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My summer vacation 2014 was a three week long language course in South France, Nice. It was a good way enjoying the sun, beach, meeting new people and learning a language. I arrived there 2 days before the actual class started. At the airport while I was waiting for the plane to board to Nice I saw an old lady, she made such an impression on me that I am still remembering her. She was exactly as I had Nice and its people in mind: Older, well off, dressed up with full make up and a lot of jewellery. It seemed she had sorted out her live… exactly knew where she was going. Me on the other hand seemed a bit drifting away feeling vulnerable and a little nervous since I was travelling on my own and I would be arriving very late at night. In case the driver who would pick me up from airport did not arrive I would have a problem. At that time I did not have a smartphone. As such sitting at the airport I was nervous thinking what if I did not find the accommodation or there was noone to provide me the keys to enter the building, what if the school was a fraud and they took of with my money and there was nothing ….no driver, no accomodation and no school…

Everything went well at the end, the driver arrived on time picked me up, dropped me at the accommodation, gave me the keys and explained in which floor I would find my room. The next day I woke up early and went to the administration office which was on the ground floor where I settled some admin stuff. I took of to walk through the city. It was a sunny, beautiful day. In my bag of course I had my book. At that time I was reading “the Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. I walked around 15 min and arrived at the city center where I sat down outside at a litte place serving pancakes. I ordered a pancake with chocolate and banana and a cappuccino and enjoyed the the beautiful atmosphere and pancake while continuing reading the book. The story was so dark so sad sad after each page I read I was glad that I was enjoying the book in such contrasting and beautiful atmosphere (sun, beach, vacation). The book was too sad and dark to read it at night alone …..

Next day, the language course started, and from then on every morning I had 4 hours french lessons in the morning. Then I went with some of my co-students out for lunch and the beach. The afternoon we had for ourselves were I usually went back to my accomodation, relaxed a little bit before we would all meet again for a dinner and night out. It was magical. I meet lovely wonderful people, especially with one of the student (who lived in Stuttgart) I had a special bond and we would spend a lot of time visiting the city, museums, doing a tour to St. tropez and Monaco (we still meet up several times a year and write regularly). It was just amazing. As always I was carrying my book with me “THE GOLDFINCH” wherever I went I was reading while chilling at the beach and also in the afternoons being on my own. Accordingly, the many pages as also the cover page are a little bit wet and there is an obvious wear and tear visible. Which is obvious considering I had the book with me wherever I went.

It is one of the books that made me feel as if I am part of the book, sometimes I pitied the characters and was so glad that I was not them since they went from one problem to the next. But I could not stop reading I enjoyed every page of the book.

Until now I associate the goldfinch with my France vacation and it brings all the great memories. Unfortunately, I dont have the book anymore. Usually, I give away books that I read and only keep the masterpieces, books that have blown me away and the goldfinch was one of them that I wanted to keep.. However, a family friend came to visit us and she had arrived from south east asia on her own and was living in a small remote village where she was also working. She was feeling very depressed since she was missing her family and was not adjusting so well into the new country she had moved in. At some point our conversation started about books and I named some books I had read and surprisingly she also was well read… I asked her about her favourite book and shared with her mine which was the goldfinch. She said she hadn’t read it so I gifted it to her. I also warned her that the book can be very dark and sad at times …. I hope the book brought at least some happiness in her live or the realization that her life at the end is not so hard and lonely as she was thinking…. think the book is in good hands and that’s what matters.

Do you associate books to certain occasions?

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