Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Paris Holds the Key {to my heart}


With today being the second of May, both my feet are firmly in the last full month that I will be spending abroad (at least, for now). I've spent the past week studying for upcoming exams and daydreaming about the remaining adventures I have planned. This past weekend, I joined a friend for a lovely weekend in Paris and took in the city like a true tourist.

If you haven't been to Paris (or a big city like Paris), you probably won't know that pickpockets are a very real threat, the tunnels under bridges are often smelly, and the vendors selling little trinkets as souvenirs are spread out about as far as Starbucks locations are back home. All this, I say with a smile because my heart, like many others' I am sure, was captivated by the beautiful city of lights and love.

I saw the sites, each one more awe-inspiring than the last. I walked along the Seine at nightfall, keeping my eye on the golden monument in the distance that was lit up against the black backdrop of sky. I held my breath and waited for the lights to sparkle as they do once every hour, like that of a Christmas tree, and then my heart would flutter inside my chest. La Tour Eiffel, an attraction I had once considered (potentially) overrated, beckoned to me, and I fell for her charms. Over and over, the entire weekend, I felt within myself a feeling of absolute content.

I enjoyed a crepe in the quartier of Montmortre, an area known for its creative buzz. I stood on one of the many steps of the Sacré-Coeur basilica and watched a street performer entertain the crowd. I sipped red wine while enjoying a boat tour on the Seine River. I tried escargot and canard (snails and duck, both of which are delicious). I sat in the park as the sun set and listened to the
humdrum of people around me. Yes, I, along with many other unsuspecting travelers, was swept up in magic of such a place.

Paris is a big expanse of buildings and shops, avenues and boulevards. The metro can be confusing, and the people can be closed off. All that is true, but for the first time in my life, I, a small-town East Tennessee girl, looked in the face of such a place and thought "I could definitely live here." That is, of course, extremely optimistic considering I saw a nice flat for rent at 5,000 euros per month. Regardless of such a realistic fact, Paris gave me the magic of hope to dream big and bright, as big and as bright as their beloved tower.

In 41 days, I will leave this country that I have called home for the past few months. I will leave behind friends that I have made and my favorite little coffee shop, Keys and Co, but I will not be saying "Au Revoir", but rather, "A bientot", which is to say, "See you soon." -Albrianna