reed, and their granddaughters - Sophie & Isabelle.

We spent the day in one of our favorite places in France - Roquebrun.

Thank you, so much, Debb & Reed for helping us out the last week (not to mention all the countless other times!). Summer evenings in your garden are priceless memories.

Love to all!!

I'll let the pictures do the talking for me this time...



Random Fun . . .

Merci a Sophie!

Although it has a taken me several weeks to post this, it is not due to a lack of desire!

I want to thank Sophie, from the bottom of my heart, for making our last year in Bouzigues so much fun.

My regular readers know who Sophie is. She is our young friend (now more like the little sister I never had) who spent time with us each week. She took us fun places, she cooked us amazing food, she taught us all about life in the village of Bouzigues, she entertained us with stories, she helped us learn more French . . . She is the best!

Chère Sophie,
Je tu remercie beaucoup pour faire partie de notre famille. Tu nous manquez terriblement. S'il te plaît viens nous rendre visite bientôt. Tu peux rester aussi longtemps que tu souhaites!
Le plus gros bisous dans le monde!

Our last week in Bouzigues, we finally got to meet Sophie's entourage! Her
fiancé, Hamza, her fabulous parents Gerard and Helene, and her best friend, Jessica. We hope to see them all again for a visit next summer.

Love to all!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Alizée and Ondine

Another heartbreaking farewell . . .

During our last year in Bouzigues, we have had the great fortune to live in the center of the village in a maison de pêcheur (a uniquely French fisherman's house).

Our greatest joy in living in the center of the village has been the fact that Max and Josey can play outside, unsupervised, for hours at a time. They have taken full advantage of that spectacular gift, and their pleasure in playing outside has been in great part due to Alizée.

Alizée means tradewind, and she truly did blow into our lives like a breathtaking wind, leaving pure delight in her wake.

She is the most darling child I've known, besides my own (of course), and I'm so sad to see her go.

Her family is leaving Bouzigues, too, and
Alizée left one week before us.

Yes, overall, that makes it easier for Max and Josey to leave Bouzigues. However, it was a heartbreaking farewell.

Max and Josey adore, absolutely adore, Alizée and her wonderful sister Ondine. Their friendship has been a gift, and I know all four children will remember one another for the rest of their lives.

Goodbyes are so bittersweet. I'm crying right now because I am so grateful for having Alizée and Ondine in our lives, but it's so sad that it's over.

I know we will keep in touch, and I hope to see them both many times in the future.

I leave the rest to pictures.

Love to all!

Farewell Party Chez Sabrina

I am very sad to say that our time in France is almost at an end. Early Friday morning, July 16, we will drive away from our home in Bouzigues, on our way to our new home in Santa Cruz.

We are sad to end our Bouzigaud adventure, and we are very sad to leave our friends.

In a fabulous farewell party yesterday, we said goodbye to some of our favorite people in Bouzigues.

Merci mille fois to Sabrina, who has been a wonderful, sweet, considerate, and thoughtful friend to us for 2 years. Sabrina hosted the party at her house with Cyrielle, another awesome friend who we will sorely miss.

It was a perfect day, with perfect friends and perfect food. I am very grateful to Sabrina, Cyrielle, Franck, and Laurent for making our farewell so memorable. We will miss them so much.

Sabrina & Cyrielle made us the most awesome souvenirs!! Check out the great artwork (I hope you can see it).
They captured some great memories: camel riding in Morocco, Dado (a.k.a. Miko) surfing a wave in Biarritz, Josey sailing in an Optimiste sailboat, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the French flag & the American flag - just to name a few. Each of us also received personalized souvenir t-shirts! I don't have pictures of my cool shirt or Mike's yet, but they are spectacular.

Sabrina et Cyrielle,
On va nous manquer de passer du temps devant l'école, de rire de l'histoire choquante. Vous êtes merveilleux amis, et nous sommes vraiment reconnaissants pour votre amitié.

Et merci beaucoup
pour la grande fête et les souvenirs parfaits!! Nous aimons nos t-shirts et panneau!

Vous allez nous manquer beaucoup.

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois. Gros bisous et beaucoup d'amour,
Gayle, Mike, Max & Josey

Et encore, je parle et ecris comme une vache espagnole!

And now, to show everyone what a wonderful time we had . . .

Oh my, it's going to be a brutally sad last few days in this amazing place.

Love to all