My plane leaves on April 9, two weeks from today. It certainly doesn’t seem like 3 months have gone by. I filled the time catching up with friends in CA and WA. Everyone asked – what’s it like to be back? I’ve pointed out some of the differences – going out without makeup, purse, or visiting Safeway in gym clothes. I notice when I find myself feeling uncomfortable.
But I also notice when I am surprised by a bit of happiness (not to imply I am not happy most of the time – I mean that moment when something happens and you realize you like that particular thing and maybe you had missed it!) Like yesterday, walking into the gym, I passed a woman walking out. And we did the very American smile at a stranger. And I liked it! And chatting with servers in restaurants – much more open and relaxed. And being able to turn to a stranger in a store or on the sidewalk or in the bank and make a general observation and have a small discussion.
YET. Even as I describe the French to my friends as more reserved than Americans, little memories wiggle out of a corner of my brain and say – wait, what about that lady at the bus stop, and those 4 ladies in the bus? And more… And I now think, maybe they are more reserved with strangers who are not French? I looked and acted more and more Parisienne as the months passed. And now I realize when they started those conversations, it was ME who was reserved – because I was uncomfortable with my French skills.
In January I got my visa from the lovely ladies at the French consulate in San Francisco. Easy process now. Discovered that United has finally made it simple to book award travel so I will be flying from Sac to SFO to CDG. Different from my usual Delta route, but free. Free is a good thing.
Besides the Washington and Visalia trips, I spent a week in Mill Valley north of SF for an Enneagram class. It was to add to my coaching toolkit. A very intriguing and interesting four days. I am toying with the idea of attending the International Enneagram conference in Cape Town in October. Same time zone as Paris and you fly through Dubai. Something to consider.
Now to making my list of things to do before returning – notify credit cards, buy euros, have numerous going away lunches and dinners (I think no one believed I would stay away so long – we didn’t have such celebrations last year. But I like it!)