Our Quirky 300 Year-Old French Home Renovation Adventure / August 2, 2020, day 12: We’re adopted by a lovely French family & set up our bed in our bedroom!

In which we play musical beds, get adopted by a wonderful French family, become the proud owners of a 1960s Parisian buffet, set up our dreamy Louis XV bed, and to top it off — we’re given fresh eggs from our airbnb hostess.

Aren’t they beautiful?

This week has been brutal in terms of sleeping arrangements.

July 30: slept at old house sit in the south

July 31: slept in moving van

August 1: slept in upstairs airbnb apartment in La Roche Posay

August 2: slept in tiny studio studio at the airbnb

So, to be honest, the night in the new studio at the airbnb was a serious challenge. My fibromyalgia acted up again in the single bed (it was like lying in a wooden palette) – which was no surprise given that we’ve slept in 5 different beds in 5 nights, driven over 1,400 miles to the south of France and back, packed out of the house sit (back-breaking work) and unpacked the van and moved it into our new home — all while meeting neighbors, negotiating with utilities companies, speaking very bad French 100% of the time, and trying to present ourselves as good neighbors even though we’re dirty, exhausted, frazzled and grappling with some serious unknowns.

So again I was up all night crying and cursing. But I brought it on myself. I knew this life -altering move wouldn’t be easy. I knew it would push all of my buttons (and my trigger points !) But it is completely worth it!

I only share the desperate and painful moments in our adventure because we don’t want to present an idealized Hollywood movie version. We want to share the highs and the lows as they really happen.

How boring would it be if everything were handed to us, easy-peasy, with no challenge, no conflict, no tears and curses? So I had a really hard night, on night 5 of sleeping in 5 different beds in the midst of a huge international move. Who wouldn’t?

So – back to our adventure! Before returning the moving van, we still needed to pick up a buffet we found online at Leboncoin from a lovely family in a small village near Preuilly-sur-Claise.

They had the buffet custom-made in Paris in the 60s before moving back here. These pieces usually go for about 250-350 used, but this one is more elegant than most and made by a skilled craftsman. They offered it to us for 130!!

The French family was so extraordinarily welcoming and helpful. Who said the French are snobs? I’ve never known such warm and giving people.

From homemade walnut liqueur to home-cooked meals to fresh organic eggs straight from the farm to plums, lavender, offers of rides, tours of homes…the French welcome we’ve received has been absolutely exemplary. Other countries could learn a thing or two about manners, kindness, helpfulness, and warm welcomes from the French.

Our adopted family gave us a tour of their beautifully renovated home and their garden, gave us numbers for trusted painters and roofers they’ve used in the past, and said to call them if we need any help setting up the buffet. Unbelievable! By the time we left, we agreed to meet again just because, and the daughter who was about our age asked us out for drinks and one of her yoga lessons!

Today was a huge day. Not only did we have a wonderful visit with our new adopted family (and received our buffet), but Sean also set up our bed in our bedrioom and we LOVE it!!

Swoon!! Ecstacy and bewilderment!!

We stand around the bed as if it’s an exotic animal were a little bit afraid if but hugely excited about, surveying it from all angles, then stepping into it and wondering what it’ll be like when we get a mattress. This is the perfect bed for dreams and nightmares. I told Sean. And it is. The clawed feet, the vines sculpted by hand (on the headboard) that seem like they could come alive while we sleep and wrap themselves around us…

This bed can stare nightmares down and send them running. There is something preternatural about it. Voluptuous and preternatural.

These Louis XV beds sell for €2,000+ in antiques markets but we got it for less than €250! Less than a low-end IKEA bed. The only catch was that we had to pick it up in an extensif remote location.

Our bed was waiting for us in a little village near Spain and Andorra – narrow roads spiraled the sides of mountains, vineyards add far as the eye can see, farm stalls on the roadsides – it was such an invigorating road trip!

Back to our new home : we walk around, punch drunk, careful not to trip over stones or step on nails, saying wow, and woah, and asking ourselves, “holy fook, are we really pulling this off???”

That’s what it feels like when a dream comes true. It feels like some great cosmic swindle, life we’ve outwitted the gods.

Sieste break – eating Sean’s yummy sandwiches & drinking homemade walnut liqueur (a gift from our neighbors in the south of France) during the quiet hours before going back to demolition work

Of course we probably won’t live in the house for a month or so as there’s no running water or electricity and it’s filed with rubble and sagging crumbling ceilings etc !

We’re totally in love with this life-changing adventure – it’s been so much more serendipitous than we ever could have imagined.

It’s the stuff of dreams.

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