| rain (feminine noun) | /plɥi/

This morning I awoke from a nightmare. Hoping to find comfort in familiar surroundings, the pale yellow walls of my bedroom, the warmth of a sleeping body, I realized with sadness I was in a strange town in a foreign country. I am without a home and am desperately searching for a two-bedroom apartment with my roommate, Morgane. These circumstances would depress anybody, but I am practicing daily meditation to stifle the cold fingers of rising panic. I am so proud of myself.

Though I have only spent a few lucid days in Lille (damned jet lag), I have already established an affinity to this dark town. Here, I have learned to find beauty in solitude. I am no longer afraid to wander alone. Today I left my temporary apartment in Vieux Lille to explore the surrounding area. I was in search of the cathedral Notre Dame de la Treille, but, not wanting to be hindered by a map, I drifted through the twisting cobblestone streets until I stumbled upon it in a peaceful square. I sat on the steps and ate a camembert sandwich. I wanted to read, but the crisp air was distracting, and the ethereal sounds of a choir were wafting from the cathedral’s open doors.

Churches tend to make me uneasy. They remind me of my mortality. However, I’ve always found comfort in isolated cathedrals in foreign places. They’re dark and quiet. They lend a sense of solidarity to the constant disorientation of living in a new city abroad. I lit a candle for St. Theresa and enjoyed the scent of the melting wax.

I am unsettled and a little frightened, I admit, but I am happier than I’ve been in months. As silly as it sounds, I feel destined for this city and its darkened skies, its brick buildings and ceramic tile roofs, its friendly locals, and its wet, cobblestone streets.

This morning, I awoke from a nightmare. But then I found solace in getting lost.

About Gabriella

I'm a twenty-something insomniac with a caffeine addiction and chronic wanderlust. I recently graduated with my M.A. in French, and I've spent the past two years living and working as an English teacher in France. I now work as an English professor at a university in Lille, where my students are learning to never omit the Oxford comma.
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