Day 37. Milano

consuelo

Thursday I woke up at noon with a huge pain in my throat. I was also sweating and dizzy. The heat in Milano was unbearable and with the cold I had it was even worse. Consuelo was supposed to come back home from work where she took half a day off so we can shoot. I asked her to bring me some medicine on the way and she was really sweet and bought me a whole pack of Paracetamol. I was sick and she was hot, pun not really intended. We had no energy to shoot, but we’ve been talking for four years about shooting together. Her ex-boyfriend was doing business in Romania so she was very often there. We tried but we never really got the chance to meet and do a shooting. She was leaving the next day and all we had was this crappy hot day, so we started shooting. We wanted to shoot somewhere outside in an old tram, but who would dare to go out in that torrid weather? So we took some pictures around the house until we were both so exhausted from the heat that we stopped. What I loved about shooting Consuelo is that she is a very good listener and she never blocks herself with boundaries. She trusts the photographer, tries to get inspired by him/her and follow his/her every indication or thought. If only more models could be like that…

I then tried to sleep for an hour or two but I couldn’t because I had difficulties breathing through my nose. I was sweating even when I was not moving so I just stood in bed until the evening. I then went out to meet Consuelo, Francesco and some of their friends at a barbecue on a rooftop. We were driven there by Luca, a guy that made me hear the Italian language like never before. The way he was pronouncing it very clearly and the way he was emphasizing the right words in the sentence made me hear a very melodic and passionate language, spoken by one of it’s finest reciters.

The barbecue was fun, with a lot of meat. It’s funny how during my trip, 80% of the people I met were vegetarians. And here I am now, out of a sudden, in a place where people adore meat. They even eat horse on a regular basis, which really freaks me out. But anyway, back to the party of friendly people who were all interested in my project and myself. Consuelo and Francesco made me feel like I was with friends from high-school. We are grown up now and have jobs, but we still meet from time to time to share some thoughts around a barbecue fire.

When I got home I was still dizzy, but the beer and wine and the stomach full of pork made me forget about the cold. Which was not even far from over, the worst was yet to come.

Day 36. Milano

electrio

Before writing about my 36th day of My Trade Trip, I have to clarify two things. First of all, this picture is not taken during my trip, but one day before I started it. Raluca is the girl in the middle, she’s a singer and a good friend of mine that unfortunately I haven’t seen in a long time. The guys and Raluca form a band called Electrio (you can see their Facebook page here). She asked me to do a shoot with them before I leave, because they really needed some shots in my kind of natural atmosphere. I agreed and I was happy to see her after a lot of years and had a really good time following them around the streets of Bucharest while they would laugh or act cool. At the end Raluca and their PR, Narcisa, wanted to help me out with my trip so instead of paying me for the shoot, they agreed to buy me a plane ticket if I needed it on my trip. And as I didn’t want to cross the whole south coast of France on land, Wednesday I flew from Barcelona to Milano thanks to Raluca and Narcisa.

The second thing I have to clarify is that it’s now Saturday evening and I’m writing about Wednesday. I’m late with the writing because I am still sick with a cold. I’m still in Milano and today all I’ve done was stay in bed and sweat. No shootings for two days, just teas and sweat. But you will read more about it as I succeed in catching up with my posts.

So Wednesday was a bit hard. I didn’t sleep all Tuesday night, I arrived at the airport at around 5 and at 9 I was already in the center of Milano, at the train station Milano Centrale. Hot in Barcelona, cold in the plane, hot again in Milano. My body was going crazy and my throat was all red and swollen. But I couldn’t feel it because of the tiredness. I met Consuelo, this amazing cute girl that hosted me for two nights. She’s full of ink, a real punk girl with a kind and generous soul that you rarely can find. She was upset that she had to go to work and deal with clients that are jerks, but she was happy to see me and take me home. She showed me everything around the house and said we would meet later with her and her boyfriend.

