Claire just wanted to runaway, to hide from the outside world and the life of complacency which sought to trap her in.  Her choices were her own to bear she knew, from the physical relationships to her part time jobs.  The struggle was mainly financial-paying her prior student loans, current tuition, and mounting credit card debt.  She needed to eat healthier since this fast food diet of hers wasn’t cutting it, plus her stomach and ass were gaining weight and she couldn’t bear to look at her naked body in the mirror without seeing some blemish or flaw of her creation.  She still was coming up short and found every excuse to hide the pain, including her sexual trysts, binge eating, and clothes shopping.  

She loved living in the Loft downtown Raleigh with her long time confidant Toni, but now through one action; one choice she threw it all to the curb.  All those heart feelings, the physical needs-cuddling and foreplay, the emotional support, and the best French cuisine outside of Paris.  Toni’s culinary skills were divine; perhaps it was the romance she mixed into her ingredients-the sinfully delectable love spice which kept her craving more.  

Lafayette Village had all the boutiques worth dying for and this was one of their secret meet-up spots in the Triangle.  The well-maintained shops and walk ways reminded her of the streets in Paris.  She had once, as a study aboard student been wandering aimlessly after midnight late one evening.  She had just visited the Eiffel Tower and was searching for the youth hostel highlighted in her Lonely Planet guide.  The street was alive with the workers of the night when out of a window by this coffee shop a voice from an angel called out to her.  It was a familiar, reassuring voice that everything was going to be just fine.  A warm bed for the night in the embrace of a stranger never felt so right.  A single American girl backpacking alone across Europe for the first time.  She was always the adventurous type since her youth.  She was always taking risks; some calculated and others foolish, so what would be more romantic and spontaneous than an enticing rendezvous off the beaten path.  

“Hey there girl, the bus is about to board now.  Best you find a seat,” the middle age bus driver who from his demeanor and physical appearance was probably a Hell’s Angel biker on the side-not one to let an incoming hurricane off the coast stop his coach full of passengers on Interstate 40.  “Let me help you with the bag sweetheart,” he says with a southern accent so strong you can tell this was his home turf.  

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As a proud graduate of California State University, Chico with an earned BA degree in International Relations, Master of Arts degree in Public Policy, and a past study abroad participant at the University of Tuebingen, education has always been up front and center in both our family and my professional career. My blogging project is an eclectic work in progress and intended to increase global awareness through selections and stories of my studies and travels. As future global citizens we can seek first to understand one another through word pictures and engage our collective creative intellects to change our community; one blog at a time.

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