Good morning from Paris! This is my first attempt at a blog entry while on the go. Unfortunately, my go-with-the-flow nature, which generally serves me very well living over There, is not genial (as my French friends would say, meaning super, fantastic or brilliant), when you have a deadline. There’s been plenty going on here to keep me from sitting down and getting to know my WordPress app, but more on that another day. Today, I had intended to write a long and nostalgic post about reuniting with Christine and family for Halloween (in Cold Spring) and Thanksgiving (in Bologna), but luckily, I got to read Christine’s post first. Part of me feels like I could just write DITTO on the left side of this page and that would be enough. But instead, let me send you over to the right hand column first (if you haven’t been there already!), then please come back here for just few more words.
Firstly, we needed that trip back to New York and Philly, needed the hard evidence that you can get on a plane and go back home after such a big change. Stefan got to meet up with folks that he doesn’t keep up a long distance conversation with. The kids got verification that your friends don’t forget you just because you live somewhere else. And I got to visit my homeland (Phillytown!), my adopted home (NYC) as well as a house where I feel right at home: Christine’s. It’s that place where a four-legged creature dutifully and joyfully greets you at the door, each and every time; where you can drop in unannounced; where you can open the fridge and make your kid a sandwich; where you can drop down on the couch and take a nap; and where you can haul in all your built up angst, lay it on the table for examination, and leave feeling better, lighter. More then just feeling good, this kind of place can be a lifeline to sanity, and one of the tough things about living There, is the loss of it.
As Christine mentioned, we only got to spend a short time in each city during that trip, so I was thrilled that a group of our friends decided to keep us company for our first Thanksgiving away, just a month later. We were so grateful that they would choose to spend their limited vacation time with us all the way across the Atlantic, helping to baptize our new home. In the photo above, you see what my kitchen looks like when my friends are over, a proverbial beehive of activity. Here, it’s Thanksgiving morning, and things have been happening way before I opened my eyelids. I’m pretty sure by the time I arrived for some coffee and a bowl of cereal, my incredibly industrious friends Michele and Natasha had already knocked out 2 or 3 dishes. If I remember correctly, Christine (in front of the window in her fetching flannel pj pants) also joined the kitchen crew a little later, but then got right down to work. (She had already thought about table decor the day before, and purchased beautiful peach-colored peonies, arranging them in 4 low vases to stagger along the length of our holiday table.) Children and husbands popped in and out to make a dish, or play, or perform or imbibe, while discussing and debating, everyone at home, no pretense, pjs on as along as you like, smudged eye makeup and less than fresh breath, retreats to a solitary corners when needed, talking and drinking, drinking and talking, about actual things, the way you can only do with your people. When something blows up in your face, you know their consolation is heartfelt, and when something wonderful happens, you know they mean the every ounce of the squeeze they’re giving you. It’s a tremendous gift, and after these two trips, we were recharged and ready to go… at least for another few months.