I got a few hours of sleep. I was better, but I was dizzy. The cold was preparing to come back stronger than before. But in the meantime I went out with Consuelo and Francesco. We had some really good aperitifs at a butchery store close to Navigli, then some beer near the river and then we went to Mercato Metropolitano, where we had to spray ourselves with Autan to be safe from the millions of mosquitos there. Consuelo was really kind to let me sleep alone at her place and the trip to Milano was starting well. Amazing people and nice places. But the cold had something else to say about it.

Day 35. Barcelona

carla yane gia

Tuesday was announcing itself as the hardest day of my trip. Being my last day in Barcelona, I had to finish all the shootings that I had planned to do. So after a hot Monday that got me all washed out, I had to get up at 5 AM on Tuesday, shoot Yane at sunrise, then shoot Carla at midday and then shoot Georgiana in the afternoon. And then pack my bags and at 3 AM leave for the airport to go to Milan.

It seemed like a hard day, but in the end it was so fun that it didn’t matter anymore. So at 5 AM I’m up and going to Yane’s place to pick her up and hit the beach. She wanted to shoot at sunrise in her favorite spot where she goes everyday. She also brought a fishnet so we can make some statement photos about the garbage that we throw into the oceans and seas. I was recovering from my cold that I most probably got from the last time the rain caught me when I was with Yane. And now, as we were shooting in the beautiful sunrise light, it starts raining again. It was too late to give up the shooting so we stood there in the cold rain and took photos until it passed. And then it was sunny again. It was about 9 when I entered the water for the first time since I arrived in Barcelona. I’ve been there for a week and it was during the last day when I finally had time to take a swim. First and last swim on the beach of Barcelona.

We went to Yane’s place, she offered me a place to sleep for 2 hours, some food and then she helped me print my plane tickets. Before I left I saw her atelier where she creates her amazing mosaics.I was happy to meet generous Yane and be a part of her clean and organized world. I then left back to Carla’s place to take her out for some photos. We went nearby at a coffee shop where we took some portraits and then we walked around the streets near the Ramblas for more pictures. We became good friends during my stay and teasing was one of our favorite games. So I would sometimes be loud on purpose while taking the pictures just so that people would look at us and make Carla embarrassed. For a photographer who was now in front of the camera, Carla was having a lot of fun.

The next and last to shoot was Georgiana. We met in the center and took a metro to the north, to shoot in a park with a labyrinth. Honestly the labyrinth was not that impressive, not as a labyrinth and not even for the photos, but we took some good shots in there and around the park. With her sweet face and her strong look, Georgiana can make any picture count, so we had a lot of good pictures in a short period of time.

She tooke me to eat at one of the best family restaurants in Barcelona where the food was amazing! I’ve had one of the tastiest salads in my life and some chicken with lots of nice stuff around it, like roast potatoes and goat cheese and rucola. We then had an outrageously expensive beer at a terrace nearby, we had a nice talk and I think I succeeded in converting skeptic Georgiana back into believing in astrology.

Carla was leaving to work at Jamboree one hour before I was going to the airport. We said goodbye and I stayed to pack my backpack and leave. I was again leaving a new city where I was welcomed so warmly, even literally in Barcelona. I was tired, I was gathering all my things and stuffing them in my backpack. After I finished, there was a big hole in the room from where all my stuff has been. And also a hole in my stomach as I had to leave a place that made me feel like home. The two holes grew further and further away from each other as the bus was taking me to the airport.

Day 34. Barcelona

tiziana

Monday was a day of magic and mystery. I woke up late. I wasn’t sick anymore, but I was really tired. I was preparing all my cameras for the shoot with Tiziana. I knew it was going to be a great photo session because I saw her work and knew that she can bring a lot of emotion and beauty to a picture. We were planning to shoot in the Montjuic cemetery, so I was expecting it to be really fun. But my energy was almost zero and when I got out of Carla’s building at 1 PM I thought I would not make it for more than 10 meters. The heat was so strong and I was so tired that moving through that merciless heat was a nightmare.

