More than four months after touching down in the U.S., I have finally booked my flight back to France. I have spent nearly as much time back here on the west coast as I have in France in the past months, which, strictly speaking, was not part of the plan.
But it feels good to see the future come into focus and there is nothing vague about my one-way ticket back to Nice in a week.
There are few things more unsettling than living a life in limbo, so there is a calm that comes along with knowing I will soon be hurtling trough the sky from San Francisco, to Portland to Frankfurt and finally back to Nice.
I find myself trying to stay within the delicate balance of feeling energized and inspired by my next move and terrified that I will soon be on foreign soil again and I will be alone.
Over the past few months as I have shuttled back and forth between my family in Portland and my friends in San Francisco, I have been more surrounded by people I love than I can remember.
It has felt like one long extended reunion, and it has been wonderful. From seeing my parents' new house for the first time, to hiking in the snow with my sister, to getting to know my four year old nice, and spending more than a few long nights drinking and laughing with my best friends in the world, this visit has been a tonic for me.
I feel reconnected to some really important people in my life, and to this gorgeous city. And were it not for another very important person, I think the glittering waters of the San Francisco Bay and the sweeping crimson curves of the bridge above could have seduced me.
The Englishman did spend a couple of weeks out here, first enjoying the food and battling the rain in Portland, and then basking in the winter sunshine in San Francisco, and I think we agree that while there is something utterly special about the Bay Area, we have a lot of the world left to explore together before settling in one place.
I feel strong competing forces pulling me in different directions; the proximity to friends and family, and the familiar smells and shapes and tastes of San Francisco on the one hand, and my dashing Englishman and all that there is for us to see out there in this giant world on the other.
So the adventure continues. I am pulling myself away from the comforts of home once again and getting back on the path I started in August.
Although we will still have some distance between us, The Englishman and I have vowed to see as much of each other as possible this year and we are off to a good start, with trips to France, London and Ramallah planned so far.
As he is setting off to cover conflicts in the Middle East, I am packing my bags to return to Nice just in time for the warmth of spring. Hopefully before too long we will be together again in the same country, and city and under the same roof.
As expected, I have all but lost the little French I learned. Luckily, being in a foreign country alone, with groceries to buy, laundry to do and public transportation to navigate, is a surefire way to get some conversation practice in under the wire.
So I am off again! I couldn't be more excited, scared, and curious about what will happen next.