Well, you must have known this was coming. Forthwith, the top ten things I'll miss in France and Leran are:
10. Our uniqueness. - I think we must stand out like sore thumbs here in Leran. We are the only Americans, and I'm a pretty big target. I'm pretty sure, with our petite camionette with Utah license plates and Worst President Ever stickers, that when someone says "Les Americians" they know who they are talking about. Back in the states, we're just ordinary blokes.
9. The French villages - Je ne sais qoui. I'll miss all these villages, little and big. Something about them, their age and lack of perfection that makes them perfect. The evidence of decay is always present, but these buildings have been around for three hundred years or so, they will probably be doing just fine in another lifetime or so. Next to every well-maintained house with beautifully painted shutters is a house no one has done anything to for sixty years. And it just adds to the charm.
8. The presence of history everywhere - Everywhere you look there has been some massacre 800 years ago, or a Roman structure, or some thing destroyed in the Revolution. For an American from the Western states where history is counted in decades, not centuries, it is fascinating.
7. The Marche Nocutrne Leran - I guess we've written enough about this that you'll know why I'll miss it. There was another one last night. Nancy took a big pan of Beef Stroganoff for anyone who looked hungry. We ran into two Irish ladies who we'd talked to in Limoux earlier in the day, so we sat and ate with them. What a great thing for a village to have.
6. The climate - With the exception of the humidity, the weather, the climate have been wonderful. Every time it gets too hot, a cold front blows through and cools it off. Its been happening all summer. Our house is always cool, even on the hottest days, no need for air conditioning. And we can leave our windows open most of the time, day and night. A big difference from the continental climate I'm used to living where the temperature can shift 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit in a day.
5. Everything is so close together - This is the opposite side of the coin from missing the wide open spaces.
4. Wine and cheese- You know I'll miss these two stalwarts.
3. The incredible landscape - I find it so beautiful and different than where I'm from. The landscape around Leran, for me, is the perfect melding of mountains, agriculture, old civilizations, trees, rolling hills, chateaus, blah blah blah.
2. Our crazy friends - We've made some wonderful friends here and we will miss them. I'm not quite sure why we have met all these wonderful people; French, British, Australian, Canadian, Irish, but we have. There is something about this village that seems to throw people together, there is only one bar, or perhaps the Marche Nocturne, or the size of the streets or the size of the village, or maybe the fact there are a bunch of English speakers all thrown together in France. Almost all of us are actively working on our French language skills. I suppose there are historical precedents. Think of the Jewish ghetto in New York; Jews from all over the world in one place. Little Italy, same thing, a bunch of Italians from all over Italy in one neighborhood. It can't help but bring you together.