And then I met her, Tiziana. All dressed in black, already prepared for the shoot in the cemetery. We were in the middle of the Ramblas, with people in shorts and flipflops walking up and down with no visible purpose. And there she was, a girl out this era, a dark lady in a world full of crazy moving colors. She was quiet, smiling from time to time, almost shivering from a strange shyness and she was very very still, as any movement would make her feel the heat stronger under her black clothes. We arrived at the cemetery and the heat was even stronger. The cemetery is on a hill, in open air, with just a few trees that could not hide us from the heat. We started walking up the stairs, feeling more and more hot under the strong Mediterranean sun. We had to stop every 5 minutes and take a 15 minute break. The light was also too strong for the photos. It was probably after one hour that we found a nice place to start shooting.

All this time Tiziana was very quiet, we only talked a few times about where she comes from, about her living in Paris and about the difference between French and Spanish people. Her mother is half Hungarian half Austrian so I made a joke that she’s like the empire, Austro-Hungarian. I think that was the only joke that she laughed at. She was usually listening to my silly jokes or wordplay puns and while looking intensely into my eyes she would not even smile at the end of the joke. I could tell she is not impressed by the superficial, by easy stuff. There was a profound way of thinking and feeling emotion under that deadpan sweet face that was not easy to get out. Or at least not through conversation. Because when we started shooting it was coming out in big waves of emotion. She improvised like an actress. She used to see the surroundings, the objects around and just blend in. The positions, the feelings, the way she looked was all improvised by her. I was just a passenger that was granted access into her world. The cemetery suited her inner world perfectly. Or maybe she is so talented at acting that the made it seem that way. I’ll never know, as we didn’t have time to talk a lot about it.

After hours of shooting in that heat we decided to leave. We climbed down and hoped the bus would be coming really soon to take us back to the city. When we got to the bus station we realized we would have to wait for an hour for the bus, so we started walking. We walked for an hour under the sun and through the horrible smells of the industrial port side of Barcelona. The awful smells would be changing every minute from recognizable to unimaginable scents. The first smell we noticed when we arrived to the city was the smell of Marijuana. We were then sure that we arrived to Barcelona. She offered me a pizza and then I went home as tired as I’ve never been in this trip. After a nice dinner with Carla and her mother I laid my head on the pillow and I thought about the day that just passed. I met magic and mystery in the shape of a girl, generous and kind, understanding and very talented when it comes to expressing emotion. Her beauty was hiding a mystery that any artist will fall in love with. And probably any man who is not looking just for raw sensations will want to discover.

Days 32 & 33. Barcelona

lilla and kiala

After Friday night’s rain, I woke up Saturday with a sore throat and being cold. It was obvious I got a flu. I have some medicine with me that I took from Romania before starting the trip, but I was worried not to have the flu for a long time. Luckily, Saturday was supposed to be a rest day on the beach with not a lot of eating, so I didn’t have to cancel any shoot. I ate some cereals from Carla as a late breakfast, made myself some tea with lemon, honey and paracetamol and started sweating during one of the hottest days in Barcelona. I couldn’t leave the house, I was almost dizzy and had no energy. Shooting almost daily for a whole month and traveling more than 1500 km was also getting to me. In the evening when it wasn’t that hot I went out to meet Ana, a Romanian girl who works for a crepe restaurant in Barcelona. We haven’t seen each other for more than 5 years and she welcomed me with true Romanian hospitality. I had a salty crepe with goat cheese and honey, a super-tasty gin based cocktail and, of course, a tea. She finished work at 2 AM and we walked through the city, had some wine and talked about how affectionate and open Romanians are compared to the people in the Western Europe.

