Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Luminecent Lyon

We went to Lyon to see Laura, one of my best friends from back in our University days, who was studying in France for a semester. She was the first person from home that we have seen since leaving Canada in October 2010. Coincidentally, she was also the last person we saw before we left Canada! We had flown west for a Vancouver visit before hopping across the ocean to New Zealand, all those months ago. Things were coming full circle... only now a little backwards, since we were in France for this rendezvous.

As soon as we arrived in Europe, we had started preparing ourselves, mentally, for our homecoming to Canada in December. We know that it will probably be overwhelming for us to see so many familiar faces of family and friends all at once, after not having seen a single one for fifteen months. What I didn't prepare for (in this manner) was visiting Laura in Lyon. I suppose I was just too busy being excited about it. Looking forward to cheese and bread with Laura in France was one of those thoughts that we used as comfort whenever we were missing normal-ness (and cheese) in Asia. It was all going to be ok.

To my surprise, seeing Laura, someone who I was close to, who I'd known for longer than a year, who I had plenty of pre-trip memories with, who was from Canada and knew obscure places like Prince Edward Island (haha)... threw me into shock. I think what was most shocking was looking up on the train platform and seeing a face that I knew from home. For the last fifteen months we'd being seeing people who looked like people we knew back home... but we never actually knew them! It was surreal, but familiar somehow, in the most unfamiliar way. It was something I had never experienced before. Like the world was going on at a normal pace around me, but my brain was in slow-motion and couldn't catch up, couldn't put the pieces together of this new reality. Laura bear-hugged me. I was so happy and excited, but I think I really just looked confused. 'Laura's reaction was waaaay better than your's,' J tells me. Jeez. No breaks there, eh J? Thankfully, Laura is an understanding and fantastic friend and wasn't weird-ed out at all at my perplexed looks, my eyes narrowing and widening at her, my shocked silences and jumbled thoughts. The wheels in my brain were chugging on slower than usual and it took a good hour or so before it finally all clicked: We were hanging out with Laura! In France! Fete D'Lumiere! This was awesome! And then everything switched from slow motion to fast forward.

Lyon was a blur. Its a fantastic city, really, but the highlight was catching up with Laura. We could have never left the house and I would have been happy as a clam. Ohhh, and the Fete D'Lumiere! Fantastic. The whole city comes out to celebrate the lights! There are candles in windows, light displays to music in every square, a 3D looking elephant in an alleyway, a pinball machine of lights shone on a building that you could actually play... my descriptions just can't do it justice- it was all super impressive and a very, very fun night. In fact, I can't imagine a better way to celebrate our last night in France.

The next morning wasn't near as fun. We said goodbye to Laura and she was promptly whisked away on the subway to her exam. It wasn't fair! I just got used to this wonderfulness... and now we were all alone again... I slumped through the station to our connecting train. I was very sad. Why was everything going so fast? At work time crawls at such a sloth pace that sometimes I'm sure the clock is ticking backwards and here time was in Lyon moving at the speed of light. I was biting back tears, because I'm a whimp like that. Just then a song started blaring through the station. 'Dooo do do do do do do DON'T WORRY! BE HAPPY!' Bobby McFerrin suggested. Reggae style. I smiled (how can you not?) and thanked my lucky 'etolies' that the French were so keen on English music!

Everything seemed a bit better. Plus, we were headed to Belfast later that night and I knew that the second we saw Aunt Eileen at the airport, our lives would be altogether perfect.


Anonymous said...

swigneWhat a treat it was for us to have you here for a wee while and to catch up with each other again.We really miss you!
Enjoy the short time you have left and thanks for coming.
A Eileen and U Trevor

Parentals said...

only week today!!!
having you two home will be the best Christmas present ever!

Anonymous said...

Hi J and K,
They say "all good things come to an end" and I was sorry your Belfast visit came to an end so quickly. I enjoyed seeing you both, especially the long chats Jonathan and I had. We covered much ground in such a short time. You are a great couple and our loss will be gain for the loved ones in Canada when you arrive there.