We are on the train to Toulouse, finally. Since the end of March we’ve been living out of suitcases and in constant preparation for the next leg in our journey. Toulouse will be our home for the next year or two or… The transition from traveling tourist to new resident will be a welcome one.
But the suitcases won’t be put away any time soon. We have one week at an Air B&B apartment, two weeks with a host family (arranged by our language school) and then, hopefully, a long term rental apartment where we can unpack these bags we’ve been hauling around the world.
New York, London and Paris have some similarities, lots and lots of people being one. I whine about Diane making me get up in the wee hours to take photos but it has allowed me to see Trafalgar Square and the Eiffel Tower without the crowds (we were basically alone). Fortunately, our time in NYC also gave us the skills needed to navigate through roving bands of selfie-snapping tourists clogging the sidewalks.
We marveled at buildings and monuments constructed a thousand years ago and preserved by the good people of the United Kingdom and France for everyone’s enjoyment. We cozied up to delicious meat pies and ale in London. We (Neal) wondered why the Brits continue to tolerate and even celebrate the “Royal Family”. We wandered around the Isle de St Louis looking for macaroons. We saw the executive lounge at the Paris hotel turn into the The Lord of the Flies when the free wine and food starting getting low. “I have the Conch! I get the last glass of rosé!” We had a great trip.
I just heard an announcement on the train and didn’t understand a word of it. They could have said we were arriving in Toulouse or that we were stopping for a cow on the tracks. The excitement of traveling has displaced our ardor for language study, now it’s time to get back to business. No doubt our enjoyment of this culture will be directly proportional to our understanding of the language. We want to understand French jokes and be as sarcastic as we are in our native tongue. I really should be paying more attention to the announcements, I think that last sign was in German.