August 23, 2010

Pattern recognition

As I understand it humans are uniquely good at recognizing patterns. What takes a room full of computers days to do, a human can do with their subconscious in moments. Scanning an assembly line for defects, searching the sky for new stars, finding faces in a crowd, recognizing patterns. So why are we surprised by the regular twists and turns in our lives? The choices that break or make the pattern?
Patricia supporting the celtic pattern language in the local dolmens.

We are moving again…no surprise. There is anxiety, stress, loss, and unbridled excitement…once again! Rearranging the big furniture in our lives could be called a pattern with plenty of surprising turns. Just a few months ago we were planning a summer holiday, and within hours we were all of a sudden resolved to move cities, plans changed and everything has aligned to make it easy. Now in 7 days we will be Bordelais! It seems that we went from being very content with our patterns here in Martel, to NEEDING a change, and forcing it upon ourselves. When I examine our history, our average is apparently a move every three years….so we should have seen it coming!

Summer traditions bring the same pattern to the life of our ever changing Oscar. All the French kids spend the summer with grandparents and away on vacations, and we haven’t learned that pattern yet. Every summer as Oscar’s friends disappear, his pattern is to circle his wagons and focus inward on the POD. We love the return to the threesome, after a year of taking a backseat to school chums, and we are surprised he never seems to be bored. His summer is again one of solo activities peppered with family. As I type he is in London, getting into mischief with his grandmum. Bordeaux is a big and interesting city, with dynamic places and interesting kids, so we are hoping Oscar finds interesting friends ands grows smoothly into this urban lifestyle.

Patricia and Oscar at a rugby match

The plan for our three year moving schedule (now that I can reflect and recognize it) has been to buy a house, improve it, and sell it. A nice pattern that has worked swimmingly four times over the years and twice in France, but repeating the pattern again is proving a bit more challenging. The real estate market here has stuttered to a halt, most profoundly in our price range. Our house has been for sale for too long at too low a price and with far too few interested lookers. With this in mind we have decided to remove it from the market and try the waters next year. We will have some friends stay here for the next year, making it easy to leave it without leaving it empty. Our little project is 80% done, but we are nervous about how long that last 20% could take. We will continue to work on it in the autumn and hopefully have it to sell this winter. We are moving onto the finishes and are still enjoying the process.

We spent our first night in Bordeaux last week. It was a trial run to do reconnaissance on the apartment and make lists for the pending move. All went well, the streets were calm, the air moves through the house, no ghosts and nice morning light. Now we will spend the next 7 days finishing projects and preparing the move. The apartment we are moving into comes entirely furnished, but we’ll need shelves, saucepans and slipcovers. We’ll need to rearrange the furniture, hang some art and grease some hinges. The list looks long, but we’ll be ready.
The location is wonderful, on a quiet street between to major pedestrian shopping streets. There are restaurants around the corner, fancy clothes shopping and the best gelato in town. Most importantly, we have a guest room!
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