Today was my first full day in Paris.
For the past number of years, the Fourth of July has always been a holiday I can't forget for reasons other than being America's Birthday. I have mixed feeling about this day, since it's a day that's been marked by someone else from my life. Now if you knew me, and you knew this person, you know that I would never wish any ill or harm, only hoping the best on his life and wishing him well. For me, this day always triggered memories when I was with him; days we spent together, days without him. Since then, it was never just a day I could pass through.
Well today, the Forth of July, was my first full day in Paris.
If I could trace back to you this day for the past 7 years (and I could) you'd probably laugh at all of memories I carried with it. A year ago today, Paris was not even on my radar. A year ago, I had no idea what was in store. A year ago, I was a different person who carried very different mindsets.
So, I'm going to tell you what I did today, because, well, it's pretty amazing that God gave me a day like today. A day that was so competely unresembing of anything I ever did on this day for the last seven years. A day that marked a new chapter for me in such a significant way.
Today, I walked through Paris with one truth on my heart: I have a ticket to explore.
There's something about indepencence. About how I can really revel in the truth that I can go where I want, do what I want and pretty much when I want to. I found myself getting up and going out into the city with little to no agenda. The day was made up of this: I'd walk. Sit for a bit. Walk. Take some pictures with my selfie stick. Decide to walk over here. Sit. And all the while, I'm like, "Wow, how cool that I can do this!" I came across the Louvre and all of its glory, wandering through the courtyards and venturing through the Jardin des Tuleries. I went to find the Metro station, but got distracted by Angelina's, the amazing go-to tourist hot spot for chocolates and...well, I think mostly chocolate. After having some chocolate, I eventually slid my way into the Metro and came up at the Isle de-la Cite where Notre Dame is. There, I found a bench, sat a bit, then went off into the Isle de Saint Louis. I looped the main avenue, bought a Parisian handbag, and made my way back home. All during this time, I was connecting with a mutual friend from Ohio, Ruth, about meeting her and her American friends at the Champs de Mars for a Yankee picnic. Yes please! Wandering through the metro yet again, I found the park, found the friends and made quite a night of it. We drank du vin, Parisian chips, sausage slices and strawberries alongside the hoards of other people that were picnic-ing next to us (I guess it's quite a thing here...). Six hours and 7 new American and British friends later, I'm home.
Today was my first day in Paris.
And trust me, I enjoyed it. Believe it or not, I actually didn't plan my Paris trip very well. I didn't map out my days or my adventures. I just knew that I wanted to llive each day to the fullest and get to know the city, the real city, as best I could. So for me, getting lost somewhere in some Arronsidement and stumbling across a cute cafe and finding my way back is fine with me. I celebrated my indepence today. I celebrated the little joys of being completely myself in this place. I celebrated the fact that God truly knew me enough to bring me to this place and pretty much erase and make new all of the memories I carried with this day.
Today, in every way, marked a new season.