Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paris notes: big sites and small concessions

We managed to see a lot. We visited Notre Dame and Sainte Chappelle. One morning I ran to the Arc de Triomphe and Justin took Claire there one evening to walk to the top. We all went up to the second level of the Eiffel Tower. One evening Justin walked a loop toward the Louvre. We didn't visit any museums or take a bus tour. We did walk along the Seine and up the Champs Élysées.
Notre Dame above, Sainte Chappelle below. Sainte Chappelle's stained glass was amazing.

We went to Paris without expectation. We didn't eat a single amazing French meal, but made our dinners of Paris street food, apples, cheese and bread. A friend suggested we share a bottle of wine a day but I had three or four glasses over the week. It's a beautiful city to walk and I liked seeing it that way. We saw the sights we saw because they were easy to walk to  from our apartment and the lines weren't long. We ate the food we ate for the same reasons: easy to find and the lines weren't long. During the week Justin and I both had moments of: if we weren't traveling with kids, then _____. But we were traveling with kids. I didn't park myself at a café but I watched people while walking or waiting for a light to turn or riding the metro. I didn't write much in the present but thought about what I might write later.

Sometimes that's a fight, to let go what you want because now just isn't the time. The fight is in my head but it feels physical. It feels like a pushing match, to let the present be presently enjoyed rather than shadowed by This Could Be Even Better If _____ a. I was alone b. We were alone c. Kids were older d. I was younger. That goes beyond our week in Paris. I've felt that pushing many times since marrying and becoming a mom. On the plane back to Chicago, I met a woman who works in journalism; she was a reporter for a long time but took an editorial position after her children were born. She was coming from Italy and we both swapped stories about what we didn't do because we have kids. She didn't hike two more kilometers to get to a remote stretch of beach. I didn't eat anything fancier than expensive cheese while in Paris. And that was okay with me. The cheese was perfect. So was the view from the Eiffel.


Steve said...

Hard to do, but just imagine a world. (one I imagine you in) where you will feel like you missed out on nothing. You are led on that path, and you will lead one of the fullest lives ever, because life is on the inside. Once we learn to see stuff from the inside, than there is nothing on the outside we miss.

Don't be sad, or disheartened. You are a special person with a special family, and just let everything go, and trust trust trust... :)


Sergio en Colombia said...

thanks for letting us into your head. again, you're a wonderful writer!
also, so happy you made it to Sainte Chappelle; its my favorite church in Paris.