My cousin and I are way to similar, like its ridiculous. We have the same stupid sense of humour and like the same things, so its fair to say when we are together we have such a laugh. Only problem is, she lives an hour and a half away and as we both work over the weekends, we only see each other once maybe twice a year. Over the summer we decided that we should make some quality time together before we both go off to university next year, so we booked two tickets to Dinard, France for a week to stay with our grandparents. I was sceptical about staying with them based on my trip there last year with my Dad. We were the first visitors since Grandy had been given the all clear from his bowel cancer, but he was still in a lot of physical and emotional pain and nan had been distracting herself from the stress by cleaning the house (sterilizing is probably a better word) thoroughly every day and took huge pride in it. Obviously 5 people moving in to their guest house cause slight disruption in the set up and if we so much as left a scrabble tile out, she lost it. Saying it wasn’t a relaxing break is understatement of the year and in the end my Dad booked tickets for us to leave early. I guess I understood why they were so tense, as Nan had to deal with Grandy’s illness alone and it had obviously put strains on their relationship- but at the end of the day, they chose to isolate themselves from their families and move abroad, I just wasn’t expecting such huge changes in their personalities.But I figured, as Grandy’s on the mend, maybe things will be different?
We left Redditch at 3:45am on Sunday morning and set off for the 3 hour journey to Stanstead airport. My dad isn’t the best with following sat-navs and likes to make his own way, so we got to the airport with 30 mins before departure. Luckily enough we got through check-in, baggage drop-off and security pretty quickly so went to get some breakfast from boots. After we looked to find our gate… “56”, on the other side of the bloody airport. Fair to say, running across an airport inst an easy task with 2 big bags and a huge coat on, but we got there 20 minutes late and joined the back of the queue (I don’t know why we rushed, Ryanair isn’t exactly the most reliable or attentive airline) On-board, it was absolutely rammed and looked more like one of these Indian aircraft’s you see with a capacity of 50 and there’s 100 people on and chickens are running up and down the isle. With a short flight of 45 minutes, we had landed by the time I’d finished my breakfast wrap.
Nan and Grandy picked us up from the airport, they seemed chatty enough and Grandy looked a lot healthier than the last time i’d seen him. We squeezed into their mini and began the 2 and a half hour journey back to Calais. At the house, not much has changed, the lounge still needs plastering from two years ago but the cushions have been reapulstured, I offer to help but Grandy says “Oh no, if all of the work was done then what would we do with our days?”. I love their house, they are at the end of a small village where everyone knows one another. Across the road is Dave and Davina, a couple from Manchester who have lived here for 6 years with their sons Curtis and Jordan (Jordan is bloody gorgeous but we wont go into that). Further down there’s Emi and Alexi, two elderly French women who are either sisters or just best friends I’ve never really asked, who love to speak to me and Em in French and give us bon-bons whenever they see us. Opposite from them is Pipi, a very strange French man who loves to confuse us by speaking his own hybrid language of French and German. Then there’s Kelly and Bob, a couple who own 4 guest houses that they rent to people on holiday. It is because of them that Nan and Grandy live here. My Mum, Dad, Lucas and I used to stay with them years and years ago, when I was about 5 and I’ve got some amazing memories from this place, and if mum hadn’t told Nan about the “for sale sign” at the end of the road, they’d probably still be in England.
Anyway, we spent the remainder of the day lazing around before taking a short trip to the “Intermarche”, an amazing place full of incredible French food and clothes (yes, the French equivalent of Tesco’s) we bought about 70 euros worth of nutella, pancakes, baguettes, cheese and crab sticks and chilled in the garden with platters of goodness.
Next day, I woke up with an incredible pain in my stomach, the hate of all men on my mind and a hunger for chocolate in my belly. Shit. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I haven’t had a period in a year and a half and have been told by numerous doctors that they may not come back, and if not, then I can never have children. This has basically depressed me for a very long time- whenever my mum and step dad have treated me like crap in the past I’ve always said to myself “when i have a baby things will be different”, but since I was diagnosed infertile, honestly, I’ve just felt like a sad excuse for a woman. I had been having mysterious boob pains and mood swings for a few weeks before, but when I was packing I didn’t want to bring any “supplies” for fear that it may jinx it, but bugger me it was happening. I’m not exaggerating when I say I have never been so happy in my life, I have been given another chance to have a baby in the future and a period is never something I’ll take for granted again.
With limited entertainment and not being able to get anywhere, Em and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time together. We spent 3 maybe 4 hours every day going on walks around the village, fields and forests. I don’t have many close friends, but me and Em can just be ourselves and we found a field and just lay in the grass for hours talking about our worries. It literally felt like such a clear out of emotions, she ranted about her recent breakup with her boyfriend and I did about my stressed relationship (will give updates later) and about family worries and it felt so odd, like the combination of just being in a huge field on a sunny day looking down onto the village there was just this weird sense of freedom and being totally relaxed, we just let all of our worries out and then that was it, we didn’t have to worry about them any more.
Later in the week, the oldies took us out for a meal at a little French restaurant in town,where I ordered scallop gratan with a cheesy sauce, shrimp and rice. Being around the French, drinking wine and sharing bread felt so odd, like I could see myself living here and doing this everyday (if it wasn’t so bloody expensive). After, we wondered around the market and I bought a new wooden wind chime to add to my room and used the opportunity to get some more snaps with the family before we left for the airport.
The journey home was fairly uneventful, other than being felt up at security and interrogated at customs. All in all, it was just a really relaxing escape, a great way of spending some time with my beautiful cousin and I was reassured that Nan and Grandy are slowly getting back to themselves and no longer is cancer the main topic of conversation.
(A small update on the boyfriend situation; I think the break did us the world of good, although I felt bad leaving him with his bust leg. We’ve talked and came to the conclusion that its ok for us to disagree sometimes. People have always found it weird that we’ve had such a long relationship at such a young age, even one of my “friends” has said that we’re too good to be true behind my back. No too people are the same, so we’re bound to clash occasionally but we’ve stepped back and looked at our entire relationship and not just the past month. I love him, I can see myself being with him for the rest of my life, but every relationship is tested and that what has happened. If we’re meant to be together then we can get through uni and be happier the other side, all it will take is effort on both of our parts. He’s literally my best friend, he knows everything about me and I think that’s what I was more scared about losing, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. We make each other laugh way too much, he makes me feel better about everything and I’m always there to help him with anything, we have something incredible and as long as that stays, we’re going to be absolutely brilliant)