When people find out how long I go on vacation, they get pretty surprised. I suppose everyone has a different concept of what going on holiday means, so I can't blame them. Every summer I spend six to eight weeks on the island of Corsica, in a village of about two hundred people called Riventosa. For me, it is a moment to reconnect with where I consider my true hometown, since I have been going there ever since I spent my whole first grade year there in 2000.
Since I live near Los Angeles in California, it is no car ride to Grandma's house. One of my preferred ways of getting there is to go to Heathrow Airport in London, then to take an EasyJet flight straight to the island. The trip usually takes over 24 hours, but the destination is worth the long wait. Though my family is used to the trip, long layovers prove to be quite the tests of sanity (my mom once accidentally scheduled us a 10 hour layover in Calgary; there is nothing, and I repeat, nothing to do at that airport).
Once we arrive in Corsica, we rent a car and head up to the village. Unless we come in late, I try to say hello to as many people as possible. This of course is after we put all of our stuff down in the apartment we rent for the summer from people who live in the bigger cities most of the year. Although we do know everyone in the village, other visitors can easily find a rentable apartment in the village of their choice. Many villagers have even started to make websites to advertise.
Despite the hardness of adjusting to the time change, my family tries to get out and do the things we love as quickly as possible. Up in the mountains where Riventosa sits there are many spots to go swimming in the river. Some of the clearest (and most freezing) are in the Restonica, down in the city Corte, which is about 10 minutes away from the village. They can be a scramble to get into (although possible, and this is coming from someone who's had their ACL replaced twice), but there are beautiful spots, in between the trees and the mountain. I love going to the bakery near the train station in Corte and getting a Lumaga ("snail") roll to use for a sandwich to take to the river (the BEST bread I've eaten, by the way).
Corsica, being surrounded by the lovely Mediterranean, is a great place to go to the beach. The water is clear, warm, and relatively calm in Aleria, where my family goes; it takes about 45 minutes to get there from the village. I like to look for fish and collect shells and pebbles; my mother prefers to swim, my sister prefers to play in the surf and in the sand, and my dad prefers sitting under the umbrella. To each his or her own, I suppose.
It is extremely hard to explain everything I love about this place- I love being able to see every star at night, to be able to have conversations late into the night with neighbors and friends, the sheep that are occasionally herded through the village, rooster crows in the morning, perfect sunsets-as people says, the list goes on and on. I don't know what will happen if I stop being able to go there. But who knows, you might just be reading about a family of future expatriates.
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