There are moments in day-to-day life where I get hit with a pang of loss triggered by a France feeling. It is oddly similar to that feeling you can get when a relationship has recently ended and you are almost over it, have almost moved on, but every once in awhile some tiny thing will spark a memory and make you feel the loss anew.
My France breakup pangs are usually brought on by smells, sometimes by tastes, sometimes by music. This morning I got one when I poured myself a café au lait in the little bowl that I brought back with me from my last visit to France. It wasn’t the bowl that triggered it because I use that bowl every morning for my coffee. It was the moment when I took my first sip. Right as my lips touched the perfectly mixed combination of espresso and milk, I got it, that feeling. A slight, quick, dull pain in the center of my chest as I was transported back to France and suddenly remembered just how much I miss it.
Some of the smells that do this to me: certain detergents and sometimes bleach (reminds me of my mémère), and lavender, especially when it is on my pillow, and faint cigarette smoke if it is mixed with just the right combination of other smells, and the smell of musty, cold stone or tile.
Some of the music that does this to me: anything by Francis Cabrel, Faudel, Khaled, Louise Attaque (especially that one song that they always played at that one bar in Grenoble), Jacques Brel, Supertramp (especially that one album that my cousin listened to over and over again the summer I stayed with her in the Vosges), a couple of old Madonna songs from my childhood summers in Lunéville, Bette Davis Eyes (not really sure why but there is some memory attached to that one), Edith Piaf, of course...and many, many more. The music topic is sure to be a recurring one here on this blog.
I know these are all very personal, random triggers but that is the way memories work, right? What smells, tastes, sounds, sights, make you long for France or for somewhere else?