Keith Van Sickle
the author of One Sip at a Time will be on Tour January 28-February 8 with
Are We French Yet? Keith & Val’s Adventures In Provence
(travel memoir) Release date: December 15, 2018
SYNOPSISCan Two Americans Really Become French? Val and Keith turned their lives upside down when they quit their jobs and moved to Provence. But they wondered: Can we fit in? And maybe become French ourselves? Follow their adventures as they slowly unlock the mysteries of France… – Is it true that French people are like coconuts? – Can you learn to argue like a French person? – What books have changed French lives? – Most important of all, how do you keep your soup from exploding? There’s more to becoming French than just learning the language. If you want the inside scoop on la belle France, you won’t want to miss this delightful book!
A French Crime Spree
One of our favorite cycling routes begins out in the country, so we cram our bikes in the car and drive to the starting point. One day we parked on the side of the road, unloaded the bikes, and began our ride. Everything was fine until we got back and saw broken glass next to our car.
“That’s funny,” said Val, “I don’t remember any glass there before.”
“Look,” I said, “someone broke our window. We’ve been robbed!”
Val said a very bad word and then, “I left my little black travel purse under the seat! How could I have been so stupid?”
We frantically checked the inside of the car. The thieves must have rifled through our belongings because everything was in disarray, with the glove compartment open and maps and papers all over the floor. Luckily, they missed Val’s purse and instead stole our Styrofoam ice chest.
Real criminal masterminds, these.
The car, a rental, came with insurance so we found the insurance company’s number and called them to report the broken window. They told us to file a report with the St-Rémy police department and when we got there, the officer manning the front desk turned out to be a real comedian.
“Our car has been broken into,” said Val.
“Was anything stolen?” asked the officer.
“Nothing important, just an ice chest,” said Val.
“They didn’t get the sandwiches, did they?” he asked, looking alarmed.
“No,” I replied, “we already ate them.”
Then he took the car’s paperwork and our IDs and started filling out a long form on his computer. While he was doing that, another officer came by “to investigate the crime scene.” He was wearing a white lab coat plus a facemask, safety goggles, and latex gloves, and in one hand he carried a big box marked Kit de Crime. He left to inspect our car and came back a few minutes later.
“I have examined the crime scene,” he announced dramatically, “and determined that your car’s window has been broken.”
Wow, I thought, these guys are good!
When the first officer finally finished with the long form, he printed it out, signed it and then loudly stamped it in a bunch of places. Stamp stamp stamp stamp stamp. The French just love to stamp paperwork and the more times the better. Val was about to sign the paper when I noticed an error—in the box for her marital status the officer had marked Célibataire (Single).
“Excuse me,” I said, “but my wife is married. To me.”
“Oh, sorry! My mistake,” said the officer.
“In fact,” I continued, “we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary soon.”
I noticed Val looking disgruntled. “Well,” she said, “I was kind of looking forward to being single again. 25 years is a long time.”
Ha ha, she’s such a kidder! I think.
We finally finished the paperwork, shook hands all around and headed home. As we left, I remembered that we had been in this police station once before. Years earlier, when the car we were renting had been parked on a different country road, someone had broken into it and stolen a melon.
St-Rémy was definitely experiencing a crime wave.
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Are We French Yet?: Keith and Val’s Adventures in Provence is a fun and entertaining read. Keith and Val are two Americans who try to make a new part time life in Provence, France. They have to learn and find a way to fit into the French culture and society. Will Keith and Val be able to pull it off? Will things happen as they expected?
Are We French Yet?: Keith and Val’s Adventures in Provence I quite a delightful little book. It was interesting to find out what they went through trying to fit in. It must be such a culture shock for them. I learned so much. I even found myself laughing out loud at some of the adventures they encountered.
I am giving Are We French Yet?: Keith and Val’s Adventures in Provence four and a half stars. I recommend it for those who want to know what to expect if they travel to France. I liked it!
I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.