After establishing successful careers in America’s corporate
life and Chicago real estate, and over twenty-five years of marriage, Val and
Linda decided to exchange their master’s degrees, in Divinity, Theology, Public
Health, and Clinical Social Work, their professional licenses, certifications,
their careers, and their Chicago urban lifestyle for village life in
the South of France.
Val and Linda had, in addition to full lives as urban
professionals, an interest renovating their living spaces; reviving them from
drab and dreary to warm, welcoming and gracious spaces. Their friends noticed this as well as B&B
guests they hosted in their restored Victorian home in Chicago. For Val and
Linda, their idea of retirement was to raise-up
a village ruin in the south of France to become le petit jardin de l’âme
Born in 1948, they are among the Baby Boomer generation that has often pushed
the cultural envelope, crossing over to living life in new ways. Their early
retirement at age 53 put them at the edge of many in that generation who will
be living out their own dreams of a good life in “The Third Age”, and the
growing trend of international living.
In their “first retirement” in 2001, they offered B&B hospitality
at le petit jardin de l’âme. They
discovered that their guests sought more than a place to stay. They came to
soothe their soul, refresh their spirits, and reawaken their dreams. The atmosphere
of hospitality and serenity at Le petit
jardin de l’âme B&B, was a unique
visit to the south of France.
In time, Linda found herself connecting to village women through teaching English as a second language.
Val joined a local international choral group, and a small Episcopal
Church community grew up around Val and Linda, to become Grace Church, in the
Episcopal Church, Europe.
When they moved to France it was for “forever”. In la vie en
France, life became full,- sometimes too full, and they realized that “forever”
could be another 20+ years. After
twelve years of a very active “retirement” in France, they decided, in 2012, to
make a second attempt at retirement, this time in The Republic of Panama. Formed
by their past religious life, ministry, teaching, organizational development and
psychology, they bring a perceptive, prayerful, carefully considered and often
comical view to these years of “retired life”.
When they first
announced their move from Chicago in 1999, after 25 years of their professional
careers, people asked "Why France? ".
As they said their goodbyes in France to move to Panama, friends asked
"Why Panama?" - For Val and
Linda, life is a journey and the journey is their life.
VAL LITTMAN & LINDA KOROLEWSKI