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Four Month Trip

Introduction   Guadeloupe   A Week in Paris   Morocco   Southern France   Paris Again  

Introduction/Summary


The attacks in Paris were a terrible thing, but they have not changed our plans. In truth, we think that the most dangerous thing we do is take cabs to and from the airport. Especially when it is dark and rainy and the driver talks on his phone the whole time.

We have rented out our house to a young couple from Roumania, Martin and Alex.. They both work at the Fornax Bakery and she also works at a Greek restaurant in East Cambridge. We are very happy for them to be in our house.

We are in the end of planning our trip and we are always looking for contacts (videographers, artists, friends, choreographers, musicians, etc.) in Guadeloupe, Morocco or Provence near Goult. We have picked these countries so I only have to work on one language.

Plans

On the afternoon of New Years Eve we are flying on Norwegian Air to Pointe-à-Pitre on Gaudeloupe, a department of France in the Caribbean Islands. We will rent a car, and drive to our little apartment in the small town of Les Vieux Habitants on the Basse Terre part of the island. Since there will be few restaurants open, Fabrice has invited us to have dinner with his parents who live in the house where our apartment is located. We will find some champagne (maybe at the duty free) to bring.

Here is the Airbnb Link for Vieux-Habitants

We will be there for four weeks, a shorter time than our stays during our last trip. Hopefully it will be enough time to make a video, meet some people and enjoy some time on the beach. We occasionally watched the show on PBS, "Death in Paradise, so we will have to go up and look at the town where it is shot.  The Cousteau Underwater Reserve is nearby so we will visit that. Also, there are rum factory tours. From there, we fly to Paris on Air Caraibe to stay for a week before we fly to Morocco for a month.

Here is the link for our Paris apartment

Paris at the beginning of February will be new for us. Catching up with friends, buying some clothes for the colder weather and hanging out in brasseries will be our main tasks.

Here is the link for Riad al Rimal, first week in Marrakech

We are staying here because it comes highly recommended by Micki who spent time there last spring. Also, it looks great. We haven't made reservations yet for lodging beyond the first week.

Here is a link for our place for two weeks in Essaouira

It depends whether Isabelle will be joining us for some days. We may go to the desert or the mountains.  (We went to Essaouira for two weeks. It was a good choice.) We will end up in Casablanca for some days depending on what we hear. It is not touristic or particularly beautiful, but that might be turning a bug into a feature.

Here is the link for Christina's in Casablanca

We will fly from there to Southern France from Morocco, flying into Marseilles. We will stay at Veronique's place in Paradou for two weeks then to Goult for a month. We have a reservation there at the edge of this beautiful town.

Here is the link for the house in Goult
Stephen
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Paris is a wonderful city. No question there. At the same time, when we were there for three months last spring, I found myself occasionally wishing to escape to some of the beautiful rural areas of France that we love so much. So for next March and April, we are returning to the Luberon in Provence where we did a twelve-day hike many years back. We will stay in Goult, a small village that we did not hike through, a town that our friends Jim and Lee fell in love with after their brief stay in Paris last spring.

We will also re-visit "Les Glycines," Véronique's place in Le Paradou where we spent some time with her and Malek a few years back. Before Malek died, Véronique had bought a small adjacent cottage that they had hoped to turn into a writers' retreat. She still wants to do that, but it takes money, work, and dealing with the worst red tape I know of, that of the French bureaucracy. So we would not only like to visit, but we would also like to help, however possible, in the creation of the Maison Littéraire Malek Alloula. We haven't figured out the car rental yet, but there is time for that. We always go through AutoEurope, even when we are already there.

Dawn

It seems to be very expensive to fly home from Southern France so we are thinking of returning to Paris and then flying through Iceland or Dublin on our way back, some time around the end of April. My brother Bob and his wife Linda may join us there.
Here is the link for our second Paris apartment

Stephen
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Things we did during the summer and fall, 2015


Following is a little rumination that I wrote last June, a few weeks after returning from our long trip. I am happy to report that my arm and rotator cuff are much better, although not perfect, so I have been able to return to classes and the gym. Hence I am feeling much more at home in my body. Still, the questions around "home" are worth pondering, and I always welcome responses from you. Some of you have already seen and responded to these thoughts. Thank you.

Dawn

Home

During the long trip, there were times when I felt “unanchored." I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, but I thought it was something like being “homesick."  Even though I have been home for a while, I am still feeling somewhat unanchored which leads me to ask myself,

"What is home?"
Is it the Boston area where I have lived since 1970?
Is it the web of friends and family here that deepens over time, notwithstanding some very sad losses?
Is it this house/garden or the things in it that remind us of our parents?

What am I still missing, even though I am "home?"
Yoga or gym or even Zumba (because my fractured arm is still not ready to do classes)
Teaching in SIM - I was so lucky to have employment, albeit not high-paid, that had meaning for me and was apparently meaningful or useful to others.
Having a dance company with regular rehearsals and a wonderful group of colleagues

These communities are now removed from my daily life schedule, people that I automatically interacted with on a regular basis, people who shared some of the passions that I have, movement, music, art, creativity.  Now I have to reach out and make dates with these folks in order to see them.

Also, I imagine that if you have a job that you need to do solely for the income, but it isn't so interesting, that you would look forward to retirement as a chance to do all the things you weren't able to do when working. Wow, was I lucky!  I got to travel a lot during my working years, often related to performing or making choreography and video. Don't get me wrong; I am glad I no longer deal with the anxiety around teaching or doing live performance. I am really glad not to be dealing with the ever-increasing administrative burden of teaching in a state art college. I am glad not to be writing grants for Dance Collective and trying to schedule rehearsals...but I guess I miss the camaraderie around teaching, creating, performing, and mentoring with a group of long-time artist/friends.

I have always felt at home when involved in the creative process:  choreographing, making videos, or writing. Yet lately these projects seem less frequent. Recently I have been waylaid a bit by recovering from an injury, but I still wonder if, being older, I am less motivated to do the hard work often necessary to pull off a big project. Is that being lazy...or is it appreciating simply "being" as against "producing?"

So what is "home?" I would not mind living more closely connected to Nature, be it the ocean, a lake, or a wildflower meadow out my back door. Nevertheless, I don't see myself living totally isolated from urban culture either.  Home is most certainly where Stephen is, and he has proven himself to be very "portable!"  My son's family is in the Boston area, but my daughter's is in San Francisco, always a challenging geographic and emotional divide.  Often, when I sit down to meditate, I have the feeling that I am coming home, somehow coming home to the present moment wherever that happens to be.

What is home to you? I would love to hear how you reflect on this question.

Dawn

We took a week to go to San Francisco ver Thanksgiving. Had a great time. When Amber and Patrick went to Las Vegas to attend a friend's wedding, we got the grandchildren all to ourselves for a weekend.

We came home and had a party for our friends from the dance world. That was fun. We are going out for dinner on Christmas eve with Adam and his family. Northern Italian. Should be great.

Cleaning the house. Repairing the car (sort of). Jason, the check engine light is on again, but we will worry about that in May. We have already painted the front steps.

Saw Boston Camerata three time this year, once in Paris, twice here. Went to hear Markus. Doug Varone. All treats.

Living in gratitude, especially for our friends and family. Trying to spread the joy.

Stephen
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Introduction   Guadeloupe   A Week in Paris   Morocco   Southern France   Paris Again
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