Feelings in France

We arrived in France Saturday after a 20 hour journey, and I am feeling much happier than I thought I would. I think a lot of my pre-departure emotions were tied up in worrying about Monkey on the flight. We flew with Iceland Air, leaving at 9:30 at night, and since he’s never wanted to sleep on planes, I had nightmares of wrangling a cranky, horrible toddler on very little sleep.

He ended up sleeping about 4 hours on the first leg, albeit fitfully (it was drier than normal on the plane), and then another 2 on the Iceland-Paris leg. I got maybe 3 hours on the first leg and 1 hour on the second. My husband barely sleep at all, but we were still all in pretty good moods by the time we arrived. I was also really worried that Monkey would pull his usual “I hate people for the first half hour of seeing them, even if I know them” routine with his mamie, but he was happy right away! The weekly Skype calls definitely helped, I think.

He didn’t seem confused at all when we got to the house, possibly because of the excitement about the “new” toys here. He did spend a lot of time here during the first 18 months of his life, including living here an entire month, so even though I don’t think he “remembers” the house, I wonder if a part of his brain senses how familiar it is.

He slept for 13 hours the first night, and around 11 last night, with a long nap today, so that’s been a relief. I’ve been having a harder time, but it’s only been 2 days. I’ve had more wine in the past two days than I have had in the past two months, which probably doesn’t help my restless nights!

So far in just two days we’ve seen three different sets of cousins/uncles/etc, and another two are planned for tonight. I drove a manual car again without any problems, which was a relief, especially since it was my mother-in-law’s new car! The weather has been surprisingly nice for Lorraine, almost hot, and I spent a nice afternoon reading in the sun while Monkey napped. I’m feeling very relaxed, and seeing how happy my husband is to be with his family makes me very happy too. Though he seems a bit stressed about finding time to see everyone, which is a familiar emotion for many expats when they visit home!

Monkey was initially less clingy, but I think seeing so many “new” people in such a short period of time is getting to him a bit. He insisted on sitting on my lap at lunch, which solicited some “advice”…Overall though, he’s been great, and has already picked up a few new words.

For now, I am luxuriating in that wonderful “beginning of vacation, we have lots of time” feeling, knowing that two weeks will be over before we know it!

 

My book is free this week!

It’s done! It’s published! And it’s free for the next 5 days!

85 kindle pages of YA psychic/paranormal/dystopian goodness for you to read, enjoy, and comment on! It’ll take an hour to read, and five minutes to review! (But please be nice, this is probably the scariest thing I have ever done!)

http://myBook.to/I-Dream-Of-Fire 

The link should take you to your appropriate country’s Amazon site. Let me know if it doesn’t work, and/or if you don’t see it as being free between April 18 to 22.

If you’d like to read the first few posts of my author’s blog, here it is: www.daphnejameshuff.com 

Happy reading!

Thoughts on returning to France (for a visit)

In exactly one week we will be on our way to France for a 2 week visit. It’s the first time we’ve been back since moving in January 2016, and I have lots of thoughts that I wanted to get down before we leave.

People keep asking me if I’m excited. I guess I am, but it’s more just excitement/happiness to be on vacation! While we’re both lucky to have 3 weeks of vacation per year, my husband can’t carry any over. It’s nice to know his company encourages employees to actually use vacation time, but it means my plan of saving up vacation time and going for longer trips every few years may not really be possible. Last year we mostly took long weekends, and we both took a week when his mom and sister visited. So I’m looking forward to the first long break from work in over a year. However, I’m not excited about France, per se.

If I am honest with myself, I am not sure that I really miss France. I miss the cheap food and childcare. I miss travelling without a small child. But I don’t wish I hadn’t left, which is what “miss” really means to me.

To be fair, I don’t think that I missed the states when I was living in France. I missed familiar foods, family, and friends. But I didn’t have an adult life here to miss. If I missed anything, it was the (mostly) carefree days of college, which would have been the case no matter where I’d spent my twenties.

I reread my post talking about why I wanted to move back, and I think I’m on my way to accomplishing what I wanted from the move. Someone new started this week at work, and it took me a few days to mention my time in France. It used to be the first thing out of my mouth when talking to people. To not have “expat” be the first thing I identify with is a relief. I have said it countless times in the past year, but finding this job is what has made this move feel like one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am feeling more “myself” thanks to a job I do well and my awesome colleagues who support me and make me laugh every day.

Part of the reason to move was to “see if I could do it” on this side of the ocean. And I feel like I definitely can. Probably because of the confidence living abroad for an extended period of time gave me. I know I definitely wouldn’t be in the happy place I am today if I hadn’t lived in France, and I’m not saying I regret it in any way. But I don’t miss the life I had there, not in a regretful or painful way.

For me, it feels like the way I miss life in college. There were awesome things about it, I learned a lot, and made some great, lifelong friends. But it’s in the past, and I’ve moved on. I do feel like this is kind of harsh, like breaking up with someone after 8 years without a backward glance. To stay with the college theme, I like to think of it more like getting a PhD. Some people stay in academia, even stay at the same university. Others move into other fields and put that knowledge to other uses.

When people ask me though, I usually just answer with “yes, very excited!” since I know that’s what they are expecting. I really am excited about visiting Sweden while we’re there, where my brother-in-law is doing an internship. So perhaps my lack of excitement about France is just because it’s not something new. And when people ask if I’m excited, it’s because for them, it would be something new.

This has gone on a bit longer than I intended. The wine with dinner (French, of course!) probably has something to do with that. This seems like quite enough introspection for a Friday evening.

My secret project

I was going to post this yesterday, but didn’t want people to think it was an April Fool’s, because it most definitely is not! I mentioned a “secret goal” in my new year’s post … I set myself the goal to publish a book on Kindle this year, and it’s almost done!

Part of the reason I’m talking about it now, before it’s out, is for accountability. I have had a few close friends helping me A TON during the writing and editing phase, and that has helped make sure I actually finish it. But I could still chicken out and not hit that final “publish” button, so here is my more public accountability push (without going super public and talking about it on Facebook. Which I still will, but only once it’s actually out!).

I’ll be using a pen name, and will have a separate author website and blog, which I will share soon. This blog wasn’t supposed to be all about bébé and kind of automatically morphed into that because, hello, it’s a huge part of my life. It was hard to not write about the journey of writing, since it has occupied hours and hours of my time the past few months. So I’ll see how things go and if I end up merging the two blogs/sites or not.

It’s a shorter book, less than 100 pages, so a quick read for your morning commute. Or, if you’re like me and only have time to read for about 10 minutes every night, it’s a few days of reading. It’s a young adult dystopian because that is pretty much all I read right now. Though recently I have been reading more Neil Gaiman and have lots of fairy/fantasy ideas swirling around in my brain…

So there it is, my secret project of 2017! Stay tuned for more news, hopefully by the end of the month (if I can stop distracting myself with the fun non-writing tasks like “pick serious author profile picture” and “decide on color scheme for website”).