So in a rather spur of the moment way, we decided to hire a car and drive. Initially our plan was to Maine, but it turns out Maine is further than we thought, so we stopped somewhere in Vermont, which was beautiful. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the sea, but alas, I will save that for another trip! The hills were the most fantastic sight, the trees where the leaves have fallen already make this magical grey haze across everything. And then among those there are the ones still with leaves, a shock of orange and yellow and red, and dotted between them the odd evergreen which stands out with its non autumnal colouring. And then the mountains disappearing off into the distance and eventually blending with the sky. And the long straight unending American roads, and the odd glimpse of a lake through the trees on the side of the road. It was a fantastic sight!
Driving was wonderful, as I only just passed my test before leaving England I’d not really driven before without someone there to supervise, just in case, but I didn’t crash, and they didn’t seem to mind my driving, so it worked out just fine! I even managed to do some overtaking and merging onto the highway without undue stress, so I consider this a success! It’s also given me a taste for it, I want a car and to just drive. I’ve always wanted to drive down those American roads, where they’re so straight so you can see them disappearing into the horizon. I also have to admit, I did have a moment of missing Cora, Lily, Nigel and Susan, because the two I was with were not the singing along type, and I would have quite enjoyed belting out Perfect Day, with arm gestures and all, as we did this summer!
We stopped in Burlington, enjoyed the view of the lake, wandered about the town, got some brilliant coffee in this cute coffee shop where the guy who served us was wearing a t-shirt with the caffeine molecule on it. The chemistry student in me was pleased by this! We stumbled upon an independent bookstore, and I picked up a book with an introduction by Eve Ensler, and was reminded again how wonderful she is.
On the topic of wonderful people, I think every interaction I had with people on the trip was lovely, and they all left me smiling. Sometimes those passing connections with people you’ll never see again mean more than the ones with people you see all the time. The people we stopped to ask directions from, the woman who served me in dunkin donuts for breakfast (when in Rome…), the guy at the petrol station – we had a chat about how ginger cats are superior to all other colours, there were three of them curled up behind the counter; the guys at border control – even the one on the way into America cracked a smile – which is an impressive feat in my experience! The guys who rented us the car, we had a chat about how we don’t understand how students here manage to juggle school work, socialising and sleeping, let alone anything else! The man who suggested we camp in the local school field, who looked bemused at our situation and the fact that we’d ended up in this village in the middle of nowhere, with a school, a petrol station and a year round Christmas store (weird!) and not much else!
It was a lovely interlude the school work and midterms and assignments and not once did I stress about the work I wasn’t doing. Now I’m back in Montreal it’s back to revision and assignment writing, but that’s ok. Yesterday I fixed my bike. I took it to the Flat Tire, which is a bike workshop in the students building here, where there are people here to help if you need it, and tools and cheap inner tubes and patches for punctures. I must admit, there is something extremely satisfying about having a fixed bike and oil on your hands! And the volunteers who are there to help out are also lovely and make the whole experience enjoyable, when there’s a definite potential (after having been there for 2 hours because NOTHING is going right) for grumpiness!
So, a fixed bike and a clearer mind! A good weekend in all!