Friday, January 13, 2012

One Year Anniversary: Part One

It's been ages! I know, but the blog is always on my mind. I thought an entry should be written, especially with my one year anniversary on February's horizon. Yes, almost one year ago, I set foot on another continent to explore & plant roots. Surely, surreal, even 321 days later.

Claude Monet's painting, Carriers St Denis. *
One year ago our apartment was empty with just a camping table, two folding chairs, an IKEA pong chair, and two beds. Now looking around, I see a proper dining table, five proper chairs (why five? I'm not sure), a couch, a crammed bookshelf, scattered toys, closets, and not a place to put another pot in the cupboard. Just the other day, I was actually thinking of doing a massive Spring cleaning, not for the arrival of Printemps in eight weeks but because we're moving. Not back to New York, not to Germany nor England (I know half of you expect us to trot around the globe), but half a mile away, in the same town, not far from the river, to our very own home, one that we will own. I can not describe how exciting it feels, a century old maison de ville (townhouse) in the Vieux village that borders the Seine. A Francophile's dream, not that I'm one. Living here for almost a year has certainly affirmed that. However, by all means, it does not mean I dislike it, quite the contrary. Still, the thought of planting deep roots such as owning a home, means I'm here to stay. Any castles in the sky about going back home have vaporized into the same air from which they sprang. And after much thought, I think its okay. In life, one should dare the inconceivable. Living abroad was one of those things for me, even after marrying a Frenchman. I suppose I was still pretty naïve back then.

In fact, I can't see myself going back home to live at all, during this transit in life, not to my old life at least. The experience has changed me so profoundly, so fundamentally that I don't think I would fit in anymore. Have I been un-Americanized? Probably not, it's part of who I am, just like I identify myself as being a New Yorker, first, and American, second. Always have, always will, and proud of it. I just like to think new layers of paint have been added to this picture of me. The comparisons of home and here, will never cease. The yearning for home will never either. But...something has awoken in me, a new desire, a new yearning. There's so much more to life than where we grew up, than where we raise our kids, than where we work, or wherever we choose to settle down and plant our roots. There is nothing wrong for those who make their hometown, the same to that of their children. To always live in the same city, same state, same country. I probably would've been perfectly content with that, never knowing that I wanted more. But if you dare, and you have the means or make the means to do so, leap! 

* Carrieres St Denis is the old name of Carrieres sur Seine, where we live. A replica can be found in the town's park, along with other famous paintings of the town, along the streets of the old village.