Although I have really set this up to write about my next adventures, it seems reasonable, surrounded by boxes and awaiting the arrival of removal men tomorrow, to begin it by looking back on the previous one, our two years in St Germain en Laye.
It feels right to be moving on, but we have certainly packed a fair amount in over the past couple of years! We will leave behind new friends we have made, so I'm sure we'll be back to visit! We seem to have found plenty to get involved in and keep busy, both regularly, like the Taize prayer in Paris which has been a real joy, and more occasional events. Plus there have plenty of opportunities to be tourists - to see some of the famous sites, and a few more obscure and slightly random ones too. Maybe being on the edge of a capital city helps.
Being on the edge of Paris may also have been a contributory factor in encouraging some of the visitors we've had to come and stay - we think we counted a total of 35 different people who have stayed with us over the two years. Running the B and B in our spare time has been a lot of fun, allowing us to spend some quality time with lots of great people, not to mention making a few new friends as well.
And the job? Well it's had a few challenges, but also been a huge amount of fun, and I can't deny I have worked with some amazing children (and fabulous colleagues) over the last couple of years. I do feel very privileged to think I have genuinely found my true vocation and to love what I do. Whatever else is going on in life outside the classroom, there is a real energy in being surrounded by a whole bunch of kids with all there enthusiasm and inquisitiveness.
What will I miss? Well I don't suppose anywhere else I live will do wine festivals as well as Paris, and nowhere does bread like the French! I will miss the children, but hopefully I'll find a whole bunch of new ones to work with very soon, and there will be friends I'll miss too, but the world is a small enough place that they hopefully won't feel too far away.
On the other hand, I don't think I'll mind saying goodbye to French paper work, although something tells me that even once we've left, that's something that may haunt us for a while yet.
After we say goodbye to our boxes tomorrow, sending them off into storage to be retrieved who knows when, we will still have a couple of days here, who knows, we may yet fit in a few more sites, then a week in Taize before heading back to the UK for a month of seeing friends and family and getting ready for the next adventure. We leave for the Philippines on 4th October, and that will be the beginning of the adventure this blog is really about!