The end of the year is always a strange time: the excitement of Christmas and the holiday festivals, followed by that flat feeling in January, the ambivalence of goodbye to the old (good and bad), and hello to the new (ditto).
We then left France to spend a wonderful Christmas in Atlanta with daughter Cathy, her husband Joel, our grandson Alex, and our son Nick, who flew in from Los Angeles. We love the US but miss France, love family but miss our friends.
New Year’s Day saw us flying to San Francisco for a long-awaited trip to some of the great sites of California. We spent two wonderful days exploring the beautiful country of Yosemite, where the short winter days seemed to accentuate the beauty of the wilderness. Another day in Sequoia, where we hiked for almost four hours without meeting a soul, with the exception of three white-tailed deer who calmly crossed our path then continued grazing. Here also we were awed by some of the oldest and largest trees in the world.
Our last four days were enjoying Nick’s company in Los Angeles, and benefitting from some of the wonderful cultural sites: the two stand-outs are Huntington Gardens and Library, and LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Where else in the world could we see a Shakespeare first folio and giant redwoods on consecutive days?
Back home in Atlanta, the family tree was equally flourishing. Cathy gave birth to a baby boy, Benjamin Ian, on January 18, a brother for Alex, who will be four in April. All are doing splendidly.
Trevor and Alex had their own adventure, caught in the giant gridlock caused by the snowstorm which hit Atlanta last week. Trevor left home at 12.45 to collect Alex from school under a light dusting of snow. School and business closings meanwhile caused a huge volume of traffic. Couple this with uncleared roads and drivers unused to and unprepared for snowy conditions, and the result was total chaos. Eight hours later they made it home safe and sound, unlike many other people who were stranded overnight or forced to abandon their vehicles.
Our grandson Alex goes to a lovely French pre-school each weekday morning in Atlanta. He understands a lot of French now, and is also starting to recognize the alphabet – on the page and spoken. We now have a challenge if we wish to say something discreetly to his mum without Alex understanding – maybe we need to use Latin!
The Winter Olympics are about to start in Sochi so let’s wave the flag for another branch of the family, Val’s nephew and niece, who will both be skiing for Britain. Andrew and Rosamund (Posy) Musgrave are both Nordic, cross-country skiers. Some of our English friends may have seen an interview with Andrew on BBC TV’s sport programme Inspire, episode 7.
So a year full of promise. Our apartment in Provence is being cared for by good friends, and we get regular updates. We have so much to celebrate, and would not have missed welcoming our new grandson to the world, but we also look forward to returning to France and catching up with all our friends and activities there.
Best wishes to everyone for the New Year!
Trevor and Valerie
© 2014 Trevor and Valerie White