On Sunday I was going to shoot Lilla, Kiala, Macarena and Alina wearing Kiala’s jewelry (you can check it out here). I woke up sick again with a big pain in my throat. I had no mood for shooting and definitely not the energy. All these girls have been so sweet to me to buy me a place in a car from Montpellier to Barcelona without even knowing me, so I had to forget about my illness and go shoot. Alina couldn’t make it and Maca was tired after a long party so I only met Lilla and Kiala. Lilla was the typical relaxed American girl and Kiala, a mix of Arabic and German, was exotic and free. Both were taking the shooting really serious, even if it all seemed to me more fun than work when we were chatting on Facebook. Lilla was there first, very punctual and carrying 10 outfits, I was late for 30 minutes and Kiala was moving around from place to place around the meeting point until she arrived. Lilla seemed to me like someone you can really count on, even if it’s a professional thing or a crazy party. Kiala appeared to me as young, curious and full of creative energy.

We had a sandwitch, a donut, an energy drink and Lilla’s favorite, an avocado, and started climbing Montjuic to take photos. It was one of the most fun shoots, the girls being crazy and playing all the time. Kiala’s jewels were shining on these beautiful girls’ bodies under the burning sun of Barcelona. Lilla had to go to work so at some point it was just me, Kiala and her longboard. I was inspired by her hidden sensitivity from the moment I laid eyes on her. Actually, there’s a nice coincidence about Kiala, like all the coincidences I’ve had along my trip, but more about that later. Always in the spotlight, always shining, Kiala seems untouchable. But it was nice to discover a real friend, a warm person who cares a lot about her close ones. But back to beauty. Beauty that she says she hates, by the way. I wanted to capture more of that beauty, so when I proposed her to shoot some more she accepted happily. We went back to her place and took more photos, as her neighbors were spying on us from the building in front of her flat. We had some pasta and then I went home to change my clothes for a party that we were attending later.

At the party I met Macarena, another quarter of Barcelona’s Angels, who I had the impression was my friend for years. Warm and always happy, even though Sunday night was not her best one, Macarena is the definition of the enthusiastic, always funny, always happy friend. Macarena was the one that, a few days earlier, pitched my story to a very cool magazine, lamono, who now has an article about me.

After the party I went back home and found a really surprised Carla. “How did you meet the girl from Jamboree?” she said. Jamboree is the dance club where she works as a photographer, as for the girl from Jamboree, I had no idea what she was talking about. And then she reminds me that on my first night in Barcelona we were watching photos that she took in Jamboree. While we were watching I was amazed by a girl in her photos and said that I really wanted to shoot that girl. As she was not tagged and as Carla didn’t know her name, the story ended right there. Or so I thought, because when Carla saw the pictures of Kiala that I posted on Instagram she recognized her as “the girl from Jamboree”. So yes, another day, another karma attack.

Days 30 & 31. Barcelona

marina

The “meeting again” thing keeps happening with more and more people. Thursday I met Clara for the second time during my trip. She was the first person I met when I started this project. She took me from the Amsterdam airport and then to the city where everything started. Now she’s on holidays in Barcelona and she took her courage and said that she would like to be photographed, too. We went to a park where we had a little photo fun and then had some tapas at a restaurant nearby, enjoying some really tasty squid.

The squid did not even get the chance to take a little rest in its new home when I was running to meet Marina, a friend of Carla’s. She works in communications, in a dance club and is also preparing to go to India to get her license as a Yoga instructor. She loved my project and also wanted some street yoga pictures. It was late afternoon when we met, so we were in a little hurry to still have natural light. Running from place to place, doing pose after pose, it was intense but in the end quite fun.

We said we would meet in an hour for dinner and it was perfect, as on my way to the restaurant I had time to go and see Ioana’s photo exhibition in El Born. Ioana and her friends were the ones who got me the car ride from Montpellier to Barcelona. Sadly her photos have been just replaced with some other photographer’s work, but we had a beer on the house and then I headed for the dinner with Marina.

Carla joined us for a veggie dinner where we decided that I would join them at their workplace, the Jamboree club. Marina works there as a bartender and Carla takes photos of the party. It was sweet of Marina to offer me drinks all night and for the first time during my trip I felt tipsy. It was a fun dance night, my first one since I started my journey, and as me and Carla were going back home, I knew that I would be waking up late.

