ready to go

We leave tomorrow to go home to France. Or to go back to France, as Bill puts it. You’d think that coming back to the US the third time as we approach our third anniversary as ex-pats would be easier than the last two trips back. At least that’s what I expected. But, it turns out, I was wrong.

At first, I caught myself noticing when I heard someone else speaking English. Then I’d remind myself that everyone around me was doing so. Or I’d find myself practicing what I was going to say to a clerk in a store. Then I’d remind myself I don’t have to speak French and I don’t have to practice what I’ll say in English. I can completely wing it and be just fine.

I skipped the trips to Starbucks. Maybe just because it was so hot. Maybe because now that I’ve found them in Europe, the thrill of loading up on the chai tea latte has worn off. Sure, I have to drive nearly 2 hours at home to get one, but it’s still possible. Kaitlyn loves Starbucks; I could probably even drag her along and she wouldn’t complain. (much)

I didn’t load up on books at the bookstore. I looked at a lot but I can order them with free shipping on And I do still have two big shopping bags filled with trashy novels a friend passed along to me after they’d been passed along to her. So if I get really desperate for something to read, I have plenty.

I did lay on the couch at night and watch tv. Or turn on HGTV while getting ready. Just because. Sure, I can use the Slingbox (when it’s working, which it is allegedly doing again). But to just leisurely turn it on and not have it be a bunch of infomercials because of the time difference… that’s a plus.

We went to some movies, since we’d be able to understand them. None were really that great, but it was still nice to be able to go and not have to spend the entire 90 minutes concentrating just to follow the plot. It simply turns out that sometimes the plot isn’t really worth following.

We spent lots of time and money shopping. I like being able to buy clothes that I know I can put in the dryer. I hate that about the clothes in France. None of them can be put in the dryer. Not that I fit in the clothes there but Kaitlyn does. She should now have an overflowing dresser.

The one place we went that made me really miss living in the United States was the library. It was just so…. comfortable. The familiar stacks of books… the desks with the little lamps…. the reading room by the magazines with big comfy chairs and couches. We missed all the children’s programs. Kaitlyn’s too old for the story times anyway. But to spend an hour watching her pick books off the shelves and reading them…… that made me really miss home.

Tomorrow we get on the plane and go home. Back to where I can’t understand the radio or the tv. Back to where I have to think really hard just to talk to my daughter’s teacher. Back to where the public pool is filled with strange rituals that are completely ordinary to the natives. Back to where sweet corn and good beef just don’t exist. Back to where I’m still trying to make friends. Where I’m still trying to figure out just what to do with myself. But as long as Bill and Kaitlyn there, it’s home. No matter where it is. Home.

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