This weekend, though, I caught the most wretchedly dire homesickness that I've ever had in my life and nothing could coax me out of my funk. Gui and I grabbed happy hour and a movie on Friday evening (Alice in Wonderland in 3D - beautiful film but the jury's still out on the storyline and oddly-added solo dance), and then had some Tex-Mex for dinner, but I could barely eat from being so run amok with thoughts about my family and how much I miss them. Everything reminded me of my nephews and my far-away friends - now mostly parents of little ones - that I don't see often enough. I felt awful and tried doing things to distract myself, but nothing worked to deter my thoughts.
On Sunday, we had lunch with Gui's dad and sister at the same place we took my mom to on her first and only trip to Paris, and I struggled to keep it together. It was hard to stay composed when they asked how I was doing, how my job was going, and how my family and new nephews where getting along - normal stuff. My heart was totally longing to be near them, to hold my new nephews and run around like a kid with the others. Gui and I talked about our trip in June and all the things we'll do while we're there, all the people we'll see. But, in doing this, we realized how little time we'll actually have to see everyone we want to see. Between Kansas and Austin and Dallas and the traveling between each, two weeks is just not enough time.
Monday morning rolled around and I was in such a foul mood. I dragged myself out of bed, threw on the first black dress I saw, tights and boots, trudged slowly to the bus without much care about the time or my tardiness and then, with immense difficulty bonjoured everyone in the office and sputtered off a lie when they asked how I was doing. I just couldn't be bothered with the day; with anything. How did it get to this?
Despite my lingering Monday workload, all I could think of was leaving - leaving the office, leaving Paris, leaving France. Just leaving. I was so incredibly sad and felt so incredibly guilty about being so sad. All I could think of was going home - being home with my parents, sister, brothers, nephews, friends and their babies. I just wanted to be near them all.
So, as an act of desperation, I checked flights to Texas and flights to Kansas and realized that I could visit my sister (and brother-in-law and 3 out of 4 of my nephews) in Kansas by cashing in on our frequent-flyer miles and paying about half the normal price of a ticket. Originally, I thought about going for a long weekend - taking advantage of the Monday holiday, I could leave Friday night and come back on Sunday, but Gui thought that was just too crazy. He reminded me that I work in France, and when my contract is all said and done, I still won't have used up all of my paid vacation and RTT (days accumulated each month that act like paid vacation). So, I guiltily asked my boss if he would mind my taking a few extra days off - even though I'd already taken two days the week before, and he was totally cool with it. More than cool. He waved his hand and told me to take whatever days I need to and not to worry about any asking in advance. I was elated.
I don't know if this last-minute trip will make everything better or if I'll return with a renewed feeling of positivity and happiness, but I know it will do me some good. Just knowing that I'm leaving on Thursday morning to finally meet my new nephew and see my loved ones has already made such a difference in my mind. I've never planned a transatlantic flight so spontaneously before, and this time it's not about how smoothly everything goes or how efficiently my time is spent. Once I see those toothy grins and hear those hearty grunts from the sweetest boys in all the world, my thoughts will be light-years away from the trifles of time and economics.
Auntie's on her way! See you soon, cuties!