Since I started this trip I never woke up later than 9. Everyday around 8 I would wake up without an alarm or a noise from outside. But Friday I woke up at 12 and I was happy. I felt like home, where I can sleep as much as I want. I was waiting for a sign from a Ukrainian model based in Barcelona. We talked on Facebook for more than 4 years and we’ve been eager to do a shoot together for a long time. She told me she’s available at 3. Then that she’s available at 5:30. And finally that she’s not available at all. I didn’t do anything for half a day waiting for her answer so I decided to hit the beach with Clara and her Romanian friend Andra, who lives and works in Copenhagen. It was already late when I got to the beach and we just had time for half an hour of sunbathing. The girls invited me to have something to eat and I took them to my special place near the beach where they serve the best paella ever.

In the evening I met Yane and her friends. Yane was born in Germany, lived in New York and Berlin, and now she’s enjoying life in a quiet neighborhood of Barcelona. She said she loved my project and really wanted to support me. We had some typical Catalan tapas and then we went to the beach for a party. She showed me her favorite place at the beach and the cat that she always feeds when she goes there. We planned a shoot on that part of the beach for Tuesday morning, one day before I leave Barcelona.

We were on the beach and it was a blue moon. That is a rare event that happens once in a few years when the moon becomes full twice in the same month. Unfortunately it started raining and we couldn’t stay with all the locals who were drumming, singing with their trumpets and dancing. So we hid in a cute little bar by the beach and spent almost all night there.

When we left it was still raining so we had to go to Yane’s place to dry our wet clothes. What a hilarious scene! Three almost naked guys and one girl telling funny stories about real encounters with Woody Allen, the daughter of Bill Clinton and the Dave Matthews Band. The sun was preparing to rise when I left Yane’s place to Jamboree, where Carla was still working. I took her keys and headed home. I realized with joy that this Catalan city changed my daily schedule back to normal. I was once again a night person.

Day 29. Barcelona

margarita

Wednesday was the first time I was waking up in Barcelona after 3 years of not seeing my favorite city. It was a hot day. I knew I was shooting with Margarita in the morning, but I was waiting for a confirmation of the hour. She was probably sleeping. I had a coffee with Carla and as we started talking and talking about life, photography, music we were feeling so good that we didn’t do any separate plans. Still no message from Margarita. We went to Estación de Francia, a location that Carla thought was good for my photos and it is actually really impressive. We took some photos there and decided to walk a little more. Still no message from Margarita. Carla took me to see some Roman ruins in El Born and then we stopped for a coke and a tea. Carla is half Catalan, half Argentinian. I learned a lot from her about the problems that occur between the Catalan people and the Spanish government. I realized that in a similar way to Romania’s situation with the Hungarians, the politicians and media are exaggerating, creating a conflict that doesn’t really exist between individuals. In the end, money an power stand at the root of this conflict, where the Spanish government becomes an oppressive force that’s using the strong touristic Catalunya for money but who at the same time is trying to erase its culture and tradition. Wait, there’s message from Margarita.

She woke up late and she asked me to meet at her friend’s place and take some photos there. It was already 7 PM when we met and sat down for a drink. Judging by her Facebook name (Margolla Magenti), I thought she was Italian, but from the first second I saw her I knew she was Russian. And I was right. She told me her real name is Margarita, and we started talking about her studies in fashion design and her past and future projects. Watching her shift instantly from intense and serious Russian beauty to childish and sweet smiles, I knew I wanted to photograph her right away. We went to her friend’s place, we began shooting but as it was late there was not too much light. We decided to hit the beach really fast while we still had some sun.

On our way to the beach the sun decided to let the moon take over and as we got to the sea, the natural sunlight was gone completely. She took me to a cool place where we could shoot the next days, but we were both so inspired by the lights there that we started taking photos again. We then went home thinking that we have to shoot more in the days to come.

