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Jill McCracken’s Travel Diary

Friday, 11 Feb 2011

Location: Paris, France

MapVendredi avec Sarah

I spent my morning in the library hunkered down over the first of four giant chapters for Literature this week; it was a context article about Richard Wright's arrival in Paris and the eventual feud between him and James Baldwin, the rogue writer from Harlem. The entire first floor of the Maison has been ravaged by some sort of elusive bug that has not hit our cozy room yet, so Sarah & I are desperate to avoid the clutches of sickness. We douse ourselves with orange juice and have been cognizant about getting appropriate amounts of rest - we both refuse to catch this cold that is sidelining so many of our peers!

Seeing the opportunity for some much-needed Vitamin D, Sarah rescued me from the library for an afternoon picnic on the lush open green of the Cite campus. We threw off our sweaters and plunged outside in t-shirts. On a day like today I completely forgot about what it is like to be in February in Ontario - the sun absolutely drowned me in its glory and my skin was immediately flushed in the 13 degree temperature. I had to roll up my jeans because I was so warm, yet the subtle breeze kept me comfortable. We basked in the beauty of this gorgeous Friday (no class!) and munched on a picnic lunch - Sarah with homemade veggie chili and me with my usual smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

We chatted about the week's events and giggled at the extreme PDA of couples on the green. Then in the blink of an eye, I can talk to her about what emotions mean and how I feel freer than I ever have before. We are going through changes as individuals, but Sarah and I are also growing together as friends in Paris and it made me realize just how close we have become so quickly. I value her opinion so much and I rely on her as a sounding board when I test out a new idea. It isn't a fake sort of friendship that you can waft in and out of... even though we're together probably 18 of 24 hours a day, I haven't gotten sick of her. Not once in a whole month have I felt like I couldn't say what I wanted to say or thought that she wouldn't support me or have some beautiful wisdom or thoughtful question to make me consider again how I really feel. I talk in my sleep, so she literally hears my thoughts even if I don't tell her outright. That sort of naked connectivity would normally be daunting and I would clam up out of fear or discomfort, but I am completely different in Paris - I am completely content with the fact that she knows me, really knows me. Plus she leaves chocolates on my pillow just because she's Sarah.