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.


  1. Delana! I have missed your words and have waited and sort of worried a teeny bit. You are so blessed to have friends who understand what you are going through. <3 - susan

  2. Ah, stop winging Girlie and give us the gossip!

    Loads of us been waiting for you to return!

    I've been getting in excess of 50 phone calls a day asking when you were coming back!

    All the best


    P.S. That bit about getting 50 phone calls a day was a slight little lie but....

    I'm sure that if people knew my number they'd have been phoning day and night!

  3. It's good to have friends who will not be so polite as not to question you...who will put their nose in and try to help you identify what's wrong, who will risk putting their foot in it as well..because they're your friends.

    Lucky lady!

  4. Welcome back, Delana, I missed your posts although I have known you for a very short time.
    Writing helps a lot, it is the first thing that I do when I am in some kind of inner trouble: it gives me the oppotunity to clarify the problem, then process of finding a solution, healing or acceptance can start.
    'Home' is where you are.

  5. Oh, Delana. I'm actually tearing up a bit. I know, I know. Exactly. Welcome back. Welcome home. I've sincerely missed you.
    Aidan xo

  6. Hi Delana: Yes, I've been worried and now I feel better! You've been absent a long time and I'm glad you're back. Got your email, and yes, let's talk!!!!

  7. It's great to hear from you, Delana.

    I sympathize deeply with how you feel about re-entry. I feel much the same when I travel within the U.S.

    I spend a few days to a few weeks with my daughter in Maine, or the same with my son and his wife in Nevada, and it takes time to re-enter my 'real' world. W

    e learn to cope with their absence for a prolonged period of time, and after seeing them, have to learn to cope again. I liken it to withdrawal. It's not easy, but we learn to manage it.

    Welcome IS home, right?

  8. Delana
    I just returned to Provence (two weeks ago) after a long time in the States. I felt eveything you're feeling and was afraid I wouldn't shake it. The first week was like I was crawling through a fog. The second week I rallied a bit. This week, I feel like almost back to normal! Yahoo! Too bad I have to leave again soon, but this time only for a while. You'll be fine, just take it easy on yourself and hide out if you need to! Good luck and hope to meet you soon....

  9. If it's any consolation Delana, I missed you and your posts. I'm sure all your other readers feel the same. Heck, Keith even went so far as to give you some award even though you hadn't posted a thing since Dec; he was spotted crying during apero time!

    Anyway, I understand how you feel as do most of us here. It's good to have you back!

  10. Susan-thank you. I do have great friends and I hope you are blessed with them as well in all that you are going through.

    Keith-I think you meant "whining" and yes I'm finished. But I think the next blog might be a rant. Does that count? If I had 50 people that read this thing, I'm sure they would have gone thru hell or high water to get your number...and whine!

    Fly-I'm so glad you're there too.I've been doing a little lurking but I've got to catch up on you. Yes, I'm a lucky 2 countries.

    Aracne-thank you. It feels good to be a little missed. And so good to be writing again. I just saw your recipe for leeks and chickpeas. It's now on my list of "to try".

    Aidan-I know you know. And as Aracne said, "home is where you are".

    LibbY- yippee girl! Let's get busy.

    Jo- I think my most difficult withdrawal has been my kids. It's so wonderful to see the adults they have become and just being with them heals me in a way. We talk often but there's no substitute for putting my arms around them.

    Julie- We're in the same country? I can't believe it. Welcome back. It's so good to hear your story. I was really amazed by how it hit me. If you're in Aix at all before you leave again, send me an email and we'll have coffee.

    Tanya-It's a huge consolation. As for Keith, I saw that he gave me my Blogiversary Award. A date that I completely missed. Poor guy...crying at Apero time. We're going to have to get him and Girlie down here to the south for a little healing.

  11. Just to reiterate what everyone has been saying to you - so good to have you back!! PS - I understand your feelings too - for me it's now the reverse - I "float" here in New York - that out of body experience of not really being in the moment - and yet it's supposed to be "home". This too shall pass, and we will spend a lovely spring in France!!! xoxoxox

  12. When you wrote "But I've been home now for 9 days" I knew you were okay---you know where your home is.

    We miss you back in the States but celebrate your life and your new home. Thanks for sharing and keep writing!

  13. Oh Delana, 'floating' is the best way to describe it. Emotional floating! During one of my trips back to Texas, I was out in the local bar with friends, supposedly having a good time, and I started bawling. Like crazy sobbing, and I couldn't explain why, I wasn't sad, I just wasn't right, Now I know it's because I was 'floating'.
    Hope the sun is shining your way :-)

  14. So glad you are back and writing. You allow me to live vicariously where I'd love to be.

    Incidentally, do they have a Sammy's there?


  15. Hi Delana! I'm really enjoying your blog!

    I can completely relate--it's as though you aren't sure where to focus your affections. It's a dreadful feeling, and I just keep hoping that eventually it becomes normal...I suppose only time will tell!

  16. Dear Delana,

    I am so glad you are back! It seemed longer than it was.

    A floating sensation? It may be a good thing, but now you are home.



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