Carla was home when I arrived, I met her mother (yes, the fans of the TV show can smile now) and we had a nice talk about the importance of the natural treatments alternative to traditional medicine. I was really happy to meet her and I felt a little like home. Before going to sleep, Carla showed me the incredible documentary Finding Vivian Maier. I knew this amazing photographer’s story, but the way this film explores her life and her personality left me speechless and profoundly impressed. My first full day in Barcelona was ending, but I had six more days to enjoy this warm environment.

Day 28. Montpellier, Barcelona

maya

Tuesday I woke up in Maya’s place in Montpellier feeling the hotness of the South for the first time in my trip. I started to write to some of the people that I was going to meet in Barcelona to let them know that I’m close. I still didn’t have a solution for the road to Spain, so I was considering hitchhiking. Ioana, a Romanian photographer and artist, was so excited about my project and me coming to Barcelona that she formed a group chat on Facebook with some of her close friends and within an hour they arranged for me to have a shared car ride with blablacar.fr. Her friends Alina, Maca, Lilla and Kiala all chipped in for the payment of the ride and in exchange for that we planned a big shoot on Sunday in Barcelona.

The day had a perfect start and I knew that by the end of it I will be crashing near the crowded Ramblas. Maya came home and we went out for a little shoot on the streets of Montpellier. I then took my backpack and went to wait for the car. I met a family that was going to Morocco and that was picking up passengers to minimize the costs of their trip. Julie is a French girl who was also going to Barcelona and was a passenger just like me in the family’s car. She works for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Arts Barcelona. We arrived at 1 AM in the city of Gaudi at a station that was really far from Carla’s place, the photographer I was staying at. When I was in Lyon and I had to go home to Lise’s place the metro had a problem so I had to switch two trains and then take a bus. It was night and I would have never understood what to do to get back home. Luckily there was the French photographer Louis who was going the same direction as I was. I followed him to the station that he was going off at, close to his home. When we got out of the bus, Lise’s place was just in front of me. What were the chances that he lived in the same far neighborhood as Lise? Actually the same chances that Julie would be staying 20 meters away from Carla’s place in Barcelona. As I have no money on me, I would have had to walk for more than an hour from the station were the Maroccan family left us, but Julie invited me in her taxi and she dropped me off just in front of Carla’s place. How crazy can this karma be?

I was at last meeting Carla, a stunning photographer from Barcelona that I knew from Melanie, a model that I shot there a few years ago. You can check out Carla’s work here. She’s a very sweet 20 year old Catalan girl who stays with her mother in the heart of Barcelona. Her father is a famous tango dancer and teacher, a singer and performer from Argentina. Everything in her house and her way of living is linked to art and beauty. She’s always joyful and we had a lot of talks and laughs. We are two Virgos, both loving photography, both of our mothers working in the pharmacy world and both happy to dance to a hip-hop tune if we get the chance. At 2:30 AM she went to work in a club nearby where she takes photos of the parties and I laid down to sleep. A week of Barcelona was waiting for me. I was at last in my favorite city who was welcoming me as warm as it always has.

Day 27. Lyon, Montpellier

  
Sunday afternoon when I visited the public Zoo in Lyon after the shooting with Anne-Sophie, a big part of it was closed and I didn’t get to see all the animals. Monday morning I had to leave early so I could have time to hitchhike to Montpellier and I regreted not seeing the entire Zoo. But just before leaving I received a message from Maxime.

Maxime is a journalist and a photographer who worked for Monde and was an editor for Vice. He is now a co-founder and editor-in-chief at 8e étage, a Lyon media company who’s aim is to focus on information and not on news. I added him on Facebook after a comment on one of my Instagram pictures from Lyon, where he was saying that he lives just next to the place I photographed. We started talking and I told him about My Trade Trip. He wanted to write about it and have an interview with me. As I had to hitchhike and could not lose a few hours of chances for a ride, he was generous enough to offer me a payed place in a blablacar.com car to Montpellier after the interview. That gave me enough time to return the keys from Anne-Sophie’s friend’s apartment and see the Zoo on the way. I’ve never seen giraffes and crocodiles in my life so thanks to Maxime and Anne-Sophie I got that chance in Lyon!

