Last weekend, two old friends came to stay; one from university, who I see often, and one from my time in upstate NY, who I hadn’t seen for years and years. He brought with him all his photos from that period, and for hours (hours! We had to take a break for dinner half way through) we looked through them and laughed and groaned at our younger selves and remembered. One thing we both mentioned; one thing that I suppose surprises us, now, looking back, was how great an impact the year had on us. You could even see it in the pictures – how much more grown up we looked towards the end of the slideshow compared with the beginning.
Ben mentioned the other day how much living here had changed me. Peru, New York; Les Houches, Haute Savoie. These places have really worked their way under my skin and into my heart. I know I’ll never stop feeling that sense of homecoming when I see those signs on the motorway: Plattsburgh, next three exits. Les Houches Chef Lieu.
Of course I’ve written a lot about the Alps here but, really, the Adirondacks were the first mountains that became my home. So what was Peru like?
Peru was running through orchards and hot apple donuts in the morning before school. Shivering on the starting line of cross country races and refuelling at Old Country Buffet afterwards. Sunrises on freezing cold mornings and sunsets lingering on the horizon way across long, frosty fields. The scent of pine. Feeling like friends you had only known for a few months were your sisters. Winter Saturdays spent at the field house. Soft serve ice cream. Letting myself into the garage at 823 Mason and knowing that the house upstairs would be full of light, warmth and love. Muscle cars. Elm Street, Pleasant Street, Lapham Mills Road. Daria getting her hair done for free “because nobody should go to prom without getting their hair done.”
Autumn colours, just like here. Long winters, just like here. The sudden shift from snow into scorching summer days. Just like here.
Nostalgia and a little homesickness, next three exits.