Difficult and meaningful will always bring more satisfaction than easy and meaningless. Maxime Lagacé
I was living in Paris. I was sipping champagne and eating an omelet. I should have been jumping for joy. But on this grey Sunday, in my attic, I couldn’t help but feel lonely. Paris was my heaven on earth, but I was still human. I had dual, conflicting emotions and all I could do was sit with them. I could not change how I was feeling. Anyone who ever up and moved his or her life to a foreign country will say the same thing. It is not all roses. No matter what. As I continued sipping my champagne I pulled out my school documents from the week. I may as well use this day to study my wine notes, I thought to myself. I glanced at the itinerary for our upcoming trip to Champagne, France. We would be getting to embark as a class on a three-day trip through Champagne while visiting all of the top Champagne houses. I could hardly wait. Listed were the following: Dom Perignon, Moët, Bollinger, Duval Leroy, Krug, and Ulysses Collin. Wow. We would leave next month, meaning I had several weeks to get acquainted with Paris again. I would get to explore the charming streets of my neighborhood, flirt with the vendors at the Marché, meet Pearl, Sebastian and Sarah at the hip wine bars on the left bank we had spoken about, and walk along the Seine River. Just the thought of these ideas and knowing they were my reality snapped me out of my sadness. In fact, what was stopping me from living one of these out now? I decided a long walk on the river was much needed. I rinsed my plate, stuck the champagne bottle back in the fridge saving one glass for later, and tied up my Nike running shoes. I live in Paris. I loved repeating this thought to myself; it never got old or monotonous. I could walk on the Seine admiring the beautiful bridges and moldings of the large romantic buildings…
Every. Single. Day.
As I walked along the river I noticed everything around me. I was experiencing a deep presence. Couples walking hand in hand, boats cruising down the water with tourists waving to pedestrians on the shore, the arched bridges that seemed so magnificent and powerful, and then there it was, creeping through the bend, mysteriously growing in size with every step I took, the beauty itself. The Eiffel Tower. Paris brought out a state in my being, where it was almost effortless to be P.R.E.S.E.N.T. … without trying. With ease. Isn’t staying present the ultimate key to happiness? I was onto something – Paris brought this out in me.
No matter what, even as I saw the Eiffel Tower everyday in Paris…. it always moved me. It was so grand and stunning. I discovered the most perfect walk in Paris that would become my new normal. A walk that started at the Notre Dame, went along the river to the Eiffel Tower, and back again. It was exactly five miles and the entire time I was right along the water. I started strolling this walk four times a week. Whether it was in the morning or the evening – this was a beautiful way to take in Paris. I still could not decide if I found Paris more beautiful at night or in the daylight. I concluded it was a good dilemma to have.
As I was approaching the 5th arrondissement again, my phone vibrated. It was a message from Sebastian on the group chat.
Bonjour! Do you all want to meet tonight and share a good bottle of wine at 5eme Cru?! It is that wine bar we talked about.
Let the social scene in Paris begin… Mais Oui!