The last day of vacation is always weird, isn’t it? Like you want to soak in every single moment and picture and feeling and experience and baguette, but you also are daydreaming about sleeping. It’s an odd and relentless feeling.
For me, the last day of vacation spells gloom and doom, because it seems like everywhere that I go, I fall in love. I fall in love with the people, the food (my thighs tho), the culture, the scenery, at least one cafe worker, and the dogs, obviously. In fact, if we’re being honest, I have spent most of my vacation trying to pet other people’s dogs. I have succeeded 4 times. Out of literallyÂ 146. Maybe I should stay here longer to bring that average up…
I know that I’ve said this 539 times (today), but France is an absolute dream. It’s kind of funny because everyone kept telling me how rude French people were and to get myself ready, but honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been any place where the people were nicer and more hospitable. It’s the most relaxed vacation of my life, which is odd considering it’s been non-stop for 14 days.
Today was a little slower. We woke up late, ate breakfast (I skipped breakfast because I take 100 years to get ready- no shame in that, ladies- and Martine was very concerned that something was wrong. If we weren’t eating, they were attempting to feed us. That’s just how it goes in France.) We then got ready and headed into town to their Farmer’s market.
Let me make it clear that it appears that Martine knows everyone on the planet. We ran into at least 9 of her friends and there were tons of double kissing cheeks all around. We found some cute little things at the market, including but not limited to the most delicious artichoke spread that anyone has made, ever. I thought that I had possibly died and rose again when I ate it, and thinking back, I may have, because after I ate it my hair literally looked the best it’s ever looked. Nothing short of miraculous, considering I never brush it.
In the market, we had coffee with one of Martine’s friends, which was nice, because Martine is so amazing, so naturally all of her friends are amazing. I love watching her laugh. She’s so full of life. After coffee and artichoke resurrection, we headed to the Mediterranean.
First of all, I want to make sure that you all know that the Mediterranean is the most beautiful body of water in the world. Californians will try to tell you that it’s the Pacific ocean and I just want you to remember how much weed they have in Cali there before you decide whether or not to believe them.
I want you guys to know that it was overcast and chilly today, but we still went swimming, mainly because we are Barterian’s and incredibly stubborn, but more because we were like, “We’re here…we HAVE to!” So we changed on the beach (Everyone saw my bra. IT’S FRANCE.) and walked into the water. If I didn’t know that I was in France, I would have assumed that I was in Antarctica because the water made my feet go numb. I would also say that the worst part of wading into cold water is the moment when the water hits your, errrr, reproductive receptacles, and you think you might be dying. I didn’t die, but I could have. So cherish this blog immensely.
Anyhoo, we stood in the water for a few minutes, looked at each other, said, “This counts as swimming, right?” and got out. After “swimming,” we did some shopping, both in Sanary-Sur-Mar and another little village called Le Castellet, which is JUST ABOUT AS AMAZING AS IT SOUNDS.
Le Castellet was quaint and adorable and I kind of expected Mel Gibson to come walking through the doors in his Braveheart gear at any moment. Wrong country, I know, spare me. We did some more shopping there, and much to my relief I was able to finish all of my souvenir shopping. That felt nice. I also got to pet a dog named Marley there and I think I overstayed my welcome with its owner. Oh well. When in France.
With all of our shopping done and our limbs successfully thawed out, we came back home where Gerard was practicing his accordion (I can’t even make this stuff up, guys) and we proceeded to pack up our belongings before dinner.
BY SOME MIRACLE OF GOD, Sophie and I somehow managed to get all of our souvenirs and clothes into our suitcases. Her’s was probably more of a miracle. I have two suitcases to work with, something that I have been endlessly teased about since we got here. Also, I had to leave behind some clothes and my straightener (Aunt Paulette called it a crimper…) to bring home the candy that I bought. That’s not an exaggeration.
Dinner was bread and pizza for the appetizers, followed by vegetables and sausage, more bread and cheese, then tarts, lemon bread, and fruit for dessert. If you’re wondering if I ate it all, yes, I did, and no, I still can’t breathe.
We hung out a little bit with the fam, and then retired early where I have endlessly worked on editing pictures and writing blogs for you, my beloved reader.
So here we are…the last night and the last blog entry that talks about our days in this wonderland. There will be more because France has stuck with me so deeply and evidently. I will find myself writing, undoubtedly, about things that I’ve learned, my favorite moments, and my family, the Lemaire’s. And I will find myself sitting at my desk, daydreaming about the possibility of starting over in a place like France and eating brie every day until I literally explode.
But mostly, I’m just going to be thankful, because this was the absolute trip of a lifetime. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, or that I couldn’t learn more about my family or myself or the absolute amazement that is life, I did. And just when I thought that the world couldn’t get more beautiful, it did. And just when I thought that I couldn’t feel more blessed, I did.
The French have this saying that we put on t-shirts at Forever 21 and on our iPhone cases:
C’est la vie
C’est la vie literally translates to “It is life.” This vacation has been life for me. Don’t get me wrong- my life isn’t bad- but sometimes you just need a fresh perspective and a new outlook to get you moving in the right direction. Sometimes you need to get away and see what you miss, or, possibly even more telling, see what you don’t miss, to know the next step.
And sometimes you just need to take a second and breathe in some new air- air that isn’t tainted by the pressures of life that we wear around like ill-fitting, itchy sweaters- and let it refresh your soul. My soul feels refreshed. I don’t remember the last time that I’ve laughed this much or this hard. I need a soul laugh. I really, really did.
I haven’t fully processed all of my last two weeks yet (if you know me, you know how much of a processor I am…I need time…), but as I do, you, reader, will know and will go on the journey with me.
There’s always a journey to be had. You just have to be brave enough to take it. Thanks for taking this one with me.
As always, you can click here to link to my facebook and shamelessly stalk my pictures. My profile is public, mainly because I am too lazy to change it to anything else.Â