Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Living Abroad in France and why

View from Colonial Court Inn, Indian Rocks Beach, Florida by Helen Tilston

Having lived  in Australia, Canada, Honolulu, Florida and Ireland I have been reflecting on why some of my siblings are travellers and others have chosen to live in Ireland.   Could it be the music we listen to that inspires us to travel.   This beautiful song by Nina Simone, which I heard recently,  is "on repeat" at my house.


This song brought to mind my blogging friends who have chosen to live in France.
 French Essence The beautiful and observant Vicki Archer formerly from Australia speaks of living in Paris and Provence.
http://afemmeduncertainage.blogspot.ie/  Also beautiful and a journalist Tish Jett formerly from the USA now living near Paris.
http://lostinarles.blogspot.ie/ Another beauty whose eye is always on the arts, Heather Robinson formerly from the USA and now living in Provence
http://quiddity2.blogspot.ie/  Dawne Polis  Also a beautiful and talented photographer and writer  from the USA who just very recently, as in a month ago, moved to France and is going to be renovating an older home.
My French Country Home  The beautiful collector and writer Sharon Santoni formerly from the U.K. now lives in Normandy.
La Pouyette.  The beautiful and soulful Karin, whose country of origin I do not know, writes and links music that always warms my heart

I would love to hear from these bloggers and their story on what was the first note that set them on their course to live abroad.  Was it a song like "My Father" by Nina Simone?

Are you living in a country different from your birthplace?  I would love to know why and what inspired you to move

70 comments:

  1. Oh Helen …. I am SO the opposite !!!! I could never contemplate living anywhere else …… the United Kingdom will always be the place for me to live but I do admire those who choose to live in another country. I love to travel but, when I am on the plane on the return journey and we are flying over the green patchwork fields of the UK, I am so happy to be home. XXXX

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    1. Hello Jackie
      I understand your love for home. The view of returning home and flying over the U.K with patchwork fields is indeed so unique to the UK and Ireland. It also warms my heart to look down and know it is my roots.
      Your cheerful disposition tells me you love wherever you are.

      Helen xx

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  2. Helen, I am very touched to be included in such a wonderful group of bloggers. Actually what many of them do is beyond blogging...it is the best of the best! And I will look up Dawne's site too. Changing country is such a big step...as you know...

    As for me, my story is similar to many others - I came for the best reason there is: Love! Once I had met Remi I knew that there was no looking back. His work was in Paris (at the time) and so his moving to NYC was not an option. It was a huge change for me: I changed careers, am far from my family and friends...but when love calls...we have to answer.

    Gros Bisous and thank you for the Lovely Nina Simone,
    Heather

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    1. Dear Heather

      You do deserve to be up there with the big girls in every respect. You are all so talented and gifted together with being excellent writers.

      Your love story and how you and Remi met is very special and I love following your life in Provence. I fully understand the sacrifices one makes in leaving their home land for new pastures. Family and friends left behind tug at the heart and are forever on our minds. We miss so many Sunday dinners!!!

      Helen xx

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  3. I can't wait to read why other people chose to live in another country. For us, we always dreamed of living on a small tropical island in the sun and walking on the beach. The Cheer's song from the television show by the same name: "Where everybody knows your name" was part of it. One of our best friends even named their cottage "Cheers." We met people from all walks of life that wanted to escape to a simpler lifestyle and not have to "keep up with the Jones." It was the best thing we ever did. Years later I wish we had followed up with the same plunge in Provence, but for now we just visit for several months at a time and "pretend" to live there.

    I read Vicki & Tish's blog daily and will definitely look into the others. I'm so glad you are happy in Ireland.

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    1. Hello Sam
      How exciting that you ventured to a tropical island and I love the analogy to Cheers. That was a marvelous programme.
      I have tremendous respect and admiration for those who live in a country and have to deal with learning a new language. That is a hero in my books.
      I like that you return to Provence and "pretend" to live there. We do likewise in Venice and Florence. I did not know others did so.

      Thanks for sharing you story Sam

      Helen xx

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  4. Hello Helen,

    Your question really triggered my emotions today... I actually wrote so much I thought I would put it up on the blog... :)

    It wasn't a note that prompted the move but rtaher falling in love with a property...

    Thank you for including me with these gorgeous and talented women... The link to my thoughts is

    http://vickiarcher.com/2014/11/letter-provence/

    beautiful music, a much loved track in this home... xv

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    1. Hello Vicki

      Why thank you most sincerely for devoting an entire post on your reason for living in France. I loved reading about your falling in love with a farmhouse.

