Yesterday I woke up at 3:30 in the morning in a Holiday Inn Express just outside of Milan, got on a bus in a bone-chillingly cold drizzle, and went to the airport. Nine hours later I was finally lugging my 21 kg monster suitcase up the front steps of my house, and basking in the nearly 70 degrees and sun shining on the suburbs of Paris. It has never felt so good to be home.
The trip was a success, and my group was the most well-mannered and laid-back bunch of kids you've ever seen, except when it came to punctuality, when they turned into time-keeping machines. They were so punctual it was embarrassing. I was always the last one. Before this trip I hadn't really thought too much about the Canadians as a people, but now I can say that, as a race, I find them utterly charming. And the funny words they use! They eat supper and use the washrooms! Instead of knit hats and hoodies they wear toques and bunny hugs! Bunny hugs, people! Any civilization that can coin a term as adorable as bunny hug, and then proceed to use it in everyday conversation and with a completely straight face is ok by me. (Although according to this article it appears it is only a Saskatchewan term).
The trip itself was pretty much a whirlwind of travel and sight-seeing, and in only ten short days we managed to see: Paris, Biarritz, St. Jean de Luz, Lourdes, Carcassonne, the Pont du Gard, les Baux de Provence, Nîmes, Eze and the Fragonard, Avignon, Arles, Nice, Monaco, Genoa, Lido di Camiaore, Cinque Terre, and Milan. We dipped our toes in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, we saw mountains and olive trees and miles upon miles of vineyards. I led them though the crowded streets of Paris, clipboard held high in the air, and through the crazy bustle of the metro at rush hour, and then felt completely out of my element once we reached the relative calm of the countryside. Being from rural areas themselves, I think they all breathed a collective sigh of relief once we left Paris, but I tend to get twitchy and nervous when I'm cut off from public transportation and wireless internet. Which is why I am oh so very glad to be home again, with my envelope of tip money and a suitcase full of dirty clothes.
It is spring here in Paris now, officially and earnestly spring. I left it for a week and a half and everything changed. I took this picture from my bedroom window before I left:
And I took this one just now:
And granted, one was taken at sunset and one was taken at noon, but still, oh what a difference a couple of weeks can make. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I'm still at Casa di Patrice, Fred, and Rachel. I haven't moved! I figured, I have until the end of the month here, so why compound the stress of a long trip with the stress of moving? So in short, I'm home again, I have an envelope full of enough money to pay my rent for the next two or three months, it's spring in Paris, my sister is coming to visit me in a few days, and I'm going to see Hervé tonight. And far be it from a glass-half-empty person like myself to say, but at the moment, at least, life is good.