A few years ago, (five to be exact) I had this dream, a fantasy of living in a small European village not far from the Mediterranean Sea. This village would be drenched in history and culture along with an active lifestyle. Days could easily be spent laying on the sand listening to the sound of the crashing ocean or hiking in the mountains with the crisp air filling my lungs. I envisioned myself walking through the colorful morning markets to pick up fresh produce to prepare for breakfast. This would be followed by taking a long siesta after lunch and staying up late drinking wine and chatting with a group of friends or family while listening to music. My countries of choice were Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.
Now keep in mind, five years ago I had never before been to Europe nor did I speak any other language besides English. Although, in my mind, none of these details mattered. This dream was so strong and vivid I even broke up with my American boyfriend because I knew a life with him would mean a life not living in Europe. I couldn’t bear that reality. I must have formed this fantasy from watching movies and reading books on the very romanticized, artsy, bohemian way of life in Europe during the 1920’s. Some may have called me crazy, but a girl can dream, right?
Looking at my life today, I tell myself how incredible it is that with time, things can change immensely. The girl I was five years ago would be so amazed to know that I’ve been to Europe several times visiting countries like France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. I’m also in the process of learning French. Je parle un peu Francais.
During a recent trip in France, I visited a dreamy picturesque village called Martigues. The moment I was there my heart skipped a beat and my eyes felt like there were going to burst out of my head. Was this place real? Could it be true? This was exactly what I imagined in my dreams five years ago. Martigues is a small Provencal hilltop village off the French coast sitting between the Mediterranean Sea and the Etang de Berre. The downtown faces the lakeside with sailboats lined up on the dock. There are Cafes and
Restaurants facing the water and brightly colored homes all lined with fresh flowers and shrubs. It is ideal and perfect. My only thought the entire time I was there was, when can I live here?
Everyday I feel closer to achieving the things I want in life. Some people may still think I’m crazy for having this strange dream of living in another country. Somedays I think I am too, especially when there are more challenges than what was in my romanticized vision. Like being so far away from family and friends; Learning a new culture and new traditions; The process of learning a new language outside the classroom; Trying to re-learn how to drive a car in manual gear (I’ve only known how to drive automatic).
Then there are the unforgettable moments of going to a place like Martigues for the first time. The feeling is like experiencing the rush, jolt and the high from falling in love. It’s in these moments that remind me that it’s all worth it and I’m on the right path.