Pau, it’s been swell. You cared for me when I fell, exhausted, into your arms after three crazy weeks in one of the most famous cities in the world. And you made the deepest impression of the two. You are not famous; my Parisian home stay brother Ambroise asked me twice were Pau was– and he’s French. But that didn’t stop you, in your humility, from quietly being yourself and blowing me away. From the moment I woke up from my uncomfortable nap on the flight from Paris, I was smitten with your green fields and white capped peaks peeking out at me from the airplane window at my left. I knew I was in love. We were meant to be together.
Oh but for a week. I have enjoyed myself so much. I felt rested for the first time in weeks. I was cared for by your beautiful, generous people. I felt at home in a way that Paris never invited me to feel. I was not a stranger or a guest. I was just happily doing my thing. Pau, you fed me cheap, delicious pastries and the best mussels I have ever eaten. You showed me the Pyrenees for the first time and the Atlantic from a new angle in Biarritz. But most of all, I will remember you for your hospitality. Your people were all smiles, all patience, all the things that make life sweet. Thank you. You helped remind me that it’s ok to think that the simple things, the small things, the “glue” (as my friend Emily dubbed it), are truly the most important things in life. It’s not about the cathedrals, the museums, the chic European clothes (though all those things are great too.) It’s about those little moments in the middle of your day– giving a piggy back ride to a cute 9 year old French kid, running barefoot through the frigid surf, delighting in the company of friends– that hold your world up. Thank you Pau, for reminding me what I love. I will be back someday. I will miss you, but all the lessons you’ve taught me are coming with me and in that way, you will never leave and I will never leave you.