The first day and a half for Renee was relatively low stress with just simple chats and lunch talks. During the first research discussion I had with Renee she made it clear that I was very welcome in her lab, that she expected me there in January (18 months from now) and that she had the funding to pay for a full year of my work in Paris. Nonetheless she supported my plan to try and get grant funding to work in her lab. Getting grant funding of my own would be beneficial for my career and free up funds in Renee’s lab. She said that I would be able to get a grant in France called a “green” grant. I forget why it was called a green grant, but this was a big relief for me because it took some of the urgency out of my grant quest. Renee also made it clear that she liked the ideas I had for doing research in her lab. In a nutshell, Renee was an expert on creatine kinase in the heart and I was working on creatine kinase in arteries. We used different research methods. I had proposed that I learn her research techniques to study arteries and I would use my knowledge of arteries in her lab. That way we would both gain information and do research that had never been done before.

Dinner on Monday was sponsored by the Department of Physiology and it was friendly, animated and informative. We talked about social issues, the difficulties of doing research and obtaining research funding and how constant that was from country to country. There was discussion of how hard it was to keep up with rapidly developing technologies and all the publications that must be read to keep up. Several of our dinner party had wine with dinner; I was driving, so I didn’t drink. Not surprisingly, the topic of French wine came up as we were drinking California Red. Everyone was effusive about French wine compared to American wine, but Renee pointed out that most French and American wines are actually related. French wine grapes were originally brought to America to start the American vineyards. However, after World War II, many French vineyards were decimated, so vines from America were returned to France to help restore the wine industry. Thus the two wine industries were intimately linked via “multi cross pollination” over the years.

Late the second day, I brought Renee to Ron Myer’s office for their chat. They really needed no introduction, but I introduced them nonetheless. I left them together with the understanding that Ron would bring Renee to me when they were done. Renee came back after the meeting and said they had a genteel and polite talk that concluded by agreeing to disagree.

For Renee’s keynote lecture, I was scheduled to introduce her to the audience. This lecture was on Wednesday afternoon, the second to last day of Renee’s visit. I was again in a suit and tie for the introduction. I had a wide range of clothes including suits and formal wear, so I took care to wear different suits, ties and shirts each day that week. This may seem trivial, but I considered the week with Renee as a kind of job interview. Most college graduates know that if you have repeat interviews with the same employer for a job, you never wear the same suit for a second interview. This might imply that you only have one suit or could be interpreted as lack of depth or sophistication. So, I chose my outfits carefully to demonstrate diversity. Today I was NOT wearing an all-red suit. I introduced Renee and told the audience about her degrees, her numerous publications, and diverse array of research techniques.

Renee’s presentation was well received. She addressed some of the research issues concerning compartmentation, but I think in deference to Ron Myer she focused more on verifiable research data as opposed to interpretations of those data. The questioning after the presentation was polite yet probing. Renee handled the questions deftly, as a true scientific professional. I had been hoping Renee’s talk would go well and it did, and I felt quite relieved afterward.

Renee went shopping now for her two boys and husband. We went to the local mall and the university bookstore. She looked carefully at all of the university goods and some typically American things such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, and pens. Clothes sizes are different in Europe and America, so she needed to hold up all the gifts to estimate the sizes she needed.

When her shopping was finished she proclaimed, “Ok, now I am allowed to go back home!”

On the last day of Renee’s visit we had quite a bit of time together to debrief on the week and to finish refining the details of my future job in her lab. I also talked to her about the tentative plans I had to have Ann come to live with me after a few months. Renee said that she could help Ann get a job in France and help us to find accommodations once Ann arrived. Apparently there were a number of English-speaking enclaves where Ann could find work. I felt really good now about my future with Ann and my future career. I trusted Renee and saw great things in the future working with her.

I drove Renee to the airport with genuine respect and affection for the person who would be my next boss. After the difficulties I had with Clint, I desperately wanted a good rapport with her and saw no obstacles to that end. At the airport Renee told me what a great visit it had been and that she appreciated all of my efforts. She also asked me why I hadn’t stayed with her during her visits and talks with different people. I told her that different organizations had paid for various parts of her visit and I felt that they had earned the right to time alone with her, without being encumbered by me. I said that I had also planned it that way so that I could some of the time to work on my grant proposal. She understood, but I was amazed that she appeared to have expected to spend all of that time with me.

When we reached her gate, Renee said, “Let’s say good-bye the French way.” And we kissed twice on each cheek.

I drove home to Ann completely exhausted. I told her about the possibilities Renee said there were for her and us in Paris. We had our mutual goals and we would be together in France. I would be going to Paris to work in January. Ann would come out in June or July and we would live together in Paris for about six months. We would both return to home the following December or January. This was all very exciting.