      I can imagine the beautiful farmhouse with Nina Simone serenading you.

      Helen xx

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  5. Hi Helen - I went to travel .. just never made it further than South Africa .. the lure of home and family called before they were gone - I made it and it was good to be here for them. Now I channel my own positive course ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hello Hilary

      Your return to take care of your family was kind and the right thing to do, as you well know. Your course is indeed positive and your blog uplifting.
      Have a glorious weekend

      Helen xx

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  6. The wonderful thing about my life is that serendipity has played such and extraordinary role in everything I've done.

    Thank you for including me in such a remarkable group of expats, some of whom have become friends I'm happy to say.

    I'm also happy to say that we have become friends, albeit virtual -- at least for the moment.

    xoxo,
    Tish

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    1. Hello Tish

      I find all of you Englsh speaking expats to be very courageous. You braved learning a language and carving out a career. Brava.
      I certainly would love to meet you one day and, l also consider you a friend.
      to a great weekend

      Helenxx

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  7. Dearest Helen,

    Nina's voice, the piano's twinkling notes, and her expression, havr brought tears to this expat's eyes, on this dark and dreary afternoon, in a usually sunny, Mediterranean isle.

    After a whirlwind romance of ONE month, I was proposed to by my husband, (although we married about a year later, since I had to return to my job in Toronto, and he remained here in Crete, with a few visits in between). To be honest, I didn't want to move form my beloved Toronto, and in fact, I'm on a mission to return there permanently soon, since my daughter is living and working there and has decided to stay. It's ironic how things have worked out, so far.

    Thank you for the song, and even the tears. Enjoy your day, my friend.

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. Hello Poppy,
      A beautiful love story has you living in Crete. Toronto has a way of getting a hold on a person. Perhaps the diversity. How fortunate you daughter is happy in Toronto and no doubt you have family still there.
      We love going to the Danforth. When I first went to live in Toronto in the 70's it was a very conservative city and the Greek after hour coffee shops were a God send. We could sing and listen to singers who sang beautifully. They would usually pass the guitar to my three friends and I and say "Now Irlande's will sing". I remember they particularly liked one Irish song "Peggy Gordon" and we always complied.
      Music has a way of moving us and I fully understand the tears of joy and those of an expat.

      Helen xx

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  8. So envious of those who've actually made their dreams come true by living in another country. One of these days. . .I keep saying to myself. Good hearing from you again, Helen!

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    1. Hello Jackie and Joel

      If it is meant to be I am sure you will eventually live abroad. There is a country for everyone. Meanwhile you enjoy roaming around the world and experiencing new adventures which I always enjoy reading

      Helenxx

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  9. As a writing teacher once asked, "When did you catch sense?" It's that arrow to the heart--whether a person or a place--that can upend us out of our lives...

    (ps. and I haven't heard that song in so long. I knew the Judy Collins version first--am now going to track it down! College days.)

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    1. Hello Jean S

      What a wonderful expression."When did you catch sense" Personally, it has not caught me yet!!Wanderlust yes, sense that is questionable.

      Glad you liked the song.

      Helen xx

      Nina Simone lives or has lived in France.
      She has an interesting life story. If interested see you tube interviews
      Helen xx

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  10. Dear Helen, I am flattered that you should include me in your post, thank you.

    Although I love England and I grew up very happily there, I was always fascinated by anything foreign, be it family trips abroad that would literally make my skin tingle, or guests from abroad bringing their exotic accents into my family home.
    As a young girl I told my mother that I wouldn't stay in the UK as an adult. I just knew I'd live elsewhere without knowing how or where it would be.
    I came to France as a student, fell in love and the rest is history

    Today I have my own children and I realise how generous my parents were to let me fly off and create my own life

    Thank you for asking the question :) and how about you? what has taken you so far from home?

    xx

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    1. Hello Sharon

      Of course you are included. I knew a little of your life, from your blog.
      Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your creative mind was at work as a young girl when you heard exotic accents.

      I so agree with you on your parents being unselfish and allowing you to travel. My parents also told me "Above all we want your happiness and live your life as you want but please visit us every year"
      I did and often several times a year.

