An American in Paris: Day 1

Ok, now you know how I made it to Paris.

Lizzie does Paris

Friday, December 29th, 2017

But I’ll bet you’re wondering what I got up to when I finally made it over there.

Before I even left for Paris, I created a very tentative list of things I wanted to do, along with a vague outline of when I might cross each thing off my list. Traveling with a strict schedule is just not how I do things. I wanted to leave a lot of space to change my mind, add new things to the list and choose days I thought would be best for each item.

Here’s the Master List:

1515603319331.jpg

I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport at about 1:30pm on Friday afternoon, December 29th. I opted to rely on wifi in places and turn my phone on airport mode to avoid roaming charges while in Paris. This meant that simple tools like my GPS and the internet were not available to me, except when I was in my hotel or at a cafe that had wifi. It also meant that I had to rely on my scrappy travel skills (of which I have many!)

An excerpt from my travel journal upon arriving in Paris after finding my way to my hotel:

“Finding my bearings in Paris makes me feel like it’s my first time in New York City all over again. There’s a feeling that I truly have no clue where I’m going or what I’m doing. I don’t speak this language and maybe I’ve been out of the big city game for too long.

But, there’s also the absolute knowledge and confidence that I am capable of mastering this. Flying solo can be a little scary initially, but also exciting and energizing! I’d forgotten that feeling. It’s not something I feel very often in Winter Park, Florida.

On the plane, I sat next to Max, a very kind, young guy, probably a bit younger than me in age if not in spirit. He gave me some recommendations and we shared laughs throughout the flight. I was reminded that there are new friends waiting around every corner, if you’re open enough to look for them. Brave enough to talk to them.”

Interjection: This was the start of a flood of writing that began the moment I landed in Paris and has not stopped since I’ve returned home! And I was certainly grateful to be reintroduced to the writer in me, all over again!

“My hotel, Libertel Gare du Nord Suede on Boulevard Magenta in the 10th Arrondissement, is so charming and tiny. It’s the absolute perfect size for me and my solo adventures! It’s cozy and has the right number of hangars for the Paris wardrobe I brought with me. More than just coincidence, I think!

1515603438132.jpg

1515604216401.jpg

I laid down to take a quick 30 minute cat nap, here on Day 1 of my adventure, and woke up an hour and a half later than anticipated. Apparently my body had other plans. Once I finally woke up, I felt rested and ready to walk and see and EAT. Above all…EAT!!

1515603550026.jpg

Interjection: I just sat down to my first dinner in Paris and I’m implementing a new rule…wine and dessert will be ordered at every meal! No exceptions!

My neighborhood is charming! I think I’ll be using that word a lot in Paris. There’s a lot to see. Plenty of hustle and bustle and I find it surprisingly easy to navigate, given the language barrier. As I took the opportunity to get the lay of the land in my Arrondissement, I passed my hotel 3 separate times without meaning to. I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding my way around. It really does feel somehow like I’m back in New York, but maybe all big cities have this energy and I’ve just forgotten what it felt like.

1515603723228.jpg

1515603880064.jpg

Also…I feel like I’ve found a familiar part of myself, long forgotten and abandoned.

Continue reading

The Indefinable, Wonderfully Made Me!

It’s fair to say that back in high school and even in college, I did not know myself very well. When I was little I was the outgoing one. Always in the middle of whatever was happening. The center of the spotlight.

1520675_10104015552572303_1482416327_n

 

In middle school I learned that not everyone valued the ability to recite the entirety of Star Wars: A New Hope or the complete soundtrack to The Phantom of the Opera. But I had my little troop of friends and they got me. And it was enough.

10533056_10104849426152963_2634401227827205939_n

High school was just ridiculous. I was wearing bindis one minute and thought I was Hispanic the next. I was throwing keys and crushing on every boy I knew and was, in general, a big ole train wreck. I never felt at home in my own skin. I was constantly looking for other things to define me. Things besides the indefinable, wonderfully made me. The me that God himself thought to put together.

Looking back it’s clear to see why I was never kissed. I didn’t know me. So how could I possibly have let other people know me. And high school boys aren’t exactly patient and willing to wait around for you to find yourself. So I left for college, feeling inadequate and behind the times and just all around undesirable.

Again, I had friends who knew me as well as they possibly could. And I rarely thought about it in the day to day excitement of college life. But I turned 24 and something happened. It wasn’t enough. Everyone had these stories and experiences and I just had the fantasies I’d built up in my mind about how it would happen and what it would be like and who it’d be with.

If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, featuring the reenactment of said first kiss, then take a look. It was rushed and awkward and with someone who didn’t even want to date me. And who I didn’t even want to date. Just a friend. It was safe that way. There was no chance of getting hurt, because the not being kissed was the painful part. Finally being kissed was going to be a relief.

IMG_2735

IMG_2736

And as I’m sure you guessed, it wasn’t a relief. Yep, I checked “First Kiss” off my bucket list. But was left with the icky feeling that I hadn’t done it all quite right. Insecurity is something that will haunt you if you let it. It’s not like it voluntarily packs it’s bags and leaves you alone. It’s always whispering in your ear. “No one cares. No one wants you. You are not good enough.”

image

I’m proud to report that I do know myself these days. I know exactly who I am and how valuable my life is. And I still sometimes do stupid things (as you will bare witness to in my web series) but I don’t let the mistakes I make define me. They are apart of me, but I refuse to spend time regretting my past. Instead I let it inform my future and the decisions I make now. Always looking forward, but never forgetting where I’ve been.

 

I still have yet to be kissed in a meaningful and romantic way. By someone who wants me and who I want. And most importantly, without the influence of alcohol. But that’s a story for another day.

I’d love to hear from you, so please share your stories below. I can’t be the only one to mess things up sometimes.