Another sunset in France..TGV towards Bordeaux, a picturesque and contrasted sky, layers of clouds quickly moving past each other and each with a silver lining. Like the northern lights of previous mention, the sunset may never end. But it will...... strangely a cloud burst as I type..... with clear skies all around, perhaps it's the grey lining on every silver cloud? It's really a remarkable sunset, and drawn across kilometers.
We are returning to Bordeaux, as we are wont to do, from Paris. A Paris of now familiar sights and streets and friends and flavors, it's become a history with one drop of our lives in it.... We were there to talk to american universities, to attend a college fair which brought us face to face with GW, UCD, SJSC, and a handful of Boston Bound institutions of higher learning. They cheerfully answered our questions, encouraged our interests and poked at our pocket books. So many schools, so many students! It's impressive that they all make such an effort to diversify their student body. UCDavis for example, will recruit applicants in England, France, Brussels, and 40 different fairs in India & China and those are just the ones I read about! For us it was a chance to dip our toe into the Nile of undergraduate education. It seems as different from our experiences as ours were different from our parents...somehow. It's time for us to start thinking about a college choice, next year we will be full-in with applications and personal statements. Next year we will be back on this train and a clearer sense of its destination. And a sun further set!
Oscars future is, of course, a moving target. I had no notion of my trajectory at his age, and a year later it was cast in stone, or sand, perhaps cement turning to stone... The idea today is towards a life of diplomacy, a career in the foreign service, perhaps the UN. The path seems to be a 4 year undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts followed by two years at the likes of Georgetown University. The schools that interest him, and us, today are George Washington University, UC Davis and Northeastern. Davis is close to what will be “home” for the next few years, and a great state school. George Washington is in the Nations capital and would be a head-start into a career in Diplomacy and Northeastern is a strong school with a Co-Op education system which I think would work well for Mr. O. There are so many other schools which we haven't discovered yet, and we still have some time, so it will be interesting to see where else this bus stops?
Dead on the tracks?? Stopped moving?? This will cut our average light speed down to a reasonable crawl, "for our security". I digress....
I'm getting a low grade of melancholy, watching this glorious slow motion sunset, and thinking about our life in France. (The sharpness has left the sky, but it is still on fire with corals and deep blues). It's a sunset of sorts, still a long evening and riotous night to fill in the blanks, but looking at colleges, a weekend themed on the next chapter of this adventure, makes me notice the late hour. We have declared our intentions to return to the US in two years, to be enrolled in an American life 23 months from now, and I hear the faint ticking of a bucket list. It sharpens the senses, making Paris even more sublime, the wine tasting even better and the French steaks to appear tender!
We are planning on digging our toes into the terroir and staying close to European soil. Our next trip to the mother ship planned to be a long, long one. It is fitting that the first of the last "European Vacations" would be Paris, it was the first of the first as well, almost exactly ten years ago, we had our first vacation inside of this vacation in Paris. I celebrated my 40th birthday atop the Tour Eiffel, and now I'm looking back at this rich decade and the changed person inside me, the sun setting on that, and so much time to reinvent in front of me.
We start on our next project house soon, a 1000sf duplex on the edge of the Public Garden. After a long search, It satisfied the criteria: a good address, a "Bordeaux style" apartment with high ceilings and deep moulding, some architectural splendor with a stained glass window wall, a 600sf garden, and enough work to keep me busy for the year. I know the top half of this post talks about two years, but we will simply take it as it comes. This project, "Cent Trieze", will be a fun project, some demolition, some stone work, enlarging some windows, electrical, plumbing, a new kitchen, and perhaps it's time to learn how to repair stained glass as well.
Still a sunset, our train is rolling 18 minutes late, on a three hour trip, but still there is a sunset to draw me home, and still it is always in the West.