      My story is long and perhaps I will do a post on it one day soon.
      Helen xx

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  11. I have lived in Italy for a lond period and I have experienced life in France. I was happy and so curious to discover another way of life, culture, friends. But family and this feeling of emptiness,I was still foreigh, brought me home...I'm not sure I was right but I think that people we love make a land beautiful and welcoming.
    Love the song!
    Good to hear from you Helen!
    A hug
    Olympia

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    1. Hello Olympia

      You say it so well when you say: I think that people we love make a land beautiful and welcoming.
      Powerful words and I know exactly how you feel and felt when abroad.
      For me it was always Sunday morning when homesickness visited. As an early riser, it was the church bells chiming, families rushing to church, aroma of breakfast cooking and being alone at this time (all friends were sleeping in from previous night of partying). These times are imprinted in my mind and Sydney Australia in particular as it was my first away from home country.
      Hugs

      Helenx

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  12. Lovely to see you blog, Helen, and your list of expatriate bloggers, some of whom I already follow. I will look at them all. While I love travel, I am happy that Australia is my home. However, my daughter is another who has followed love - to Canada, where she lives with her little family. So far away for a mother... xx

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    1. Hello Patricia

      Thank you for sharing your story. Australia is a beautiful country too and so diverse. It would take many lifetimes to see all the beautiful spots.
      I am sure you love visiting Canada too and seeing your daughter.
      Skype and Facetime make life easier and families closer.
      Helen xx

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  13. This is such an interesting post and I've read the comments, too. I've never traveled abroad but I felt someone like I was leaving 'life as I had known it' when I moved to Florida. It's such a different climate and lifestyle. It suits me and after 10 years I love it more and more every day! Sweet hugs, Diane

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    1. Hello Diane

      It is indeed a big transition moving to Florida from another state. You also live in a beautiful part of Florida and can easily drive out of state if need be. I always think the USA is like several countries as the states are so diverse. What was your home state?
      Helen x

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  14. Helen, this is an interesting subject (and a beautiful song). Are you from Ireland? I've never lived abroad, though I wish I had.

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    1. Hello Jen

      I am happy to read you found this subject interesting. I was born and educated in Ireland and left when I was nineteen for Australia. I divide my time between North America and Ireland presently. The best of all worlds
      Helen xx

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  15. Alors, the future is clear to me now. I must move to France and be beautiful too. Which was your favourite, Helen, of all those lovely places where you have lived?

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    1. Hello radiant, stunningly beautiful Mise.

      As you live "pretty far west" that makes you the fairest of them all.

      You ask a loaded question, dear Mise when you say "which was my favourite". It's like this, in my single days I was a one man woman. Many of my friends dated several men simultanously. When it comes to countries, I am a gad about and each week finds me flirting with somewhere new.
      Helen xx

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  16. In all our travels I find such beauty in Greece but it's too far..my 2nd choice would be Costa Rica because of the climate...maybe one day we will retire and travel and stay for months instead of weeks

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    1. Thanks for sharing your two favourite countries. Staying for longer periods is a luxury and we find gives us a greater insight in a place and it's people.

      Helenxx

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  17. I've always wanted to live in France. Tom and I have been traveling there twice a year for the last 15 years. So, in a way, I feel the connection and familiarity as if we had a home there. Great blogs! I particularly love Karin's site. Her gardens are beautiful. Cheers

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    1. Hello Loi
      Returning to France at frequent intervals certainly gives a great insight into the country. Like you, we are creatures of habit and when we love a place we return again and again.
      Wishing you a delightful weekend.
      Helenx

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  18. I lived in the US for a year but then had to come home. I guess I am tied to this limestone rock with shackles of steel.

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    1. Hello Loree

      You live in Malta and what scenery. I have yet to visit and will defintely do so soon.
      It definitely benefits a person to live abroad.

      Helen x

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  19. This post inspires me so much. The more I travel the more I contemplate living abroad. I'm sure if I fall in love with another country my bags will be packed for yet another adventure.

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    1. Thanks for visiting. You sound like a girl after my own heart.
      Helenx

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  20. Helen, believe it or not, I really prefer to 'travel' from afar; I love to read and look at pictures and televised travels more than the real thing. For some reason, travel is stressful for me. Perhaps staying for long periods would be better for me.

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  21. Dear Helen thank you for this lovely feature as I would love tho live in France. I so appreciate your friendship and support!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Hello Karena
      Happy to read you found this post of interest. I hope your dream of living in France is realized one day.

      You have a great and diverse blog

      Helen x

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  22. DAWNE POLIS wrote this in an email to me. Here computer is acting up.

