ready or not… we’re more ready than we thought

All our stuff should fit in the container to go back to the States. That’s the assessment of the guy from the moving company who came to the house today to survey how much we have (while hopefully ignoring the piles of laundry waiting to be done and the mounds of Polly Pockets invading nearly every corner of the house). He was efficient and calm. He left me with a folder full of paperwork (in English) and instructions to fill it out before the come to pack.

We’ve known for months that we’d be moving back sometime this year. The shoe dropped right around Christmas. Just in time for the bargain Christmas ski week I booked to seem like a let down, since it turned out to be our last Christmas ski vacation in Europe.

A strange thing happens when the powers-that-be open the door to the possibility of leaving France… even just the tiniest bit. You grab that door handle and do what you can to wrench it open.. pulling as hard as you can because suddenly nothing… absolutely nothing… is more important. You’re done. Learning French, struggling with French, putting up with drivers on your street who don’t even make an attempt to share the road with you. It’s all the stuff you’ve just grown to tolerate and suddenly, you don’t have to. Or you think you don’t have to. And you don’t. You can’t. It’s beyond you. You are entirely focused on one thought: returning to the US. Because with all its problems, it’s better. Way better.

It happened out of the blue. For months, Bill’s boss had been telling him how they wanted him to stay. Then one night Bill called from his car to say he was on the way home and, oh by the way, we are all on our way “home.” I hung up and felt sorta numb. I didn’t know what to do first. So I wrote a list on my write-on/wipe-off board: the places I still wanted to see and hadn’t yet. Normandy, Florence, Norway, Ireland, Nice and Monaco, Austria. We won’t get to all of them. But we’re doing our best to chip away at the list… even planning a trip to Ireland on our way “out.” We did Italy in February. Nice is booked for Easter weekend. And that’s it. We’re out of time. And now I find myself looking at the money spent on hotels and airline tickets as money that I could spend on new furniture for a house I haven’t bought yet in a city I’ve never been to.

I’ve reached the point in the move where I’m sick to my stomach nearly all the time. I get a good night’s sleep about 3 nights a week. My to-do list feels like it’s crushing me. (That one I fix by just spending entire days downtown lunching with friends and wandering the city. Take that crazy list!)

But the sleepless nights (I sometimes wake up to find myself grinding my teeth), the constant pain in my stomach, the feeling that I’ll never be able to get it all done… I welcome it all.

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