Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Monday 2 May 2011

The family has arrived...

A photo from my first flight to France, which began with a bus ride to Montreal.

At noon today, I went to pick some members of my family up from the airport in Nice. This is the first group to arrive for the French wedding, which is now only a few weeks off!

Standing in front the glass doors at the airport, teetering back and forth, trying to get a view of my aunt and uncle picking up their luggage as the doors opened and closed, I was almost giggling.

For one thing, I was excited to see my family. But the other reason I was giddy was because every so often, someone would get off of a plane, grinning and self-conscious, in the same state I was in when I disembarked after my first plane ride to Paris a year and a half ago -- back when I first took this big risk.

That moment, as I remember, is sort of like walking out on stage. You say to yourself, "This is it!" as you move into something unfamiliar (but at that point, essential), with your heart fluttering inside your chest.

I remember being nervous, excited, scared, weak in the knees, semi-confident and in a very wonderful way, overwhelmed as I passed through those airport doors, to where the Professor was waiting. I also remember wondering why this huge emotion I was feeling wasn't apparent to everyone else. The fact that I'd dropped everything to make a leap into the unknown in across the ocean, I thought, must be obvious -- at least, to someone else in the universe. For me, this move had meant a monumental shift.

I've now decided that my shift must have been obvious. And, I'm sure there was someone on the other side of the glass, who wasn't the Professor, giggling at me and my ridiculousness. Other people just don't tell you they've noticed, because that would make them the kind of weirdos who interrupt special moments.

This afternoon, I watched these emotions flash across stranger's faces as they passed by me this afternoon and I didn't say anything. I just borrowed a little of their enthusiasm, like someone might smell a passing person's perfume, and thought about how that feeling of anticipation and nervousness is something I sort of miss now that I'm getting used to France.

Now, I know how to find my way home from the airport. I know how many stop lights I pass. I know where the students cause traffic jams running across the road, which flowers have bloomed, which shortcuts are best. I no longer need to look at the number of our apartment building. I just know that it looks like home.

Now, I'm the giggler on the other side of the glass.

Of course, these blushing, excited travellers weren't the only people who arrived in Nice this afternoon: Some people who stepped out of the baggage area and into the warm summery weather of Nice actually live here. Some were obviously (at least, their style suggested) on their way to the Cannes Film Festival. And some were about to begin the same few weeks of Riviera vacation they take every year.

My first favourites were the risk takers, who were so obviously grinning their way through special, life-changing moments. And then, my favourites were my actual guests.


  1. I love the post. I'm so happy and excited for you, Kerry! So happy to hear that "it looks like home"...


  2. I recognized the Greyhound Station on Catherine street right away! I usually fly from Montreal as well, took the Greyhound to the airport many times...

    I never had anyone come here and visit so I can only imagine how it feels like. Exciting, I'm sure!

  3. Carmen: Thanks! It still doesn't feel like home all the time, but at least I recognize it now!