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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

....in between

It's that time of "in between".  The weather can't decide between Winter or Spring.  One day it will be gray and 40 degrees and the next, 60 and sunny.  Trees are starting to bud, but still are looking decidedly skeletal.  There are some daffodils right outside out building poking their heads out, taking the chance that Spring is on the way.  I hope they're right.

We have just passed the one year mark here.  So I guess you could say we are "in between" on our time here.  We have be "contracted" for 3 years so technically we are on the long side of in-between, but recently we went through a round of "do we stay or do we go?".  Seems trouble with the Euro is making companies re-evaluate their expats on assignment.  As of right now, we are here for the next two years, but there was some vacillating recently.

Now I know, I should be so grateful to have this experience and to allow my kids to have this experience, but recently with the in-between weather and the dangled idea of going home, it has been hard.  We also took a 3 day trip to London while the kids were on half-term break and being surrounded by English speakers and things we could READ and understand, made it hard to come back to the land of Franglish and charades!
Sam and the Queen
Madame Tussaud Wax Museum

Outside London Aquarium

Jammin' with Jimi!
Madame Tussaud Wax Museum
Look Harry Potter Fans!
The Night Bus in London!
"Get a move on, Ernie"

Max doing his best "no expression" look.

In the past few weeks we have also learned the hard truth of being expats.  Since the people you tend to meet are also expats, they LEAVE!  In the past few months we have learned that two of the people Patrick works with and chats with the most are leaving.  Ronan is going home to Ireland and Lorraine and her partner are going to Texas (which is a great reassignment for them as their family happens to be in Texas!)  This will considerably cut the number of folks in Patrick's immediate workspace that he used to lunch with but also people we would see outside of work for social evenings.  Lorraine was the one who "sponsored" Thanksgiving last year and Ronan was Patrick's "boys night out" buddy.

The kids are also having friends leaving.  Hawthorn and his family (His parents have been here 16 years!) will be leaving to return to England in the summer.  Hawthorn's family were the ones who took us to their club and where Max got to play cricket.  They were also the only other family I knew in Saint Cloud who went to the British School.  William, another buddy of Max's, will be leaving in the Spring.
Max and William
during Victorian Day Tea at school

Samantha's friends Kaia and Sophie will be moving this summer.  Her class already said "good-bye" to Lucy whose parents had a reassignment to Hong Kong.  Sophie's family has been here 5+ years and so unless they want to start paying into the French tax system, it was time for them to go.  Kaia and her parents will return to Spain, her father's county or origin.
Sophie, Sam and Lucy
Summer Fete at British School

We knew this would happen.  People come and go in the English speaking, expat community here.  New people will arrive to take their places so future friends are arriving....but damn, it's hard.  You are comfortable with these people.....  You share all the same inside jokes....  they know your coffee order.....  You are happy for them but there is a part of you that thinks "crap, I want to go home too"!

Please don't think we are unappreciative of this experience, we are.  Don't think that we are sitting around moping and wringing our hands either (Mom!).  I think that once the weather changes and we can get out and about, we will be revived.  But now, it is just the season of in-between......