This is me. In front of Notre Dame in 1993 on the vacation of my lifetime.
I had just graduated from college and travelled with my mom to Paris to stay for nearly a month in an apartment I. Montmartre section of Paris. I could speak a little French, having taken it as a language in high school and a refresher in college. I had been obsessed with France since first grade, when my teachers’ daughter would stop by the school at the end of the day and share with the class the words she was learning in French class. Since then, I dreamed of a time when I could visit France.
In 1993, my mother was the executive administrative assistant for the President of Carnegie Mellon University, and had previously worked as an admin for the Dean of the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, some of which had apartments across the globe. One of them allowed us to stay in his Paris apartment – another of them had parents in Belgium who invited us to stay with them during our month-long trip to Paris.
We arrived in Paris with an address for the apartment and clumsily hailed a cab who took us there. We made our way up the 6 flights of stairs to the apartment where we were greeted by the neighbor, who was thrilled to see us as she’d been told to expect us. She talked a mile a minute, for which even my “Conversational French” class in college couldn’t have prepared me.
We were exhausted and jet-lagged from our trip, but that didn’t stop us from exploring nearby Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. We spent the next few weeks traipsing all over Paris, visiting all of the tourist spots completely on our own with no tour guides. (Just a recommendation… this was an awesome way to see Paris!).
We took a train to Belgium and visited Antwerp and Brugge, and returned to Paris. I have so many wonderful memories about that trip and my pictures don’t do it justice. One day I hope to return and I know it just won’t be the same.
My heart is bleeding this week. To me, the loss is more than material. It’s history, and memories.
heaven and earth shall pass away