Back Home in Essoyes…

March 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment


Nature’s Sweet Welcome Home

Well, after six weeks away–nearly a week in Paris in February, followed by five weeks in Washington–I am back home in Essoyes.

And it is very good to be home again.

That is not to say that my time away was bad, not at all!

I always love time spent in Paris. (“I’m always just a little bit happier when I’m in Paris,” is how I think of it.) This time in addition to all the usual enjoyable diversions, I got to see a dear old friend who was there at the same time I was quite by accident. How wonderful it was to see him, and have a chance to catch up on our lives, and the news of our families!

Then I had a wonderfully rich, productive, interesting, and fun few weeks spent in the Washington D.C. area.

This time I was there (once again) primarily to deal with the unending saga of The Storage Locker That Will Not Be Emptied. I have ceased to be embarrassed about this, and have decided to be grateful instead. Not only has that storage locker allowed me to hold onto some very special things–mostly personal papers, photographs, etc. that I need for my work, along with some precious family memories–but it has also forced me to return to Washington every year or so for at least a few weeks. And that time has allowed me to deepen friendships I left behind, and even make some new friends.

I’m grateful to so many people for the kindness and generosity they extended to me in a variety of ways during my time there: more specific thanks will be coming to them in the days and weeks ahead. For now I’ll just say that among other highlights of my time there I was able to reconnect with my dear “Frenchies” (the French conversation group I started seven years ago, still going strong); teach two classes at Politics and Prose Bookstore (one about “getting along” in France, the other a mini Writing from the Heart session); and enjoy a “Demystifying the French” book signing party that some very kind friends hosted for me a few days before I returned to France.

I am truly a bit overwhelmed by it all. I don’t really feel deserving of such kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm about my book: but I am very grateful for it.

There were plenty of sweet solitary moments also, moments of taking breaks from the drudgery of going through boxes of old letters and photos, during which I came to discover some of the charms of suburban Virginia: and enjoyed some sunsets on warm spring evenings, the lovely sounds of children playing in the background as I walked. (Sunsets are beautiful pretty much everywhere, you know?)


Sunset in Arlington, Virginia

But, as I said. I’m back home now.

Last night I went to a meeting in the village hall where the citizens of Essoyes were beginning the planning for an exciting summer of celebrating the centenary of the death of Pierre Auguste Renoir. Essoyes is one of the places where the great painter and his family loved to spend time, and the family home here is now  beautifully restored and open to the public. There will be much more to come about this soon…stay tuned…

After the meeting I walked home, heading into a beautiful, quiet, pinkish sky; past fields of wheat that can only be that kind of green in early spring.

And it was very lovely.

Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and of literature who divides her time between the U.S. and France. She teaches “Paris: A Literary Adventure” for the City University of New York each summer, and her next writing workshop will be held in Paris this summer. She is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You. She is currently working on her next book, a literary memoir entitled “A Long Way from Iowa.” 


Entry filed under: About Essoyes, Neither Here nor There.... Tags: , , , .

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