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Paris ~ Do you miss me ?

Hard to believe, you can plunk yourself in a city, even the city of lights, and then LEAVE.

As I look back now, I think, where on earth did the time go ? It feels like yesterday~ since I was making a total ass of myself trying to speak french. Not much changed in 18 months, I still made an ass of myself , but at least I could sound stupid in a pretty place .

The Eiffel Tower has forever intrigued me. It shocks me that it was once built as a TEMPORARY structure. HOLY BAT MAN ! Who builds that, for temporary ??!!! I don’t even like to knit a temporary square to check my knitting sizing ~ when I know I must unravel it after . I can’t even do a temporary colour test on my hair dye as an allergy test. Who does that ? Am I the only cheater ? I can’t take a trial run at anything, or I am taking it home. It is best for me to avoid car dealerships and pet stores. As Michael always says ” Don’t go puppy shopping, if you are not planning to bring one home “. Whatever. haha. Just ask me the Oliver story, and you will know why Michael doesn’t let me get near to puppies. I can relate to puppies. They are disobedient at times, just like me.

Le Tour Eiffel is beautiful…especially at night. My fave was to just stand under it , and stare up. It was one magical feeling and I highly recommend it. You will feel like a miniature person. Somehow, it is soooooo “larger than life”, it widens your perspective that most problems are pretty small.  I loved just having a throw blanket, tossing it on the grass, and just laying on the ground and GAZING UP….wow…wow ….wow…..that one made me speechless. Yes, it is difficult to make ME speechless, but the Eiffel Tower did it.

I have a confession to make. This photo was from a different flight. However, in all fairness , I do love that hipstamatic app and I couldn’t resist this airplane shot. On our flight, this time, we flew with AIR CANADA. Air Canada, I am falling back in love with you again . Your aircraft was swanky, your flight attendants were super friendly, and your movies were fanastico ! Nice work ! I had my own personal movie festival. It is not often that I get to hog my own television channel AND listen in ENGLISH. Oh, the pleasures of life.

We recently flew back from Paris to Toronto, and I met a Canadian couple. I was so excited to speak English, I think I would have talked to my seat belt if it was willing and able. All jokes aside, they were lovely, and they reminded me about all the beauty that Paris has to offer. I sometimes lost sight of the beauty, and every once in a while we are dealt little reminders to really live in the moment and feel the beauty of the place you are in , in the NOW.

One never forgets the beauty of a city. However, for me, I am forever reminded of the beauty of the soul of a Canadian. We have a big heart, and we aren’t afraid to show it.

I have two favourite walking bridges in Paris. One at Notre Dame and one at the Louvre. They are covered in locks, attached by lovers ( that just spell checked to “my lovers”, haahhahaaa….that could have started some new rumours ) , friends, anyone who would like to leave a lasting memory in Paris. You know, you can just sit on these bridges, and just take in the city. It is a gorgeous sight to see people just spending time together, sitting and talking in groups on the bridge…for hours on end. You will see people with wine, food, candles, blankets….spending hours chillaxin on the bridge overlooking the Seine. Seriously, they have it all figured out. Pay attention folks. Sit. Chill. Talk. Eat for hours on end. Spend time with who you want to spend time with. That is what it is all about.

If you can tear yourself off of the bridge, and wander into the Notre Dame Cathedral, you can experience the feeling of being overcome with a sense of complete and utter awe. It is one of the few times, where my head and heart are silenced. There are truly no words to describe this feeling. For those of us who have lost a loved one or someone near to their heart, Notre Dame is the place where you can feel them near your heart again.Yes, that does sound corny, I know, I know….but I will take the risk of sounding like an idiot, and say it anyway. The silence of the church, the smell of the incense, the dimly candle lit areas ….they just grab hold of your senses and your heart. Every time, I light a candle for my Dad. I am reminded of the love and strength he brought me. I am reminded in this beautiful place.

If you can imagine the task we all go through to do a home renovation, or work or any large scale design project…..think again…..how on God’s green earth did they construct such a magnificent structure with such incredible detail, so very long ago ???!!! Think about that. No heavy machinery. Nothing. I am never going to object  about project details again ..haha….now that Cathedral has DETAIL !!!! Dear contractors, you can now officially never complain about my attention to detail….or I will reference the Cathedral and we will all feel like goof balls that we can’t figure something out ,when they made a Cathedral from the ground up with virtually blood sweat and tears (well, and hopefully some good laughs in between ). Makes me feel like we don’t have it so bad :-)

I have a million memories of Paris, and a million more photos to add to those memories. I will leave you with a memory of how I most often felt in Paris. Naked and vulnerable, but happy, like the goddess woman in the photo, so elegantly holding on close to the bridge . I wasn’t so lucky tho. I didn’t look like a Goddess, and I most often wanted to throw myself off the bridge. Trying to balance a bridge….erhh…a family, a home and a language learning course that helped me to stop sounding like a 5 year old when speaking french.

I have three words for my french learning…..COFFEE BREAK FRENCH. A big shout of to the crew at Coffee Break French. They are a small crew, but one that make a difference. They are the number one french learning podcast in Europe ~ and for good reason. I advanced my french, by my sheer determination and the gift of figuring out that Coffee Break French was out there in the world of podcasts. It is easy to figure out….itunes….podcasts…they will change your world. Well, at least they changed my world, and I could finally order a big butt bottle of red wine in a restaurant to get some liquid courage ~ and that ~ my friends ~ I DID….liquid courage all the way…

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. I just googled and listened to lesson 1 Coffee Break French on line (and took notes so I can refer back) … I actually learned something BIG THANKS for sharing that info!

