I have been trying to write about Grenoble for a while now, but I don’t know that I can. How can I put this city into words? It isn’t my hometown. I do not come from here: I was born in the rain-sodden shadow of the Coastal Mountains and I was raised to the beat of the relentless pounding of waves on beaches of a city far, far away from here. I was not born and raised in Grenoble.
But I left my hometown. I got on a plane and I flew a very long way and before I left everyone said to me, aren’t you scared? And I said, yes, I’m scared! I don’t know where I’m living and I don’t speak the language and I don’t know a single soul in the whole city! Yes, I’m scared!
That was a lie. I wasn’t scared, not even a little bit. In Vancouver I was never able to shake the nagging habit of saying and doing what I vaguely thought was expected of me. If I was honest, I would have said that I didn’t feel anything but this immense kind of calm, like I was back on Kettle River when I was eight, sitting in an inner tube in the Okanagan sunshine being pulled by the current of the river, feeling absolutely and utterly at peace with the world. Continue reading