Episode 1. What can happen over a hot cup of chai.

i met them as i have met so many…
over a hot cup of chai

stephane and antoine

there was something about the way they moved
the clothes they wore
that i knew they were not from here

when i asked where they were from
“france” was their answer
when i asked why they were here
they gave me one of my most favorite of answers
“the lakes”

they had taken the time so many of us closer by have not
to travel one of nature’s greatest and most beautiful of resources
superior, ontario, huron, erie, and michigan
the lakes,
our lakes

handsome and kind
bags at their side
we spoke for too short a time

but just enough to leave their mark

gracious and open
they said goodbye
with the warmest of hugs, the kindest of words
and a promise to share more of their story

later, i would find their notes

“thank you for this awesome cup of tea” 
“thanks so much for this moment of joy.”

and i would write them
and they would me

telling me how they met
how long ago 
how they came to plan a trip to the lakes
and so much more

stephane is from montpellier, on the mediterranean shore
and antoine is from strasbourg next to the german border
they met 16 years ago, living in london until moving to paris 8 years later

they began in toronto
made their way to niagra falls
and then rented a car to drive around the lakes
checking out mackinac island and its “wonderful panorama”
finding “a little bit of heaven” in ephraim in Door County
celebrating antoine’s birthday in “beautiful and vibrant” chicago 
and taking in our very own milwaukee, a “lesser known american city where they come from”

“we were delighted and happily surprised as we strolled through Brady street, jogged in Veterans park along the lake, and had dinner at Buckley’s which will also be a fond memory. Let’s not forget the Pfister with its amazing amenities, the lobby so beautiful it’s almost daunting and our very spacious room: a perfect stay concluded by our chance encounter with you!”

they ended their letter
thanking me for this photo i took of them
offering to show me around paris when i make my way there
and wishing me well

this is what can happen 
over a hot cup of chai…