    August 21, 2011
    • You are most welcome !! It is a fabulous fabulous program. I hope it continues to make a difference for you. It sure did for me. Happy french learning !

      August 22, 2011
  2. Cindy #

    Lynne, I found your blog through Norma Thiessen’s blog (she found ME on Twitter). I am from Toronto and just returned in May from a 3 week trip to France (Paris, Bordeaux, Nice – and a week in Corsica staying with a friend who lives in a Medieval Tower!). I speak French, having lived in Bordeaux for 1 and a half years as a student and an assistante d’anglais in the 70s and having been a French teacher in Canada for more than 30 years, not to mention marrying a Quebecois! It was so wonderful to go back and I also would love to rent an apartment in Paris for a while. Now that I’m retired I may just do that one day. BTW – I also fell in love with the Paris bridge with the locks (le Pont des Arts I think) and watching all the young people talking, making music and picknicking there in the early evening. Welcome back to Canada.

    Cindy

    August 16, 2011
    • HI Cindy
      What a fantastic experience ! AND wow !!! Your friend lives in a medieval castle ?! How funky is that ?! I am jealous….you speak French. I can manage, but only manage…mostly manage to have a good laugh at myself when I blurt out those french words. Isn’t it so beautiful to spend time in the early evenings just watching all the people, walking -talking- picnicking along the Seine- candles lit, bread and wine…wow, it is breathtaking, non? Did you love love love Norma’s site ? I do :-). Cheers ! Lynne

      August 17, 2011
  3. Lynne, Thanks for the great perspective of a foreigner in a foreign land! I’m currently in Argentina, experiencing much of the same language/culture trials and frustrations as you did in Paris – just without such glories as the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame to awe and inspire me on those down days!

    Argentines have the same sense of savoring the moment, taking time and enjoying life, though. That will be my biggest takeaway. Hours spent with friends, limited sense of time, nowhere more important to be…

    Living abroad is not all wonderful cultural experiences and exotic new friends, though. It is hard and sometimes extremely isolating. I feel that, too. But nothing like getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing life. What a beautiful account of a fabulous life experience!

    July 15, 2011
    • Lisa, thank you for writing in on the blog and for following along . I feel touched that I have reached you ~ way across yonder ~

      Funny enough, a blog can help you find a place of fun in a far away place. I followed a blog in Paris, and I had a HOOT. Some days, it was my only FUNNY for the day…oddly enough, it feels better to know that we are not the only ones who feel the same way living in a strange place ( well, at least a place that is far away from home ). I hope I can bring you some good laughs and hopefully not too many tears ~ and brighten your day/ week. I feel your pain sista :-)))…..I will come and find you on twitter…..big hugs from afar.

      July 16, 2011
  4. Nicolas d'Allens (et Claude) #

    Lynne,
    Tu vas nous manquer,
    Il faut que tu continues à apprendre le français,
    et revenez souvent !
    Nicolas et Claude.

    July 13, 2011
  5. Anonymous #

    Yes we miss you!!
    Congratulation for the blog, very nice and funny way to keep in touch.
    All the best my friends and…
    A bientôt!!

    Ghislain

    July 12, 2011
  6. Loved reading your Paris blog…it’s my dream to go rent an apartment for a month and work..ok maybe two months. I like you would struggle with the language but who cares, sipping coffee at an outdoor cafe watching the world go by…sounds greater than great.

    Karen.

    July 11, 2011
    • Hey Karen, I have a friend who could help you out with that. She is IN LOVE with Paris, and she has some really pretty apartment rental links in her website…..

      http://www.mybeautifulparis.com/

      I love your plan. Renting an apartment in Paris is a beauty of an idea ! Sipping cafe creme and eating flaky croissants is DELISH !!

      If you listen to a few lessons of Coffee Break French you will feel like a real Parisienne.

      Happy Travels ! ….hope it comes some day SOON !

      July 11, 2011
  7. I am sure Paris felt all of your love and I bet she misses you big time!

    xoxo

    July 10, 2011
  8. Dahlink!! Love da blog!! No worries about the party-didn’t really expect you to come! Can you phone me- my what’s app died-so I don’t have your number anymore!
    P

    July 10, 2011
  9. It’s been 10 years since our trip to Paris and the south of France. My wife still crave to go back as soon as the kids are older. The Eiffel tower was so much more exciting than we thought. We we’re walking around looking for it at night then turned a corner and all of a sudden it was there. Beautiful! All of Paris was beautiful. Can’t wait to go back… now if the dollar could just make a rebound against the euro… wishful thinking.

    July 10, 2011
    • Sounds like you had a fantastic trip. Did you love the South of France too ? We did a road trip to the south of France, and I hope to post on that soon.
      It takes a while to get your head into EURO thinking instead of DOLLAR thinking. I feel your pain :-). I just generally hum hum hum out loud, so I can’t hear the amount……
      When the bill comes in, I stick my fingers in my ears and sing out loud when Michael tells me my Visa total. Works every time. haha.

      July 11, 2011

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