The in-laws left yesterday so it was back to "normal'" at the B&B, thus screaming kids, screaming mom, singing dog, and mountains of dirty laundry. Ah, the joys of consistency!
By some bizarre freak of nature, I was able to get everyone up and out early enough to get to the English-speaking playgroup. This group has been meeting most Wednesday mornings for several years and I credit the various members that have come and gone with saving my sanity on many occasions.
There we were this morning, me and one other "old timer" with a couple of new moms and their kids. There at the same park that we've been destroying since before Mini-Husband was potty trained, experiencing the same joy at speaking English in really loud voices, the same joy at finding a mini-oasis of cultural similarities with women from various parts of the US and Britain. Once again, consistency.
We've had lots of people spending time with the group over the years. I miss so many of them that have already left. I also have to admit, I'm tired and not sure I can deal with the realities of making friends with the new ones. They all seem lovely and wonderful, but I hate the thought of them leaving already. (This before I've even invited them over for coffee.)
There are tons of books and stories out there about people who spend 3 or 5 years living abroad and then they go home but not a lot is said by those of us still here. Those of us who are living this "I'm-not-really-from-here-but-I-LIVE-here" thing all the time, by choice. Yes, it's wacky and annoying to live in a foreign language, a foreign land, but it does become "the norm," as far as norms can be.
There is a side of me that wonders if I'm just a wee bit jealous of these new folks. Everything is ahead of them here, all the frustrations, all the joys of being an expat. All of it is new to them. I know they won't believe me yet, but there is something wonderful about having an obvious enemy to focus on, that horrible inability to speak French. It makes your day to day living an adventure and your goal is clear: survive.
But six years, what's my goal now? What am I hoping to gain from this life in French? Six years and three kids later, where am I? What am I hoping to gain from this experience? What do I want to be when I grow up?
Just goes to show that the same questions in life can exist in all languages and in all places, regardless if you are from here or there or have been here a while or not.