Travel ain’t for sissies. I should be sitting in a lounge chair in the sand on the French Riviera right now. Instead I’m at an uncomfortable table drinking forgettable coffee at the substitute airport when apparently the first flight didn’t work out and the people who are hell-bent on filling the planes to overflowing combined our flight with another. And it was only a stroke of luck at the last minute we noticed that our new flight was out of Gatwick airport and not Heathrow. Oops. Mad dash with luggage across London involving an Uber and two train rides proved to be the fastest solution—because trains don’t get stuck in traffic.
So our original plan for the day exquisitely honed to a perfectly serene arrival in paradise turned into the reality of what travel is in fact: Travel, boys and girl, is a drudge. It is the art to getting from point A to point B along with fifty thousand other people, none of whom know what they are doing- not even you
Elizabeth called me over six months ago to say she had found a cooking school on TV that is held in Julia Child’s house in Provence. Did I want to go?
Oh, yeah, did I want to go! In every way you can think of I wanted to go. Sign me up: spend time with my oldest daughter that I don’t get to see enough? Spend time with her alone with no distractions where it’s just us against the world the way it was for the first three years of her life when I was at home all day with her?. Spend time traveling to my favorite places: England and France? Where you are surrounded by a delicious mixture of humanity? Spend time cooking and eating? And last but the absolutely the best part: spend time in Julia’s kitchen. Sleeping in HER house, the place she perfected coq au vin for Americans to feel French. For four days? Did I want to go? Yes, indeedy—sign me up!
But we have to get there first
By the time we got to the hotel in Nice I was numb. The delicious mixture of humanity had turned into faceless cattle who were just in my way. Pulling my bag upstairs to the second floor (third really because the hotel is a flight up) I didn’t even want to talk to anyone. The customs officer was warning of Romanian pickpockets and I didn’t even care. I was missing an earring and my pockets were filled with receipts and crumpled napkins I stuffed in there when I couldn’t find a trash can
I had signed us up for separate rooms for these two nights. Elizabeth may have shared my body for nine months but I had a feeling that she and I would both appreciate more space as adults
Back in the hotel I calmed down and unpacked knowing we had nothing planned for tomorrow
I can feel myself relax enough to reflect on the best find of the trip so far….the one thing that has brought me such unexpected delight that I have no words to adequately describe it in a way to make you understand. All I can do is show you a picture and a brief description and hope you accept my joy. Out of all the expense and time and trouble of this trip here is what has made it all worthwhile::
This pen. It was part of a packet of freebies in the plane. It measures about 3” and has a cardboard body. It writes perfectly. Fits in my pocket. It’s all I need. No more and no less. Isn’t that just what we’re all looking for if we were really honest??