Tuesday night I got an email from my parents that told me that I needed to “Go to Perpignan RIGHT NOW.” The reason was because they had received word that my winter clothing and navigational equipment would be arriving there the next day. It was to arrive at the house of a Chabad family that had agreed to help us out with this. Someone would need to sign for it when it arrived, some time between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm exactly, and my parents didn't want to require of the nice family that they wait until it come.
It was late at night and I was to have my first couch surfing experience so I decided I would go in the morning. The woman who hosted me lived towards the center of town. It was an hour walk from my boat. On the way I picked up some cookies for a gift and a baguette and container of Nutella for dinner. I met my pleasant host and we chatted.
She asked me if I was crazy.
“Everybody has to follow his dreams, and this is where mine have taken me.” I thought I sounded wise.
She was nice, offered me dinner though I had already eaten, and after a shower I slept on a comfortable couch. The next morning she gave me a ride to my boat since it was on her way to work. She teaches severely learning disabled children.
The marina snakes through part of the town with apartment buildings and shops on either side of the water. I needed to get to my boat because I had parked it there without permission. I found a sailing club near my spot and told the man opening it the short version of my story.
He showed me a place to leave my boat and said it would be no trouble, except that the club would be closed tomorrow so how would I get bye the locked gate?
“I'm good at gates. Not to worry.”
Not quite sure he brought me down to the water and showed me a rock only about a foot deep that I could step off of to get around the gate and onto the dock.
From my boat I assembled a few basic items, and began the walk to the train station. I noticed on the way that I had lost my Nutella somewhere, odd. It took me a little over an hour to get to the station. As I walked into the train station I thought about the rabbi and his family that I would be traveling back to. I would need to remember to return to him his tefilin* that he had lent me a week earlier, as a pair that belonged to my grandpa would be arriving with the package. I would need to return to him the tefilin that was in my boat. I turned around and went back to get them.
I was finally on the train by about 1:00 pm. The Rabbi and his wife have four children, all ages four and under, so I was fairly confident that somebody would be home. Still, my parents had used their fiery wrath tone in telling me to be there, so I had wanted to get there early.
I got there at about 3:00 pm and my package hadn't arrived yet. Yes, somebody had been home all day. 6:00 pm came and went. No package, they invited me to stay the night.
A man in the community had passed away leaving nobody behind. In his will he bequeathed all of his things to the land of Israel and the rabbi had been asked to deal with it. I accompanied the rabbi to the man's house to try to make some order of his possessions. Those possessions included a Gore-Tex shell and a multi tool that we decided could go to the land of Israel on my boat, score. It was sad going through his things and trying to decide what to do with them.
For the rest of the evening I did nerdy stuff on my computer.
This morning I continued to wait for my package to come. A letter came from the post people. It said that my package was being held up in customs on account of missing documentation. I was fairly certain the problem had already been solved. The letter also had the wrong address on it, a very wrong address. It had arrived to the right place thanks to a good mailman and sheer luck. It was unlikely that my package, if similarly addressed, would ever come.
As I worried and we attempted to contact post people my package arrived.
It had my winter clothing, it had my tefilin, it had the pieces we thought I would need tofix my camera, it had lights, all sorts of other things, and above all, love from home.
Thanks mom and dad!
*tefilin: A small but expensive Jewish ritual item used as a part of the morning prayer session.