I realized today that I have been stateside for more than 3 months.
Sometimes I think about my time in France and think... "was that me? did I really go somewhere?"
And then I remember what a beautiful healing trip it was, filled with kind loving people who helped me heal enough to be able to come home and do what I needed to do upon immediate arrival. And what an intense run that was (read shitshow). It included a move into and out of my house, a move into and out of another, as always my ever wonderful supportive friends, the intense selling, dismantling and packing of my house, also what was the most definitely the worst 2 months of my life (someday I'll chronicle that but for now, it's enough that I survived it), and then a another move. To a sweet and beautiful place that is part of the next chapter. (bring it!)
I have moved into, and starting in August, I will be the new innkeeper at the Williamsville Guest House. It's a small b&b in this same small village I've been drawn to for the last year and a half. It's a big old farmhouse with a wrap around porch (the ceiling is even blue which I've always coveted). This porch where I've scattered my belongings here and there to create little sitting areas and it even had hooks for my beloved porch swing (it's true, it was a wedding present, but I don't care- it was given to me with love by my best friend and it still holds me tenderly and makes me happy every time I sit in it). I've yet to really tackle the inside but I'm itching to. I have a small terrace out back where I have set up my nice old french iron table and my fountain along with dozens of my favorite plants that I couldn't leave behind. They, like me, are waiting to see if this is place where we will put down roots, possibly thrive and even flourish.
My friends' restaurant is at the end of my driveway (I believe it is the only business in town). The rock river is across the street, I can hear it gurgling all day and I especially love hearing it when all is so very quiet at night. Apparently in a town this tiny you don't have mail delivery, you just walk yourself down along the river to your post office box. It's very quaint. I know many of my new neighbors, they've been very kind and welcoming. My new landlord is a great guy, someone I've known for more than 20 years. He's done all the big work of renovating decorating and just needs someone to come in and finish and fill it up with appreciative people. I think I can help. It feels good to have a project. I still have some school work hanging over my head but hopefully can do it all with my lovely garden work to keep me sane.
I miss my Roquessels friends terribly, it feels like I have these two lives that are so separate. The lack of phone service and internet for the first few weeks here did not help that much.
Today my decision to move here was abundantly confirmed whilst (I love using that) I visited several artists studios/galleries on the Rock River Artists Tour. It was a love fest of new friends. A not so subtle reminder of why I am here. A community of talented people who value art and good food and gardening and a simple clean lifestyle. Creating art is valued in a big way and there's a generous wide scope of acceptance of all kinds of choices. I feel home in an unexpected and heretofore unexperienced way.