I realized that I haven't posted about our holiday excursion yet, but instead of a rambling memory, I think I'll post this little tidbit that I wrote for my creative writing class.
Looking at Paris in this light, I am reminded of the first time I ever traveled here.
It was the summer I turned 20, and the world was full of possibilities. I was traveling alone on my way to a study abroad program in Italy, and I thought I might as well see the city of my dreams first, since I would be closer than I had ever been.
Standing at the information desk in the airport, jet lag combined with awe stole my measly semester of college French, and my mouth dropped open, empty of words.
"English?" The young woman's voice was as starched as her blouse, but she smiled slightly when I nodded.
"I'm sorry," I began, mortified that I was already living out the stereotype of the uninformed American traveler who doesn't bother to learn the language before visiting.
"It's o.k." She handed me a map and explained the easiest way for me to get into the city.
"Thank you. Oh!" I blurted, blushing. "I mean, merci."
And with that I was on my way. I spent the next three days trying not to speak, trying to blend in. I ordered food by pointing at menus, and I smiled a lot. I was lonely and miserable, but something about the magic of the city seeped into my blood.
My husband snakes his arm around my waist. "What are you thinking?"
I look out at the twinkling tower across the water, and over to the revelers who are getting ready for midnight and a brand new year. It's only 8 o'clock, but the party has already started, and I feel the thrill of it moving under my skin.
"Thank you for bringing me here."
He smiles, quizzical. "Of course. You love Paris."
"I do. I really do."