13:50 TGV somewhere between Nimes, and Aix-en-Provence, France
Chris and I had a rushed, but pleasant departure from Les Seilhols this morning. I dislike packing before the day of departure, because It is never totally complete. Perhaps I should have a travel toothbrush, and set of pajamas or something. If I did, maybe I would feel better about packing days in advance. But, I hate leaving the task semi-complete.
For a few days, we had the pleasure of sharing our home with Charlie and Orsch (Sorry, I never learned how to spell your name properly!!). It seems amazing how much we learned from them in two short days, and Orsch was absolutely one of the most kind hearted people I have ever met, she was a joy to be around, and funny too! It was really great to begin the transition into a populated space with the two of them. The couple had been traveling around south America, volunteered for a month at a big cat sanctuary, and even to Antarctica. Their pictures, videos and stories were amazing, and reminded us how much there is outside Les S.
For a while, we felt that we loved Les S. too much. We had labored and loved so many aspects, so the transition was sad at times. But, I heard Les S. speak to me through the words of Bob Dylan one day when he said “It ain’t me, babe, no, no, no, it ain’t me babe, it ain’t me you’re looking for… babe.” I have never before loved a place in the way that I loved Les S., but it in the end we had to remembered that it was never supposed to be forever.
The transition continued, and we all shared a dinner with fantastic stories and boundless laughter the evening before our departure. In the morning, after one more round of chores, a stunning mushroom and Camembert omelet by Charlie, and one last sunrise, we drove into town with our hosts, and Muttley running alongside the car most of the way. I, more realistically, know that Muttley is a “tarte” and that we were just one of the many who have fallen for him, but none of that took away from the sweet exuberance he seemed to emanate while chasing the car on our day of departure. We ran into the bakery of notre dame de Premian, and grabbed one last baguette tradition, and two pain au chocolate to add to sack lunch for the journey. Then, running to the bus at the very last second, as our hosts loaded our luggage below (Thanks S&S!), we careened through the rapidly twisting road on a comfortable, modern bus, until we reached Montpelier. There, we took a tram to the train station, and bought our ticket to Aix (en Provence, which we with hitherto refer to as “Aix” for the sake of brevity).
My brother, Jeremie has mentioned that he likes to travel by train, as he has experienced in France, and I know that my brother-in-law, Grant also enjoys the journey he has taken from Tomah to Chicago he took so many times, and I have to say, I’m with you, guys. It is comfortable, spacious, relaxing, a great way to take in the scenery; in short, it is a magnificent mode of transportation. Or, if you prefer: I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.
Chris is on his Kindle next to me, and I am wondering what to read next. I bought some French books by Camus , and Balszac, but my vocabulary really isn’t good enough to understand much of L’Etranger, and, though I bought a French-English dictionary for Kindle, it appears only to sync to the books on an actual Kindle, and not on the Kindle app, which I have on my Acer Iconia tablet. If anyone has any ideas about this, please let me know, otherwise I may just buy a basic Kindle when we get back to the U.S.
21:04 The Apartment Aix-en-Provence, France
Wow, it is fun to be in such a lively place! We had a little trouble finding the apartment, and a working telephone booth, but most people I asked for help were very nice. I don’t mean that “very” lightly. I went in a Library that is having a celebration of Albert Camus (whose famous work I am struggling through in French! Cosmic!) Even an old man at the train station, and a middle aged woman in a fur coat were extremely helpful, and kind. The partner of our secret benefactor met us at the apartment in the center of the city, and gave us keys. He seems so kind, and we really hope to see him again. Later, the concierge, our next door neighbor, knocked on the door, and we had a very pleasant exchange in which he offered to help if we needed anything at all.
We spent the rest of the afternoon resting and getting settled. Our street is quiet, but just around any corner, you may find any number of stylish, brightly lit clothing stores, specialty shops, and places to buy any sort of food or beverage. It was a treat just to walk around and look at all of the beautiful buildings, people, and shops. The restaurants seem a bit expensive, so we went to a supermarket, picked through their abysmal produce, and selected a few staples for the apartment.
Dinner was basic chicken leg, salad and baked potatoes with herbs. We didn’t need anything fancy, because just getting used to this new location is enough excitement. We made up the bed, and are settling down with a cup of hot tea. Going to bed will be satisfying after this day of transit. I didn’t realize it would make such a difference, but I simply cannot wait to settle my head onto the crisp white pillowcases, held taught over the fabulously lofty feather pillows. I imagine that sleep tonight will mimic the soft descent of the downy pillow as we push off our cares again.