I walked into town today and I kept getting this odd, peaceful feeling that all was right with the world. I call it odd because I never feel that way. I’m a worrywart by nature, always anxious, always worrying about something even if there’s nothing to worry about, and peace isn’t something I’ve experienced very often in my life. But I had moments of it today.
I was headed to the local supermarket in search of a box to send some unnecessary things home in advance. On my way, I was thinking about the fact that I don’t speak French as fluently as I had hoped I would. Before I came here, everyone said I would come home speaking fluent French. I do speak it way better than before, but I don’t feel like I’ve reached my goal and I only have…and that’s when I realized it. My big sister, Becky, my bestest friend and roommate for so many years, is going to be here in less than one month! I’m not a particularly smile-at-the-world person, and I feel stupid smiling when no one’s around, but I totally smiled when I realized that. I can’t wait ‘til she gets here, even if it means my sejour in France is over.
Before I entered the store, I got the bright idea to check out back, where I stumbled upon the dumpsters full of nice sturdy boxes of just the right size. There was no one around, so I grabbed one and headed home feeling disturbingly pleased with myself. It felt like getting a free lunch; I didn’t even have to ask anyone!
Part of the trail I walk on has trees growing on either side of it that form a canopy over head. I was looking at the ground, at patches of sunlight coming through the leaves. As the sun was being wishy-washy, these patches peacefully grew brighter, then faded, over and over again, having a very calming effect on me. Later, I passed a parked moving van (ooh! An oxymoron!) It was on a quiet street, which cars rarely use, and everything was quiet except for the sound of Johnny Cash crooning from the radio of the moving van. It was all very poetic.
Later that day…
Okay, all is not right with the world. You see, my tube of toothpaste ran out a few weeks ago, so I’ve been using my host family’s toothpaste. This was a great plan until said host family went on a weekend trip, and when they came back, said toothpaste was not returned to its rightful spot on the bathroom sink. There are, actually, two tubes of toothpaste still in the bathroom, but both of them are strawberry-flavored (different brands, bought on the same day; it baffles the mind, I know). Normally, I like strawberries, but not in a toothpaste. Not at all in a toothpaste. It's just plain wrong. It’s ever so slightly minty, so that you feel like you’re brushing your teeth with something toxic. Every time I brush my teeth, and for ten minutes afterward, I have to fight back the urge to gag.
I have an overly sensitive gag reflex, you see, so I’m incredibly particular about what goes into my mouth. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me snails (escargots) have the texture of chicken, you will not ever see me eating one of those slimy, shriveled, turd-resembling monsters.