    Thank you, Helen, for including me in this wonderful group of bloggers. I have read them all, and they, like you, are such an inspiration.
    We have only been here for a few weeks now, but I can tell you that I have been in love with France my whole life. Maybe it was the stories my mother told me ( she was half French) or the old book I fell in love with at the age of 7, which was set in Provence (The Golden Goat) or maybe it was the images formed in my mind as I heard my parents harmonizing to "I Love Paris" on the radio, but whatever set me on this path, I knew that someday I would live in France. I smile at your song, Helen,as the Judy Collins version of it has long been one of my favorites. I find myself humming it often. I am just so thankful that we actually did get here, and that my husband loves it as much as I do!

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    1. Hello Dawne,
      Sorry to hear your computer is refusing to work in France!

      I had know, from your blog, about your frequent visits to France and how exciting to hear all the little inspirations that added to the big move. Song writers and singers have a big say in planting the seeds for faraway hills.
      I must listen to Judy Collins version of this song.
      It is great that your husband fits in and loves France too.
      Have a glorious weekend and happy renovating.

      Helen xx

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  23. We love France and have been several time, but have never lived in another country. Switzerland is my favorite country I've ever visited and think I would have no trouble living there (as long as I could take all of my family)!!

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    1. Switzerland is beautiful too. I can see the attraction. I will give you permission to take your family with you!!! We can always dream
      Thanks for visiting
      Helen xx

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  24. Hello Helen. Nice to meet a fellow nomad. I was born in England but neither of my parents were and I have moved around a huge amount - it's the Irish in me. We are an uprooted people and it gets into the blood. Lovely song. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hello Marianne

      It sounds like you have travelled extensively and where do you live today?
      I understand when you say "it gets into our blood". We are dusting the suitcases this week.

      Helen xx

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  25. My dearest Helen,

    This is a thought-provoking topic. Why do we call a place home? Many people find that a place called home is more than a geographical link or connection. After all, home is where the heart is.

    For example, our beloved actor, Dirk Bogarde lived for many decades in France and perfectly happy in his domestic paradise with his partner (until he sadly became unwell with his ill-health, they had to move back to England). I still read his books from time to time.

    I hope all is well with you. I am sorry for my long absence. I am so glad to hear from you.

    Take care, dear Helen,

    ASD x

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    1. Dearest ASD
      Home is where the heart is and the heart can change and long for greener pastures.

      How interesting that you should mention our beloved Dirk Bogarde. I recently started re-reading my collection and they are still as exciting as the first time I read them. Dirk adjusted to all that life offered both the good and not so good times. He is one man I would love to have met. I was saddened when he died. Did I mention that I planted a white lilac bush at our farm in his honour. Who can forget his delicious chicken dish that you posted and which I have cooked on numerous occasions.
      I wish you a quick recovery and fond wishes till next time

      Helen xx

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  26. PS. We share the same taste in music! I love Nina Simone. I admire the way she sings and interprets her songs.

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    1. My dear friend, We certainly do like the same music. I think we could talk for house and listen to music and be perfectly happy.
      Helen xx

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    2. My dearest Helen,

      Wishing you a very merry Christmas and happy new year. I would like to thank you for all your kindness, support and friendship in 2014 (and for all the years past). May the joy of season fills your heart with goodwill and good health. Best wishes, ASD xxx

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  27. Oh Helen,

    I live in France in my heart. I teach French, I did live in Nice for a while, but so temporarily because I had a life here with my husband. But when you know a language, you live in that mindset. How did I decide to get there? I really don't know other than when I was a very young child, I read MADELINE and the drawings of an independent little girl living in a disciplined and interesting situation just spoke to me. I wanted to go to Paris, and since then, I've never returned.

    What lovely links you have provided. Vicki is my daily read, and I am familiar with the others who are just as talented and beautiful. It takes a courageous spirit to step out into new worlds, that is for sure! Thank you so much for coming to visit. Enjoy your holiday! Anita

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  28. Having only a visit, nudges me in the direction of dreaming of a life living in Europe. Oh Helen yes music plays a big part in how I react to the daily activities, and how it moves me in a direction to paint something artful or mold and bend something to take shape. While building a wood structure or a French theatre music will play in the back ground encouraging a fantasy of where I am living in the moment of my day dreaming. I know you know this feeling being your an artist, and inspiring people, places, or things inspire greatly.

    I remember your Ireland post, my grandfathers dream before he passed was to return to his home there, I would love to share in your beauty and walk the lands your home resides, it was a most beautifully intriguing post and a home to love.
    I would love to live in the south of France, you know I would take any cottage or farmhouse for that matter anywhere in Europe, it just inspires the best in any artist who feels the right kind of rightness in its beautiful language of arts.

