Two weeks have passed since we came home. Home. Hmmm. I seem to use throw that word around a lot. France isn't exactly my home. But it is where my heart is. Meaning where my children and husband are. Hence it is home.
And yet no place can really be home when you receive a culture shock every time you come back after being away for two months. The culture shock isn't as bad as it was the first time I moved here, but it was worse than my other returns, since I have never been away this long.
Although I knew what was coming, I was surprised about a few things. Walking through the streets that are so familiar after four and a half years of living here I almost expected changes, a difference i the air, in prices, in people. Looking around, breathing in the air, I noticed that no one else felt the charge of change in the air, no one else held expectations. I walked past the same people begging for cigarettes and coins on the street and heard them calling out the same insults or pleas. I went to buy eggs and found the same price and the same woman working. I did find my usually veggie stand change owners. But then the smell of urine in that corner didn't change. People didn't magically start picking up their dog's poop either....
School started without too much upset, although the girls claim they don't like it. Well, they say, we like recess, but not the school part. Yep, the same tale. France, the States, doesn't matter. All kids prefer recess to school work. Imagine that.
The worst part is that Chatterbox started daycare part time. And she hates it. She hasn't even actually been longer than one hour so far because she screams so loudly and hits the teacher when she tries to pick her up so they don't want her there for any loner. This week we are going three times in which I will stay for fifteen minutes to see if she will act a bit calmer. I have the feeling that if she doesn't they are going to "suggest" that she doesn't come any more. Ay, my poor nervous toddler. Now she clings to me each time we go somewhere and acts like she is afraid I'm going to leave her. She wants me to hold her when we are outside and when I do she claws her nails into my shoulders to make sure I won't put her down! Talk about culture shock! Chatterbox bears the brunt of it, it seems!
Hopefully it will go better this week. As I get comfortable again with the high prices, frowning cashiers and terrible customer service that rarely allows you to return anything, hopefully Chatterbox will get comfortable with a French speaking teacher and find the fact that there is a ball pool at day care way more interesting than screaming for an hour!