You may have been wondering about the unusual pictures popping up on my Flickr page, and where in France we could have found a new house that looks like that.
As some of you may have guessed, the truth is, it's not in France. It's in Madison. And we're moving back.
Dr. B will finish his post-doc in August, after which we head home for another post-doc at the UW. This brings a lot of mixed feelings, but we believe it is the right thing to do.
Our time in Paris has been wonderful and awful, intense, eye-opening, liberating, restrictive, fun, full of anguish, and very crazy. We've made some great friends, eaten like kings, traveled, learned to speak another language fairly well, explored new scientific frontiers (OK, not me, him) and we've loved it. Maybe not every minute, but the overall experience has been incredible.
But, life goes on, and changes happen. We knew it wasn't permanent, and Dr. B looked for the next step when we were only half-way through this one. Another year here would have been enjoyable, but also very difficult. For his career's future, Dr. B really needs to be back in the US, and we need to start climbing out of the debt that France has put us in. His position at UW-Madison is everything we could have hoped for, and we can't help but think that a certain guardian angel helped us out quite a bit on this one (Thanks, Mom.)
Thanks to wonderful friends back home, we've found and rented a beautiful house on the Isthmus. The owners have been fantastic, and are even having the place painted in beautiful colors, awaiting our return. We look forward to stretching out in our 3-bedroom house, sitting on the porch with an Arnie Palmer and a book or some knitting, and planting a garden in our fenced backyard, with Lucy by our side. Biking, meeting friends on the Terrace, great Thai food, and hikes at the dog park--if we have to return to the US, this is the ideal place for us to be.
So, the question is, where do I go from here?
This is one that doesn't have a definite answer yet, and I kind of like it that way. About 15 years ago, I had lots of choices, things I 'could' do with my life, if I wanted to. Things I knew I was good enough to do, and that I enjoyed. I chose to be a music teacher, and I don't regret it. But now, with no job to go back to, there are more options open to me, ways to expand and enhance my life, and my teaching. There are so many possibilities: a masters degree, yoga, substitute teaching, private music or French instruction, writing a book, becoming a Mom (God willing...hey guardian angel? Need some help here...)
I don't know what the future holds. But I do know that writing this blog has been so important to me this year. I've had a way to share my experience, put it down in concrete for myself and for those who'd like a peek of our lives here in Paris, and a way to find some fantastic friends I may have never found without it.
Will I keep going?
Do you want to keep reading?
I don't know right now. I hope so. If you want me to keep writing, I can, though "Mrs. B in Madison" just doesn't have quite the same ring to it. But for now, dear readers, thank you. Thank you for the support, the encouragement, the comments, and the hits. You've made me feel important at a time when I first had to step away from the identity I'd worked so hard for and chosen myself. You've made me feel worth something, when I was questioning myself and afraid and attempting to deal with a whole new world. You helped me be strong.
We have a little over a month left in France. We have our house rented, the plane tickets purchased, and we've begun to pick up some of the little souvenir items we will take home to our new life in our old hometown. Now, in the 4 weeks ahead, we will deal with selling furniture, packing and shipping our belongings, and enjoying the people and the places we will miss when we are back in Wisconsin.
And then... the next chapter begins.