Three weeks in Paris has taught me more than I ever thought I could learn in that time.
Three weeks in Paris has taught me that you can spend your whole life (or twenty years of it anyway) researching a place so you know every little thing about it, only to arrive and realise that you will never really know its secrets.
Three weeks in Paris has taught me to cram every day with haphazard adventure – that the best way to discover a place is to pick a direction and just walk that way until you learn something about the place or even yourself.
And finally, three weeks in Paris has taught me the importance of family.
My partner and I are having an amazing time – no, better than that. Each moment is amazing and that means that altogether the experience is….well….incredibly amazing. Every day is a new experience, a new culinary delight, a new nook of Paris to photograph and mentally catalogue to fuel future wanderlust.
And with Christmas fast approaching, I was beyond excited to spend my favourite day of the year with the man I love, in the city that I belong in. I begged and begged for my first real Christmas tree, and bought ornaments (much to Jayme’s and our bank account’s distress) to hang around our little apartment.
See, I live for anything Christmassy. It really gets my blood pumping. Baubles? Yep, I collect them. Tinsel? Pretty sure it was my first word. So as each year comes to an end, I come alive.
But when I woke up on Christmas morning this year – it is a tradition of mine to wake up before the sun to squeeze as much out of the day as I possibly can – with the crisp Parisienne air weaselling through our balcony window…I was sad.
Try as I might, I couldn’t seem to ignore the overwhelming sensation that I was missing out on Christmas. With Jayme beside me and good ol’ Harry Connick Jr. serenading our sleep-in, you could imagine why I was so confused.
We had fantastic plans – a five-course meal on board a river cruise with glass windows for us to better see the fantastic monuments that characterise the Parisienne landscape. So why was I feeling like my favourite day was just not the same?
Sitting up in bed with espressos in hand and each other in our arms, we called our parents. And just like that, I felt the familiar tingle of Christmas spirit. You know the one – it starts in my toes, makes me crinkle my nose (just kidding, don’t sue me for copyright, xoxo).
The realisation struck me that the Christmas spirit doesn’t live inside me. And nor do I have the right to claim myself the Queen of it, proclaiming my endless supply of it is mine to share with everyone.
This Christmas has taught me that I do not have Christmas spirit on my own – I only borrow it from my friends and family who come together on Christmas and create it themselves. Sure, I promote it and maybe I even give a little extra sparkle to it each year but it is the coming together of everyone I love that makes it so special.
So to you, my friends, I give some Christmas wisdom learnt the hard way by a die-hard Noël fan. Enjoy your family, and be present with your friends. Spend each moment with them entirely and be with them when you can – especially on Christmas.
This is not a sad post, nor a regretful one. I owe every minute of happiness I experienced on Christmas to Jayme for making it one I will never forget and one that I couldn’t have enjoyed if he was not with me. Our cruise was incredible (post to come!) and we indulged ourselves, creating possibly one of the best memories we have had to date. It was a truly special experience.
To my readers, I truly hope you had a Merry Christmas – one filled with love, and family and maybe even a little Parisienne flair. And to my family and friends, thank you for allowing my absence to teach me that it is you that makes Christmas so special every single year.
Votre amie dévouée,
La femme de faim x