Ten years. Ten years, and I was there in that wonderful spot again, invisible beneath the barrage of flickering lights, the twinkle of a million halogen fireflies against the night. The March air briskly whisked past our cheeks. I glanced at my husband whose eyes were fixated solely on the giant iron marvel before us, and without acknowledgment- without any words whatsoever- we both agreed that this was the coolest moment we had ever shared together. It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation.
I never thought I would get there under the Eiffel Tower again. Ten years previously on a similar evening during my summer study abroad, I stood in that same spot alone and thought that I would never share the beauty of that short moment with another human being. The urge to call Air France, and book all of my friends a one-way ticket to Paris consumed me, and I felt guilty for being there without them. It was my most gluttonous moment, and a decade would pass before I’d indulge like that again.
Ten years later, and behind me were scattered the remnants of a life evolved, which kept the city and myself apart for so long. A decade of challenges, deaths, births, marriages, separations, careers, promotions, and new homes- each milestone leaving a tiny breadcrumb on the seemingly endless trail that finally led me under the Eiffel Tower with my husband that night in March. It took so long to return. Our experiences differed, I was sure. This was new to him, as it was his first time abroad. We were standing under one of the world’s most iconic structures, and that in itself was special. Though, I now realize that the whimsy of the city and the extravagant simplicity of French culture completes the magic. I was finally able to share that with another person, and I was glad that person was someone who I deeply love.
When I watched my husband spellbound before the Eiffel Tower for those very few brief minutes, I realized that I had to engage and reveal this part of my life more. Paris can no longer be that friend I talk about all the time but never actually call. That’s where this blog begins. The more I thought about how to make that possible, I realized that Paris surrounds me in various subtle ways. Even here in New England, I see it at the local markets. I see it at restaurants. I see it at museums. I see it on the street. Through art, through food, through music- French culture presents itself everywhere. I had simply forgotten.
This blog serves two purposes. Firstly, this is my love letter to Paris and to France. Through anecdotes of my French adventures, past and present, I’d like to pay homage to my dearest friend, the city of light. Secondly, this is my cultural offering. It is small, but it is the best I can do to encourage us all to abandon our comfort zones on occasion. Exposure to different cultures makes us better people. It makes us more tolerant, more willing to embrace diversity, and more appreciative of one another. We need to be better. If you have watched the news, you know that the world becomes a scarier place every day. I don’t have solution for that. However, I do know that I can bring the splendor of something different to you. I don’t want my passion to stay dormant for another ten years, as I had regrettably done so before. The next ten years- and beyond- will be filled with joie de vivre, and that I promise to share…
À la prochaine!