I kept trying to write my Paris post while we were actually *in* Paris, but writing a blog about it felt too much like saying goodbye. So I waited until we were leaving Paris (about an hour from now; we're at the airport as I type). That way I can say goodbye while trying to impart my feelings about this city.
Paris is... well, a friend once told me that the entire point of life is to get to Paris, and I absolutely agree with him. 100%.
I grew up in the suburbs and haven't ever really thought of myself as a "city girl". For me, a city girl and a suburbs girl and a country girl are all totally different things. Throw into the mix the fact that I'm ALSO a Colorado girl, which is a crazy, convoluted thing in and of itself...and you may see why enjoying a city, for me, can be kind of a big deal. Denver isn't a city like New York, and New York is nothing like Paris. They all have different heartbeats and different ways of breathing.
I know that all sounds really floofy, like I'm trying to make it sound like this huge thing, but it's honestly the only way I can think of to describe it. Paris can be just like any other city. There's graffiti, dirty sidewalks, confusing roads, millions of hair salons, poor sections, and rich sections. But there's something about Paris...I don't even know. It's Paris. It's beautiful and exciting, and I just want to sit and watch the people walk by. I don't even care that so many of them are tourists.
We arrived in Paris on Monday afternoon. Our hostess was thrilled to find out I understand french, and I was thrilled that she wanted to speak it to me. I've been a little paranoid that in the years since teaching, I've lost it. Luckily, that wasn't the case. Eve left us to the apartment, an itsy bitsy teeny tiny one-bedroom-one-bathroom-half-of-a-kitchen little thing.
I had planned to go walk around and see a few of the closest sites (our apartment was just inside the 10th quarter, at Porte Saint Martin). But I'd forgotten that people who've never traveled abroad before often experience culture shock. Steph has been out and about for several months, but Bri's travel has been confined to the States and a short middle school mission trip to El Salvador. If you've never experienced culture shock, know that it's awful. Everything feels like an emotional, physical, and mental overload.
So while Steph and I were happy to be in Paris, Bri needed to shut down. We let her nap while we walked down to the Seine and did some errand things like groceries and a post office stop. After being in Germany, it was refreshing to understand what was going on around us.
Walking in Paris feels like walking home.