This day, ten years ago.
I’m driving around with one the best guys in the world, Bill, who’s showing me around the various neighborhoods for Annapolis. We had left California almost a year before. Our plan to relocate to the Boston area has fallen though, so we’re thinking maybe best to settle in an area we (or I, at least), know, sort of. Although he’s more of a commercial agent, whatever Bill puts his mind to he does quite well, and this time it’s helping us getting the lay of the land. I know he’s less concerned about me than making sure this family I’ve brought back lands okay.
My cell phone rings. It’s my sister, Courtenay.
“A letter arrived from the French embassy. Can I open it?”
Eight months ago, February, 2011, we made our first pass at getting long stay visas for France. A lot of our paperwork was fine, but not enough. March, April, May, and June were spent resolving issues, so that in July we resubmitted our paperwork. Since we’re sort homeless, I’ve been using my sister’s mailing address; this will continue….still does, in some cases.
Since July we had been waiting to hear back. I tell her to open it.
Courtenay lets out a whoop and says our applications have been approved. I’m stunned; I’m happy, amazed that it actually happened, and now we have a way forward. I have no idea what we are in for. I immediately call Annie.
There’s a lot of people, without whose help, this would not have been possible: the Yamadas, the Martins, the Chambers, the Virginia Elders, the Maryland Elder/Shupps, the Dickinsons, and the wonderful Canadian side of the family, the Levacs and the Andres. I’ve probably forgotten some. Thanks to you all. But it must be said that this never would have even started without Annie: it was her idea, and by virtue of her French, had to deal with embassies, prefectures, and no end of bureaucrats in Washington D.C, Marseille, Toulon, and Montpellier; I was just sort of like a roadie touring with her, moving amps and wire-tying cables.
This day, right now. Annie, along with running the household and its business and her writing, is getting us ready to buy a home in Montpellier. Kieran just graduated from university, spent some time travelling in Spain, and is about to start a three month database programming intensive. Andre works doing UI/UX and graphic design, and to help him along, his boss gives him pop programming quizzes. Both these guys, somehow, amazingly, have absolutely wonderful French girlfriends. Catherine speaks English with a French accent, is 14 going going on 24, is in her last year of college, middle school. I’m in Chur, but will soon be back full time in Montpellier; it’s stunningly beautiful day here: the colors have an early fall intensity to them, brought out by the late afternoon light of the shortening days.