I then met Maxime, we had a beer, we talked about my trip, about his and my experiences as photographers and then we hurried to the meeting point with the driver. He offered me a sandwich and a Coke, he carried my big backpack and he drove me to the meeting point with his car. As I was photographing him sweating with my backpack on his back, I realized that the guy in front of me was not only a journalist, but a kind-hearted guy who was putting his whole energy just so my project can move on. He was then and there a new friend.

In the car it was just me and Gilles, a landscape designer for the city of Beziers. This smart guy told me about the political corruption in France, the tricky freedom that allows the thieves to steal, the lazy to be lazy and the regular citizens have to pay for them. I saw through his opinions an unsatisfied nation, a country that thinks their president is a clown and an imminent extreme right future for a nation that demands action.

In Montpellier things took an artistic turn as I arrived at Maya, a Turkish art student who hosted me for the night. I got in touch with her via couchsurfing.com and when I arrived I met this cute girl who paints and sings at the ukulele. We did a mini jam session and then I listened to some of the songs that she composed. She told me about her dreams of singing on the street and living for a year in Sankt Petersburg.

As I layed to sleep on the little improvised couch that she borrowed from a friend so I could sleep on it, I could still hear her voice flying out the window and floating away through the echoing tight alleys of Montpellier’s historical centre. Another day was good to me and I could say with certainty that humans can be soft and gentle even with complete strangers.

Day 26. Lyon

anne-sophie

On Sunday I took photos of Anne-Sophie. I thought I was doing a lot of different things by doing acting, photography, writing movie reviews, doing graphic design. But I was not prepared for Anne-Sophie. Besides her history of arts studies, her music hall and agriculture jobs, she does collages, she worked as a guide in castles like Versailles and on boat cruises. She’s an avid book reader and she wakes up every morning at 4 just to have 2 hours of reading before going to work. She’s involved with humanitarian associations, she’s traveled a lot and wants to travel even more.

Spending the day with her was so much fun. We started shooting at around 3 pm at one of her friends’ apartment, after I came with my backpack from Lise’s place. I was a few hours late as I was still trying to figure out how to get to Montpellier. She cooked for us, but as I was late, she had already eaten when I got there. I ate, we took some pictures until we realized the light was not that great and then we went out for a walk. It was too late to hitchhike to Montpellier and Anne-Sophie offered me a couch to sleep on, so I decided I would stay in Lyon for one more night. And I’m really glad I did. I discovered that Anne-Sophie is a Virgo like me and we found so many things we have in common, one of the most important ones being that our memory is becoming less and less effective. She took me to Le Parc de la Tête d’Or and like a true guide she told me some legends and stories about the park. I saw some of the animals that live in the Zoo of the park, we had some really cool conversations about freedom and then walked a little more.

As we were walking along the beautiful shore of the Rhône, three young French girls that were coming from some place near Paris told Anne-Sophie that she looked like Miley Cyrus. I jumped into the conversation and told them that she’s her sister, that’s why they looked alike. Shocked and excited the girls asked Anne-Sophie if she would mind if she did a video with them and just say that she’s Miley Cyrus’ sister and that she’s with them in Lyon. Anne-Sophie immediately took my improvisation theme and until we left the girls ecstatic that they have their video with Miley’s sister, she played her character really well. On the way back I was explained why she was so good at it. She has studied acting and improvisation for 8 years, so there I was adding another job to Anne-Sophie’s endless skill list.

As I was watching her cook some quick dinner for us, I realized Anne-Sophie’s biggest skill is giving. She’s genuinely generous, she’s very attentive and loves to make other people happy. I remembered her story with this homeless guy that became her book friend. Anne-Sophie wanted to offer him some food, but he refused and just asked for food for his dogs. Since then they have they lunch together on the street, they exchange and they talk about books. You rarely find someone like that, who doesn’t pass through life just following his goals, but also turning towards other people, their needs and their desires. I was eating and I knew that I had to leave Lyon first thing in the morning. And I knew I was going to miss it.

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