One of the obvious perks of living in France, and yet another reason for which I decided to spend a year here, is your proximity to everywhere else in Europe. Being from such a vast and homogeneous continent as North America has given me a real appreciation for the accessibility and diversity of Europe and Asia. I knew this year would abound with opportunities to discover new places and visit my old travel buddies in their home countries. But one unexpected turn of events was that my childhood friend, J.B. would decide to move to London for a two month study-break.
Though I had planned to spend my first two months exclusively with Juju and the 4 Ls (for the sake of integration) I couldn't miss the chance to see my old friend. So I caught the Chunnel-going Eurostar train last Friday to London where I met Jen for a little taste of England and a lot of memories from home. As we covered some of the most important London sights, including Leicester Square for an inspiring and half-priced (thanks to TKTS) showing of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," lunch at Borough Market, a 1920s-themed fancy ball and a visit to the life-size blue whale hanging from the ceiling of the Natural History Museum, we talked about everything from the loves of our lives to the nursery school days when we first met. Since we've both been traveling a lot the last few years, it had been too long since we'd had more than a rushed couple of hours to catch up over tea in Montreal, and this was definitely our first time meeting abroad. By the time we hugged goodbye yesterday morning, I felt like I'd rediscovered a long-lost sister, and I spent most of the train ride wishing I could have stayed just a few more days.
I'm finding that as we get older and head down various paths to new places in life, it sometimes feels easier to let our connections with the past slip away. And yet the farther I go from home, the more I realize the importance of maintaining the friendships I started years ago. Even though Jen is engaged and working on her Ph.D. while I flail about avoiding commitments to the future, she's still one of the few people that knows me at my core; someone with whom I can jump straight into a discussion about an event when I was 10 years old without needing a crash course in the history of my life. Even as I get closer with Juju and the 4 Ls, my trip to London this weekend was as refreshing as if I'd gone home to Montreal yet twice as exciting for having discovered a vibrant and exciting new city.
As they say in London slang - thanks again Old Fruit for such a wonderful weekend!