    Thank you dear for always visiting and encouraging my art, I have joined in on a theatrical production with blog friends come visit, you will see why I day dream.

    Xx

    Bisous

    Doré

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  29. Lovely post. I love Europe and especially France and I am contemplating on visiting Europe again this spring and am quite excited about it. I will have to visit some of the blogs that you have mentioned too. I am so glad that we became connected through blogging. Have a lovely weekend.

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  30. Love a couple of the blogs you mention and know something of their stories about why they live in France. Romance, for one. I can see why....France is enchantingly romantic, at least from what I've seen of it :)

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  31. Good evening Helen! I just came home to read my blog and I wanted to come by to thank you for commenting. You sang in Gaelic in church? What a GORGEOUS LANGUAGE! I am in love with language, and to hear many familiar songs in other tongues makes me want to cry - to think the peoples of the world need and want to express themselves with such different sounds, inflections and beautiful words...it's wonderful. I love Enya's version of Silent Night. I am glad you came by.

    Happy Christmas! Anita

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  32. I don't think I'd like to live somewhere that was not my own country, but that's mainly because I do feel rooted in England, and all my family and most of my friends are here.

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  33. Oh Helen, with my fathers side being Irish and my grandfathers last wish to go back to Ireland I can see why some of your family just choose to stay home, it's a holiday in itself. I would love to live in Ireland, and so does my daughter, not sure we would ever leave if we ever got there.
    And so true that music is a big influence on how we live, eat, or travel :)

    It's always a beautiful joy to see your visit to my place.
    A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Xx
    Dore

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  34. Well, I haven't ever lived abroad... I stopped by to wish you happy holidays and new year, Helen!

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  35. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

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  36. Happy New Year Helen!
    Thank you SO much for visiting and for your lovely words.... do hope your Christmas was good.

    Hugs Jane

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  37. Happy New Year, Helen!! Best wishes for health and happiness in 2015!

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  38. I always thought I would love to live in France, and maybe I will someday - but for now I will happily daydream about it while I live in my favourite place in the world (Canada's West Coast)

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  39. Nice Post. All readers will definitely like this post. Looking forward to your next post.

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  40. Hello Helen, well you certainly triggered the hearts longing for France with this post. I've always dreamed of living there, Amelie style...though it seems a dream it must stay. Popping in the movie now and then transports me...imagining living in that lovely chartreuse tinged Parisienne atmosphere brings on such artistic inspiration, even the music does the trick...it makes me feel that I feel I've lived an alternate lifetime somewhere else for the moment, which is lovely. I admire these ladies so much...they've really chased their French dreams and created that special lifetime reality, and the fact that we get to share in those dreams with them through their wonderful blogs is divine!
    Happy New Year Helen...
    xo J~

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  41. Ciao Helen,

    Nina Simone has had a place in my heart for many years. For Sam and I the move to Italy was to chase adventure. I have always been in love with Italy since my teenage years and love of art. Backpacking in my 20’s convinced me that Italy was my soul. I’m so happy that I have had the chance to show our children this heritage that belongs to them. Australia is my heart and Italy my soul xxx

    ciao ciao lisa x

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  42. Darling Helen,

    Such an interesting question you pose here. Why do some of us choose to live away from our 'home country'? We often ask ourselves this question and rarely reach a satisfying conclusion. Perhaps in our case it is simply that we took a wrong turn ( or could it be right turn) at Calais?!

    Whatever or wherever we do think that travel broadens the mind considerably and there is really nothing like immersing oneself into a new culture by living there and experiencing the daily life amongst the people. We are certain that our lives would have been the poorer if we had stayed in England. We feel blessed to be able to enjoy the rich cultural life that Budapest has to offer....we only miss the sea!

    Wishing you and your family joy, peace and prosperity for 2015. May this be the year that we meet in the real life.....wherever that may be.

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  43. Bless you dearest Helen, for coming to say good-bye. I will not delete my blog, and will keep it up as a wonderful memory of a very beautiful part of my life. Thank you for the kindness, the inspiration. Anita

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  44. Interesting question Helen! It started out as a work necessity when we first married. Twenty five years and four children later..it has become a way of life and a passion. Lots of questions still to be answered..it's been a journey..which will eventually come to a fork in the road. Ah..life! Sending you warm wishes from Saigon Helen for a wonderful life in 2015. xx

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