Today marks three days before I leave for Paris. As much as it gets mentioned, in life and in my posts here, it’s just now starting to feel real. I’m going to miss my family like crazy. I’m going to spend two weeks exhausting myself trying to communicate not only in American Sign Language (ASL), a task that still requires a good bit of effort for me, but in langue des signes française or French Sign Language (LSF), a language that I will be introduced to very shortly. I will struggle to balance my diet based on what’s available and what makes me the sickest. I will spend two weeks with a large group of people and anticipate my ‘well of extroversion’ running out long before the two weeks is up.
And I will see Paris in springtime.
I will tour museums, see the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I will sit at an outdoor cafe and sip coffee. I will create memories that I will cherish. And most important of all, I will survive the exhaustion of being fully immersed in sign language and come home with better skills than I left with. This excites me. My skills, receptive and productive, are right on the cusp of fluency. I need this to help me to pass my interpreting interview in August. I need this to know if I really have what it takes to make a career out of using this language.
It’s such an exciting time in my life. I love that I’m coming at it from a point of emotional/hormonal stability. I used to never get excited about things for fear that if they didn’t happen the disappointment would crush me and send me into spiraling depression. Now, I get excited. I anticipate. I look forward to things that are happening. And if they don’t happen, the disappointment is short-lived and no longer crippling.
I know this trip is going to be nothing like anything I’ve imagined it will be. So much so that I haven’t spend much time dreaming about what it will be like. It’s so unlike anything I’ve ever, ever done, I don’t even know where to begin imagining. I anticipate communication frustration. I anticipate feeling like I’m not quite sure what is going on pretty much the whole trip. I will be exhausted. I will cry from frustration. I will be homesick.
And I will visit Notre Dame and the Louvre. I will see things I’ve always wanted to and never thought I would. It’s going to be amazing.
Three days until my flight leaves.
I haven’t packed a single thing.
I hate packing for trips. I always, always wait until the last possible minute. I never know what to take, always forget something I wish I had, and take things I never touch. I have managed to get all the household affairs in order. My original plan was to leave Shane a list of bills to pay on the appropriate dates and a fridge full of food. Then we looked at his schedule for the next two weeks and decided it would be best to prep things a bit more before I leave. Suddenly having one person responsible for what two people usually do can be chaotic. Especially when the one left to do it all has a full-time job, half a dozen outside commitments, and a schedule that didn’t account for me being gone.
So I’ve spent the last few days scheduling bills online, preparing menus and printing recipes, coordinating with teachers and caregivers so that his two weeks without me will go as smooth and stress-free as possible.
The kiddo’s school year ends while I’m gone, too. I hate that I’ll miss those year-end activities. Seth has taken to announcing the end of the school year in his own unique way. He keeps chanting “summer, summer, summer” like in High School Musical 2.
I quickly regretted putting that tag on his calendar!
Three. More. Days.
I’m going to start packing today. Really, really. I promise.