Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sparkle

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Goodbye Europe for now. 

Hello, America






18 hours and counting...





Friday, December 21, 2012

Bits and Pieces and Paris


These are a few of my favorite bits of the day we spent in the sunlight in Paris. And this is it for now. Paris may come out for one more special occasion but after that, it's being tucked away until we travel there again. Or until I find myself particularly void of any other means of entertaining you. Aaaand maybe for one more second tomorrow. Or later today, depending on my ambitions. Here we go:




hello tiny eastview mall copycat










The funniest thing about moving to Europe has been the strange influence it's had on my self-consciousness. I was the typical easily-embarrassed 13-17 year old but once I hit my mid-college years, I left most of my insecurities behind. Yet with my first few days in Belgium I realized I was speaking quietly when Chris and I strolled the streets and was constantly studying the fashion of people my age, ready to fit in; afraid we'd be found out as Americans and then shunned (who would be doing the shunning and why it mattered is now beyond me).


After a few weeks I shed those silly thoughts and became more myself again but as our Paris trip loomed, it all started to rush back. I'd heard of everyone's love for the city itself but I had also heard of the inhabitants themselves and their wonderful fashion and reported airs. I feared the ultimate shun of all, the Parisian Snub.

The outfit above took over an hour to decide on...please, feel free to chuckle, I'm smiling with a grimace myself. All black? Oh goodness, I caved to every "French fashion" blog I read and went overwhelmingly monochromatic and simple. It was as close to fashionable and blending in as I could possibly be while also staying warm, keeping my feet from aching in potentially unfashionable high-heels (my black boots were completely wrecked by our cobblestones. tear.), and keeping the color to a minimum...as I said, I may have gone overboard in the last effort. My hair was supposed to look lovely and tamed and it did until the downpour on our way to the hotel the night before rendered that impossible with no means of fixing it in my tiny "overnight" purse.

And with all that effort...you know what? I'm not sure we encountered more than a few true Parisians all day and when we did, who could tell? It was Christmastime and the streets were full of other tourists like us, French and otherwise. If anyone did see us as unfashionable and unsophisticated Americans, we would never have known it and in the end it didn't matter in the slightest. When we go back to the city of light, I'll hopefully return as one more wise, with the knowledge that probably not one person took notice of us this first time around and most certainly won't any other trip either.

The one tiny thing that did happen that whole day which could have potentially bruised my spirit was when my pronunciation of "croissant" was corrected to "kwassohn?" Listen to it here: Maybe I spoke too quietly again. But if not, then uh, yeah, the crescent looking thing I was pointing at while I said it all "American-like", that's what I'd like to chow down on. Make it 3 of them, please.





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beauty in Paris Architecture


I know I'm throwing a lot of Paris at your faces this week. Thank you for bearing with me, only two days left (I think). Two days will most likely bring the end of consistent blogging for a bit as well because in two days I'll be boarding a plane with Christopher. We are heading back to America for Christmas and New Years! To describe the joy I have building up inside me at going home would be impossible. I feel like Dorothy, clicking my heels, closing my eyes and whispering, "there's no place like home" only I'm so happy I could shout it! These pictures of our travels and the beautiful places we've been experiencing are nothing compared to family and friends. I miss you all so much sometimes I can hardly stand it and the weight of the distance often seems too much, but I think I can bear it for two more days (TWOMOREDAYS) because I'm assured a much need trip home after the short wait. 


Today's post consist of pieces of my favorite architecture found throughout the city. Compared to how I appreciated the beauty of Paris to other places we've been so far, I rarely used my camera. Honestly. We walked a little over 20km (12.5 miles or so) and were lost more often than not so my camera frequently stayed tucked away in my purse when I maybe could have captured that perfect essence of Paris. You should probably just come here and experience it (maybe even with us?) and that's my real excuse for the lack of exposure(s).


















sun, 


Christmas is almost upon us. Thank you Christopher, for taking me to Paris for my present this year. You are quite simply, the best.



22 hours of the Eiffel Tower

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We arrived in Paris at 11:30pm on Friday night. We knew that it was going to be a tight squeeze getting to the City of Light before Christmas but to make it work there was a 24 hour window with reasonably priced train tickets. As luck would have it, we actually found ourselves in first class (which just means a free drink but hey, we're still up for probably anything edible that's free) on the way there so hello, perk!

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As we walked along the streets to our hotel, aside from all the street signs and restaurant awnings written in French, I found myself being reminded of New York City and London every few steps. (Please don't kill me yet, Paris-lovers, read on) When we approached Pont Neuf to cross the Seine I looked up and in spite of myself, drew in a quick breath with a small "oh!" We were officially in Paris, and at that moment it became real because there it was, seemingly small off in the distance and all lit up, the Eiffel Tower.

A few weeks before I'd been getting nervous that all the hype of beautiful, wonderful, romantic Paris and all the people I've heard about falling in love with the city at first sight was all a farce. It's this stubborn feeling I get when I hear over and over again that I need to see this movie or go to this restaurant...for some reason I want to defy any and all of these suggestions or "shoulds" that people give me and just refuse to do it. There's no real theory that I have about all of that, I wasn't particularly rebellious as a teen, but the more something is brought to my attention, the less I want to experience or agree with it.

But Paris. I agree, you're beautiful and I love you, too.



Monday, December 17, 2012

Love locks in Paris

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I'd heard of places around the world where couples fasten a padlock to bridges or fences and throw away the key to signify their everlasting love. I didn't know that there were any in Paris until we stumbled across a bridge along the Seine. The little green stalls along the river sell locks to unsuspecting couples like us and so we bought a small gold one. We headed over to add our names to the multitude of other couples past. A dozen present ones were there along with us to fix a moment in time in such a romantic city with small bits of shiny metal. I love corny things like that, such a sucker for love!

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the fake throw

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the real one (underhanded, such a girl)

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We threw the keys into the river and stood watching everyone else take their time finding the perfect location for their own love to rest in Paris forever. I like thinking that our little lock is sitting there still gazing at the river. I hope when we go back, maybe years from now, we can still find it and remember the moment that we locked it into place. 




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