It's been a doozy of a year. As my son Jonas says ever so simply: a lot has happened. Catching our breaths, living under the same roof, grounding our lives in some semblance of normalcy. These seem to be our main goals right now.
Balance: living both as American and French nationals.
This is a goal. Not always easy to manage, but still a goal. For the kids this meant Jonas in France for much of this school year, reintegrating his Waldorf school, and living with his father. For Leo, that meant a long and leisure-filled summer in France for his 18th birthday. For me, this means getting back to France every winter to care for my home and to offer Winter Truffle and Foie Gras Tours.
In the meantime, we are now reunited in my family summer home in Traverse City, enjoying the end of summer quiet, the last of the heat, and a very late Labor Day. Most of our extended family has departed for their winter lives and homes. Schools start up on Tuesday. Later than I've ever experienced. When was the last time Labor Day came this late? I imagine we were back in France with schools that began on August 29th at the time.
I've had some fantastic work experiences this year - consulting on a goat farm in North Carolina, helping them improve their lactic cheese makes, tweak their blue cheese-make and develop a new washed rind soft cheese; the last won an award at the American Cheese Society this summer. I've also visited other colleagues and worked along side them, sharing my skills and knowledge, and picking up some new skills and ideas through observing them and chatting over a meal, wine, and nibbles of cheese.
During this pause in my full-time cheese making life, I'm contemplating different futures, different possibilities, different projects. I'm also simply looking at different ways to make ends meet in the meantime. Life doesn't stop and top of the list each day is caring for my children and paying the numerous expenses a life accumulates. I'm also treasuring my friends, consolidating our affairs, considering book projects, and reaching out. It's a luxury to have time to plan and plot.