But we were going to Paris! A place I'd always dreamed of going. I would get to (or be forced to) speak French, there would crêpes and the Louvre and cafes! So I held back my disappointment, and probably some tears, and prepared to embrace my new adventure. My first task was procuring a taxi for us and using my nervous French skills to give him our hotel address. I've found that when speaking French in France, people will either look at you like you are an American idiot, or they will be thrilled and want to chat for the entire taxi ride- in which case you should learn the phrase: "Parlez plus lentement, s'il vous plait." (Speak a little slower please.)
Oh, that hotel, with its teeny tiny elevator that we had to ride two by two, and the weird bed in the closet, and the uncensored tv we were afraid to turn on. I remember the first cafe we visited where my dad wanted to order a glass of port, but got a blank stare, and then asked me to try to order it, but I didn't know what port was, and besides porte means door in French. Le sigh...
We climbed to the top of the Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame and stood in front of the surprisingly small Mona Lisa. We ate a lot of Crêpes Nutella Banane (my favorite). We walked the brick streets and had our portraits made in Montmatre and said merci. And we took it all in and felt very foreign and very far from home and sometimes frustrated. But mostly it was fun because we were there as a family (une famille).
I love Paris and I am so thankful I got to go back a few more times after that first taste. I'm going to leave you with the scanned pages from my scrapbook, put together by my 10th grade self. The pictures are small and poorly cropped and the captions are cheesy. But my feelings towards that first trip outside my comfort zone-the one that stretched me and humbled me and opened my eyes-are still so fresh in my mind.
I finished week one of the A-Z Blogging Challenge - yay!