I Had a Nice Time

Nice, France

Words and Photos by Leilani Mitchell

A witch is just a girl who knows her mind.
— Catherynne M. Valente, from “The Bread We Eat in Dreams,”

So you decided to go.

Good! There's some things you need to know.  At least, from my experiences.

You're going to live in a tiny space.  And it's colder than you expected. For a few weeks, maybe months, you'll miss home with an ache that seeps into your dreams at night.  But you'll have each other. You'll speak to each other through the seams of your sadness, reaching for each other, gradually pulling apart the fabric that chokes you.  Eventually, you wear it like a sweater, waiting for the summer.


You'll see the Eiffel Tower light up at midnight.  You'll run through the halls of the Louvre right before closing time, laughing hysterically, trying to find the exit.  You'll eat an overpriced crêpe, and you won't bat an eye. 


You'll go to Nice, like we did.  You'll spend hours lazing around, lying in the sun, jumping off rocks, avoiding eye contact with some old ladies' boobs.  You'll have picnics on the rocks as the sun goes down, and you will listen to the waves, drinking the sound in as if you'll never hear it again.  You will remark that it felt like you just got there, and now you're leaving again.


Then you'll realize, well that was Nice and all, but you're okay with leaving.  Everything's okay even when you're out of your comfort zone.  You make friends, eventually, and you love life no matter where you are.  It took me a beautiful trip to Nice to work that out for myself.

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You'll be sad to leave, but you are okay.  I promise.  You will find the beauty in all the other things you didn't think you could see.  I promise.

Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
— Robert Holden