Walk #38: Sandra

With: Sandra (born 10 de Julio de 1982)

Date: 2 December 2016

Where: Canal du Midi, Toulouse, France

Sandra and I spent a long weekend together in nice but slightly dull Göttingen in October. We got on so well we both felt we'd like to see each other again before I leave the continent next spring. Specifically, Sandra was keen for us to see each other again sooner rather than later, before she begins a new phase of lupus treatment, the side-effects of which she can't yet be sure of. This meant we ended up spending a week together in Toulouse, a place neither of us had been to before that turned out to be lovely - certainly more interesting than Göttingen! It was a successful week inspite of some fairly intense feelings including happiness and sadness, anxiety on both our parts about various things, a heavy cold for Sandra, tiredness for me, and some of the boundary-testing stuff that's perhaps inevitable in a new close relationship.

Since Sandra's disability involves fatigue she finds it more feasible to cycle around than to do a lot of walking, so we made great use of the excellent VélÔToulouse scheme. We did however have a couple of walks, including this one.

Finally making it out of our AirBnB apartment in the late afternoon we set out for what was supposed to be a short out-and-back walk along the Canal du Midi, one of the greatest construction works of the 17th century. Since it was nice walking along the canal and we thought we might be able to make it as far as the river we kept going until the sun went down. Stopping for a rest Sandra said when travelling with friends she's usually the one planning and navigating, so it made a nice change for her to let me map-read. The temperature started to drop and I hadn't worn enough clothes (and was bursting for a wee) so we decided to turn back before we reached the river.

On the way back we had a kind of argument. It was one of those stupid ones where in the process of trying to explain what you meant, you make things worse. I'm sorry for my part in it. The upshot was we agreed how important it is to try not to assume malintent, including from facial expressions. (I've just looked up 'malintent' and it's not actually a word, but it should be, so I'm keeping it in.)

It was nice to get back to our cosy apartment and our cat. Yeah, it was only our third date but we decided what the hell and got a cat. Just kidding - our host's friend brought his cat around for us to mind while he went away for the weekend, which we thought was pretty odd but turned out OK because it was quite a sweet cat.

Thank you Sandra for coming all the way to Toulouse to see me, and for challenging me. I like that. Hasta la vista, babe ;-)