Thursday, October 3, 2013

sweet reunion

coming back to ireland from scotland truly felt like coming home. i had my vacation, and then i had a lovely place to come back to, with great friends and plenty of time to relax. i spent those two days pretty much just recuperating from constant motion – doing a little computer work, catching up with my friends, packing my bags for the “big” flight to france.

coincidentally, i was in dublin for the 4th annual “arthur’s day,” which is a commercial holiday celebrating arthur guinness’ birthday. all the bars in town had music and specials, and the whole city was packed out with people wearing guinness paraphernalia and toting pints. i went in search of a bar that wasn’t full of tourists singing along to “wagon wheel” or “don’t stop believin’” in order to have my obligatory pint of guinness, but i was ultimately unsuccessful. i landed in in a pub called “the old storehouse,” which i had visited the night before, when they had two awesome trad musicians and it was great fun. but on arthur’s day, it was full of tourists, and i sat with my guinness, crammed between two very intoxicated middle aged couples and listened to the whole bar sing along to “zombie” by the cranberries and a really weird arrangement of “get lucky” by daft punk. cheers, arthur. the rest of the evening was nice, though, because i went to a pub near to our house with the rest of my friend shane’s housemates – it was much quieter, and we had a great time chatting and trying to flip coasters onto empty pint glasses. (shout out to shane for being such a doll and letting me invade his house right as he was in the middle of finishing his thesis! hero. and also the the rest of the house!!)

the month of september was funny, because i was in this sort of vacation-y limbo. when i left on the 3rd (a month ago!!!), i said “i’m moving to france!” – except i didn’t go to france. i floated around for three weeks, posting pictures from various castles and cobblestone streets, until my friends on facebook started saying, “will you please just go to work already!?” my whole “job” kind of seemed like this excuse i had given to my friends and family, in order to escape to europe. (hint – it was.) however, friday, the 27th, was the day i’d been waiting for – i was actually going to france! my flight from dublin to bordeaux was pretty uneventful. i did have the chance to surprise my step-grandmother at the dublin airport, which was just the universe smiling on me. my mom had told me that she was arriving in ireland with a group for a ten day tour at the exact time that i was leaving! so, i checked my bag and went up to the arrivals door to see if i could catch her. sure enough, not three minutes later, she walked through the doors! it was great fun to see the surprise on her face when i called her name. we chatted for just a minute and then i gave her a hug and sent her on to meet her group. so, that was fun. :)

i felt my heart skip a little beat when i finally touched down on french soil – i can’t believe it’s been almost two and a half years since i was last here. i was even more excited, however, to finally see my friend emma again! we had lived on the same hall back in angers, and she quickly became one of my most cherished friends. we kept in touch over the last two years over skype and facebook and sweet handwritten letters, hoping that we’d be able to figure out a way to see each other soon. in fact, when i applied for this program, i chose the aquitaine region because emma was here working at the university in bordeaux. when i found out i got the job, i was ecstatic – partially because i was going to france, and partially because i would be so near to emma for a whole year!

my return to france was marked by a weekend in bordeaux with emma and her boyfriend pierce. she was sweet enough to come meet me at the airport, and i was so excited to see her!! we immediately fell back into our normal, comfortable rapport and it just felt so right. her apartment is in the nicest part of bordeaux (just around the corner from cartier!) and it is so charming. we had a great weekend, catching up and cooking and going out. we even made the old angers classic, pasta bolognese, and then i made pancakes and eggs for breakfast on sunday. i got to meet several of the other language assistants that emma works with at the university, and they were all so nice! it was a great way to transition back into french life. on monday morning, pierce helped carry my bags to the train station and saw me off, because he’s an absolute legend!

so, nearly one month after my departure, i was finally on my way to my own little village in the french countryside. :) more on that to come!

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