Sunday, January 30, 2011

J'ai un pied en deux pays

The bed is made, dishes done, and the apartment is picked up. I've showered, shaved and washed my hair, dressed and applied make-up and adorned myself with jewelry and perfume. I've turned on the stereo and even gone so far as to turn on the heat. Sounds pretty normal but lately I haven't been able to manage all those things. At least not all at the same time. But today is different. I have a date with my blog.

Actually, I'm not sure if I did all these things today in preparation for writing or in order to avoid it. The fact that I haven't posted since December 10 suggests the latter. But either way, I'm here....and writing...and am now wondering what the hell I've been waiting for.

Yes, I've been away. Away from France for 4 weeks visiting friends and family in the mid-west where I didn't have reliable internet nor a moment to spare to spend writing.  But I've been home now for 9 days. I've remained away; distant and almost fearful of getting back on the computer.  In fact, this return has for some reason hit me hard. I've been tired, I haven't felt good, and my emotions have been churning too close to the surface for comfort. And I have just not been able to figure out what it means or why.

Last night, my girls came over for dinner. I was so excited to see's been 6 weeks. Those of you who have a group of friends like this understand what I mean. They are your confidents and you, theirs. They tell you if you have spinach in your teeth and when it's time to color your gray roots. They show up out of the blue when they know you're in trouble and offer you a warm bed when your apartment is just too cold to be livable. Your joy is theirs and their troubles are yours.  And I was so happy to have them here, share a meal and hear ALL the news.

But as the evening commenced I just couldn't....I just couldn't be me. I couldn't put my smile where it's accustomed to being. I couldn't share what I wanted to share. I....just....could...not. Finally Claire turned to me and asked me what was going on. And all I could say, with a bit of a tremble, was "I just don't know. I don't know."

She said "it's like you're floating, isn't it?" Yes, that's exactly it. She understood. They understood. Though French, Claire lived in the U.S. for years and Lynn is American but has lived here for 25 years. They understand the feeling that the re-entry brings and what it's like to have a foot in each country. Yes, I'm floating and I don't know why and I want it to stop.

Immediately the worry was whether or not I wanted to go back to the states for good. No, that's not it at all. I live here now. It's my choice and I don't regret it. It's just that coming back after spending 4 weeks of glorious moments with my boys and my family as well as old, dear friends seemed to uproot me a little. Thus the floating sensation.

I'm really not depressed. Just sort of in a surreal state of suspended animation. And it will pass. I'm sure all the other ex-pats who read this (if anybody ever reads it again after being gone so long) understand what I mean. Lynn says that it took her years before she could come back from the states and hit the ground running here at home. But last night as we were talking and I expressed my concern about my current weird state and what to do about it, Lynn looked at me and said simply, "do what you do". Okay Lynn, what is that?

"Write about it."

Now that's a hell of idea. And I feel better already. Merci, mes filles...Claire, Lynn et Saro. And thank you, those of you that read this, for waiting for me. It's good to be back.