Monday, August 10, 2009
Author Guest Blog: Deborah Kerbel
Deborah Kerbel is the author of the already released Mackenzie, Lost and Found and the upcoming November release, Girl on the Other Side. Here she is telling us about an experience she had when she was sixteen.
Thanks so much to Hope for inviting me to guest-post on her blog today. In honour of her birthday celebration, Hope has asked me to share a story about something that happened to me when I was sixteen. So, here goes…
In 1987, I turned sixteen and fell in love for the very first time. But I didn’t fall in love with a boy. Actually, I fell in love with a country.
Back then, I was a shy, naïve teenager from Canada with a secret longing for a life that was more exotic and glamourous than the one I was living. During my sixteenth summer, my parents took me and my siblings to France. We rented a little Renault and travelled south from Paris, through Provence, and down to the French Riviera where we took a villa in the seaside village of Cap Ferrat for two weeks. Our villa was surrounded by lemon trees, olive trees, almond trees, and bright bougainvillea bushes. Christina Onassis and her daughter Athena were renting the villa across the street – which gives you an idea of how luxurious this tiny coastal village was. We spent our time swimming in the Mediterranean, sun-tanning on the rocky beaches, and savouring rich French food. On day trips, we divided our time between the Italian Riviera, Nice, and Monaco. To call it glamourous would be an understatement.
Needless to say, this shy, naïve Canadian teenager fell hard. The sun, the palm trees, the azure water, the pastel houses, beautiful views, the funny little cars, the stylish people – as far as I was concerned, it was a done deal. When the trip ended, I swore to myself that I would come back to live in France one day soon. Very soon.
After returning to Canada, I began looking into programs that would allow me to take my final year of high school in France. There were some good options available, but my parents advised me to wait and, as my father had done years before, take my year abroad when I got to university. As fate would have it, that turned out to be the same year I met my husband-to-be. For the second time in my life, I fell hard – only this time, it was for real. The idea of moving away from him for a year was something I wouldn’t even consider. And so in the end, I never took the year abroad and I never made that move to France. Instead, I stayed in Canada, got married, had two beautiful children, and became a YA author.
Who knows where the other road would have taken me. The life I lead now isn’t exactly exotic or glamourous, but I’ve never once regretted my decision. If I had followed my sixteen year old impulses and moved to France, I might have met a romantic European man and moved into a posh Paris apartment with a vacation home on the Riviera….and most likely have missed out on everything that makes me happy today.
So yeah, carpe diem might be fine for some people. What I know for sure is that every now and then, a missed opportunity can be a better opportunity in disguise.
Happy Birthday, Hope! Hope your sixteenth is spectacular!