Or, the music that plays from across the town, bouncing through streets and off of buildings, to echo down to the alleyways and fields where we sit, listening.
I know that when I take time to travel next year I also want the time to build friendships along the way, because that's what makes the experience memorable and special, and most of all, unique. It's not going to a new location and capturing the store in a photo, or the statue built many years ago to represent a historic moment for the town, but placing yourself and friends in the frame, and filling up the empty space with memories. Those photos then becomes stories, and the stories hold each of you together in some way.
We went for ice cream this week, at a place called Brûlerie de l'Est on la rue Lafontaine, and just sitting with the maple syrup flavoured dessert, and among both English and French speaking visitors, made me realize how unique and individual each person's travels are, from what they expect out of each day, to the kinds of limits or horizons they set with each new opportunity. It sounds too deep for a moment of icecream with friends, but as we all sat there, the sun just hovering above the horizon and the streets filling with those out for the evening, I enjoyed every moment that had passed even more, and excitement arose for those to come. The best was a man who passed by as we were discussing the pronunciation of "peace" en français, it is pronounced "pay" as we soon learned from laughter when we said "peace." The two have very different meanings. As this discussion took place on the patio of the brûlerie, a man walked by who spoke to us first in French, and then explained himself in English, waving the peace sign in the air and exclaiming his excitement for meeting us and adding a little bit of laughter to both of our evenings as we discovered the humour in miscommunication between the languages.
After sitting outside with a cold refreshment for some time, the sun had hidden behind the horizon and we could feel the chill in the breeze that past by us. We thought of the warmth in a hot drink and comfortable chairs inside, and so departed the deck just as the staff began to take down the umbrellas and fold up the chairs around us, and left for the coffee shop just down the road. Van Houtte. It reminded me of an oversized Starbucks; there were more places to sit, larger tables, and higher ceilings, and the room had a relaxed and calm atmosphere. There were couples or groups that sat around with coffee mugs and a late night dessert, some chatted while others just enjoyed the company of others around. In the big chairs by the windows we sat, warmed by the room while telling stories and recounting some of the best moments in the past week and half.
I must mention that although I have a great group around me, I can understand French better with each day, and love being able to explore a part if a province completely new to me, its difficult to be away from home as well. There are times when the rules and the organized activities are just too much, especially after having such freedom when school was finally finished. I'm well fed by my personal chef, but pasta does get repetitive and so I enjoy it less and less despite his twists on the dish each time, including a gluten free cheese sauce with bow-shaped noodles.
And then there's sleeping, which I can't do much unless I can cover my eyes from the bright sun, which rises up through my window, and can somehow block out the thudder of people up and down the stairs beside by room, or the twitter of students talking in French to the other side of my room in the little kitchenette. It's now that I rely on my tea addiction a little more, the perfect push to wake up in the morning, and now that I've found cups to use, a gentle ease into a better sleep before bed with some chamomile tea.
À bientôt mes amis!