I decided to do something a little different this weekend. I wrote this narrative for a class, and the topic was about a time I felt free. Since it will be a year since I was in Paris, I thought I'd share the moment I fell in love with it. Enjoy!
It was like any other day, really. I had gone to school and sat through six and half hours of statistics, government, European history...but you see, it wasn’t like any other day. It was February 13th, and right after school I would be boarding a plane to Paris, France. I didn’t know what to expect on this trip. The thought of being halfway across the globe in a city that famous for its artists and food both frightened and excited me. Might I mention, this trip was for a week, and it was with some of my classmates, including my best friend. My mom accompanied us, along with a few other “chaperone moms”, two science teachers from my middle school, my French teacher, and her sister.
We landed on February 14th, at Charles de Gaulle airport, sleep deprived, hungry and grimy. I was incredibly delirious, especially when going through customs. Although, something felt off.
I still felt like I was in New York. The official “Paris feeling” didn’t hit me quite yet. Granted, it was only the first day, and I hadn’t had much to eat. Immediately leaving the airport, all 28 of us (approximately), were put on a coach bus and taken to our hotel. Through the window, drizzled with patterns of water from the rainfall we received, I saw buildings, cars, people...it was just like New York. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Even walking down Champs-Elysees and seeing the Arc de Triomphe didn’t do it for me. It was like I would wake up any minute and it was all a dream, because there was no way this was real.
About three days into the trip, on February 17th, my large group of twenty-something kids and adults took a trip to Montmartre. We saw Sacre-Coeur inside and out, then we were allowed free time, where my friends and I decided to walk around the little town. When I think of Montmartre now, I think of a burnt orange. That was the color of the sweet shop where I bought caramels and macaron. The other shops were just as small and bright. The atmosphere was incredible all on its own. I had never felt so in love.
For dinner, we went to this tiny restaurant, where an accordionist was playing traditional French songs. Our selections for dinner were French onion soup, and escargot. Because what else would you eat in France? I ordered the soup, and a few of my friends were brave and ordered the escargot. We all decided to try everything. The soup was incredible, sometimes I can still taste it.
Then, I had a plate of fried snails in front of me. Trying my best to extract the “meat” from the shell, with an accordion playing in the background, as I wore a black beret, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of “can this be any more French?” I popped the snail in my mouth, and then it hit me.
“I’m eating a snail,” I laughed, “I’m eating a snail!”
I was in France. Holy, crap I was in France! It took me three days to feel like I was actually there, and now, with a fried snail in my mouth (which I spit out shortly after), I felt...free. I felt like anything was possible. I still had a few more days to explore this beautiful country, and that was when I couldn’t wait to go. The accordionist and our tour guide, Jean, stood up on the stage in our dining room and sang the traditional French song, “Champs-Elysees”. Once all us Americans got the jist of the chorus, we sang along too. I didn’t care about anything else in that moment.
I was sad to leave the little district of Montmartre, but I made a promise to myself to come back. It was also known as the “Artist District”, because of all the famous painters and poets, and I decided that I wanted to sit at a cafe, drink coffee and write poetry. What I felt there was something I always want to feel; a sense of freedom and belonging.
To be in love, is to be free.
Nowadays, you see more signs that say "free wifi" than "free flowers". I mean, nothing's really free, and I may be a bit old fashioned but when did the romance die? Most of the time on my Facebook feed, Instagram and Twitter, I see happy couples posting about their significant other, and it doesn't disgust me that much. Sure, a part of me is like "no one cares" but I find it kind of sweet when I see stuff like that. It almost makes you want it.
Which is a problem all its own. Most accounts on Facebook and Twitter have pictures that resemble "Relationship Goals", and let's face it, at one point we've all wanted flowers, a giant teddy bear, bras from Victoria's Secret...you know stuff like that. But I personally believe that it puts a mentality into young people's minds about someone who would actually do all of that. I'm not denying the existence of a perfect relationship, or someone giving you all of those things, but it's not something anyone should expect. That's the problem. There are too many high expectations about it. And it sucks, I know. However, the less expectations someone has, the happier they will be. I'm not expecting a guy to drop $100 on me everyday, I'd be lucky if I have a cup of coffee with him! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting those things. Nothing! But the way it is perceived makes it seem like that's what being in a relationship is all about. The love, the passion, the fun...and even the friendship they have...that's Relationship Goals.
On to the technology aspect. Does it significantly affect relationships? I would personally like to conduct actual research on this, and write about it in a later post, but for now I'm going to share my observations. Cell phones, computers, tablets and all that jazz are simply amazing. The amount of storage we have on these things is incredible. But in recent years, I've walked into restaurants, cafès, general public places, and noticed that most of the tables had one person or more on their phone (or a computer, but if you're doing actual work and you're by yourself okay). Couples don't make eye contact, and soon the intimacy is lost. What is going on? Children, even toddlers, know how to work an iPad better than I do. Parents see their kid is bored, and they give them the phone or tablet, and boom! Kid is playing Candy Crush. Granted, they can absolutely be used for education purposes, but the more they interact with a computer, will they have trouble forming relationships with actual people? It's insane. It's hard to have a conversation with someone if all they do is look at a computer screen the whole time you're with them. Honestly, how do people stay on Facebook, Instagram, etc. for hours? Hours! I get bored after five minutes. Personal opinion. We cannot become robots. Close the computer, and look at your significant other. Look them in the eyes for the first time in a long time. That's what they want, I'm sure. Look up from the phone or tablet, see the world around you. It's quite beautiful.
(Image courtesy of Google)
Upset with how you did last semester? It's never too late to turn things around!
1. Block out some time for studying/working
If you were disappointed with your grades and study habits, making some improvements in that department doesn't hurt.
2. Set some goals for yourself
Nothing is more satisfying than completing something you've worked hard on. Set some realistic goals for yourself, like going to the gym, or keeping your room clean, even shoot for that A+! Writing them down and keeping them in a place where you can see them everyday is a great way to remind yourself of them.
3. Don't feel you need to do everything
Of course you can join that club or take a super challenging class, but remember, everyone has limits. Don't overdo yourself. You'll have plenty of more opportunities.
4. Make an awesome playlist of your favorite songs
Music is your best motivator. Put together a bunch of songs that get you pumped for the day ahead, or relax you after a long day.
5. Do what makes YOU happy
That pretty much speaks for itself.
If you're a college freshman, you know how exciting it can be...and how stressful. Take everything one day at a time. If this is your second semester, make it a goal not to repeat mistakes you may or may not have made last semester. Think of that as the test run...now, it's the real deal.
I wish all my fellow college kids a great semester, and thanks for keeping up with this blog! I'm glad I get to reach people through my writing.
Speaking of, I have a new book out called Chasing Sam which you can buy here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/alexmunroe
I hope you enjoy!