Monday, August 20, 2012

He Who Hesitates...Still Has To Do It Eventually

It seems to me the time has come to get back into the swing of things. I apologize for my absence. I went on a vacation to the United States that turned out to be not much of a vacation. I've been napping (okay...and socializing) ever since!

I'm supposed to want to go back home when the time comes. But this time I didn't. I hate to even admit that but I knew there were things to get done there that I simply did not want to do. And the moment had arrived whether I welcomed it or not.

Three and a half years ago I got on a plane for Provence with the idea that I would stay for one year, immerse myself in the culture, learn to speak perfect, accent-free French, then refreshed and invigorated and far more cultured,  I would return to the midwest to open a new apartment, find a new job, and recommence my life.

That was the idea. Really it was! But Provence has a way of growing on you. It is warm and seductive and its deep, ancient roots have a way of infiltrating the body and mind until you have no more willpower to move on. At least that's what happened to me!

Before I left the midwest in January 2009 I sold most of my belongings, which was a gargantuan task considering I had lived in a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house whose kitchen was the about the size of my current apartment. I pared it all down to those things…those most precious things…that I would need to start over in a little apartment. I put them in a storage unit so I could collect them upon my triumphant return. But that didn't happen and those things have weighed heavily on me ever since. What to do with them? Will I ever return? How can I possibly get rid of them? Should I have them shipped here? Of course I'll return.! But when will that happen? Maybe I won't.

So, those most precious things sat. They sat in the warehouse and they sat heavily on my heart; they somehow became a gigantic pit for me to curl up in, crushed by their weight but at the same time, unwilling to dig myself out.

This trip was the time to do it again. Dump it. Climb out. Sprout another set of wings (don't dragon flies have two sets of wings?) After all, they are just things!

And I am proud to say that with the help of the most amazing friends and family, within 4 days of my return I had moved out of the storage unit and cancelled the lease, sold or redistributed my stuff and moved the leftovers to my mom's basement (now there's a nightmare for a 75 year-old-woman…her 53 year-old- daughter moving back in!). It was hard. Really hard. But after the grand task was finished, I felt light again. Free.  And I have no regrets.

Then I had to help son number 2 move his life to Arizona. Well, he did all the work, I just had to kiss him and his lovely girlfriend goodbye. But with his departure came another change. No longer was I to have my pod all gathered together in the place I return to once or twice a year. And I felt his fear of change as well. He had arrived at the moment that one says goodbye to youth and the job of moving forward into the adult world is imminent. Unavoidable. Scary and exciting all at the same time. His changes for sure, but changes for me as well. I didn't want it to happen…I resisted as one tends to do with change.

The last grand item on my list of things to do, was to figure out how to make a living. I do not have the right to work in France and although I've been able to earn a little here and a little there, it was time to face the fact that I really do need to plan for my future. Otherwise, I'm going to end up one of those crazy, old cat ladies whose remains are found a month after her death from starvation in her cheap, tiny, sleeping room, devoured by her starving animals.

So I bought a house. Yeppers, I bought a house with my sister, extended my ticket for three weeks and went to work remodeling to prepare it for renters. Of course, all good things come to those who work for them. And man, oh man, did we work! Ten to fifteen hours per day, every single day. I now have a personal relationship with the greeter at the Home Depot store in Richfield, Minnesota and I don't care if I EVER see black mold again in my life.


I'm a tiny bit proud of myself for accomplishing all that I set out to do, even though I was reticent. You'd think I would be accustomed to change at this point. But it is always hard, no matter how much of it one has had to do in the past. And, in fact, I really had a blast this summer. Hard work is good for the soul, change is NOT horrible and I feel stronger and better because of it all. 

However, all work and no play is always a bad recipe and I really hate to screw up a recipe. So play I did. 

A camping trip with the girls.
It started out well....

but sort of flopped on the finish!

 A weekend at the cabin with family.

Lots of eating, drinking and laughing with old friends...

and a most beautiful wedding.

 No trip to Minneapolis would be complete without an evening out on the Pedal Pub!

And I even got to do a few motherly duties...a haircut which obviously hasn't been done for awhile!

My extended stay in the states caused me to consider whether or not I might want to return soon. I became accustomed to running around like a crazy woman, eating while running around like a crazy woman, drinking gigantic cups of coffee while driving, speaking English and actually being able to be slightly amusing. It's a temptation...until I remember the price of health insurance!

So I'm back in Provence, babysitting the mansion as I do every year. It is amazing how quickly I can re-adapt to the slow, summer days in Provence, long late meals around a table with friends, and an afternoon sieste with the shutters closed against the afternoon heat.

It's always good to be home...wherever it is this week! And it's good to be back here, my friends. 
Have a wonderful week.


P.S. There's still time to enter the Provence Rugs giveaway over at My French Country Home. Hurry! Run!