So it’s Sunday afternoon and we’ve just finished an equisite guided tour of London, and we know in the back of our minds that our glorious trip is coming to its end. I say to my dad, “wouldn’t it be great to finish our trip in Paris?” And of course I know this isn’t going to happen–that we’ll be eating airplane food and flying home this Tuesday from Londonz–so I say this with a wishful, but conscious of reality spirit.
And my dad says to text my mom and ask her. I’m confused, because it was just a fantasy, but I realize he means it, so I do. And 15 minutes later, my dad’s phone buzzes: “You’re flight leaves from Charles du Gaul airport, Paris, Saturday August 30th.” Holy quacamole! That mother of mine is amazing!
So on Tuesday morning, we took a nine hour bus to the most romantic city in the world–of course, not taking the £500 Eurostar speed train, and going for the cheap-ass bus with all the citizens of the ghetto (sorry–not to be rude #respectyozz) to balance the expenses of our Parisian excursion.
To so many, Paris is a dream city–no, the dream city. So I had in my mind gorgeous buildings, vibrant spirits, walks by the water, delicious French food, interesting culture, jubilant atmosphere. And while this is not intirely false, the whole city felt so, so grey and depressed! Riding the old, squeaky metro to our rental apartment at 10 at night, the dark, solemn feeling of the city was very present.
However, as the days went by and I saw the active nightlife of Paris in action, I understood the city’s reputation a little better. We spent our days trying on expensive clothes in all the best fashion districts, exploring the quaint neighborhood of the Marais, taking tours around the Latin Quarters and Bastille, walking at night on the Siene, inhaling the smokey aroma of probably over a million cigarettes in action every minute, eating nonstop–filet mignon, crusty baguettes, hot crêpes, delicious ice cream; we even had a day where we ate solely Asian food, a fantastic break of vegetables on seafood, as oppose to the endless meat and potatoes of the French cuisine. We saw exquisite architecture at the Louvre, fabulous design and art at the Pompidu, the rustiness but strange beauty of the Eiffel Tour. We admired the beauty of the Luxemburg gardens, and I embraced the innocence and playfulness of youth as I played in playgrounds with my brother, who is still so beautifully present and young. We hade a lucky single-ride metro ticket that worked for us five times; we watched the desperate food peddlers that roam the streets of Paris grill their corn each morning preparing for the day ahead, right outside our window. Summer gave its warmth and sun to us (for a few minutes) for the first time in a few weeks. And I got to finish my summer–a summer during which I learned so much about the world, its history, its people, its many cultures; during which I learned so much about my family, myself, my passions, my goals–I got to finish my summer in Paris–which although does not meet the abundance of marvelous review it has, is still pretty fantastic.
It’s been an amazing summer: I’ve been to so many different places (stayed in 10 different homes), met so many people, enjoyed my amazing family, enjoyed nature, relaxed, and simply, have had a brilliant beyond brilliant vacation! I am ready to enter high school–now the beginning of a new chapter of my life–with open eyes, and an eagerness to expand my knowledge, talents, and confidence in myself.