In case you noticed there, I did mention a visa appointment and I do, in fact, have my visa in hand for France. Up until now, I didn't feel like it was really happening, but now that I know that they know that I know that they know that I'm actually moving there, well, let's just say it's really setting in. I'm doing things like emailing my roommate (yes roommate) in French (what a stretch!), making plans and checking weather averages (why did I pick an area that could be an artic tundra? And, while were at it, where does one find a coat for below freezing temperatures when it's still 100* outside?). I'm also starting to get excited about being in Europe again, namely being on the same continent as a couple of very dear friends to me who happen to live on a decidedly non American continent.
Over the years, in my attempts to alleviate my Euro-sickness (home sickness but for Europe), I've taken to reading expat blogs and watching lots of travel television. Today travel channel just happened to show an old episode of No Reservations in Paris, which basically consisted of Tony drinking absinthe, eating varying amounts of red meat and going to a genuine French bakery at 3am to see how they make the bread.
But did I mention the bread?
One of my favorite blogs, An American in Ireland, profiled a new bakery called Brown Hound Bakery in a small city in Ireland today. Although the photos were limited and the bakery has no proper website (don't even get me started on how I feel about establishments that only use Facebook as their primary website, ugh. disdain), it made me happy. Along the lines of wanting to own (or at least work at) a bakery at some point in my life, this bakery, as well as the stuff they were making, looked beautiful. There's something about bread and pastry that is appealing because it's so beautiful and refined and yet warm and homey. How can you not feel invited into a place that smells like fresh, baked...something? There's a craftsmanship to perfectly piped pastry (alliteration win!) that makes you feel like whoever made it really cares about what they do.
So now I'm excited, because even though it's going to be cold and new and very rural, at least I'll be in France where there will certainly be a bakery somewhere and, even more importantly, some good friends will be just a short trip away.