My answer to the inevitable question of "how long have you been here" used to be counted in weeks, then in months. And now I can tell, with spring vacation upon us, the school year will soon go into warp speed and very soon, our third year in France will come to a close. Inevitably, just like when my children passed from babydom to toddlerhood to become bona fide big kids, we'll be counting our Paris sojourn in years.
But there's another way of looking at it. Our last summer vacation in the U.S., which ended just a week before we arrived in Paris back in 2007, was to our all-time favorite place in the very northern tip of Vermont. On the advice of friends already living in France, we came back to Washington with a huge jug of Grade A maple syrup. The movers dutifully wrapped it up and put it in a carton. About eight weeks later, it arrived on our Paris doorstep along with the rest of our household goods. It took us awhile, but this past weekend, we drained the last drops from that jug.
You can measure out your life in cups of coffee or bottles of wine or more traditional units of time. Me, I'm thinking that next time someone asks "how long have you been here," I'll just say, "long enough to consume a half gallon of maple syrup" and then they can do the math themselves.