Hi! Guess where I am? (I suppose if I really wanted you to guess I shouldn’t have put it in the title.)
I left Lyon (in tears) and flew back to my hometown last week. Most of August was spent emptying our home in Lyon and trying to cram all of my belongings into two suitcases. (Bless the Lufthansa agent who let my overweight bag slide through!)
Everyone knows moving is the worst, but sometimes you forget how really Not Fun it is until you’re weeding through everything you own and getting stood up by Leboncoiners who are supposed to come buy your crappy chairs (RUDE!) August was hot and stressful and I was pretty cranky for most of the month. I pretty much stopped checking my email, which is terrible because some really nice people emailed me during that time. (I’m sorry, nice people!!!) It seems like a pretty wimpy thing to complain about, but I get so overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox.
So my last weeks in Lyon weren’t how I thought they would be – I didn’t have time to wander around the city and visit my favorite places one last time. Most of them were closed for the month of August anyway because France.
I didn’t feel like I was really leaving up until the last minute, even though I knew I was. You know when your head knows something, but it hasn’t hit you yet? That’s how I felt all month. I didn’t cry until we closed the door on our empty apartment and I realized we were never coming back.
I don’t know if this is the right thing or not (and if you know me, you know it’s nearly impossible for me to decide anything, even dessert, unless I’m absolutely sure it’s the right thing, and until I’m sure, everything hangs in limbo, which is really inconvenient when everyone else just wants you to order some cake) but I think it was right to try it. It was painful to uproot our happy, comfortable life in Lyon, but I didn’t want to wait until it was too late and then regret that we didn’t take the chance.
I start graduate school on Monday. Hugo will join me soon. Know anyone hiring in California?
I’m not feeling major reverse culture shock yet. I’m in very familiar surroundings, so it almost feels like an annual visit home, except I’m not going back to France this time.
I’m getting used to hearing English all the time, writing the date with the month first, and using pounds instead of kilos. I don’t know how to end conversations since there’s no definitive “au revoir”, and I say weird stuff like “fidelity card”. I’m using to speaking Franglais – it’s easier on my lazy brain to mix French and English. But if I do that here, I just sound weird or snobby.
Oh well – I’m pretty sure Franglais won’t fly in translation class anyway.
California is pretty nice. I love being close to the ocean. It’s not too hot, not too cold. (We have San Francisco weather – lots of fog!) I’m really happy to finally live close to one of my very favorite people (whose wedding Hugo and I attended in May) – I moved to France immediately after she moved back from the UK. I think we missed each other by a month! I’m glad to be near my family too – they are pretty great! I’ve lived thousands of miles away for the last decade so it’s nice to be closer to home.
I’m also meeting people from all over the world at school, which is really cool! I think there are students from forty or fifty countries. Everyone has their own life that they left to come study here, whether they came from China or San Diego, which helps put this move into perspective for me. It has been complicated to bring Hugo here, but at least it was possible – some people had to leave their spouses or partners behind.
You might have heard about the fires in California – my family isn’t in the affected zone, but we have friends who are very close to the fires about an hour from here. There are fires almost every year around this time, but this is the biggest one since 2008. There are signs all along the highway thanking the fire crews for being so awesome. Not only are they working hard to save homes and contain the fire, they also have to deal with other hazards, like rattlesnakes. Because an out-of-control monster of flames isn’t enough.
What about blogging? I plan to keep blogging as much as I can. I have tons of half-written posts to edit about Lyon and Paris and France, and I might post some updates about life over here if you care to know! I’ve gotten some nice feedback about my posts on Lyon, so I’d like to write some more at some point. My posts on teaching English are still the most popular, but I don’t know that I have much more to say on the subject. (Hi and bon courage to all the future language assistants who have stopped by!)
This is a big year for me – change is hard, but it also feels good, like stretching after being curled up in a cozy ball for awhile. I miss France, but I’m excited to see what life in California will bring.
Wish me luck, and keep in touch!