A week in France has already gone by, and as I walk down the wooden stairs into the kitchen, I catch her smile. It smells like breakfast and can see in her face, that she’s still enthralled by the idea that she landed this American guy… got him to fly across the globe to meet her. Each morning I’ve woken up, the first thought that goes through my own head is, “I’m in France… I’m actually here after dreaming about this for so long.”
Our conversations often come back to, “what are the odds?” What are the odds that a person who’s attracted to another’s social media profile, would actually reach out (literally across oceans)… Then, what are the odds that the later would respond, the two would find romantic chemistry, both have passports and be willing to ride this spontaneous roller-coaster with no certain nor safe destination?
Although I didn’t have any solid expectations when I set out on this excursion, I’m excited and relieved to let you all know, she is in fact a woman, and our hopes and intentions were very much congruent. The romantic chemistry is definitely there. It’s been smooth sailing, and as Marion says, “this just makes sense.” We had after all hatched out a fair amount over the 5 months of emails, skype calls and poetic letters (see part one for more details).
Although things have been smooth, delightful and at times juicy, this hasn’t only been a fairy tale. Getting to know someone by spending 24 hours a day 7 days a week for three straight weeks doesn’t come without its challenges. Communication (and playfulness) has proven to be essential. We’ve both been excited to connect and learn about each other, but also have been very vocal about our needs and allowing each other the space we need to be who we are. Communication, trust and positive attitudes have been paramount in processing fears, questionings and confirmations among the myriad of feelings and emotions present on a daily basis. In the grand spectrum of possible outcomes for our meeting, this has truly been a peach.
We spent the first couple days talking for hours at a time, cooking and playing all the games that lovers play. It’s been great waking up late, working online from the verandah, cooking meals and having the many conversations we’d been longing for. The highlight of the first few days was visiting the coastal town of Cassis, breathing in the warm salty air and walking through rocky fields of rosemary along the Mediterranean.
Aside from being attracted to this woman, a major reason this opportunity was a hell-yes for me, was because I love learning and I love traveling. Thus I could tell I would thrive in this situation (even though there were lots of unknowns). I love being in new cultures and immersing myself in new places. It’s amazing how, when steeped in another culture and language, all the things we used to worry about, fade away. All the worries and subconscious stressors disappear as we focus our attention on listening to new languages and soaking in all the subtle details of life in this unique and fresh moment.
It sounds obscure, but anyone who travels can resonate with the value that other cultures, languages and settings offer. When we settle in, it can make our minds feel healthier, happier and more expansive. Literally providing the opportunity to redefine ourselves. This aspect of travel, Marion and I had talked about many times before. So again, the opportunity to travel and get to know this person was a hell-yes.
First dates are important events. Two days after arriving in Marseille, Marion and I boarded a plane to Budapest, Hungary. We both were excited about visiting a new city. Highlights of Budapest included walking along the wide green avenues and parks, visiting enormous byzantine style cathedrals and government buildings, getting into a shouting match with a Hungarian toilet-keeper near the metro, and soaking in the one of the many lavish open-air Turkish baths found in the city. We also got to ride bikes along the infamous Danube River, which flows through ten different countries before spilling into the Black Sea. Although great and grand, these sunny days in Budapest left us excited for fresher air and larger vistas.
Shortly after returning to Marseille, we embarked for the Southern Alps. For all those Colorado die-hards out there, the Alps are pretty fricken sweet. No boast, in four hours we drove from the Mediterranean to the ski slopes. No potato farms out there either. Nestled in the grey limestone valleys lie vineyards, orchards, castles, and small villages with pink stone chalets and blue shutters. Alas, six months ago I knew nothing about France, or about handmade goat cheese, olives and fine red wines.
It’s amazing what lies just around the bend. You never know what wild invitation awaits in your inbox. I’ll leave you with a painting and poem Marion made this week.
“Bubbles of escape
embrace in the forest
mountain of enlightenment and wisdom
we are free
is nourishing us
and our present
Check back again for more update’s by Alex. To see more of his work visit him at alexpullen.com