Long Walks and Wine Tasting in France

The Loire

When I checked my Facebook this morning, the first thing I saw was a “thank you” video/slideshow from my mom. It was cute, filled with photos and status updates featuring the two of us, and I was obviously inspired to see what my own would look like. I played around with a couple and then clicked on “Justin” from my list of suggested friends. It loaded some of our mutual tagged photos and status updates, but all of it was really lame. So naturally I went to his profile to “view our friendship” which took me on a trip right down memory lane. Scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, I came upon this status updated I posted back in July:

And something ridiculous happened. In an instant, I broke down crying.

Yes, I was probably just having one of those moments, like when commercials make me cry, but I’m not going to totally brush it off. Why did it make me emotional? I miss France, I miss the summer, and I miss being carefree and just being. July was not that long ago, but it feels like it was. It was just before our life took a 180-degree turn and flipped upside-down a few times. We knew things would probably be changing soon, but we weren’t entirely sure, and so we were able to just ignore it. We were in France, and taking one day at a time. Sometimes I really regret not writing in my blog while I was there (except for the occasional post). I wish know I could go back and read about what I was doing, thinking, and feeling. All of those memories will eventually fade away, so it’s nice to have photos and words to keep them alive. But I also realize that even though I wasn’t blogging about my experiences, I was still living them, and that’s the only thing that really counts.

I don’t have any photos from that day, but that’s alright. We packed up a backpack with snacks and sandwich things (with a fresh baguette we picked up from the boulangerie on our way out), and began walking. We followed a path along the river until we were just into the next village over, stopped at a park, found a picnic table, and had lunch. After lunch, we kept walking to the next town. We found a winery and asked if we could take a tour of the wine caves (they are literally caves dug into the side of cliffs). The woman told us the next tour would begin in about a half hour, so we decided to wander around while waiting. Instead, we got lost and missed the tour. By the time we made it back, the tour group was just returning and the woman told us since we missed it, we could still take part in the free wine tasting. We tasted about six wines and bought a beautiful, local, sparkling Vouvray. We walked about halfway back and then decided to catch the bus back into town. I can’t remember what the “delicious dinner” was, whether we ate out or cooked at home.

That day was a very simple adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. Traveling and living abroad is such a life-changing experience. It’s hard to put into words, but it changes you. It opens your eyes to new places, new people, new cultures, and it opens your mind and your heart. I’m so grateful that I’ve spent time in France twice in my life, and that most recently, I got to be there with Justin. When you travel or live abroad, no one else can truly understand the depth of your experience. It’s frustrating in a way, but also kind of romantic, because that experience will always be yours and yours alone. This summer, I was lucky enough to share it with someone I love, and now that experience and those memories will always be ours, and ours alone.

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