For the most part, due to budget and time constraints, I limit myself to small, easy crafts: basically, crocheting. You can't do too much harm with some yarn and a blunt plastic needle.
But every now and then I get the urge to do a bigger project, like re-covering and repainting the kitchen chairs Or, say, repainting a nightstand with chalk paint.
I know several of my followers well enough to know that when they read this next sentence, they're going to want to strangle me. But here goes: I already designed and ordered my Christmas cards and they were delivered a couple of weeks ago.
Look, I hate the whole "Christmas decorations in stores on Labor Day" thing (although I do love when those mint M&Ms come out...), but sometimes stockpiling cards and/or gifts ahead of time can make your December a lot less stressful.
We have a lot of rice.
I'm not entirely sure where it came from, or why we have approximately four half-used bags or canisters of it, but we do. So my mission was clear: find a recipe to use up some rice. Not only would I be saving money on the grocery bill, but we would also be cleaning out the pantry. I did what I always do in times like these: I turned to Pinterest.
I've come to the conclusion that if you say, with honesty and forethought, that you want something, God finds a way to deliver. For instance, as I repeatedly thought, "I'm too fat, I need to lose weight," in France, inevitably that weekend we would go somewhere and we would wind up hiking up some monument or dragging around luggage that weighs more than I do. The amount of stairs we encountered was directly correlated to the number of times my internal monologue had chanted, "I'm fat, I'm fat, I'm fat."
So since in my last blog post I mentioned I wanted to be more authentic and share my mess-ups with you all...well, I got an opportunity.
To say that B and I have existed in a happy little newlywed bubble for the past year and a half is an understatement. Just when we were starting to settle in to married life, we were sent away to France. Absolutely nobody was complaining about that opportunity (except maybe my mama-in-law - love you!). But it gave us another six months in a different but happier newlywed bubble.
Eventually, as I'm sure you all saw coming, that bubble had to end. I will say that our relationship itself is wonderful and in that respect we are still like newlyweds, which is nice (who knew it lasted this long? I didn't, but it's amazing!). But we needed to get serious about some other things.
My inability to morning is well-documented, bordering on infamous. However, one fun lesser-known fact about moving from east to west is that your body clock is way ahead of the actual time. So when I get up at 7:00 in the morning here, my body thinks it's actually 1:00 p.m. - which is a much nicer time for waking up, no?
The problem is, when I'm up that early, I get hungry. Breakfast has always been a challenge for me, partly because I struggle to be human before 11:00 a.m. and two cups of coffee, and partly because all the breakfast foods I like are extremely unhealthy: Bloody Marys, mimosas, bacon, waffles, pancakes, Bloody Marys, Pop-Tarts, sugary cereal, waffles, chicken and waffles, chicken and waffles with Bloody Marys...it's so bad.
Eggs do not agree with me. Fruit keeps me full for about a half-hour. I don't really like yogurt. I don't love oatmeal, either, because I don't like the consistency - I like crunchy, chewy stuff. But baked oatmeal - well, there's an idea.
It's Monday, October 5th. Before you say slowly, concernedly, "Yes, Emily, we're aware," please do hear me out. I'm shocked that today is, in fact, today. The Farmer's Almanac and my iPhone calendar all confirm that yes, it is Monday, October 5th. And we're leaving France, flying from Paris to Charlotte. Even though I have two really good books to read on the plane, I'm totally not okay with this. How did we get here? IT WAS JUST APRIL.
It's really hard to think about leaving France. There are so many things we love about the quality of life here. The French really put an emphasis on good quality food and wine. It appears they spend more of their money on food than on belongings. They also put a high priority on family mealtime. We have totally gotten behind this.
But at the same time, there are also a few things I'm pretty excited about in returning to America, MY DOG highly among them (okay, okay, sorry B - OUR dog).
As it happened, yesterday I got sucked into my last ebook and finished too fast (imagine that), but I didn't want to delve into my two specially selected paper "plane books." So in desperation, I went to the Greenville Library's website in hopes of finding something available that is on my to-read list. Last weekend my brother, sister-in-law, and I were discussing Bill Bryson (HILARIOUS) and his books, "Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe" and "A Walk in the Woods," so I hit typed "Bryson" into the ebook search engine. I found "I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years."
About an hour before this post was scheduled to go out (midnight, France time), I started reading. I was exactly six pages in when I found this quote that so perfectly sums up our predicament that I got up out of bed and re-wrote this whole beginning to my blog post because it was just too perfect not to use:
"The lesson to draw from this, of course, is that when you move from one country to another you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there is nothing you can do about it. That may not be the profoundest of insights..."
So there you have it: our dilemma in a nutshell, neatly summed up by one of my favorite authors. Read on to see what we'll sorely miss...and what we're delighted to return to.
E & B
P.S. - Wes, dear, you'd better finish Neither Here Nor There on the plane tomorrow, because I wanna borrow it when we get home, mmmkay?