Bonjour! About me…

Antibes 9.20 009 VLFLast month I decided that I would go to France- for several months.  I’m here now on the French Riviera in Antibes and what a crazy time it is!   I’m trying so hard to be a polite American and to not disturb the wonderful people here.   But all the challenges- I don’t  speak the language and they just do things differently.  I ask questions and all I hear is  “C’est tres facile” (it’s very easy).  If it was so f–king easy I wouldn’t be asking how to do it!   This blog is my story of trying to have fun and be a respectable visitor in a place where I have such little understanding of the way things are done.  And to remain tolerant of the crazy differences.  Hope you enjoy my take on the way it is!

If you’re interested in more background about me, continue reading.  If you want to jump right into France, get to the posts.

Why I’m here- I have never traveled by myself before, at least not where I didn’t have a person on the other end waiting for me to arrive.  I felt that I needed to get away… clear my head.   I had had a successful business in developing real estate that cumbled when the economy took its downturn and real estate values in my area fell 50%.  Not good.

During the roughest time, both Mom and Dad died within 11 days of each other.  It was a real blow.    It hit me har and I’m still not the same person I was before Mom died.  There’s a carefree innocence that’s gone.

During this past year I’ve known that I need to move forward, but I’ve been stuck.  I can’t quite seem to get my feet under me.  I’ve been feeling anxiousness that I’m afraid is sliding into depression.  I felt the need to yank myself out of my surroundings as a catalyst to be forced to think from a different perspective.   In other words… to clear my head.

The last time I saw Mom, she said, “Vickie, you need to get your life in order”.   I think this trip is a step in the direction of doing just what Mom suggested.   While trying to slide into life in a foreign country that I know so little about.

This blog is the short, maybe humorous version, but still enlightening, I hope!  A bientot!

  • Connie says:

    Take this time to heal and enjoy the beauty that France has to offer. We will follow your blog and always remember your family is only a e-mail or phone call away. Have a safe journey!

  • Patty says:

    Wow, Vickie. What nerve you have to travel all by yourself in a foreign country. Stay safe and I wish you the very best. We will be in BB the third week of October and hope to see all four sisters and others including dear Elinore. We love you.

  • donna says:

    love the blogs! I miss you here but I am so proud of you and your blog. love suse

    • Well, thank you! I really enjoy writing them. For one thing, I have no one to talk to so it feels like I’m talking to people and telling them the things that are happening, and the other thing is I usually laugh out loud as I write them. Such funny things happen here… it’s so wierd being in an environment where you are at such a disadvantage and have to figure out everything that’s going on!

  • Patty says:

    I am hooked on your blogs! Keep them coming. They are so real that I feel as though I am there or/and you are talking to me. Love you.

  • Gene says:

    Vickie. That’s a nice name.

    Thanks for sharing your blog with me, and your soliloquy “Devastation – …Not so incidentally, I like the simile “My finger popping up like a flying puppet!”

    “Good luck with your writing.

    WriterGene – the guy from FedEx

  • Dear Vicki

    I am leaving my apartment to take my long walk … also thinking of Antibes … and my Parents … who also passed away exactly one year of each other. My solice is Antibes. I was the artist in residence in Antibes in 2008 during Jazz a Juan … and two days after I returned to the USA my Father died .. one year after my Mom. So … we live in parallel universes. Great joys and great sadnesses.

    I happily look forward in reading your blog … if you walk west of the Marche Provencal and find yourself in the Safranier area of old Antibes, look up to the incredible stone villa of Villa Fontaine. THAT is where I lived for three months – June, July and August … and hope to return for the 50th Anniversary of the Jazz Festival.

    If you visit the artists of the Marche Provencal, tell Jean-Paul and Ivo and Marie-line that I send kisses and I hope to see them soon.

    Write to me and keep in touch. ENJOY your time in the MOST beautiful place in the world –


  • Kaitlin says:

    To Vicki,

    The Director of Public Relations at Hearst magazines would like to know your contact information. Is there any way we can reach you besides in this format?


    Kaitlin, Public Relations Assistant

  • Indo says:

    I read a few of your posts and as a fellow traveler and a fellow American, they were difficult to get through.

    A few simple rules for traveling in France (or anywhere): Be polite, don’t be presumptuous about what is acceptable and what is not, go with the flow, accept and try to ENJOY the differences.

    The French are great at spotting BS, which is probably why you had difficulties in pretty much every interaction you had along the way. If you are cool, quick witted, open minded, gracious and fun then your interactions will be great.

    BTW, this is coming from someone that works with a lot of tourists in Europe. It absolutely pains me to see another person that just doesn’t get it. And before you write me off as someone that is just a jerk trying to be a big meanie, you should remember that you are responsible as a traveler to “play a part on the grand stage.” By that I mean, don’t just show up as yourself and act like you would in your hometown and expect others to change. See what the locals do, adapt, be charming, make friends, laugh at the crazy moments, and make yourself a welcome addition to the scene.

    Its not just about taking pretty pictures, shopping, getting “proper” service at restaurants, and expecting people to give you what you want. Its about embracing the experience. That’s where the true joy of travel comes from.

  • Carmen says:

    Love…Love… this. You are a gifted writer.

    While researching Dr. Lavagne, I found your blog, got hooked and read and read. The similarities are amazing! My business took a tumble in 2008 and I thought “what do I have to lose?” So I arrived in Paris May 1, 2009, with only 4 days reserved in a hotel and then I just allowed life to happen. I returned to the US after 90 days.
    The gift of the written word is not one I was given but I have an eye and my trip is documented with images…thousands of them.

    You have written the way I felt.

    Today, I’m living in Antibes with a resident card and continuing to allow my life to “happen”.

  • Carmen says:

    BTW I’m from Philly too.

  • Anne says:

    Wow, what a great blog to come across. I found it because im planning a trip to Antibes next year, and it had good info. Now im just fascinated by you. I am going to read the other blog now. You are the original Eat, pray, love. Thank you!

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