Friday, February 20, 2009

Far from Home

This evening Brooklyn and I had the following conversation:

Me: Would you girls like pizza for dinner?
Brooklyn: No, I want leftover ratatouille.

While for the most part, life here in France has become very routine and normal, every once in a while these "huh?" moments catch me off guard and remind me how very far from home we are!

Here are some other daily glimpses from our life here in Lyon: This morning Talia was driving us all crazy in true two year-old fashion by running around the kitchen yelling the same word over and over and over at the top of her lungs. I looked over and noticed she was wearing both of the oven mitts and saying "Chaud! Chaud! Chaud!" (Hot, in French.) I had to stop and smile as I realized that if I could have glimpsed that scene a year ago, I would have found it completely adorable (not to mention motivating it terms of tackling the innumerable hurdles that stood in the way of getting here.)

I also admit that I enjoyed being bossed around by my four year-old yesterday at the park. Definitely the oldest sibling, Brooklyn was micro-managing our game of "cache-cache" (hide-and-go seek) by telling me exactly when and where to hide, count, etc. The difference, however, was that she was actually doing it in French. While she still lacks a lot of vocabulary and some grammatical structures, over the past month she's really taken off with the language. Her teachers are so pleased that she's making such significant efforts to communicate in French now, and as parents we're trying to jump on board and follow her good example. Last weekend we went to the Swiss temple in Bern with our congregation. I chuckled as we pulled up and Jason said, "Look at all of the snow!" only to have Brooklyn translate, "Regarde! Beaucoup de neige!"

Even I am making some linguistic progress. In general, it happens so slowly that you don't feel like you're progressing at all, but positive changes still happen if you are patient. Yesterday I had to take resolve an issue at the social security office. It wasn't until I got home that I realized that four months ago I never would have had the linguistic competence to successfully accomplish that task. While I'm sure that my grammar and pronunciation were not flawless, I was able to get the job fairly well done without any major communication breakdowns, and I didn't even sweat bullets in the process. That's progress!

Things are going really well for Jason too. This architectural internship is turning out to be great--he has lots of autonomy and responsibility with his design project, which is turning out so well that they are already taking significant steps to move forward with it. I think it's a big confidence booster to have his many years of education and training actually be valuable and useful, even on the other side of the big puddle.

And yet, despite all of the wonderful things that are happening, we're starting to feel those gentle tuggings towards home. We were extended the opportunity to stay for another year, but decided we'd rather be closer to family. (Not to mention the fact that Jason still needs to graduate.) :)

So instead of converting more dollars to euros, we decided instead to purchase our plane tickets home. We're coming back on July 2nd--just in time to celebrate Independence Day with some good old-fashioned fireworks. (Sadly, we barely miss the beginning of the Tour de France, but you can't have everything...)

With plane tickets in hand, I'm full of the awareness that we haven't really got all that much time left. I hope that instead of counting down the days until our flight, we will do our best to take advantage of and seize every moment that we have here. After all, this is an opportunity that we will probably never have again.


Megan Ficek said...

My, how a year flies by! Will Brooklyn come teach Evie some French this summer?

Quinn said...

We are glad to have you guys coming back, but we are also glad you guys have had such a great experience. We look forward to seeing you in July.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Milkweed!

It is a good thing you've already purchased your return tickets for July 2d. Once Springtime arrives in France, you may have been tempted to holdover. ... "How we gonna keep 'em down in Champaign, now that they've seen Paris (& Lyon, Bern, Geneva, Grenoble, Annecy etc.)?

Although I'm delighted with your continental experience, it will be good to have you all back in the USA. It is best to keep both feet planted firmly in place for awhile ... but not for too long. Why? Well -- "show me a man who has two feet planted firmly on the ground, and I'll show you a man who cannot put on his pants." In other words, stay humble and nimble, but still grounded.

Bye, Bye & Keep Smiling!

Mom L said...

Delightful!!! Love the way you share your experiences so well. What a great opportunity for all of you. Children amaze me with their verbal aptitude. I keep wondering, will I ever learn a foreign language?
Aunt Julie

Tanja said...

You went to Paris? How was it? What did you see?

Becca said...

We are glad to have you guys back. Even though we do not live near:) Camilla has been asking every since last September, when she can see Brooklyn and we have to keep telling her she lives far away. (I think she has finally got it.) I have loved reading your experiences and am so glad you had the opportunity to do this great adventure even if it was hard.

Bruce Richards said...

We're looking forward to seeing you!

Justin said...

I love this post! Especially Tally running around yelling french words. Wish I could have seen it. Where will you folks be spending the 4th o' July?

Brianna said...

Love it! Where did you purchase your flights? I have been looking everywhere for a good deal. If you have any advice, I am all ears.

chou said...

I can't wait to see this french action!!! I hope you're having a good time with the Lance machine. :)