Malta Map“Hey Dechene, you ain’t been writing so much lately. Ain’t seen you on the blog. Something up?”

Indeed there is.

I’m outta here.

Yep, I’m moving. To goddamn Malta. That’s a small island nation in the Mediterranean, close to Sicily, that’s old and warm and, by all accounts, gorgeous.

I will be coming back, however. I still ♥ Regina and all that. We’ll only be gone about eight months.

Y’see, it’s my wife’s sabbatical year. And from September 2 to April 30 we’re going to be living abroad so she can do math research with a bunch of profs over there.

Seriously, Malta is a hotbed of combinatorics. This is a legit math trip.

Me? I’m just along for the ride. And to marshal kids. And drink obscene amounts of coffee.

We’ve actually known about this move for months now but I’ve been having trouble believing the plan’s real. In fact, even though the flight is booked, our accommodation deposit paid, and all the other arrangements made, I’m still kinda convinced that I’ll wake up on September 3, in bed here and not in Europe. So I’ve been keeping the sabbatical plan fairly quiet, only sharing with people we know in meatspace, so as not to jinx it.

That said, even though I’ve kept this Malta trip behind a mental partition, over the last few months, between all the getting our house set up for tenants while we’re away and getting our everything we’re taking prepped to leave, I’ve had little time for blogging. And when I have had free time, well… my heart’s basically been nine-tenths the way to the Mediterranean already.

Twitter’s about the level of writing commitment I’ve been capable of. (You can follow along at @pauldechene)

Anyway, while I’m gone, Prairie Dog will still have regular city hall coverage. It will likely improve, frankly, as there’ll be new, better writers on that beat.

I still plan to watch city council videos while I’m away. Maybe. Planning to. But you know, now that I think about it… Seriously, would you watch Regina city council if you were on an island in the Mediterranean and didn’t have to?

Complicating things, we won’t have easy internet access where we’ll be living. (I consider that a feature not a drawback.) So actually accessing archived council video may be a little complicated.

Once we’re settled and have figured out how to get the kids to school and fed and such, I’ll go to an internet café or library or whatever they have in Malta — web-enabled carrier pigeons? — and check in here with photos.

Have a fun prairie fall, and prairie winter, and prairie spring, Regina. I’ll be skipping all of them.

And to everybody who’s read and enjoyed my six freaking years of city hall coverage in Prairie Dog, thanks for all of your support. I’ll pick up where I left off in eight months.