We document our family's working sabbaticals as well as adventures a tad closer to home.

Getting Our Gîte On

Getting Our Gîte On

A major component of the Burwell grand life experiment is the ability to live/work abroad. We needed job flexibility (check!). We needed a desire to stamp the crap out of passports (check!). We needed the Magic Jack (check!). We pulled it off, I’d say with some panache, in Reykjavik nary a few weeks after moving into our house in the summer of 2010. I was aggressively confident we’d do it again in 2011. Then I got a little pregnant so last summer was not one for traveling beyond Babies ‘R Us. Have others successfully done it? Sure. I was not a natural at newborning.

Which means, friends, I’m triply jazzed about this summer. Because this summer not only will lil’ Lo get a passport stamp and we’re living abroad but we’ll be doing it with my sister and her family for the month.

This summer we’ll be here:



It’s a gîte! In Normandy! With two separate living areas so we can pretend we are French condo neighbors! For the non-gîters out there, gîtes are self-catering homes available for rent and are often converted barns (like ours) or old something-or-others that have been rehabbed.

It’s nearish a smallish village called Rânes, majorly west and a dash south of Paris. I don’t think it’s particularly close to anything, really, but that might just be the point. The family that is renting it recommended a car and then informed us they’re installing a trampoline. So we’re going to be just fine.

Now, before you plan to rob me (schmuck) you should know that I am a step ahead. We’ve rented our home to a lovely neighborhood family who will be busy renovating their place. We’ve thought about swapping and may get there someday. This felt like a fabulous, mortgage-paying first step.

In preparation, I asked for Rosetta Stone French for my birthday. My plan? A lesson every day or two and voilà, re-fluency. I spoke lovely French in high school and wrote essays in French on novels in French. Now, a few glasses of wine and I might try to start singing this song in the translation a friend and I developed at 16. “Allez, vient, je parle à toi…”

So far? Well, so far, in four months I’ve finished one lesson. I can re-comfortably address issues related to an individual or group drinking, eating, swimming or cooking. Since those are the four activities I imagine we will do the most this summer, I’m all set.

On Fridays

Announcing the News, One Year Later