I've been thinking a lot about my blog lately; my poor, neglected, orphaned blog. I think I want to jump back on the wagon and rediscover the therapeutic benefits that thought-disposal provides to my tangled-up, conflicted expat emotions.
There's quite a bit of stuff going on round these parts lately. I'm still working on Fancy Street, with fancy people in their fancy clothes, speaking their fancy French. My French is still not quite so fancy, but I have to admit it's improved substantially since the last time I blogged. I can generally hold a telephonic conversation now, and my vocabulary list has expanded at least two-fold. I often hear myself speaking and think of how impressed my girl friends back home would be, being fancy French-speakers themselves. I still improperly conjugate my verbs and say things like à bientôt when I should really say à toute or à plus-tard, but to that I say, "whatevs." At the office I'm still pretty much the outcast, alien American that people kind of look at suspiciously, as if waiting to see if I'll explode or bust out in song and dance. And, at least once a week I find myself in culture-shock hell and wishing I could hail a cab to the airport to jump on the first 14-hour flight headed West. But mostly, I'm getting the hang of the Paris version of the daily grind and find comfort in the habits that I am used to and the skills that set me apart from everyone else (that mostly being my English-speaking talent).
And, it's still winter in Paris, so I'm hoping that has something to do with some of my work woes. This year, winter has been pretty rough on me. I've never gone so long in my life without seeing the sun or wearing flip-flops. I'm going to blame this rant on my lack of vitamin D, but seriously, summer could not come any sooner! (Man, do I sound whiney!) Besides the gloomy, frigid weather of late, Paris folk don't get any warmer or friendlier in the wintertime either, which is why I stocked up on paperbacks from WH Smith yesterday to hide my face behind during my somber morning metro rides. There's nothing worse than staring at a car-full of grumps in the morning before the first coffee's been poured.
But there is light at the end of the gloomy, snow-filled tunnel, and it comes in the form of les vacances! Gui and I are planning our winter, spring and summer trips right now and just thinking about the possibility of a beach and a tank-top in my near future has got me snubbing the cold. We probably won't be headed anywhere warmer until March, but I think I can handle a few more weeks of hoofing it under cloudy skies if I have a sandy towel and umbrella-topped cocktail to look forward to.
We already know that we'll be going to Texas in June, though. If I could take more than a couple of days paid vacation before then, we'd be going in March, but c'est la vie. Besides the obvious reasons of seeing family and friends, Gui and I will be going back to the States in June to "activate" his immigration visa. He applied for the visa in August last year and after going through the process at the embassy in Paris, he recently received the literal stamp of approval to live and work in the States, which requires him to enter the US within 6 months. We're really excited about moving back, and we're hoping to get a date worked out and plans set in stone once we're there in June. There's still loads to sort out, but thankfully, we have some time before my work contract is up to work out the logisitcs and make some decisions. I do already know, however, that whatever date we decide on moving back, it must be before next winter hits. It's pretty clear that my Texan blood just isn't cut out for this big-city winter!