I arrive the long way around having taken the first exit for Montmagny I see on the highway. I get to see the exuberant displays of Christmas lights on the front lawns of locals as I come into town. I am exhausted having left my parents’ house in Guelph 12 hours earlier, driving with a fever and a sore throat. With windchill, it is minus 30 now and the fire in the lobby is welcoming. I attempt some rusty French with the friendly young woman at the desk and ask for a chambre tranquil. She thinks I am asking for 2 queens but we sort it out. She will give me a quiet room on the second floor. I go out the car and gather up knapsack, food bag, laptop, pillows, and one or two other things I don’t want to freeze in the car. The clerk is at the door to open it for me. She asks in French if I need help with my things to get to my room and I laugh and say Non! I go up and down the corridor twice looking for my room, which is out of sequence and tucked in at the end of the hall. Quiet indeed. The room has a comfortable bed with elegant bolsters, 2 leather chairs, a TV in a cabinet, a desk and a small fridge. I feel blessed when I lie down on the bed. The driving was not hard but I am grateful to be here. I call my boyfriend and we talk for a short while and then I go to bed. The room is blissfully quiet, friendly, peaceful. In the morning I shower and write 3 pages and go down for breakfast. My fever has broken and my head has cleared. My throat is sore, but I have rested. I eat cereal and whole wheat toast with peanut butter. I drink a big glass of orange juice. I exchange a few words in French with some other guests. I admire with astonishment the hibiscus in the corner, which has two luscious blooms. A television plays a sitcom or a movie that features Carla from Cheers and a Saint Bernard, which is being given a bath. The show is dubbed in French. Suddenly a song bursts out in English: I’m walking on sunshine…. I smile. I hear the birds singing out from the lobby. On the way back to the room I say hello. There are two in the wrought-iron cage — they are green and yellow. They groom each other and touch their bills together. I gather all of my things from the room and stow them in the car. I return my key cheerfully. It is a brilliant morning, very cold, very fresh. I scrape a little frost from the windows and look at the solid ice in my water bottle, which I left in the car. At 8:30, I pull out of the parking lot with the song in my head — I’m walking on sunshine….