Sunday, June 1, 2014

Au revoir, Annecy

Wearing: tunic made in Nepal, a euro at my local thrift shop vide grenier
(They have them every Saturday in summer if the weather is nice);
Ethnic-y necklace, local thrift shop;
Tom Ford shades, local consignment shop, "Eclectik."

I guess it's not fair: I've been lurking on your blogs, rarely commenting but receiving regular updates on all your lives, and you've heard nary a boo from me, which has caused some concern, namely for a dear long-time reader in Toronto.

It's sweet that my online absence has been thoughtfully noted, but never you worry. It's been a rough few months, caring for a busy one-year old mainly on my own while hubs acclimatizes away to a new job, and I've been sick, exhausted, blah blah blah. But the fog is lifting. I'm feeling so much better and my energy reserves are fueling up again. I feel my spunky old self returning, at last.

Life continues to charge ahead. Our little man turned one a few weeks ago!

This one cracks me up. It looks like he's reading the card but it's a musical card so he's actually listening to it.

There are some big changes in the works for our wee family.

In just a few short weeks, we'll be leaving Annecy and returning to the UK to live in our dream home - pretty much two years from the day we arrived here.

It's a decision that's been in the making for months, when a new job gave us some flexibility as to where we could live. And though I had hoped to never again see the north-western UK town I lived in for three months after being married, after two years in a foreign country, I have long craved it.

So much is relative, I've discovered, especially when it comes to culture and your own sense of home within that culture. So many ways and mindsets in France perplex and infuriate me on a daily basis. I've come to realize I identify more with Brit culture than I do with my native Canadian (I listen to BBC 2 in the morning, not CBC, if that's any indication). And what used to piss me off two-plus years ago in the UK - for instance, being called "love" by the grocery cashier - has now made me want to run back with open arms after experiencing the aloofness (and rudeness) of some of the locals here.

There are lots of other reasons; most importantly, the move is good for our family. At some point, you want to not always feel like a foreigner and put down some roots. Buy a home with a big backyard after living in an apartment. Be close to good schools (not to mention friends). All those things that tend not to rate so high on your priority scale when your're sans baby.

As excited as we are, we'll miss many things about Annecy; namely, the lake. And the mountains. This is the west side of the lake, which I love as it's always less busy. If you follow this path around this side of the lake (on your bike, as we did many a time our first summer here), you'll find many beaches, some free; others private/pay-only. You may also find our fave bar on the water, just off the bike bath (a bit hidden), called La Bottega, where all the young locals lounge on sun chaises as they sip on wine, smoke, and dip their toes in the lake, which comes right up to the sitting area.

Looking across the water to the north east corner of the lake, you'll see the Imperial Hotel (the large white building in the distance) and the private Imperial Beach, which is lovely. During off-season the gates are open and you can stroll about the grounds. Wee Dinky's ashes were scattered in the lake just beyond this beach. Even though she's absorbed into the sand and the water, it will still feel like we're leaving her. :(

Cross the street and you're back in the Old Town, or rather just on the cusp of it. I like taking the back way into the Old Town, which bypasses the busy touristy area in favor of this pedestrian street, Faubourg des Annonciades, which has a back alley feel to it.

On the right, Russian-born shop owner "Tatiana" makes the most gorgeous embroidered wool coats in her studio and retail space called "Extravaganza". (I have a summer dress from there that I haven't shown you yet). Tatiana swims in the lake every day, even in the winter. What pluck!

In the distance, under the second pink and white archway on the right, is "Eclectik", the wonderful consignment shop I frequent regularly and also consign my castoffs to. Owner "Fabienne" is a real sweetheart. There's also a hip (as opposed to seedy) tattoo parlour on the street, several galleries, and a wonderful shop specializing in semi-precious jewellery where you can also buy huge chunks of pyrite for hundreds of euros - a very arty street!

Keep walking away from the lake and you'll come to one of the arched entrances to the Old Town. Just beyond it is Glacier des Alpes, the best gelato and ice cream place in town - if the super long lineups are any indication. Note: there's a gelato and ice cream shop every two shops in the Old Town, so you could try every one to see which you prefer, then work it all off my jogging up the mountains, as the locals do.

If you walk away from the gelato place, lake and mountains, then you're on your way to our place. Stop at 11 Rue Sainte Claire and try out one (or more) of the goodies in the oldest and best boulangerie in town (if you haven't gorged yourself on gelato, that is). Look up and you'll see the window of the apartment we once lived in. (Are the dead flowers still in the flower boxes?).

Who knows? If you're looking to rent an apartment, maybe ours will still be empty ....

Those are the many things we'll miss about Annecy. If I have time, I'll put up a retrospective or two, though there's still heaps of prep to do before we leave and the clock is ticking.

And though I've brought bags of my Skinny Minnie clothing to the thrift shop (sigh), I have managed to bring a few wee things home on the return trip.

I found these crochet gloves in a box full of super-tiny stained leather gloves. Amazingly, not only did these fit my long fingers, but they were also odor and stain-free. All for a euro. Where will I wear them? An English garden party, perhaps? The force of nostalgia was just too strong. I know gloves such as these were big in the 1950s and '60s, but we wore them in the '80s as well (except sometimes, they had the fingers cut off).

My twin sis had a pair that she wore to grade 8 grad, which were like the undersides of these.

I actually went back for this pendant the next day. Don't know why I didn't snap it up right away. It was all of 2 euros and has "Made in France" and some initials stamped on the back. I just love it. The faux suede cord was only a euro in the Old Town.

I bought the body form at the brocante market a few months ago. It was a really good price and I wanted to replace the ones I left behind in Canada. Normally, vintage Judys go for hundreds of euro here. I didn't want or need a vintage one. I want something to showcase my goodies for this blog and hopefully for when I start selling. This contemporary but slightly beat-up one fit the bill.

Speaking of having long fingers, I also have freakishly long toes (well, I was a dancer). In the 1980s we used to prance around in leather ballet shoes that had little heels on them, as part of our normal street-wear, a la "Fame" TV show inspiration. Again, nostalgia loomed large over the purchase of these metallic pink ballet flats I found for full price (double sigh) in the Old Town. And, unlike the many ballet flats I've tried on here, the toe was ample in its length!

I leave you with another peep at my shaggy do, which hasn't been snipped for over six months. It's driving me crazy!

I hope to post again before we leave, but if I don't, I'll catch up with you soon enough. Hope you're all well and staying true to your style and self.

I'm linking up to Patti's Visible Monday after a long absence. I may not be that visible these days, but I am, most assuredly, HERE!