JUNE 14th, 2015: Turning 26 in France

“Everyone should be surprised on their birthday,” Michelene said on the 13th when she picked me up in Epagny in her trusty Twingo. I jumped in the car and we drove to pick up Meg (the other birthday girl) and to meet up with our other friends Jacqueline and Nico.

Jacqueline put a basket of food in the trunk- fresh cherries, a baguette, cheese, meats, chips, wine, and a chocolate cake. We jumped in and started driving, windows down, and music playing as we drove around the lake and slowly moved higher and high up the mountain. My hand rested on the edge of the window seal as I watched the lake move farther and farther away. It became smaller and bluer with every mile higher.

We stopped at the Col de la Forclaz and hiked up to a beautiful spot where the paragliders take off. We had a picnic. I felt so happy. I sat there and couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that I was turning 26 in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It was also a place I hadn’t known existed until a year ago, which is crazy to think about. I was with people I loved and appreciated, some of whom had been by my side experiencing this whole thing with me from the beginning.

We left, explored an area around the lake called Talloires, and then went north about 20 minutes up the lake and rented a paddle boat and stand up paddle boards. We drank wine, played in the water, tanned, went downtown and made lovely memories I’ll never forget.

I’m so so lucky. 🙂

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The next afternoon on the 14th my host family threw a lovely lunch for my host mom’s brother and me, and we ate amazing Thai food prepared by her sister-in-law. Despite my early morning hung over status from a night of too much crazy, after some champagne and a shot of espresso I was eventually able to shake it off and enjoy the festivities. As French lunches go, we ate, drank, chatted, laughed, opened presents and relaxed on the back patio.

Oh, yea….and they gave me a BRAND NEW CAMERA. !!!





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Again, I felt so much love over my birthday weekend.

MERCI BEAUCOUP to everyone who made me feel so special.  I love all of you. ❤


  1. tucionacreations · July 5, 2015

    and we love you too … you became our “Big daughter”, a true friend and for sure a member of our family ! We will miss you …

    • lhockenb · July 5, 2015

      ❤ ❤ don't make me cry already, I'm out of tissues LOL I feel the same and can't wait to be reunited again as soon as possible. 🙂

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