The weather changed today, and so, it seems, did our sense of confidence. After 11 days of unbroken sunshine, I woke up thinking I heard rain outside, but I didn’t have my glasses on yet, so I couldn’t actually see rain when I looked out a window. Yes, it was raining, and by afternoon it was raining hard enough for umbrellas to bloom all along the sidewalks of Cannes. Darlene and I had a long lunch at a café and tea later at the Hotel Carlton.

What advanced her confidence was her trainer, Etienne, praising the strength of her legs and the hard work she has done to prepare for her 11k road race this Sunday. She also finally felt at home at the Forville Market this morning, even though she speaks no French. She holds her hand out with coins in it, and the venders take the right amount. She says “Merci” and leaves with fresh vegetables and fruit. Meanwhile, I was able to find a store nearby that had a new ink cartridge for Francoise’s fax machine, which enabled us to receive a statement from Darlene’s doctor in Denver that she is in good enough health to register for the race. The same store also sold my favorite black Parker ink for my Lamy fountain pen. Knowing that I am not going to run out of ink while I’m here provided an odd, but undeniable, boost to my writing confidence. We also navigated several travel hurdles and ended the day with train reservations from Cannes to Toulouse and an Avis rental car booked for the drive to the cave at Niaux when Darlene’s sister Deborah arrives in a couple of weeks. And, ooh la la, I found the Michelin web site that tells you how to get from anywhere in France to anywhere else, and how long it will take.

I love the scene in “An Affair to Remember” when Cary Grant tells Deborah Kerr, “We changed our course today,” after their ocean liner moves through a storm and they realize they are falling in love. Likewise, it seems that whenever Darlene and I break through to new levels of confidence in a foreign land, our connection to each other is deepened and made fresh, like the scrubbed air after a hard rain.

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