Goodbye to Grenoble

P1000838I 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


Barcelona dancing

774802_10153622850025038_1048782401_oBarcelona dances. Every city’s got a rhythm, every city’s got a beat, and Barcelona’s is a flamenco dancer: her hips swirl, her feet stamp, she tosses her head and flings back her arms with the kind of effortless grace and artistry people spend their lives searching for. You don’t have to be there long to taste it. The music moves in everything. You feel it as you’re pushed along the river of people on La Rambla, under the warm green light of the poplar trees – you know the kind of light that you think must be warming your soul, it feels so good? That’s the kind of light you get in Barcelona. Continue reading