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.