It is one thing to go on vacation in a place, and come home to show family and friends digital snapshots on the laptop slideshow. ILife makes it slick enough, setting your memories to music and condensing the whole experience into a neat 10 or 15-minute presentation. IRemember when IShow you my IShots.
It's been different this time somehow. We arrived with no less pictures than usual. More, perhaps. But our motivation to pull out the slideshows was somewhat muted. Sure, we've shown a video here or a photo there, but nothing like the marathon storytellings we've indulged in during every visit home in the past few years. I have been trying to figure out why this is. Does it have something to do with the fact that we're not leaving again immediately? Probably, but I also suspect something else is going on.
Paris is home. It doesn't seem like the kind of place we need to showcase anymore. We loved the beauty, never got jaded enough to ignore the way a street weaves a serpentine path, or how almost every wall you walk past is embedded with sculpture, or how those musicians who play in the metro are actually pretty good sometimes. But appreciating all of that becomes part of living there, like breathing.
Now we don't live there. That has felt like a problem that needs solving to both of us. Our discomfort comes poking out in awkward statements about "just moving back" and such. It seems quite unlikely at this point that we'd be abandoning our current course to chase yesterday's dreams. Perhaps it's just time to dwell upon some new ideas for the future, whether they involve the same country or not, and enjoy the respite in Minnesota with family and other dear ones.
Still, I'm compelled to surround myself with images of home. (Our home over there, I mean.) A generous soul on craigslist responded to my plea - "frames wanted" - and I'm on my way to framing France. I've been trying to fit our rich life into squares and rectangles of various sizes to hang in our home (over here, I mean) whenever we define that space. Despite my intense drive to do this, I'm a bit skeptical myself. I can see capturing the joys of a holiday in a scrapbook or set of frames, but a full three years of life? Still, I'm trying.
At least part of that life apparently fits into an oblong three-dimensional package of about 12 inches by 6 by 6. We came home last night to a such a knobby bundle on the kitchen counter, which had arrived while we were out. It was addressed from a bunch of friends in Paris (two cunning masterminds in particular!) and contained many memories, encouragements, bits of Paris. It was overwhelming. And wonderful. It seems as if I might be needing some more frames.
This is only one side of the complexity of grappling with our two homes. More about the other side next time. "For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ."