Paris – Day 1

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View from our Airbnb

After a long day of travel, Rachel and I were finally just one Metro stop away from our Airbnb when our RER turned a corner and there, in the break in the buildings, was the Eiffel Tower. “Wow, look at that!” I breathed, pointing at the massive structure. Rachel gave voice to the exact words in my head: “It’s bigger than I expected.”

We exited the Metro via an escalator leading us outside, where we got our first breath of French air. Sunlight filtered through the trees that smelled like jasmine, and birds chirped happily nearby. It was perfection.

We found our Airbnb, dropped off our luggage and ventured out into the city. After getting caught in our first French rainstorm and having our first cup of French coffee, Rachel and I entered the beautiful gardens of Musee d’Rodin. The lush gardens were shaded by trees dotted with rose bushes, making our walk cool, sunny and fragrant.

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“The Kiss”

After walking around the outdoor paths and discovering “The Thinker”, we made our way inside where we found “The Kiss”. It is a breathtaking sculpture – possibly my favorite ever – because the intimate pose is both passionate and sweet. In my experience, it is hard to find both, but it is a love worth waiting for – and one that models the love that God has for us all. His love is strong.

Rachel and I enjoyed a chocolate-filled afternoon, stopping at both the quaint Jean-Charles Rochoux and the swanky Patrick Roger, as well as getting our first chocolate croissants from a chain called Paul. I saved some of my chocolates (hazelnut dark chocolate and rose dark chocolate) to savor while we sat in the grass at a small park, enjoying the sunshine.

For dinner, we ate at a restaurant I’d found on Yelp: Au Pied du Fouet. I ordered the canard (duck), and it was delicious, although I felt self-conscious because the friendly chef stood at the door to the kitchen watching me eat.

Rachel and I ended every day by climbing seven flights of stairs (127 steps. I counted). Then we rewarded ourselves with a hot shower in our plastic porta-shower and then… sleep!

Authentically Aurora

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Je Suis Une Vache

Since I am bored out of my mind at work, I have been teaching myself French. You know, for something to do between the monotony of reading legal jargon and babysitting adults who cannot adhere to project deliverables.

“Parties agree to be bound by the terms of the Contract Documents as amended by this CCR-CCN. Except as expressly supplemented and amended by this CCR-CCN, the Contract Documents shall remain in full force and effect. From the effective date of this CCR-CCN, references to any of the Contract Documents shall…”

Je m’ennuie!

“Chris – I had a call with Ron this afternoon, and he advised that he believes Andrew is still waiting on an updated Citrix RFI. Could you advise if this has been delivered? I am trying to connect the dots, per our conversation this morning.”

Je ne comprends pas…

Yesterday my escapism was a fun lesson of learning to flirt in French. My app of choice, Duolingo, taught me valuable life skills, like how to say: “It is hot in here, or is that just you?”

French crush

At the end of the lesson, I was greeted with the sound of a trumpet flourish (da da, da DA!!!) and a vibrant banner that declared, “You have learned the skill: Flirting!”

It’s possible that I laughed out loud, or at least smirked to myself. As my best friend Ashley said, “Glad you will be adept at flirting in multiple languages.” Ha.

But then today, Duolingo decided to humble me. It decided to remind me that there is no need to learn the skill: Flirting because I am a fat cow and will be single for all of eternity. Attempts at flirting are futile, it told me. Just look at the horrible things Duolingo made me learn (and practice saying out loud)!

French cow

“I live with my cats.”

“He looks at a cow.”

“I am breaking the belt.”

What’s up with that, Duolingo? Way to teach me to flirt like a champ; then crush my soul by reminding me about my extra tonnage and cat-less cat lady status.

Duolingo, you are the Indian giver of hope. Zero stars.

Authentically Aurora

Speed Dating Rock Star

Surrounded by Guys at Bar

Apparently I am a Speed Dating ROCK STAR.

This past weekend, I was introduced to no less than fourteen questionably eligible bachelors, and when I received my feedback form three days later, guess how many indicated that they wanted to see me again?

You got it. All fourteen.

How is it that, at the office, I get the feedback that I need to work on playing nicely with the other children in the sandbox, but when I go to an event where I have to woo complete strangers, I manage to win over every single one? Then again, maybe these guys were just desperate to find a practice english conversation partner. Or maybe my ridiculously good looks carry more weight at speed dating than in Corporate America. Or both.

Regardless, the important fact is that one of those fourteen interested gentlemen was Victor the Filipino physician with the winning smile and fabulous personality! And he just might have contacted me immediately upon receiving our matches’ contact information. And perhaps asked me on a date. And last night we might have gone to a fancy wine dive and engaged in sparkling conversation over foie gras. After all, there were no Frenchmen represented at our ‘Round the World speed dating!

Authentically Aurora