The undeniable beauty about living in France, is that every adorably quaint town is within about a three hour drive. In my past life, I spent almost two years in Aix-en-Provence. A smallish town, near Marseille, and something out of a story book. I went on a whim mostly. I had a live-in boyfriend at the time (don’t ask), no real plans for my future (other than aimlessly navigating college), and hanging out. Thankfully, I also have an unbelievable supportive grandmother, who planted a very tiny seed, that would sprout years later.
It was the first time traveling internationally alone, at the ripe old age of 20. When I hit the Atlantic, I basically had a panic attack, and used the old school satalite phone connected to the seat in front of me (do you remember those)?! I think that two minutes cost me $60. CHARGE IT! I called my boyfriend telling him I made a huge mistake and was coming home.
Fate stepped in a few times that day. The most genuinely nice Polish girl sitting to my right asked me if I was ok as I cried my silent tears. She reassured me that I would be FINE. She was coming home from her year abroad in NYC. What were the odds?
We landed in Paris, and she wished me luck, scribbling her email on a napkin, which for the life of me, I couldn’t read. I SO wish I could write her and tell her whatever happened to that poor (sick) girl on that American Airlines flight, and to thank her profusely.
Turns out, I was WAY too poor to fly home (didn’t think about that one). I ended up missing my flight to Aix, slept in the airport for the next six hours, and then anxiously boarded my flight to the next chapter. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING. I somehow met the liaison for the university, who then introduced me to my host dad (a quiet, sweet man, with a KILLER mustache straight out of the 70’s). I was TERRIFIED. I didn’t say one word, as we drove the 40 minutes to my new home.
The rest of that year was filled with tears, a major break-up, a new relationship and engagement to a Frenchman (see below), travel, complete shenanigans, visiting my grandma’s past, unabridged confidence, independence, croissants, endless wine, introspection, and growth. Little did I know life would get even better.
(Doesn’t he look super French?! He was a good guy…I was just WAY too young to take the whole marriage thing seriously. I think he dodged a bullet.)
And now, here I sit, 12 years later, in Aix, with the three people I couldn’t imagine this lifetime without.
No dancing the night away, or flirting in broken French with the slick guys at the club. No more smoke filled lungs, or showing up to class totally exhausted.
(This was my awesome roommate during my first semester and I at Bistro Aixos…THE place to be in town.)
It’s about loading up the stroller, eating at a kid-friendly restaurant, revisiting my old university, and documenting my lifelong love story with a nicer camera. I’m pretty darn lucky.