Postcards (part 2 of 2)

Now I’m in Quebec City. My roommates are very nice and my apartment is lovely, even if I’m scrambling a bit to afford everything I need (let alone the things I want). Waiting for a text message to come, and hanging up postcards…

The white medieval basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvières in Lyon, floodlit pink and orange at night…

The gold statue of Mary holding Baby Jesus at the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille, silhouetted against a clear blue sky, looking across the Mediterranean to Africa. I sent an identical postcard to Pierre. I’m not a Christian, but it’s comforting to have her watching over me and to know that the same face is watching over Pierre…

A Niki de Saint-Phalle postcard from Sophie.

A picture of a candle. For my 23rd birthday, Générose– one of my sweetest and quietest students, a nun who left the convent to go back to school, a talented writer and the only one who never missed a class without calling– gave me a present: Two bags of peanuts, a small handpicked bouquet of flowers, and a picture of a candle. The memories of that night, and the huge mutual admiration between my class and me, embodied in a picture of a candle, are worth more than any piece of technology anyone else could have possibly bought.

A brightly coloured postcard of two men sharing a pastis by the harbour in Marseille. When Dad came to visit me in France, the last day before we had to leave for Paris– him to catch the plane out, me to get my paperwork straightened out to go back to Berne– was a gray and rainy one– in Nimes that is. I asked Dad if he wanted to go to a place where it was sunny all the time…three hours later, there we were in Marseille, the sunniest city in France. We took a ferry out to the Frioul islands and then, on the way back,  we stopped at a seafood restaurant and split an enormous platter of seafood– raw oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, stuffed sea snails, and sea urchins, which you eat by turning them upside down and scooping the flesh out with a spoon. We finished that off with a pastis– the golden-yellow, anise-flavoured liqueur that is so popular there, and that Dad seemed to really like even though he rarely drinks and doesn’t like sweets at all–and then, of course, an espresso. Ten minutes after we left, I bought that card. I think this is one of the meals i’ll remember for my entire life.

A reproduction of several Van Gogh paintings of Arles that I bought the day we went to Arles with Rob to see the bullfight.

Postcard of a 500-year-old gold statue of a Buddhist goddess from the Buddhist museum/shrine in Gruyères. Right next to the postcard of the miniature mad scientist’s lab–complete with a hanging skeleton, nine measuring cups on the tiled wall and innumerable scattered bottles– from the Basel Doll and Toy Museum.  Both postcards I intended to send to Mom…but didn’t get around to. sorry Mom.

Two nineteenth century dolls in a clothing shop, also from that museum in Basel. I intended to send this one to Grandma. I suppose I’ll give it to her by hand.

Houses of Parliament, London. If I had been just a little more self-confident at that job interview, I would have been there and not here wondering where rent is going to come from. Oh well, I learned that lesson. And maybe I’ll go there again…

Parliament Building, Ottawa. Those were the days…

Tirana, Albania. From my epic Balkan road trip. Those too were the days.

Nufenenpass, the Swiss Alps. One of the highest points Adrian and I hit on our mad motorcycle adventure over the Alps…

A picture of a caracal- a cougar-like cat- from a wildlife sanctuary in Kelowna, British Columbia– with French notes on the back from when I used to meet with Philippe, my language exchange partner and one of my best long-distance friends.

Canadian flag postcard from Juno Beach. I sent Cameron the same one…

A handpainted greeting card with the heart-shaped outline of the country of Burundi, filled in carefully with green and blue and black, silhouetted people boating across the lake, sold to me by the same grey-bearded old man who was always there, standing next to my favourite WiFi café, always with a stack of the same cards that he painted himself. He called me “maman” and I called him “papa.” He’s probably still there now…

About msmarguerite

Young Quebec City-based freelance journalist. once and future nomad. I blog about life, about travel, about things I notice and every so often about work. I enjoy language learning, singing, swing dancing, skating and...other stuff, sometimes. My heart is somewhere in East Africa, Haiti or Eastern Europe. English, français, русский, malo slovensko, un poco de espanol, um pouco de português ndiga ikirundi, mwen ap aprann kreyòl...
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