Sunday, April 21, 2013

Day 4: On my own in Paris and final thoughts

Sunny and I grabbed some flaky fresh croissants for breakfast.  To be honest, I purchased two loaves of bread, a baguette, 4 croissants and 4 pan au chocolates to bring home with me on the airplane for my family.  Day old French pastries are better than anything we can get in Ethiopia.

Sunny and I said our goodbyes since her train was departing early.  I returned to the apartment and packed everything before heading out to do some walking and shopping on my own. I stopped for one last terrible cup of French espresso and then decided to wander around for an hour and a half before the shops all opened.  I found an interesting monument and park to sit in and watch all the commuters with their sack lunches and totes full of gym clothes and sensible shoes briskly walking by.
I found an entire strip of garden shops/nurseries along the Seine with beautiful flowers for sale.  Just one last morning to soak up a little bit more of France and pick up a few last minute things for my family before the journey home.

Day 4 heading home
"I had a real vacation and a great weekend being a tourist and feeling the freedom and selfishness of traveling alone.  But this weekend also made me think about how much extra work it is to live our life in Ethiopia.  So much more mental work to keep myself happy and feeling fulfilled.  I'm so used to this extra work, mental and otherwise, that I'd forgotten that life can be easier.  Things move smoothly and predictably.  People wait in lines and for walk signals to cross roads.  Trains have schedules and buses have set destinations.  Life, in general, is easier when you are going with the flow of things in the first world.  Seeing my life and myself from the me that was walking in Paris made me tired but proud.  Proud that I can be happy in Ethiopia.  Maybe this weekend was more about me really being on the other side of Ethiopia-the opposite side and the other end of the spectrum.  Maybe it was about me existing in abundance and really seeing that we are thriving in Ethiopia despite the challenges.

I had a truly wonderful time in Paris.  It was comforting and predictable in all sorts of first world ways.  No surprises when it came to cash registers, metro schedules, prices, food.  Everything was efficient as expected.  It felt good to be immersed in that world again and blend in with the crowd.  But more importantly, I'm going to give my self a little pat on the back for hanging as well as I am in Ethiopia."


Emily said...

What an awesome trip! I love ll of your pictures.
I'm glad you were able to reconnect with a friend, and explore Paris!

Heather P. said...

So glad you were able to take this trip!

Sweet Athena said...

You took so many pretty photos! Thanks for sharing your adventures in Paris, it was fun to read. ~Jess