You know when you haven’t seen a close friend in a long time? When you finally see them again, you talk as though no distance or time has separated you and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
That’s how it felt to be back in Paris.
The schools in France were just on vacances which means that I had two weeks off to do whatever I pleased. I hung out around Hyères for the first week, during which I watched way too many “Friends” episodes and went on a couple of day trips with the other assistants. We visited Aix-en-Provence and Toulon for a day. The greatest discovery from the Aix trip was definitely the lavender. They produce it in the region so we found some for cheap. I’ve been diffusing it like crazy.
For the next portion, I made my first trip back to Paris for a four-day weekend. I hadn’t been back since I left last November at the end of my study abroad. It was a breath of fresh air to walk the streets of my favorite arrondissements again.Coincidentally, the program director/my professor and the program assistant were both in town at the same time, so we met up at a cafe. If you would’ve asked me a year ago if I thought I’d be back in Paris this fall with Dr. Stratford and Jonathan Grant, I would’ve laughed and thought it impossible. But it’s crazy that I was able to see them again in this city so soon. It’s a God thing for sure. Dr. Stratford and I also did a little shopping before she had to run off to an online class she was teaching- so much fun.
On day two of my trip, I met up with some friends. First stop was hot chocolate with Lea, a super inspiring French blogger who I met at a concert last year. We’re planning to do a blog collaboration during one of my upcoming trips to Paris. Next, my friend Monica and I made dinner at her house and almost started a small fire…oops. After staring at it for a few seconds in shock, Monica threw some water on it and put it out. We chalked it up to another lesson in that dreaded mandatory course Adulting 101. It was so good to catch up on what she’s been doing the past year.
Day three was spent wandering around the Latin Quarter and reminiscing on the times the Asbury group would hang out there during study abroad. I also made a stop at the Jardin du Luxembourg and took in the glory that is Paris in the fall. The leaves, colors, Parisians in scarves and crisp autumn air- so much dang beauty!
Day four took me back to a place I love: Hillsong Paris. It was so good to worship at a familiar place after being away from a “home church” for so long. I took a stroll down the Champs-Élysées before hopping on the train back to the south.
Aside from that time I moved to France alone, this was technically my first solo trip and I have to say that I found so much joy in solo traveling. I hope I’m on my way to mastering the art of solo travel.
Because I was alone, I found myself stopping to photograph my surroundings or take selfies with the intention to post them on Instagram later, even thinking of captions. I didn’t like that “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen/Do It For The ‘Gram” thought pattern. So I deleted my Instagram account on impulse when I went back to my hostel that day. I want to make sure I’m experiencing these moments to the fullest capacity and really being present. Even if no one is there to share the moment with me and no one will see it on social media later, the privacy you get when creating and holding a memory by yourself can make it all the more precious.
After closing my account, I found myself less concerned with photographing everything and just taking it all in. It was refreshing.
I’ll be back in the classroom within the next couple of days and I’m antsy to continue practicing my French in the school.
Check out my Paris trip vlog here: