This last two days, I become an owl. The jetlag effect approaching me without sorry. Now, when people already fall asleep, I am still reading or literally my eyes wide awake. The timezone different between Jakarta and Europe makes my body confused so I just take this easy and let my body to get used naturally with the Jakarta’s time again.
However, during this owl night, I better to write something to deliver the energy that I still have at this hour. I remember the story when I started my solo travel again in France. The moment when I met with so many beautiful souls unexpectedly that touched my heart so deeply.
I took a train ride from Poissy to Rennes that day. It was a long journey since I need to go to Paris first by inter-city train from Poissy and take another long train ride to Rennes, where I will meet my friend, Lucille.
We met in Ubud on Bali Spirit Festival’s music night. I don’t exactly remember who said “Hi” first, but we turned up to talk to each other and meet up few times in Ubud, even until now we still keep in touch in Facebook.
When I am in France, I tried to contact her and she invited me to attend a yoga class together in Paris, but I wasn’t able to go that day. So instead, I come over to Rennes to see her and also to see more area of France.
It took in total around 8 hours before I finally arrived in Rennes.
In the beginning of my trip, I was kind of frustrated when I can’t find the main entrance of the train station in Poissy, which I normally always passed by every time when I went to the park!
It’s always like that, when I get panic, I won’t find anything.
I indeed found the rear gate which only has 1 ticket machine and unfortunately it was broken. I tried to ask one of French girl, but she can’t speak English and she just pointed direction of the main entrance, where I would be able to buy ticket from the counter. But that
damn main entrance, I can’t find it – I decided to finally returned to the previous rear gate and amazingly the ticket machine suddenly worked out! But I got another problem because I didn’t know which ticket is the right one for my journey to Paris.
I met an American girl and asked her. But she also don’t know. She told me few days ago, she was getting fine, because she bought the wrong ticket! That statement made me more nervous. Later on, we decided to just bought one ticket to Paris. No matter which part of Paris, was that.
Sigh, indeed the metro and train system in Paris can be so confusing. I wish they just make it easy by giving us a ticket to wherever station that we want to go instead of giving only several train station name, and we don’t really know which one to choose, because none of them are our exact destination.
For example, If I wanna go to Bercy, then I can go to Saint Lazarre and then change it with another train or Metro or I can change in Chatelet, or I can go to Gare du Lyon. So many options but make it more complicate for people who don’t understand. Especially, in the ticket machine appeared a totally different name of train station that we should choose.
However, I was pretty relieved because I can speak with this American girl during 45 minutes train ride to Paris. Good start for a journey, to meet stranger and just make a connection.
Later on, because I wasn’t sure which stop I need to take to Massy Palaiseau and worry if my ticket was wrong and I got caught and need to pay fine, I preferred to get off the train in Chatelet with her. She continued her journey to Louvre museum, where I was there trying to figuring out how to reach Massy Palaiseau.
I encouraged myself to ask a lady who wore a black leather jacket. She looked so cool and young, perhaps can speak English. Some people can be very defensive or even rude, if I asked in English and they don’t speak English. Thank God, she can speak English! She told me I shouldn’t bought another ticket, because that 1 ticket I bought was already enough to go to my destination, no matter which transit I take to reach Massy Palaiseau. She truly eased my panic moment at that time. I said thank you and we talked a bit before she was off with her train.
Well, I met my angel #1.
Short of the story, I finally met Lucille, even we were so hard to find to each other that time, because I had no internet so our communication a bit dumb that time. She wrote me, “Don’t worry, you just enjoy yourself under the sun, I will find you.”
And yes, she found me and we were hugging and screaming happily. Oh wow, time flies indeed! We haven’t had met for 2 years and there we were, sharing all the update stories like we have no distance at all.
Then she brought me to her place where I will stay for few nights before I continue my journey to Nantes. Once we opened the door, I smell the flavor of cake. She said, “Oh I just baked a cake for you.” Woww, how so happy I was!
More than that, she was introducing me with her friends. Made my trip in Rennes was so fresh and enjoyable. I truly enjoyed the evening walk, the warm conversation from her friends to involve me in their talk, even some of them can’t speak fluent English. I was so appreciated their efforts, and it was warm my heart.
I met my angel #2.
I decided to explore Rennes when Lucille was working. Rennes is really a beautiful small town that it is easy to go around. I actually only visited the center because there are already many places to see next to each other. When I felt so exhausted and hungry, I decided to sit on the square where there is City Hall and Opera theater facing to each other, to take a rest and eat some snacks.
Since it’s very rare to find French people who speak English, I decided to not bother myself trying to say hi to people, because they might think that I am crazy or wanted to sell something to them. Because of that thought, when an old lady decided to sit next to me, I didn’t lift my head up to greet her because I was busy writing my journal. Also I was afraid she can’t speak English and just make two of us feeling awkward.
There was a young lady that approached me and try to say something in French, I said to her I can’t speak French, then she went over to the old lady and say something. She was crying and from the intonation of her voices. it sounded so sad. I tried to not following their conversation, because however, I understand nothing.
Then the young lady walked away. I guessed it was a scam. It was pretty surprising me, when I was in Paris, I saw some many people try to ask money with maybe fake stories. Seemed the girl also tried to do the same to the old lady.
Later on, the old lady looked to me and speak in French, telling me about that young lady that asked money to buy tobacco. I apologized to her because I don’t understand French. Then she said, “Oh, where are you from?”
“Really? My husband has a music instrument from bamboo from Indonesia!”
And I said, “What is that??? Angklung?”
I was so shocked, on that sunny day, out of nowhere, suddenly an old lady who sit next to me said that she has an Indonesian authentic musical instrument in her house (?!).
She also talked to me in perfect English. She was an Anthropologist and never went to Indonesia but they got that instrument somehow in France.
After few minutes of our conversation, she said she needs to continue doing her stuff, she left me with a comment, “Maybe we will meet again tonight during the music festival” I was laughing when heard that.
“Will you dance?” I asked her.
She said, “Always!”
We had a pleasant short conversation, which totally made me feeling not so lonely afterward.
I met my angel #3
On the day I decided to go to Nantes, to met my friend, Benoit, Lucille ordered a Bla Bla Car from her account for me to bring me from Rennes to Nantes. From some of the options, I decided to take a ride with Michel, a 51 years old man who said that he will go to a place which I checked on google map is only 10 mins walk away to Benoit’s place.
The concern from Lucille, whether the guy will be able to speak English or not. I said to her to not worry. If he can’t speak English, I would just being quiet on the back seat or maybe fall asleep.
It turned up, I was the only passenger that afternoon. Huh?! How could I sleep then? I laughed inside myself. Michel, the man, was really a gentleman! He was greeted me in English and helped to take care of my small luggage. Then opened the car door and offered me the seat next to him.
Here we go! I said goodbye to Lucille, with a promise to keep in touch and perhaps we can meet again in the future.
I was a bit nervous before because if we just being quiet to each other during the 1,5 hours driving, it wouldn’t be so appealing for me. But I was so wrong, Michel started to make a conversation in English and more than that, we caught up in a really interesting conversation!
He told me how he loved Brazil because of their multi color people. He ever went there for business matters and he said, people there were so poor but so happy. Plus you can find a very pale skin person until a very dark skin person, but they live with each other in harmony.
Michel then told to me, “Hey, you make me remember how my family now also become so multi color.”
“Tell me,” I said to him
Then he shared the story about his first daughter married with a man from the island who has dark skin, then their son become a mixed with fair skin. Then his son married with a very blonde and pale Russian woman, who now they have a very light skin boy. His first daughter already passed away and left the son and the husband alone. Until the husband met another woman and then they have another daughter who is now pretty dark skin. But all of them still live close to each other and keep close their family bounding.
He shared to me a story when his mom wasn’t agree, that her daughter married the man from the island, not from France. He said to his mom, “I think the most important thing is whether the guy is a good person or not and whether they are happy with each other. No matter what color of his skin, if he is not a good person, of course I don’t want to let my daughter marry to him. He is a good person, there is no reason we don’t agree with their marriage.”
On that afternoon ride, when the sun shone so bright and we were on the highway with the view of green lust field and lots of black and white cows eating grass or just sitting there chewing the grass, I just felt – WOW!
I wish I will meet a father in law like him in the future – hehee.
When we finally arrived in Nantes. He made sure that my friend Benoit was already there – thank God Benoit already there, was waiting for me. Then I said to Michel, “Hey Michel, in Ubud, we normally said hello and goodbye by hugging to each other. Do you mind if I hug you?”
He said no, and we hugged each other.
It was really interesting afternoon ride for both of us.
I said to him, “Michel, I can’t give you any testimonial in Bla Bla Car, because I don’t have the account yet. But I want to tell you, you are such a good person, I really enjoyed our conversation.”
He said, “I also enjoyed it and glad you don’t just fall asleep during the journey.”
I met my angel #4
Benoit already there, it was so good to see him again. We also met already 2 times in Ubud. Who can guess that now I met him in his country!
If you read this Benoit, I prefer to talk about you in another article. So let me give this place now for your “grandmother” – how sweet she was, and how I never expected to meet her. You know you are a very good person for me as well, don’t you? :p
He brought me to his place then introduced me with his grandma. I was so nervous that time, because I didn’t expect it’s gonna be a formal dinner meeting. I didn’t bring anything to her, even Benoit said it was fine, but I pinched his arms and said, “You should let me know about it, rascal!”
Her grandma was so elegant. Just like what I know about French old lady in style. Her hair, dress, nails, all just look so tidy and classic. She is already 85 years old but still do everything by herself. I was pretty sure she might think there was something between me with Benoit since she always promoted Benoit as a good guy to me. Hahhaa, I know about that grandma, but he also so cheeky.
Honestly, I felt so bad because she always busy prepared stuff for us. I decided to help them as possible as I can. She said, “My smile and my laugh are really showing my happiness.” Benoit also very cheeky by saying to me, “she likes you because you always very smiley. I think she expects you to become her daughter in law” Bahahahaaa. For me personally, I think maybe I am too loud for French people and for her, it’s something unusual – sorry can’t help, I am always so loud >,<
We had pleasant dinner time during I stayed there. Grandma is really a sweetheart and always intereting with my stories about Indonesia. Benoit always became our translator and bridge, when I don’t understand her French or she didn’t understand my English, especially if I nervous, I always talk very fast.
On the last day I need to departed from the house to go back to Poissy, she left a very sweet card on the table. Benoit was preparing a simple breakfast before we catched the bus to bring me to Paris. I knew grandma still in her room, but we didn’t share farewell hug, because I think she didn’t like a farewell.
I wish you a good health, grandma!
I met my angel #5
The unexpected trip always the most interesting one.
When Benoit told me that we can visit his auntie in a beautiful port town called Vannes, I just said yes carelessly because I didn’t know where was it and for me, I just wanted to see more of France, as much as I could.
In the morning, he drove us to Vannes, and we meet his Auntie and his cousin, Marie.
Waaaa, another family meeting?
The Auntie and Marie, his cousin, turned up to be really cool persons I met during this trip. His auntie literally live in one of those old authentic house in the old town. They asked me to come in and I was so amazed with the look from inside.
The house really not even. There are many no straight and even line for their walls. Seem like the walls, door, window, just following the shape of the building and filled it’s space. Interesting how inside interior is so modern, compared the old look from outside. When I looked from the window, I can see the view of the old town, those ancient roof just like in classical movies, plus the local market that almost finished.
They were asking me whether I would be like to have a trip to an island nearby. I was so surprised because I didn’t expect anything and just able to say, YES!!!
Life indeed always brought me to more and more unexpected adventures. There we were, in Île-aux-Moines which means the island of monks, walking around, enjoying the summer sun and admiring the beauty of the island.
I met my angels #6, #7, #8
It still surprised me that God let me to meet all of this angels during my trip to Rennes – Nantes, France. I didn’t expect anything when I started the trip. I just opened up for any possibilities happened during the trip. It turned up, I was enjoying every each day there and always amazed by the kindness people gave to me.
Only by travel, we will go out from our comfort zone, we will see the world, we will experience unexpected situations, we will see those different people than us, different doesn’t mean bad. Sometimes, it means more color into our life.
Or, during a travel, I also can pretend that I am a princess 😛
May God bless your heart!
PS : For all the story in each place, I will write later in different article – hopefully my old brain won’t forget it.