It is time for good-bye dinners. Tonight was a celebration; I am moving to Ecuador, Sharon and I are commemorating a year together at our new office, where all is calm and peaceful and nurturing and happy, and Rina is celebrating the start of her new practice. She is taking over my office; my patients will return to the same building and the same room and will see Rina instead of me. It is an opportunity for Rina to start her own private practice and wonderful for me knowing that my patients are well taken care of. I am so relieved. Rina's husband joined us.
We ate at Petit Louis, a restaurant close to my home and a place my children and extended family have chosen to mark birthdays and anniversaries and graduations and mother's days and father's days and valentine days, in fact I think in the eight years we have lived in Baltimore, we have celebrated every sort of occasion at Petit Louis. It is a French bistro, consistent and the wine list is extensive. It was the perfect choice for us today, and the company and the food were excellent.
Petit Louis is so significant a part of our Baltimore experience. It is not the first restaurant we ate at. I remember Eric picking Tara, Maya and I at the Baltimore Washington airport in his new (old) green Subaru and driving us to our condo in the Inner Harbour. Our house was being renovated, or at least being made habitable, so we were to stay in the condo for the first two months. After showing us our new home, we walked over to McCormick and Schmicks and had seafood of some sort. Maya was 20 months old and Tara was 12. I liked Balitmore when we first arrived, and I liked living on the water near the energetic part of the city. It was not easy to drive to Tara's school in the morning, and it took several weeks to find a suitable daycare for Maya. I liked wandering around the Inner Harbour with Maya in her stroller. I frequented the nearby Barnes and Noble' s Starbucks for coffee and pastries every morning for those first few weeks. Once we moved into our house (albeit we lived in only one or two rooms for several months while the rest of the house was being readied), we discovered Petit Louis, and became regulars. With time we found other nearby restaurants which were alternatives, but it was Petit Louis which was the celebration destination.
Packing our belongings brings up all sorts of surprises. Photos, letters, reminders of our lives here. I am saying good-bye everyday. So often I am distracted by some memory, a memento of our years here. Some years were better than others, and often I did not like Baltimore very much and wished I could be anywhere (maybe not anywhere) but Baltimore, but there are many more special and wonderful moments to linger over. Generally I am not sad about leaving; I am excited and enthusiastic and hopeful about our year in Ecuador, but here and there I am experiencing tears and a sense that the life we have created here in Baltimore is over and we can never go back to it. Not that I want to go back and relive it. The years have gone, and we are moving on.
I'm not sure I like the good-bye part. I felt guilty that I was not home packing, at least for a minute or two and then forgot about it until I got home. But I have decided to celebrate in some sort of way every day until I leave.