Sunday, April 30, 2017

My Paris Shirt is Back

Spending the last two days in Paris has been very full-circle for me. I realized how young I really was as an 18-year-old in a strange country. This time everything just seems to make sense and fit together in my head so much better. It's been an "AHA" moment.

Yesterday we went to the Louvre, Tuileries Garden, Arc de Triomphe, the Madeline, and walked along the Seine River. It was a full day of seeing things I had already seen, yet feeling things I had never felt before. 

Greek Art. You never hear about it, but it needs to be appreciated

People watching at the Mona Lisa is better than the actual painting.

The Louvre and the Tuileries

The Madeline and the view of the Street.

I've been to a lot of Catholic churches, but I have never been brave enough to light a candle and give an offering. I thought, why not? A prayer is a prayer. I was so nervous trying to count up my change to make up a euro, and then place it in the right slot so I could take out the candle. Pretty sure I almost lit my sleeve on fire. But then I stepped back and took a moment to tell God all the things I loved about him and I was really grateful that I was given a special moment to pray and reflect. I probably wouldn't have on my own.  I was surprised by the feeling of community that washed over me while looking at everyone's candles and everyone's light. I was a part of that. We were all seeking God. That is a special thing. 

My first candle

Today was spent all around the Notre Dame. I wanted to climb to the top because it is my favorite view of Paris. When you are at the top, you just feel like you are breathing in Paris. It felt good to breathe it in again. I also gained a new appreciation for the cultural melting pot that is Paris. All around me I could hear Chinese, Italian, Spanish, French and, of course, English. 

Everyone looks so chic and stylish. It is killing me. They don't even wear make up and they are just rocking their style. One day maybe I will be able to master it. 

The best part of the day was jut being able to wander. 

On top of the Notre Dame

My candle obsession

The Siene. 

Side note: I bought this sweater four years ago in Paris and today it got to have another day in the sun. Happy to bring it back to it's home. 

Watching the children play at the Luxembourg Garden.

It really was an adventure of a day, and it felt so good to be back. 

Tommorrow  head out on my internship, where the real learning and adventure will begin. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

From Versaille to Paris

When you are in Versailles, you must go to the Palace of Versailles. I have been there once before, but it was fun to connect with my old friend, Louis XIV again.

I have a few things to say to him . . .

I love your choice of wallpaper. (You must have been a groovy dude).

I stand in awe at your fireplaces. It must have taken an entire forest to heat your home.

Your grandiose designs inspired us so much that we named our luggage after you as we dragged it through the palace. 

Most importantly, I want to thank you for your perfectly symmetrical garden. We stood all amazed. 

The baguette that I took from our complimentary breakfast, coming in clutch for lunch.

Trying to faint in our arms . . . these are my friends, Marie and Sariah.

We felt pretty fancy as we hopped on the train and headed into Paris. It all came back to me,  the smell of the metro mixed with cigarette smoke. It was oddly comforting.

We decided to start with the Eiffel Tower, which I had grown so attached to three years ago. When I saw it, I felt like I was looking at an old friend. 

(We were really happy to see each other!)

I practiced all of my Eiffel Tower traditions--bought a baguette and boursin cheese from the carrefour around the corner and sat with my friends on the grass of the Champ du Mars. Most importantly, the we told stories about boys. Nothing better on a Friday night, right?

I just couldn't look away. I wanted to suck in all the air . . . take it all in. We watched the sun go behind the Eiffel Tower, saw the lights turn on, and then boom . . . it SPARKLED.

That's magic. 

Until my Paris adventures continue . . .

I'm back...

Hey friends, family and maybe even some strangers...

Somehow, I found myself waking up in Versailles, France this morning. Weird. It's weird because coming back for a second time, it all seems familiar.

In fact, the only time I really ever blogged was on my last trip to France. And I just can't help feeling like, how did I get here again? And it was a whole lot better of a first day than my last first day. There were no feelings of fear, wanting to hide in a hole, and confusion added on to my jetlag. Can anyone yell blessing??

But enough of me babbling...I arrived in Paris yesterday around 11 with my Professor and his wife, who might be winning me over as the cutest couple...

She sat on his lap the entire tour.

There they are...melting my heart away

If you are not convinced, just wait…in the next six weeks, I will get you.

I was so ready to put all my stuff done by the time we got to the hotel. We freshened up, put on our dresses and headed to the Paris Temple Open House. I didn’t know what I was expecting, but thinking back on it now, it wasn’t the architecture alone that astounded me. It was the people.
Inside, the stain glass totally knocks your socks off. C’est tres belle et magnifique. My tour group had about 15 -20 people in it. A French family had come to pick us up from the airport and went through the open house with us. They had three girls, and the little girl, who was 6 spoke such fast French…she was the only one I had no idea what she was saying to me.

But the real kicker…you can take the tour in English or French. We went for the authentic experience and so there was 6 ACTUAL FRENCH PEOPLE who came just to see what the temple was like. One of the ladies started asked me…”Vous etes une Mormon?” (You are a Mormon?) I said, “Oui, et toi?” (Yes, and you?) Then she explained to me that she was in fact a Catholic from Versailles that had heard about this building going up and was curious what was inside. I couldn't believe it. They were all so respectful and asking questions politely. The tour guides bore testimony over and over of the family and told of their experiences getting sealed in the temple. I just knew God was smiling and that's what made me smile. 

They all came out and filled out thier information to either get more information about the church or to have the missionaries come by. The same lady I spoke with told us that she always thought that the LDS church was only an American church, but after seeing the temple, she learned that something about it was French too. 

And even though I learned that the bottom floor of the temple the stain glass has closed flowers, and the more you go up and up in the temple, they become more and more open, symblozing growth, the most important thing I witnessed yesterday was the coming together of cultures and religions. 

After that it was really all a blur, but I did eat a salmon burger for dinner…and a pain au chocolat for breakfast (why is the food so much better?). I am really excited though to learn here for the next six weeks. I have understood and spoken more French in one day, than it feels like I did the whole time I was in France last time, so I am excited to see where this goes.

Au revoir! A demain!