Long Way Home

Luggage ready.

Laptop packed.

Everything was ready for the journey ahead.

She checked her list and sighed. She was packed and ready for her trip to France but was she ready? Since the last few weeks when she had decided to visit this country, she read every brochure, article and news piece written about Paris where she was going. Amber was sure she would be greeted well but her doubts remained there for the French people were not a hospitable lot. She worried more over the fact that she couldn’t speak French fluently. Moreover, she had read in one of the leaflets she had brought home from the market having information about French that said many dire consequences have been taken against tourists who were not fluent in French. The French were a rigid lot in her mind’s eye.

The pictures had been enticing enough for her to actually visit the place and get acquainted with them. As she sat, contemplating her visit to the place where she would fly to in a few hours, a thought crossed her mind. A few days back she had come across the French literature which has been a Nobel Prize winner for centuries. Being a student of Literature herself, Amber was sure that her visit to France was something that she should look forward to regardless of the difference in the culture and traditions.

Compared to the other parts of the Europe, the French were indeed more rigid and rule abiding than many other countries like the United Kingdom and Italy. Amber was aware of the customs and traditions of other parts of the Europe but in France, weddings were quite different. There were many old customs and traditions that were still followed, and this was an attraction that attracted Amber towards France. She picked up her novel, which she had been reading lately and turned her thoughts back towards the book.

Paris. Paris. Paris. The chant in her mind grew worse as she read on and she just blocked her ears.
Breathe slowly, Amber, she scolded herself.

She breathed in and out for some minutes, blinking incessantly. Her time for the flight was almost near. She picked up her bags and moved downstairs.

“Mother!” she called out to her who had tears in her eyes for they had never been apart for this long. Amber knew that she was special to belong to a protected family whereas she could have been the son or daughter of a European family where the children moved out of home as soon as they turned eighteen. Looking at her mom, she hugged her and kissed her cheek.

“I will talk to you every day. Technology has improved, mom, I will call you on Viber every day and show you all the places I visit.” She smiled at her.

Indeed, as compared to the olden times there was lack of globalization and distances meant no communications, no technology but lately with the advancements and the evolution of technology, this has changed. The contemporary society that we live in removing all kinds of distances and restrains those were there before. Therefore, Amber tried to explain all that to her mother who was quite simple minded and that was her culture. Women in the olden days were quite guarded and protected by their families whereas the Western women had stepped out of the world and became independent. This difference in the traditions attracted Amber for she wanted to experience first-hand what it felt to live in an independent society and become the master of one’s own self.

Hugging her mother, she said, “I will be there before you know it. Don’t worry about me, your daughter is strong enough.” She gave her a reassuring smile. She couldn’t share her thoughts about her trip as it was totally her decision but Amber was sure her mother wouldn’t let her leave.

Such a big price to pay for being born in a close knit family, she thought. She turned her thoughts towards the tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, where the Treaty was signed in 1919 as a peace offering at the end of World War I. She also wanted to visit Bastille since it was a popular fortress and had a strong history attached to it.

Making her mind to just clear all doubts and uncertainties and be on her way to France, she bid her family farewell and moved towards her car to leave for the airport.

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