My weekend started off great! OK OK that was sarcasm. As I was walking towards the bus stop (to catch the bus to take me to the train station) the weight of the backpack on my back made my right ankle give way and then I fell and landed on my left knee with a big thud.
2 days later now it's a lovely shade of dark purple after being every colour of the rainbow yesterday - purple, green, yellow, blue and brown.
Luckily it wasn't grazed so there was no blood but it's pretty bruised and sore. That's not my problem though. Without realising it, I somehow injured my LEFT ankle. The ankle that 'collapsed' on me, the right one, now has no pain whatsoever but there is a mild sprain type pain on my left one. Dammit.
My friend set his alarm for 5:20am to go to work so I've been awake pretty much since then as I find it hard to get back to sleep once I'm awake.
Apart from my injury the weekend was nice however it was nothing like the first time I came to visit... I kept making comparisons in my head and I think he was thinking the same thing. At one point he even apologised to me because it wasn't like last time!!
Almost 4 months later...
• We'd become different people... I remember how much more happier and excited I was last time. I wish I was that 'innocent' again but after recent events...
• Last time was the first time we'd met so we had plenty of things to discover about each other. This time we still had things to discover/talk about but it was a much deeper level of understanding now that we knew each other a little better.
• Last time he was speaking much slower to me but this time he was speaking at normal speed and I understood 99%! I have definitely improved in French, I think. Yay :D
• Both of us have each had a birthday since then.
• Last time it was autumn and sunny and 17-18° during the day. This time it was winter and grey and 5° or less during the day (and raining on Sunday/yesterday).
• Last time he had a normal mobile phone (which he still uses) and no internet. This time he had a fancy Samsung smartphone and the internet.
• Last time his dog was a tiny puppy and now, 4 months later had grown into a big dog (but still cute). She'd also recently been de-sexed a few days ago and was sporting some bandages.
• Last time he had a really really short buzz haircut and this time his hair had grown...
• Last time he wasn't working so he was more relaxed and energetic and this time he works as a carpenter building houses, 45 hours a week, rain hail or shine and so understandably, is exhausted.
• Last time I came I noticed the sink piled up with dirty dishes and the rubbish bin overflowing but not so this time!
The first day I arrived (Saturday 19 Feb) I mentioned the snow and how I really wanted to go skiing. I was over the moon and touched that he offered to take me to the skifields to check it all out. However we couldn't/didn't go skiing for various reasons:
• My injury (as mentioned above)
• We arrived there a bit too late (almost 3pm). It's better to get there in the morning he said, before the crowds arrive. We just didn't have enough time.
• He didn't want to go skiing.
• Being a Saturday it was crowded, yet at the same time there wasn't that much snow...
I was a tad disappointed but I still enjoyed myself immensely. It was like a dream come true to FINALLY see the skifields. Way back in May/June when I found out I was accepted into this teaching programme, and I found out where my school/town was situated... and started telling people.. everyone said to me "Oh you can go skiing in winter." It was something I thought about a lot and looked forward to and now almost a year later it still hasn't happened yet but seeing the skifield (station de ski) was exciting enough in itself.
It took about 1.5 hours to drive there. We actually passed through several little skifields along the way and all of them had these cute little wooden chalets (which my friend helps build too) with heart and reindeer cut-outs in them. OMG it was just too cute! Almost like being in a toy town.
It was really hard to find a parking spot but when we did it was a perfect spot. It was right near a free and clean public toilet (after 1.5 hours of driving through many many winding roads (virages) and cold weather one has 'needs') , and a frozen, snow-covered lake. It was beautiful.
We walked to the main part of 'town' and had a hot chocolate and cake together in a little café. We hadn't had lunch yet so then we went into a boulangerie to have a warm baguette/sandwich which was yummo. Actually we wanted to get a crêpe in the café but they don't serve them on Saturdays. France has various weird arbitrary 'rules' like that which drive me up the wall!
After that we crossed the border into Switzerland and checked out (quickly) a Swiss ski resort too. Then we continued into Switzerland and checked out Montreux before returning home just before it got pitch black. It was really a perfect (and seemingly long) day and we were both exhausted afterwards and went to bed at around 9-9:30pm. We were supposed to go to his friend's place for a soirée but his friend decided to invite someone else over instead (!!) and we both decided we were too tired anyway. We stopped by a supermarket on the way back so we had pasta for dinner.
