July 6, 2014


This time next year we will be boxed up and executing our return to the USA.  The idea seems so strange. We have only just completed our 11th year and time creeps as it speeds by. I still don’t speak the language well enough, I still don’t know my way around the bureaucracy, I still feel like a yankee tourist, but as well I feel like I am home, its an odd dichotomy.

Fears start to settle in about what is next, not the day to day, but what we might be giving up, and what me might be settling for.  We know and love our Californian lives, and we know what will occupy the days upon our arrival, the days, the weeks and the months, the settling in and the maintaining of deferred friends and homes,  but perhaps it is the fabric of our lives that is in for a change.  From the french homespun, to a long staple cotton? or is it silk to wool?  maybe its wool to silk?  point being, the background is important and it is the background fabric that is going to change. 

Obviously the Urban Fabric of a french city will be different from the tie-dyed fabric of a California city.  Its the stone and the grass, and the pharmacies and the cafes and the density and the river and the trees and the stones and the stones and the stones…. Its the opticiens, and the boulangers, the fromagers and the bouchers that shake your hand a they wrap your meat…. and the stones…

Its the cadence of our days here vs. there, the speed and the scale from east to west, the strolling pace and the 2 hour lunches. So I’m starting to see things “for the last time”, many wait till next year moments, and feeling distracted already, too soon, too soon.

France has been a penny candy store, and it has been an un-reality, and I have fell in love, but it was not my childhood, that’s American, and those comfortable shoes needs wearing.  I’m not sure about Oscar?  His childhood is a mixed up thing, like his language, we has a foot in two places.  I hope that its two full glasses and not two half empty ones, I hope that this experiment lacking a control group, turns out healthy, wealthy and wise. Perhaps where I keep comparing the two homes, he will simply be playing his B side in the background for all his years.

Perhaps I have figured it out: I’m constantly making a choice, he is not.  When I speak I am translating (unless I have had enough to drink) Oscar is not, it doesn't have to be a choice!  Its like the old idea that Europe is an ocean away….and it doesn't need to be!  We can hold them both in our hearts and minds and be citizens of the world! Or maybe he can at least…. Me, I am headed home.

If you can hear the conflict in my words then I can stop typing… I am both ready and trepidatious   .

We are well into the “last project”, painting and tiling and installing the lights. still working on the lower level, les chambres and the salle d’eaux.  Soon I will get to clean it all up and get started on the cuisine and the salon, it’s all falling into place.  The humidity of basement rooms is a tricky one. Mildew loves to eat up the paper tape I have used on a few corners, so I have removed and re-plastered in a few areas, the walls need to breathe, the healthiest solution is bare stone walls, but we like those!  My goal is to finish enough of this apartment to comfortably move in, while leaving enough undone to keep me busy next year. So the doors and windows will all wait unpainted, but I do need to get a new furnace…

Oscar starts his senior year in the fall.  We are still awaiting his grades from the year we have wrapped.  He has taken two sections of his BAC, the highschool exit exam, Francais and science, which means he is done with both subjects. Next year he has philosophy and literature in their place.  The next few months we will focus on college wish lists and the preliminary work on his essays.  The list so far looks like UC Davis, Berkeley, the Claremont colleges and a short list of others yet to be combed through. The stated career choice is still foreign service/ diplomatic corps. But something that involves skydiving is still of interest.