Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Trip To Paris

My First Trip To Paris

I was 11 years old when I first visited Paris. We took the trip during the Holiday season and I was hesitant about being away from home for Christmas. How would Santa find us? How would we get our presents? And most importantly what if they didn’t have the right kind of cookies to leave for the reindeer? I was assured that Santa would find us and Christmas would be just like at home; however I was not fully convinced.

When I stepped off the plane in Paris for the first time I was overwhelmed: the sounds I heard were beautiful but incomprehensible and next to security guards carrying guns the size of me, well it was a lot to behold! What exactly could they be looking for? It was Christmas. Who could they shoot at Christmas! One of the guards winked at me and somehow managed to squeeze a half laugh three quarter smile out of me. I was reassured that everything would be ok. Still not convinced though.

We got our bags, went through customs, and got into a cab. The cab driver drove wildly out of control; where was he taking us and if he didn’t slow down how would we even get there?? I was beginning to regret agreeing to this trip.

Finally we turned onto a tiny side street and stopped in front of a door. The streets were so unique and narrow as were the buildings and the enormous doors! It was freezing cold and drizzling yet everyone was impeccably dressed. Somehow my brother’s batman cape fluttering in the wind even looked less ridiculous. I felt as if I were in a dream. Everyone and everything moved to a different rhythm... I couldn’t help stopping and trying to take it all in. Maybe I would like this place after all...

I was eager to see what could be behind that gargantuan door in front of us, as I wondered ‘is everything in Paris bigger than life?’ We walked in and I was in awe. The kitchen was in the main room with the bathroom off to one side. There were windows as tall as the sky, which I soon learned was Santa’s Parisian entry. A wooden ladder took us upstairs to the bedroom; it was like a tree house inside!

We left the apartment in search of a tiny Christmas tree. We walked across a bridge that looked over the Isle de France. Everything sparkled. We found a tiny tree…tiny compared to what we would have had at home, but I was too distracted by the incredible little treat, a crepe with nutella, to notice.

As we took our little snow-covered tree back to our home away from home for the holidays, the shopkeeper ran after us screaming incomprehensibly in French. I was frozen in my tracks but my mother was smiling so warmly, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world was going on. He handed her the most precious handmade ornament for our tree! He took my mom by the shoulders and kissed both her cheeks and then the same for me despite my chocolaty face and wished us a Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday in Paris.

At that moment I knew… this was my first visit to Paris but by no means would it be my last. I was touched by the magic of Paris and I still am….

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