I have a confession... It's been so long since I shared a 'normal life' with someone that I really crave it. Even something simple like that, like going to the supermarket, buying groceries and then coming home to cook them really made me happy. I had a similar experience when I was in Germany over Christmas. I miss cooking and eating with someone. I had a very nice apartment in Sydney but I was always eating alone... I can imagine all my friends complaining about their 'boring' lives and comparing it to my 'exciting' one but I guess I have the grass is greener syndrome. Sometimes I just want a normal life. I want to cook in my own kitchen in my own home. I want someone to talk to and eat with when I get home. Haven't had that for 3 years.
Sunday (yesterday) it was drizzly and grey and my friend said he didn't feel like doing anything so we spent the morning and noon just talking. At one point I asked him what he wanted to do in the near future and he delivered a 40 minute monologue to me about his life and thoughts and he even started crying, he was that emotional. He thinks really deeply and is really spiritual. He's so passionate and emotional about the things he talks about...
We're only one year apart in age so I guess we're at similar points in our lives. He told me that he got into a prestigious engineering school (grande école) after high school and his parents paid for that (40,000 euros a year!!) and then the previous few years he was travelling and the only reason he was working now was to pay them back. Not that they asked for it, he just wanted to be a 'good' son. He said he can't wait to travel again to some unknown remote destination like Mongolia... But then on the other hand he did admit to thinking about being coupled up with a kid...
Finally, at around 3pm I decided to go out, and check out a brilliant (temporary) art exhibition and just went for a walk around the town. It's really small and I've already seen it all last time but it was still nice... It's still breathtakingly beautiful and always will be to me.
That night we had take-away pizza (from a pizzeria nearby). It was yum. Something about buying pizzas in France though... they don't cut them for you! Weird.
Then I continued my interrogation...
The first time I met him he told me he was good friends with his ex. This time though, I found out the truth. I felt that we knew each other well enough for me to ask him... I asked if I could ask HOW and WHY he and his ex broke up. I know it's an intrusive question but he could have chosen not to answer. However, he told me the entire story and my heart was breaking for him as he told it to me...
If you've been reading my blog for some time you'll know I'm very very interested in relationships. How they form, how they end, what is a 'good' one etc etc...
So he tells me he'd been with his girlfriend for 2.5 years and had spent 8 months travelling together. That is 24/7 for 8 months. Enough to take a toll on ANY relationship I guess. He told me they were camping and sleeping in a tent in a desert in Jordan. It was a huge tent with various different compartments or 'rooms'.
One moment he was sleeping next to his girlfriend, then the next morning he discovered she was sleeping next to one of the Jordanian tour leaders who chatted her up (dragué). I know that my jaw literally and very visably dropped at that point. I was beyond shocked as he continued the story... then as he continued I finally began to understand him better. He said later she came to him crying because she was pregnant (with twins!) and then she ended up having an abortion and right now she's with a jerk (a cretin). But he admits he is not a saint and perhaps is not the easiest person to get along with...
It had occurred to me up until that point that he was rather content with his life but no, that's not the case. I guess everyone puts up a façade about their life... He gets companionship from his dog but I wondered why he didn't seem interested in being in a relationship.
A year later, I could still see the hurt in his eyes, and in his words as he recounted me this story... Then I'm reminded of one of my friends who told me she hadn't been on a date in 4 years... I have heard of other similar stories too. That you are hurt so badly by a break-up you never want to try again.
Then there are stupid people like me, who do try again and get hurt... and neither one is better than the other I think. I don't know how to make this desire to be in a relationship go away. But I actually wish that all my single friends could find someone. Nothing would make me happier than to see them happy. No matter what people say, I know the truth. I think anyone who says they prefer to be alone forever is lying.
Something I've noticed with single people vs couples is that single people have far more things to talk about. Whenever I'm with a single friend they tell me EVERYTHING about their lives and I tend to do the same. However, because coupled up people have their partner to talk to every day they don't tell me nearly as much personal stuff as I do to them. But when you spend so much time alone your thoughts just get bottled up so when you're with a friend they get 'unleashed'...
It was definitely another weekend of reflection for me.
Only one more week (this week) of classes then school holidays (vacances scolaires) !
Tonight I spent 3 hours chatting to my good friend Y which was really nice. I find I go through periods where I just love being alone but then I realise I am so much happier when I have someone to talk to. I was saying that I don't know what to do for my school holidays. I have not planned anything and I'm really trying to save money so I can't travel as much as I used to. After spending some time talking to my other friend over the weekend about job searching, Y suggested I should spend this holiday time to look for a job and get my CV out there etc which I think is definitely the sensible thing to do.
Tonight I impressed people with the big colourful bruise on my knee, too! ;)
More pictures here.