The list of tasks is pretty well whittled down now: a couple of manuscripts to review and two business plans that need drafts rewritten, but otherwise everything seems knocked down to size. The apartment is cleaned and things are packed for a trip to France and onward to the US for the next week. Internet contact may be a bit intermittent, but I’ll post thoughts or pictures along the way as always, when I can.
The autumn light is falling beautifully among the leaves and water in Soonsbeek park this weekend, the fountains are still running even though the patrons are increasingly bundled up. The yellow leaves are still gradually disappearing from the tree behind my building, only the bottom bits are remaining now. It’s getting the feeling of an hourglass, counting down the days remaining until I move south.
My father is going into the clinic for an angiogram / angioplasty on Monday. His calcium CT came up high, leading to a nuclear stress test which came up abnormal, so this is the next stop along the path. He’s over 80, they are implicating the posterior coronary artery (a bit of a backwater in the heart), and the whole thing feels a bit aggressive to me, but I’m sure that they are being precautionary in the whole diagnosis. My parents and I had a long talk about heart function and balloon procedures last night, it was nice to be able to help a bit. It’s always a worry when these things come up when I’m so far out of position, but my youngest brother is going to drive in to keep an eye on everyone.
We also talked about how the financial problems are playing out in the US. They say that they get the feeling that we don’t really feel it as acutely here in Europe. In the US, the stores and restaurants are noticeably emptier, there are many more signs of distressed home sales and business closures, and much more conversation about how retirement suddenly is out of reach as investment values plummet. I agree that there hasn’t been that feel to life here. Maybe it’s because the Dutch carry less debt and aren’t so highly leveraged: apart from IceSave, there hasn’t been much casual conversation about finances.
I called the expatriate office at work to let them know that I was making the move to Maastricht and to figure out what records they needed. They said that there has been a sudden rush of repatriation in the past couple of months; it made me realize how fortunate I was to have found safe harbor for the time being. A friend asked the other day whether I still had a real job or had been given a courtesy one: I admit that it’s a bit of both. Certainly I have a role and am making a contribution, but this position didn’t exist before I took it. I suppose it’s, again, a precautionary flag.
But, for the moment, I’m where I want to be and things seem to be shifting into place. It’s taking work, but moving life’s furniture and baggage around always does. In the end, though, it should become both a home and a future, a prospect I’m holding onto tightly.