Sunday morning – 9 am. I am pretending to watch football at my friend’s house. He turns to me and asks, ” Hey, don’t you have to pack? You are leaving to Paris tonight right?” I aloofly answer, “Yeah, I’m suppose to…. But, don’t think I’m leaving tonight!” He gives me a confused look and changes the subject in fear of why I am so nonchalant.
I head out minutes later because, in fact I need to call the airline and change my ticket for the millionth time. My schedule is always all over the place. And, booking trips months in advance and saving money isn’t in the cards for me. When it comes to work and travel I have come to terms with at least one thing: something will always come up and my plans will change.
I used to get so worked up about this love/hate pattern of my life that hung over my head, but now I’ve learned to accept it. Instead, I pretend I am an international spy that is flying under the radar when it comes to explaining my schedule to others. I manage to have Christina from Air France save my life again and it’s all set — I’m due to leave Monday evening now.
Monday comes and my NY meeting is wrapping up. I head home, grab my stuff and head to JFK. 7:10pm en route landing at CDG 8:20am. Wheels up at JFK and I realize, I know nothing about Paris, The Euro, where I am staying and why I’m actually on this plane. I gaze outside the tiny aircraft window, as if I was in a old black and white movie. A huge smile washes over my face and I cannot believe my first trip to Paris is happening right now. After a night of crappy airplane food and free flowing champagne, I awake refreshed and think, “Holy hell, how am I getting to the city center?”
Now, let me explain this to you all. I have this amazing talent for self sabotage and make things a tad more complicated at times. Plans, itineraries and tourist attractions give me the “willies.” I love to explore as a native in whatever city, state, or country I find myself in. Maybe, I wasn’t hugged enough as a child or just over stimulated as a pre-teen. I crave a fast paced life that is exhilarating and terrifying, with having no plans to slow down anytime soon. I live and conduct most of my daily life actions off feelings.
Now I’m not taking about sappy heart to heart feelings. To be honest I’m not every emotional — I am however sensitive. If I feel like doing something, I go for it and jump on “high cliffs” daily. I go with my gut and heart and never listen to my head. My rational thinking is slowly diminishing, along with my liver :).
My ass makes it off the RER B heading to Pairs. I get off 45 mins later at the Luxembourg stop. I walk along the Jardin Du Luxembourge (Luxembourge Garden) and proceed to Rue Madame. I walk up to Villa Madame (I highly recommend this boutique hotel) that is located in Odeon-6th district. I drop off my bags, freshen up and hit the pavement. All my friends who were in Paris at the time, and the reason I got on a plane, were working during the day. So I found comfort in coffee, cigarettes, pastries and, of course, French men. I hit this cafe that translated into “Little Suzy.” In classic French style, I ordered påte and a glass of red wine. I sat and watched.
Though I wouldn’t consider myself a creep by any stretch, I love to people watch. I sat at this cafe channeling my inner Ernest Hemingway. I started falling in love with the people. The buildings are stunningly beautiful and the city itself is so romantic and clean. Still, to me, it was filled with ghosts down every twist and turn. I felt as if the city was kissing every inch of body when a big gust of wind blew past me. As for the people, simply put, they melted my heart and soul. They were so chic yet weren’t about the newest labels and status.
In New York money makes you relevant and special. But, in Paris I felt like time stood still. Every sight was as if my eyes were capturing a million little photos. I walked back to my hotel room around 4pm, ready for my “one night in Paris.”
After my day excursion, I took a quick nap to sleep off the cornucopia of wine that flowed throughout my body. Awake and alive in Paris, I met up with dear friends Meron and Lula in the 11th district. Meron was staying on a top floor flat overlooking “Boulevard Richard Lenoir.” She was exhausted from working all day. As we finished a bottle of red wine we headed out in search of food and Lula. After, the three of us finished dinner on the blvd, we met our friend Ray at Club V.I.P. We spent the night dancing to D.J. Diplo and in awe that the three of us were in Paris together. Shots flowed, the music was just right and the crowd was Très bon!!
After a night of dancing until about 5am I awoke refreshed. It’s odd how when on vacation you don’t really have time for a hangover. I went downstairs for a coffee and was off to see the Eiffel Tower. I walked all the way from Odeon. I highly recommend doing this because you really get a feel for the city. And, it always helps me navigate better (less likely to get lost.) I arrived to the magnificent tower. I sat on the lawn for about a hour. I meditated under the grey sky as I blocked out every sound buzzing from the city. I was present in that exact moment. I was under on the of most magnificent structures in the world and felt so blessed to be witnessing this. It stared to drizzle a little so I headed back.
On the way home, I spotted a cafe to grab a light bite to eat. I was the only one in the joint. I ordered a German beer and a tuna nicoise salad. The owner Francois (a 29-year-old Fox!) and I befriended each other right away, and chatted for a while. We talked about life in France and the U.S., and how he loves to vacation to New York every year. We bonded over our passion for red wine as he generously brought out a bottle of Cotes Du Rhone and two glasses. Everything in life, at least in that moment, was in “its right place.”
He excused himself, and went outside for a quick smoke. I watched him from the window, as he contentedly puffed away on his cigarette that was getting a damp from the rain. He gazed out to the small street in front of the cafe with this yearning look. He wasn’t sad, he wasn’t overly happy – he was pleased. He came in and as my buzz went into phase two, I decided to get the check. To my surprise there wasn’t one to get. I thanked him and though we were strangers when we met, friendship flows in Paris. I walked home high on cloud nine. I fell in love with the city all over again.
The last day was upon me. I went to all the landmarks of course; Notre Dame, Le Louvre, Champs-Elysees, La Seine, etc. I spent the whole day filling up on pastries and farmers market handmade jewelry and goods. I sat in my last cafe and sadly was chowing down before my 6 hour flight. My trip to Paris was supposed to be seven days and sadly due to work back in NYC it was shortened to three. I wasn’t to sure how to pull off three days, but it all worked out in the end.
I had an incredible time. I met interesting new people and grew closer to the old friends that were there. I couldn’t believe that the night before I was flying out, I was sitting at at dinner with 5 friends from around the world. We all met back in NYC and would have never thought we would be reunited in a Parisian restaurant.
Life happens whether we like it or not, so it’s better to sit back and enjoy the ride. I never know where I am going next. Or who I will wind up being. But, I’m ready, willing and able to find out.
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