Sunday, September 20, 2009

And...we're back!

It was a rough ride home and I came back to Paris more than 30 pounds lighter than I left Dallas (damn you, Air France for your crazy expensive and restrictive luggage allowances!). I decidedly and emphatically hate trans-Atlantic travel. But, man, is it good to be back home! There's something to be said about one's own bedroom. It's not like my time in the States was anything less than spectacularly comfortable (we had our own bedroom and bathroom for more than an entire month), but it's the whole living-out-of-luggage and using travel-size toiletries thing that gets old fast. And after nearly two months of bouncing around from here to there, it feels good to be back in the saddle of my everyday life.

And Paris. Lovely Paris. I'm so glad I came back when I did: when summer is winding down and autumn is but an arm's-length away. This is my favorite time in Paris. At home, we restocked the fridge, gave our place a good scrub, opened the windows and let the late summer breeze air the place out. I've managed to reunite with some missed faces and catch-up on what's been buzzing around the city while I've been AWOL. Yesterday, we took to the Marais to see a friend's artwork on display at the Galerie Thuillier, then spent the rest of the day meeting up with like-minded friends soaking up the perfect Paris day. We even caught up with the techno parade running down boulevard Saint Germain for a few minutes of people watching and leg-shaking. I think I finally understand the French obsession with techno music - even the most rhythmically-challenged person can keep the beat.

So, la rentrée has been pretty pleasant and painless and my moleskin is once again filling up with things to do (I've got a carte de sejour renewal coming up this month) and places to go (a close friend recently moved to Bordeaux, so a trip is in the works). Not to mention that there's the looming green card business to take care of for Gui and dates to be set for our impending return stateside. But it's nice to feel like life is carrying on after such a long hiatus. I'm happy to be home and right now, Paris is the only place I want to be!

Friday, September 4, 2009

On vacation

There have been a couple of times in the past few weeks when I sat down to update my blog, but gave up after trying and failing to gather all of my thoughts into one focused and understandable blog post. My mind has been going in every which way since I've been on vacation, and I hardly know where I am these days.

Being back in Austin has been so amazing, albeit completely exhausting. My original intention when coming back for my long visit (I've been here since the end of July, people!) was to catch up with family and friends, get reacquainted with my hometown and scout out the job market. And, I can say that I've done exactly what I'd intended to do during these past weeks, although with mixed results.

Getting back into the groove of the city took longer than I'd expected it to. When I first arrived, I felt really confused about where my place was here and what my feelings were about our impending return to Austin. But, slowly and surely I regained a bit of an identity with the city, identified where I fit in and remembered clearly why I want so badly to get back to this place (and no, it's not just for the food). While Gui was here with me, we reunited with friends, caught up on old times and fell back into the swing of life as if we were still locals. After Gui returned to France, I was unexpectedly (although gladly) asked to spend a week in Dallas, to help out with my newborn nephew. As happy as I was to spend some time bonding with baby Xavier, the week away from Austin put a bit of a kink into my job-hunting plans. I never intended to find a job during my time vacationing in Austin, but I wanted to test the waters, so to speak, and check out what kind of market I'd be diving into upon our return. I wasn't really able to do that while I was in Dallas, so when I returned to Austin last week, I was determined to make some progress. What I quickly discovered though, was that this city's job market is nothing like it used to be and I'd be going up against some stiff and brutal competition. Giving myself a week to square away solid leads was an unrealistic goal, so I made the decision to back off and forget about job search until Gui and I have a more concrete strategy and timeline for moving back.

Now, I know this sounds ridiculous, but being on vacation for so long has been a lot more difficult than I had imagined it could ever be. Thank goodness we're blessed with the most hospitable and loving friends anyone could ever dream of having. There's just no way we could have enjoyed our time here so much nor been more comfortable than we have been had they not been so extraordinary. What's been so exhausting for me, is the traveling I've had to do to see my family that doesn't live in Austin anymore. Being here for so long, I've found myself planning and playing as if I've already moved back. I started yoga classes again, reestablished some new and old favorite hot-spots and spent some time going up and down the aisles of my favorite grocery stores. I've reconnected. So, it's hard to imagine that this is my last weekend in town for a while; that after a short stint in Dallas and Kansas, I'll be back in Paris - back to my life and my home. I'm hoping, though, that by the time my plane takes off from DFW airport, I'll have a better sense of what's important to me now and what our next step will be. I'm hoping that my mind will be more settled and focused - aimed and locked in one, solid direction.