Here was my plan for this post. I was going to tease you with a photo of some delicious artichoke hearts braised in white wine. I have made them several times in the past few weeks and people love them. My dad, who loves food but doesn’t really, um, connect food with recipes, remarked to my mom, “You have to get this recipe!” I planned to give it but I’m running out of time.
You see, my little family and I are in the midst of packing shorts and bathing suits and sunscreen and lots of snacks for a very long airplane ride to France. We leave Monday. We will spend three weeks in Cagnes-sur-Mer, a small town not far from Cannes. It has a beach, a big hill, and from the photos, it looks just about perfect. We will hit the beach, drive to other beaches, go to lots of markets, buy some table linens, eat a lot, drink a lot, and ponder our next step.
Because the next step is that we are moving to the Bay area. Soon after Randy’s company started to spiral downward, he started interviewing. He flew all over the country and met with many different companies. We both wanted to try and stay in Seattle but we also knew that a move was a possibility. Randy has lived all over the place and moving is not as scary to him as it is to me. So it is really to his credit that he was committed to finding something in my hometown. However, early on he interviewed with a terrific company in San Francisco and they wanted him. They told him as much and within a week they offered him a job with a very compelling package. We hemmed and hawed. Great job, city we love, but not the city that is our home. So we waited. Randy explored all his options. At one point, he had 27 different companies he was talking to and a spread sheet to keep them all straight. The company in San Francisco was patient. We went down to visit in order to try and answer the question – can we really live here? And we came back saying yes.
But of course, the decision wasn’t as easy as that. We give up a lot by leaving Seattle. My family is here. I have an incredible network of amazing friends – we both do. We love our kids’ school. I teach cooking classes out of my home and I work in an amazing bookstore where I get to cook out of people’s books and get paid for it – there is no re-creating that anywhere else. I love my house, we are comfortable here. But. I don’t pray but sometimes I do feel the need to put things out there to the Universe and this was one of those times. While I was away at my college reunion, I did a lot of thinking. And a lot of talking. Randy and I spoke on the phone several times a day and then went away to sit alone with our own thoughts. I boarded a plane to come back to Seattle knowing that, while I was in the air, Randy was going to get an email with the company’s final package. Maybe they would sweeten the deal a little bit, maybe they wouldn’t. But it was time to make a decision. My plane landed, I checked my email, and they had indeed continued the pattern of generosity. So I called Randy and said, “Let’s do it.” He asked if I was sure and I said yes in a very small voice.
That was last Monday. I have felt, over the course of this week, an incredible sense of relief. The strain of making the decision was over and I could focus on the next tasks at hand, and also start to get excited about the good things coming our way with a move. A much better climate, an incredible food scene, new friends, new adventures to have and places to explore. I was feeling pretty good. And then yesterday was the last day of school for both boys and I had a bit of a breakdown. I’m feeling better now, back to being excited. BlogHer Food is happening this weekend and I have reconnected with friends who live in the Bay area, I feel sure I will have a network soon after moving in. I am most nervous about the school situation, but the company has someone who can help us with all of that.
Our plan is to move to Oakland before school starts on August 22nd. We return from France on July 9th so this will be no small task. Our mid-late summer will be consumed by packing and saying many many goodbyes to people we love. There will be a househunting trip in there as well when the boys will see San Francisco for the first time. I am grateful that we have this incredible trip planned, where we can sit and reflect, plan and ruminate, all in the presence of terrific food and wine, and the beautiful French language.
It is my hope that I will be able to post while in France. Our apartment in Cagnes-sur-Mer has wi-fi and I will be cooking, eating, and photographing the whole time. If I am silent, you will know that I am just opting for another hour on the beach rather than in front of the computer. Onward!