November 26, 2015


Note: An English version is below the French one.

J'allais vous parler encore de la nouvelle vie en France après le 13 novembre, mais, vu la date, j'ai changé d'avis. Aujourd'hui, aux States, c'est la fête nationale préférée des gens: Thanksgiving. C'est ce jeudi que l'on se met au tour de la table avec des amis et de la famille pour dîner ensemble et pour dire "merci" pour les bonnes choses dans la vie. La star de la fête, c'est la dinde. Ce soir, chez nous en Bourgogne, nous allons faire un poulet avec "stuffing" (cubes de pain trempés dans le bouillon de poulet avec des carrottes, des branches de céleri, des onions, le tout rôti avec le poulet), de la sauce canneberge, la purée de pommes de terre, et des petits pois. Ça va être sympa.

Et pourquoi pas vous remercier au même temps? I am thankful. Je suis reconnaissant. Pour...
  • l'accueil que ma famille a reçu depuis notre arrivée en Bourgogne en 2013
  • la vraie amitié que nous avons trouvé ici
  • la générosité des bourguignons. Vous nous avez invités chez vous pour les anniversaires, pour les repas de famille, pour les repas du quartier, pour l'apéro, pour les gaufres, pour nous montrer votre savoir-faire (les terrines, la chasse, la vinification, le chocolat, etc.). Vous nous avez logés quand on a eu un petit souci avec notre logement. 
  • la chance de parler de la vie américaine à l'antenne de France Bleu Bourgogne et d'écrire des articles pour le Bien Public
  • les compliments pour notre français (reste du chemin à faire!)
  • le patrimoine français
  • les gens qui lisent ce que j'écris ici et ailleurs
  • et, bien sur, pour la gastronomie et les vins de Bourgogne!
C'est impossible pour nous de savoir combien de temps nous allons rester parmi vous. Quoiqu'il arrive, merci pour tout ce que vous avez fait pour nous. Comme on dit souvent à la radio, "on est bien ensemble."

I'm thankful for this guy.

Ah, Thursday. At least that is what it feels like here. Our children are both at school, the woman in the local cafe had no idea what Thanksgiving was, and I still have never seen a whole turkey for sale anywhere in France. (This doesn't mean I don't have a full fridge today; there is a 7 pound wild boar shoulder waiting to be butchered in there. Stay tuned...)

Nonetheless, distance and language cannot keep me from thinking of everyone in the US. And, of course, how obvious it is that the Cowboys are about to ruin Carolina's perfect season.

Naturally, I pause on this day to be thankful for...

  • Family and friends
  • Health
  • The extraordinary good fortune we have to be American. No matter the messes in the world, it is still a blessing -- everyday -- to be from the USA. 
  • The ability to see and live beyond my own borders, outside my comfort zone. 
  • The people of Burgundy who have welcomed me and my family with such incredible generosity. Consider this brief list: they have invited us into their homes for family meals and birthday parties. They have let us mourn with them, both in reaction to recent events but also to other sad moments in their own personal lives. They have given us an entire house for seven weeks while we had a brief interruption in our housing situation. They have taken us hunting, walking, snail-gathering. They have shown us how to make terrines, chocolate, wine, and waffles. They have helped us immeasurably with our French. They have shown us secret spots that no one else knows about. They have given us entire shoulders of wild boar (stay tuned!). They have helped us with our vegetable garden. They have babysat for us in a pinch. They have given us work, advice, friendship, guidance, and uncountable memories. They have taught us how and when to give les bises. They have paid us housecalls when our kids are sick. They have taught us how to make regional specialties. They have interviewed me. They have translated some of the writing you read here into their own tongue. They have allowed us to enter -- and win -- cooking contests. They have divulged their secret recipes for parsley butter for snails. They have left leeks, cucumbers, and carrots on our doorstep. They have let me write articles in French for the local paper and invited me on the radio. And more than one of them has said to us, "You're like family."
It was a crazy decision to move here, and we will have to deal with all the challenges of pausing our careers in our prime, our new financial reality, our American homelessness when and if we return home. But for now, on this day, that list of experiences makes whatever comes next worthwhile.

Peace to all of you on this day. I'll pretend that someone is actually reading...please stop! Fix yourself a drink, eat a lot, and watch football.


  1. Well I could read some more !... this is a real pleasure !...
    Ok for the drink and the diner, but sorry no football for me !...
    Thanks for all the compliments to the frenchies and all other things you wrote but it can't be ootherwise when we know you. I really do appreciate all 4 of you ... and will miss you very much if you abandon our little place in Burgundy ! c u soon ! love. xoxo - Chouchou <3

    1. We are thankful for you as well! Thanks so much for reading.

  2. Also to be thankful for: no hair on the soap.

  3. That would be an excellent book title. Thanks for reading and keep in touch. Feel free to send an email.