Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our French Connection

Off the Hostetters are about to go on their month long vacation in France where they will, no doubt, butcher that beautiful, romantic language. But we will try to speak it despite our severe limitations.  (Anna and Julie could tell you stories about our pathetic attempts to speak Italian!) 
Just like in the movie, The Holiday,  we are about to embark on our very first home exchange through
Destination?  Lyon, France, the second largest city in France and the Gastronomical Capital of the world!  We will be gone for  a month with two weeks in Lyon, and then another two weeks in Southwest France and the Dordogne region---home of fairy tale castles, story book chateaus and medieval stone villages. 
With two days to go, we are almost ready, but it's been no small job.  Not only do we have to prepare to travel for a month, but we had to prepare our home for our French family, Shireen and Laurent Vernay and their 4 children, not to mention writing a complete manual on how to run the house.  Believe me, there's nothing like someone coming to live at your place to kick you into high gear and Spring cleaning in July!  We tore into closets, drawers, cubby holes and all the rest, hauling loot to the Brann's upcoming yard sale or to our barn storage loft.  I guess I'm feeling a little insecure about the Vernay's since they own a boutique hotel in Lyon that famous travel author, Rick Steve's, gives a big thumbs up to.  That's a little daunting. They are an adventureous family who "vacationed" in far off Mongolia, so I guess a remote Northeast Oregon ranch will be a breeze for them.
Now we are down to the packing--The Dreaded Packing.  For one brief moment I almost adopted my friend, Carol Macardle's parent's strategy, of going with an empty suitcase, buying clothes at the Salvation Army, getting rid of them at journey's end and filling the bags with gifts to bring home.  How ingenious!
But, being feint of heart, I opted for paring down to one carry on bag. 
So, I thought I'd share with you what I'm taking for the month--mostly because I'm so proud of myself!  First, I threw in five pairs of pants:  white, black,brown, tan and a pair of blue jeans.  Then, four tops or tanks in a variety of colors, plus three shrugs (black, white & tan), one jacket, one maxi dress, one skirt, 2 pair of shoes, a hat and 7 pairs of underwear; plus, the various and sundry toiletries.  Like I said, it will all fit into a carry on bag, which we carefully measured to be sure it passed airline specs.  We will have our computer, for chronicaling our journey along the way and our Blackberry, for international calling. This is unfortunately necessary, since Rahn has several big deals going on in the law office right now. 
While all this work makes me sometimes wonder:  Is it worth it?  I am reminded of what Frances Mayes in her book Under the Tuscan Sun claims.  Traveling should change us, she says. I agree; and for us, it does. So, yes, it is worth it. I'm excited about what we will learn from others and how God will use us in this month.  We've even discovered our church's denomination has a work in Lyon, so we look forward to worshiping with the believers there.
For us, there are so many things to love about travel but at the top of our list is the commonality traveling brings. I still remember a sweet encounter at The Leaning Tower of Pisa when we were in Italy.  We met an older couple, obviously very in love, who asked Rahn to take their picture by the famous monument. The woman was carrying a large bunch of fresh flowers, a present from her lover upon greeting her at the airport. They were so happy that their story spilled over to us like a bubbling brook.  It was basically a tale of young love gone awry.  They broke up after college and went their seperate ways, but they never forgot each other.  Years later, they rekindled their relationship and decided to meet up in Italy--the day we too were there.  By chance (is there any such thing?) we were caught up in their story for that brief moment, never to see them again.  Yet, their sharing brought us together in an unusual way we will never forget.
We can only imagine what wonderful stories are awaiting this time around. One thing you can be sure of, I'll be journaling all along the way. But for now, I must bid you adieu; however, stay tuned!  I plan to share all about our serendipitous travels in the sunny, South of France right here on A Covenant Life.  


  1. So exciting for you Becky and Rahn. Have a wonderful time!!!. Can't wait to hear 'les mots français' and other words of wisdom from your travels to France.

  2. I almost couldn't read your blog for the first time...Do you think Henry would notice if I tucked myself away in one of your suitcases for a month? I guess at this point I probably wouldn't make the weight limit haha. Excited to hear how your trip goes ( french i'm hoping)!


I'd love to hear from you!