Our last days in Tours were lovely and leisurely. A part of me feels like I should have done something grand – like visit all the museums or bike out to the Chateau de Villandry, but I didn’t really feel like it. (Nor did I feel especially like doing my homework, but I was better about that.) I’m not usually very apathetic, but in the end, I decided that I wanted my connection with Tours to be a more habitual one, and that’s what it became.
Every afternoon, I wandered to my favorite café at Place Plumereau and ordered a café crème to go with my homework, reading, and journaling. I lunched with my friends after class. We ventured to Les Halles in search of the perfect jam or the best pears you have ever eaten (dubbed “El Dorado Pears” by Max). My evenings were generally spent at home, lingering over the fantastic meals that Marie Annick made and enjoying lively conversations with her and my roommate.
People say that Tours has a slower pace of life, that – unlike the mad rush of Paris – things move gently. People take their time. They savor. That was what I searched for in my final moments in Tours – time to savor. I tend to be a very sensual person, so those long lunches with friends, my hours sitting in the sunshine at Le Lys d’Or were the perfect recipe.
I didn’t really want to leave when it came down to it. The night before I left I sang a few songs for Marie Annick (she wanted to hear me ever since she heard that I take voice lessons) and chatted with her. I helped clean the kitchen as an excuse to stay down with her. I realized as I was doing it, just how much I would miss her. I feel extremely lucky to have been placed with such an extraordinary woman. Moreover, a woman with whom I felt comfortable and bonded. Obviously her fabulous meals and desserts will be sorely missed when I fly for Paris, but more than that, I’ll miss her smile, and her wild stories about all the amazing/crazy things she’s done, and those kind, brilliant blue eyes.
Lots of my group-mates were ready to move on. They were already in Paris and couldn’t wait to put this little town behind them. But there were a few of us who truly fell in love with Tours. We all found each other on the morning of our departure and (while adding how we were sure Paris would be fabulous) mourned our loss and conjectured that we may have to revisit our première ville in the coming months. I was even sad to leave my classes in Tours (though they weren’t especially thrilling). I exchanged the “bises” with both of my profs – wonderful women who helped my find the best bookstores and majorly improved my French – after our last class. Maybe that’s not the standard thing to do. (I was just going for a thank you and hand shake.) But they both initiated it, and it made me really happy.
Marie Annick made us sack lunches for our final day – two sandwiches (one cheese, one ham & butter), a nectarine, chips, and a water bottle. I didn’t cry when she dropped us off, but it was close. She also – in case you were curious – totally outdid herself for our last dinner. Here was the last dessert I ate in her house: pears, rasberries, and custard.