Archive for September, 2006

42 hours and counting

Friday, September 29th, 2006

42 hours to go before we board the plane to ex-patriate. (is that a verb?)

Today we had our cultural training. It was long, but interesting. I think it will pay off in the short and long run.

Here are the things I want to really be sure to remember:

  • lower my expectations of myself. It’s ok if in one day all I get done is one errand. It will get better… slowly

  • Keep my ability to laugh.

  • Learn the ability to say no. People will want to show up on our doorstep with their bags, but not always when we want to have guests. It’s ok to say no. Not that week. (or day or month!)

  • Make a list of the things and places we want to do and see.

  • Keep a calendar. Every six months, plan a big thing. (plan means really plan. Make reservations! ) Every quarter, plan a smaller thing. Keep track of holidays, Bill’s work travel, home leave. Guests come last on the totem pole.

  • It’s up to us to make the first move to meet people and make friends.

  • Be Marcia Brady. Join as many groups as you can find that cater to any of your interests. You don’t have to STAY a member of all (or any) of them. But it’s a good way to get out and meet people and expand your world.

  • There is a natural curve of adjustment that includes a slide down into questioning and sadness and anger and frustration. But it goes back up.

  • Take advantage of the counselor provided by the company. She is a great resource.

  • Ask for help. Ask a French woman to go to the grocery store the first time.

  • The move is stressful for Kaitlyn, too. She will respond the way she sees us respond. And she could experience some setbacks in things like potty training (doh!)

  • If invited somewhere, don’t show up on time. Don’t expect to leave early. Or at least, don’t expect French guests at your house to leave early. An 8pm dinner will finish around 1am. (no weeknight dinners for us!)

I’m sure there is more. I wonder what Bill wants to remember….


Thursday, September 28th, 2006

I had the most horrible nightmare last night. I dreamed that we were being relocated to Terre Haute.

4 days and counting…

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

Today is Wednesday. We leave Sunday for France. In 4 days we become ex-pats. And I’m just positive we won’t be ready. Well, that I won’t be ready. But today I had an amazing revelation about this whole international moving thing. No matter how long I have to prepare, when the time comes I will STILL not be ready. There will STILL be closets yet to be cleaned out, drawers to be organized, clothes to be sorted, items to be bought. There will STILL be people to call, email or visit. Lunches to be eaten. Laughs to share.

Time is up for most of those things. The movers have packed just about everything in our house. They left an interesting array of items that will ride to France in the same box… some plastic vegetable pieces, an egg beater with a smiling egg on the bottom, a bathroom wastebasket. Today, they pulled away with a truck filled with all the things we aren’t taking with us. Tomorrow, the rest will be gone – headed to France. All that will be left in our house is dirt, a few cleaning products and food we have to get rid of. Oh, and brouchures begging house hunters to buy ours.

Bill says my problem is I am not good at planning; I am good at putting out fires. This seems like one big fire and I have no idea how to attack it. All I can do is run around setting even more fires, hoping to just stop this one in its tracks. I hope when it’s all said and done I’m not too burned.

house-hunting trip

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

It is our first full day in Paris and all we have seen so far is a french doctor. Let me back up…

The night before our big trip to France, while getting out the suitcases I pulled a muscle in my arm or shoulder (cannot tell,they are connected and both hurt). That hurt. We bought some icy/hot patches to put on the arm, which helped only a little bit. It was painful but bearable and life went on.

Yesterday, when we arrived at our hotel in Paris, I added injury to injury. Getting off the itty bitty elevator onto our floor, I did not see the giant step down. The result? I fell, face first, onto the camera bag and my hurt arm. I tried not to use it and we went on. 4:30am. The pain is unbearable. I am crying, nearly hystercially. Bill is putting on his jeans to grab a metro to a hostpital, because by now I am convinced and have convinced him that my arm or shoulder or collar bone or SOMETHING is broken. Just has to be to hurt like that. We end up calling “15″ on the phone… France’s version of 911 minus the caller id system that identifies where you are and the nearly mandatory dispatching of a police officer. After talking to this French operator in the best English he could understand, he promised to send out a doctor. And, about an hour later, one showed up. He looked at my arm. He squeezed it. He moved it. He doesn’t think it is broken. He gave me a shot for some good pain killer and a prescription for more.  And he recommended we go to the hospital for an ex-ray just to make sure. So now here we are. 1:30 pm and we’re just getting ready and yet to decide if we will spend our day in Paris at the hospital or in pain….


We optedfor the day of sightseeing… after a quick stop at a phamacy. Three prescriptions and an arm sling set us back 38 euros… less than some co-pays at home!

We stood in the line and took the ride to the tippy top of the Eiffel Tower. I thought for sure that I’d be terrified, but I wasn’t. The view was magnificent even if we didn’t know everything we were looking at. Then we hit the sidewalk and walked to the Louvre. It was too late to go in, I’d like to go back.

Next stop: the metro to find the Moulon Rouge. There is a neighborhood where I’d rather not hang out. But I am glad we saw it.

At dinner, curiosity got the best of Bill.   Everyplace we went the menu included “hard boiled eggs with mayonaise.