One of my great friends in Chambéry was an outspoken and inquisitive Italian named Elisabetta. We hung out practically every weekend, cooking with friends, watching movies, but we had rarely spent much time one-on-one, mainly because we were surrounded by so many wonderful friends. One weeknight during the February vacation, all our friends had returned home, were traveling, or had family visiting, and not wanting to waste an evening, we naturally made plans, just the two of us. After watching a movie (Alceste à Bicyclette, one of my favorites!), we were cleaning up from dinner when Betta, sponge in hand, said, “Okay, sorry. I have this song in my head so I just need to play it, do you mind?” “Well, we’re in your house…by all means!!” And she put on the opening Witches chorus from Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Being just elitist enough to want to wake up with opera stuck in my head, but uncultured enough to know next to nothing about it, I pretty much thought that was the greatest thing in the world.
A few weeks ago, a fellow TAPIF assistant and blogger, Anne à l’aventure, published a post about reasons NOT to travel, which got me thinking… It may not be a popular opinion, especially in the Instagram Age where #wanderlust is the most noble of ambitions, but I am increasingly coming to terms with the notion that I’m simply not cut out for the “traveller lifestyle.” One look around my bedroom will tell you why: I have only lived here six months and already my walls are covered in postcards, train tickets and children’s drawings. Dozens of books are stacked on the floor next to the slowly growing pile of flashcards and worksheets used at school. Markers, pens, post-it notes and girl scout cookies clutter my desk and my window sill is home to not one but two plants. This is not the kind of place that you can easily pack into a backpack.
I had the idea to fill this National Geographic questionnaire out from fellow TAPIF blogger Hardly Snarky, who wrote about her city of Aix-en Provence. I have been working on mine for the past few weeks, and am posting it today: 6 months to the day since arriving in Chambé!! I heart Chambéry because it seems to have a dash of something for all tastes: endless outdoor activities in the surrounding mountain ranges and lakes, great local wines and cheeses, a small but fervid arts scene. It actually reminds me a lot of a previous hometown, Charlottesville, Virginia: a sleepy college town surrounded my mountains, which was at one time home to a great philosopher whom the inhabitants still obsess over today… Throw in perfect baguettes and easy train access to some of Europe’s most vibrant cities and voilà! As a native of Washington, DC with no great athletic abilities or aspirations, I never thought I would grow such an affinity for mountains, but I’ll admit, the natural beauty of Chambéry has swayed me. At least …
Well okay here we go…I finally have found some time to write a new blog post!! I’ll probably end up splitting it up into a couple; there’s just so much to cover! I think I left off with orientation week, so I’ll pick right up with our first week of classes…Hang in there people, it’s gonna be a long ride.
Seven hours doesn’t sound like a very long time….right? Well, when that 7 hours is spent in a tiny seat on an airplane flying through 6 time zones, it feels like an eternity. I will say though, that Air France does a lovely job trying to keep everyone happy during this long, impossible journey.