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January 24, 2009

Oz



Yes we did it!   
Now the world breaths a sigh of relief while we wait with optimistic hearts to see what tricks this newest man behind the curtain has at his disposal.  

Everyone here talks about what an amazing load of misfortune this new president has on his plate, but I am inspired by the general optimism that shines through.  It seems that even Obama's detractors have high hopes, the silver lining to the Bush era.

We had an inaugural ball here in Martel. Some of our French friends took the occasion to declare our house an unofficial American Consulate, and insisted that we should start issuing visas and proclaming stuff!  We were about 50 strong, a handful of Americans in the crowd, mostly French, but a nice international crowd. Everyone attentively watching the ceremonies (6 pm in Martel) and drinking Obamatini's!  Lot's of raucous shouting, and lot's of congratulatory repartie.

We watched the un-ending parade on the big screen into the night, we watched the ever attentive Obama's wave to every American who passed by, then they went onto the Balls while we slept.

We felt very connected to America, very proud to represent her in our adopted land, and a part of the new spirit that's been planted, let's see what grows!

Thanks to our friends Jack and Martine, who don't  appear in any of the photos, because I borrowed the pictures from their blog about us:



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January 19, 2009

Obamatini


We are planning an inaugural ball for tomorrow evening. We have a responsibility, living in France and representing America, so we will be hosting an inaugural ball. 30 French people coming by to share our optimism in a new president with mountains to climb and secret cellars to fill in. Optimism is a rare coin in these darkening days, but it is the coin of the global realm. It's our here and now, but the future doesn't even belong to us, time to pay up! We'll be serving French chocolates with red, white and blue decorations. American chocolate chip cookies, French endives with a South American Salsa, French pruneaux with southern bacon, Italian foccacia, Greek tapenade, English bread sticks and a new martini coined The Obamatini: Russian Vodka, Spanish CuraƧao, French lemonade and a mid-east pomegranate ice cube. Vive la revolution!

January 9, 2009

Decalage


The easiest part of travelling is the transitional nightmare aptly called decalage or jet lag. On a voyage across friends and family it obscures the emotional pain , conveniently replacing it with sleep deprivation, temporal confusion and an acidic caffeinated buzz, oh and bad food!

 

A simple set of flights, somehow cruising at 800kph over the still frozen ice fields, takes an entire day, and then one arrives tomorrow, and needs to speak a different language. Traffic signs change, the food is different, and everyone you love seems somewhere else.

 

We used drugs, Melatonin, for the jet lag, trying to further confuse our corps into submission, and it seemed to be a good thing. Sleep continues a bit interrupted,even now, as wakeful spells continue to surprise me, my body is here at GMT+1, while my brain travels the globe rearranging the connections and the constant relationships.

 

It could be worse, imagine the Bangladeshi and the New Foundlanders their wacky time zones are 30 minutes off of their neighbors!? Click here. All we have to worry ourselves with is wondering where we live today and where we'll live tomorrow.

 

It seemed to be a theme of this trip for us, the question of where we live today and where we will live tomorrow. We spent hours looking at schools and pondering neighborhoods, and wondering when and where our adventure is going. Bordeaux, Paris, California? Soon, Later, or even Later?

 


A vast unknown of global proportions!

 

Travel is difficult. We unpack into every “home” we rest in, trying to “live” there for the moment, trying to stretch-to-fit every locale. We literally fill the drawers and closets with our stuff so as to trick our minds into belonging there. Days pass, and we walk in the shoes of a new home, only to move into another too soon, but it works, and keeps us there, and keeps us connected to the smells and sounds and souls who reside there longer than we do.

 

Travel is easy. We may be far away most of the time, but we are home instantly wherever we go. Friends and family grow and change, but there is a slot for us, a small space we get to park and tie up, new plants and paint, the occasional new kid, but the underlying structure of our old lives is a comfortable constant. Mere minutes and we are back where we were, comfortably a part of your lives.

 

The only hard part is the wonderful part as well, the goodbyes. The mood changes, the drives to the airport, the words unspoken, the value of another hug, the terror of being asked to move ones car at the airport, and the relief that the good bye is truncated in the name of 911. We have chosen a life that moves us too far from almost anyone who reads this, and the goodbyes are where we get to see this and own it. But this too is the sublime moment where the sadness marks the value, and the invisible becomes visible. Whatever place in the heart chokes us, it’s an amazing moment where we fully appreciate the connections that we are stretching, not so much to there limit, as that we are stretching these relationships to surround us, as an invisible protective layer that we will wear until the next time we can unpack into your lives. This packing and unpacking is the best and the worst part of this adventure, we’ll let you know if that ever changes!

 

And a Happy New Year!