Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paris 2011-European Smile Experiment- My Happy Place

It's really hard to believe a year has gone by since Eric and I took our fairytale trip to Paris--Now here we are back again.   We loved it, stayed at a very nice hotel--it was all part of the Euro-Pass package--Euro Pass not so great--Hotels-- 5 star plus and beautiful--and free

Frenchie is back

The Park, the panini's the fountains

Bikes, Crepes, the beautiful buildings

The gargoyles, Frenchie, My favorite bird man

Eiffel Tower, Seine River, pigeon lady

Pastries, parks and castles

Self Portraits-waiting for our bikes

Bike Rides in My Happy Place

We loved this tree

Last day in Paris, the hotel, the man selling Sorbet out of his truck

Fontainbleau France

The Castle--European Smile Experiment

Michael Jackson dancing in the streets

Our last meal in Paris -- Frenchie eats Mussels-Steak & Potatoes-Chocolate Mousse
Monya-french onion soup-Spaghetti -Flan with Caramel Sauce

The Macaroons-buildings-doors, and graffiti 
Our time in Paris was magical,  one day I told Eric I wanted to try an experiment -- I told him to smile at every single person that he sees and see what happens--he then told me that in Paris you need to say Bon Jour first then the smile--I said "nope, this is my experiment no talk just a smile"  I did it my way and he did it his way--Eric was correct, every person he said Bon Jour and smiled at, gave the same respect back to him--me not so good, I noticed eye contact was difficult, I struggled to get smiles in because they were so busy walking and looking at the ground rather than looking at who was walking towards them.  The picture  above with Eric and the lady on the bus makes me laugh I smiled over and over at her, not only did she not smile she frowned at me, but good ole Frenchie says Bon Jour and smiles and she is his best friend. One little girl looked at me and I smiled--she immediately looked at me with a weird half smile,  half "whatever" look and turned away--the only people who gave me any attention were Americans -- I am in no way saying that Americans are better or that they communicate better , it is just a difference in cultural backgrounds.  I actually found the Parisians to be extremely helpful and quite polite, I think we live in a world that we all need to be more excepting of each other. I remember doing this same experiment last year when I was going through cancer treatments and had to be at Mayo for a day--for the most part every person gave me a smile and at least a nod of the head in acknowledgment.

The day we took the bus out to my "happy place" to ride bikes was my favorite day ever--last year we did the same thing and I took that memory with me every time I had surgery or had to face an anxiety attack coming on--I feel at  HOME in that place--it was beautiful nothing had changed--my thoughts as I rode my bike through the beautiful  tree lined paths was that this is peaceful, no outside world to influence me, no noise but the birds and wind blowing in my face.  I saw no cell phones, no computers, no distractions--I was deep in thought and as Frenchie and I sat on a rock talking next to the lake I told him "please don't spend money on an expensive casket for me when I die, just cremate me put me in a Dixie cup, bring me here and spread my ashes"  he laughed but I was serious.  I love that place, this is the place where I am completely FREE, free from all life's worries, here there is no VILLAIN, no-one to disappoint me or hurt me, everywhere I look there are people holding hands, kissing, hugging, laughing--simply put they are enjoying LIFE.  On my shirt that day were the words C'est Bon -- Frenchie said it means "It's all Good"  perfect words for the day I had -- Life is Good --