So, it looks like we're in it for the long haul, meaning it seems that my husband will continue to be based in Paris for a few more years. This is the third time we have settled in the city of lights and the last two times we couldn't get away fast enough, to the point where my hubby changed company some years back in order NOT to move back to Paris.
They say everything good comes in threes. We got lured into coming back to Paris and left Switzerland three years ago to face the music. And here we are, not only singing with the music but dancing to it as well.
I admit this assignment has been one of the easier ones. We had lived here before, we both speak French, we know the system (which doesn't mean we always understand it) and most of all we are familiar with the French. Actually, upon my arrival I was positively surprised, the Parisian have become more approachable over the past ten years, I would not go as far as to use the word friendly, however.
In any case, with pre-adolecent children, the city does have a great deal to offer. No more lugging strollers down the staircases into the metro, no more prams being stolen in the inner courtyard, no more groceries being lugged up to the top floor because we now live in a building with an elevator! We DO hear the neighbours above us stomp across the floor, we KNOW which TV programme our neighbour below is watching (because we can hear it!) and when we switch on our WiFi we need to triple check which one on the list of 20 servers is ours.
All in all, Paris has become home. I never thought I'd say - let alone write - this, but we HAVE settled in. A few days ago I came across a family calendar from when we first moved to France. Needless to say all four of us were smiling on every single shot but somehow you could tell the smiles were tense and in no way natural. We were so determined to make this move work and so preoccupied with digging a new nest that we could call home, knowing that nothing could ever fill the void we all felt when leaving Switzerland.
Comparing it to this year's family calendar (yes, I do make one every year and send it to all our relatives!) where we all look totally relaxed and at ease with our environment, it is a big relief to see that even the kids have come around to the point were - in some ways - Paris is even better than Lugano.
It took a long time but - as always - we have forged ourselves a home. It's a cliché but after all: "Home is where your heart is"... and mine is right here with my family!