Wore Out Welcomes - Written July 13th 2013

The journey to go to Europe and beyond was someone elses idea remember. I was just tripping alongside of her. Her goal was to complete a French language course in Nantes, France. My goal was to get a much needed vacation. We told each other early on that we must embrace the surprise. Well there has been so many since the journey began. The first was a few hours into my arrival in Nantes. She had been in class for a week and wanted out. My first mental reaction to this was if you aren't in class then why am I here? But then I thought if she was out of class we would have more time together. She would have been in class all week at the university and I would be left to my own devices nearby. Surely we would meet on weekends but she could want to be alone or have homework or something? I really wanted to spend her class time focusing on things and traveling a bit more myself. I thought I could just train hop to places like Germany or Belgium. I realized just before leaving the states that was impossible. So now there and already involved in quite a few non-refundable long stay hotel bookings - I was forced to wait to see whether she'd quit her lessons or not. Her doing so would be the end of my personal freedom and the beginning of a lot of regret in coming to France in the first place.

Ultimately, she decided to drop the course. That Monday after my arrival she was out and about versus in a hot classroom. France just doesn't understand the importance of air conditioning. I understood her pain. Being a Gemini myself it is hard to concentrate in a setting like that especially one where you know life is continuing on outside without you. I just wondered what would she do with the limitless time. Would we be together every waking hour? She seemed so delighted being able to make the choice to leave. Meanwhile, I was dreading it. I was stricken with the incessant thought of having sacrificed going on my mini-trips while she was in class. Now I was basically stuck in Nantes with no purpose. Nantes is a lovely place but things can get boring and expensive fast. When there is no purpose or schedule you long for things to do. In a small town like that there are no real attractions and there is an expense to wanting to do things. I had planned to stay in my apparthotel blogging and reading. I would be cooking my meals in the room and saving money. Now I was forced to go to social events, buy meals and generally stay out of the room. This was totally not what I signed up for. It was bad enough I was paying for the long stay room and she was merely staying at a friends for free. A lot of times I was paying to travel to her, waiting on her to decide what to do collectively and just doing the opposite of what I intended to.

I pretty much came wanting reflection, recreation and to see whatever I could in the process. Now I was stagnant and really felt like I was infringing upon her new found freedom. Frankly, it was the other way around. She was free and my solitude was constantly interrupted. I didn't want to befriend other people. I didn't want to go out every night. I just wanted a lot of time to soak in the reality I was in Europe. I wanted to feel grounded and then when we met speak on our own separate experiences. It was also frustrating to be invited out, then sometimes be the third wheel or simply ignored after being dragged out from my comfort. When out and about I came to fall in love with Nantes. To have a love affair with France in general. I will say I did expect to be impressed but not leave passionately attached to the city and its country. I was so immersed that I was drowning in that one experience. When it was time to move on I was overly eager. So much so I think it damaged my overall morale for the remainder of the journey.

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