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Happy New Year!

1 January, 2022

Welcome to 2022! Three hundred and sixty-five days that promise to change my small household more than it has ever been altered previously and probably more than it will ever be shifted again. Not only have I written two genre novels and found a publisher for them (Bold Strokes Books), my partner of over 35 years and husband of less than one, will renounce his position at the career grindstone this coming October. At which time we will apply for the proper paperwork and flee the shores of the good ol' U.S. of A for a sunnier, saner and more laid back life in Europe.

In order to make this happen, over the next 12 months we need to divest ourselves of almost everything we own; gather numerous esoteric documents about ourselves, our lives, our health, our financial positions and our (lack of) criminal histories; have them certified as to their authenticity and then translated, before we finally submit them to the government overseeing our new home so they will give us permission to come.

Since the Husband will be at an office full time until October, most of the responsibility for making the above happen will be mine, and as I've never done particularly well navigating bureaucratic procedures, I anticipate many opportunities for personal growth in the coming year.

By the way, the Husband does have a name, three of them in fact. But he is also lives by the axiom that 'fools' names, like fools' faces, often appear in public places' so on these pages, at least for the foreseeable future, he will remain the Husband.

In addition, I have the personal goal of removing between fifty and seventy-five kilos from my frame by the time we leave - or at least taking off an amount as close to that as possible. Since my body so far has proven extraordinarily reluctant to give up as little as a gram of its excess baggage, I don't predict success but I commit to the attempt.

I started this weblog with two purposes in mind. First, to set down someplace an account of this exciting and likely turbulent year, both for our own shared memory and also to benefit anyone who might follow us into the expat world. (This feels both right and proper. We have benefitted from reading about the experiences of other expat Americans so we, in turn, should share whatever wisdom we glean).

Second, I hope to communicate through this space with any of my readers who might care enough to leave a comment or make an observation or merely criticize. I can testify that the experience of first writing a novel and then finding it a publisher has been so extraordinary that it doesn't feel entirely real just yet. and may not feel totally authentic until someone pays some of their hard-earned money for a copy and feels moved to communicate with me about what they read in it.

On a personal note, I really wish my father could have lived long enough to have seen a publisher purchase a novel of mine. For many years my apparent inability to pay attention, to focus, to be fully present in whatever moment whatever he was trying to teach me deeply frustrated him.

What he didn't understand, because I didn't understand until just this year, was that in those moments of apparent skylarking. the standing right beside him while my brain was on another planet or in another time or a different country, those were the times when I laid the foundations for the novels I have started to write. The descriptions, the atmosphere, the characters, but especially the dialog, all came from those times and wouldn't have been possible without them. So, were he alive today I would reassure him that far from being time lost, those episodes of daydreaming gave me the material I am starting to value and share now.

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