Carrefour is a major grocery store chain in France.
It does a lot of business here in Beijing also.
We love Carrefour because they run a 4 day, all you can taste, wine event every 6 months.
We went in October of 2013, for the first time, and met a bunch of wonderful people who have become dear friends here in Beijing.
We went last night, with our friends, Brandon, from Pleasant Hill, California, Jimmy from Philadelphia (who we met the day before on our trip to Mongolia…that is a blog post that is coming up soon!), and Rachel, who was born here in Beijing but has lived in Boston and Buffalo and is sadly moving to Hong Kong in a month. Jill and I met her at a Jing A Brewer’s Table beer event last month and we will miss her greatly. She’s wonderful, funny and sweet. She also helped us do the negotiations for our new apartment and is like family to us already!
The best part of the night is taking time to talk to the people selling the wine and getting so much information and seeing how friendly everyone is with each other.
We also enjoy the free wine, of course, and the chance to try wines that we normally would not have been able to try, or even afford, in many cases.
We had our palettes opened up to new wines and new wineries and we will be sure to visit them all when we go visit France in the very near future.
Some of our favorites were Chateau Coufran andChateau Verdignan, which our new friend, Federic Vicaire, was pouring for us. He told us interesting stories about his family history and that his grandfather and his great grandfather owned two different wineries in Haut-Medoc region of France. The family still owns them and the wine was amazing.
The other wineries we really enjoyed tasting were Albert Bichot and Jean Bouchard, which Christophe Bichot, was pouring for us and everyone else. He had an amazing white wine, from Mersault, named, “Les Charmes” the we loved. Neither Jill nor I usually like whites but this was truly amazing.
We loved spending time talking to Federic and Christophe as they obviously loved the wines, the history and talking to people about them.
Last but not least, we were able to taste some wines from Margaux and Saint Emilion which were elegant and wonderful.
One of the true joys of the evening was the my co-worker, Peter, and his girlfriend, Gabrielle, came by and we were able to spend time with them drinking wine and discussing life and being expatriates in Beijing.
Peter was kind enough to invite us over to his apartment and we had pizza, wine and a great time with friends and his wonderful kids, having incredible conversations about everything we could think of and talk about together.
I honestly love being an expatriate 99% of the time.
The only time I don’t is when I miss someone’s birthday, or a wedding, or if a loss or death occurs and Jill and I aren’t able to return home for that event.
The trade offs, of missing those events, are balanced out with the chances to meet people from all over the world, see new places, and learn about our own strengths and how we can respond to adventures and changes in our own world. We are tested, each day, by something new and we grow from it and learn more about ourselves, what we want, and what we value.
Jill and I have been thinking more and more about what we want to do in the future and where we want to live.
We probably won’t end up back in America for a very long time since we want to live somewhere by the water, live cheaply, and continue to explore places we’ve never visited yet.
According to Tripadvisor, I’ve been to 15 nations at this point, traveled 399,346 miles and seen 10% of the world. I’m 45 years old.
I really would like to get that up to 100 nations, 1,000,000 miles and 50% of the world by the time I’m 55.
Being that Peter is from the Netherlands and Gabrielle is from Quebec, we now have connections there and will make sure to visit them if they are there when we go.
The 100 nations is not an actual goal but more of a journey that Jill and I want to accomplish as we travel, meet people, see the world, and experience life on the road.
I’m incredibly lucky and honored to have the job I have, the chance to live this way, and to be with Jill on this journey.