7.12.2009

Paris Reflections

It is so nice to be home! The weather has been amazing and I am appreciate things I always take for granted (like not being allergic to a place). I love to travel because it gives me a chance to experience new places and cultures but also helps me truly see myself and the place where I live.

The day after we got back the little sister and I decided to head out for lunch. Now there are a lot of restaurants around where we live but all of a sudden we were REALLY aware of the quality of the food these restaurants serve. They just didn't appeal to us. We decided to go to a restaurant called Old Vine Cafe a little further away.

It seems like I haven't been to Old Vine in over a year. With the new job and T and I having schedule changes we just never seemed to make it up there. I really missed it. The food is amazing and seasonal and made me feel like I was back in Paris at a cafe (sigh). The only bad thing was that there was no Metro to take us home so wine was not part of lunch (sigh again).

Here are some of my reflections on Paris:

Public transportation is AWESOME. The metro was amazing and I really miss it. Driving is overrated and driving in So Cal is not a friendly experience. I noticed, surprisingly, that people drive slowly in Paris and are very courteous to motor bikes, bicycles and pedestrians. A little different here....

Cell phones work in the metro but people don't talk on them, they text. Very few times did I actually HEAR someone talking on the phone. The Parisians talk quietly with their hand covering there mouth when they talk on their phones in public. I think you can draw your own comparison to how people use there phones here in the U.S..

When I first got back I was hyper-aware of plastic. There is plastic in France but a lot of items are packaged in glass. The residential trash system even has a separate recycling container just for glass. Plastic seems to be everywhere here. It really made me stop and look around at how many items are not being re-used. I mean, I recycle, but am I doing enough? After reflection on this I decided to start doing more. When we get back form Yellowstone I am going to start my worm bin again for the kitchen scrapes we create. I think I am going to start a small vegetable garden to have fresh lettuce and spinach out my front door. I am going to make myself aware of all the plastic I use and find ways to use it again. I know I am just one person, but I can still make a difference.

I really enjoyed my trip in Paris. I learned things about myself and got to experience a great city. When I got back I was in this "Zen" state for a few days. I wanted to slow down. Take time. Smell the flowers. But as the week progressed I found myself being sucked in by the tide and now I have to swim against it to try to find that Zen state. I guess that is what vacation is supposed to be. A time to let us find the slower version of who we want to be. I am just searching for a balance.

Here is my new mantra:
"Be the change you want to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

Notes to Self:

Shop Little Saigon, fresh (pesticide free?) products

Parisians as a whole
different sense of humor
don't smile much

Americans as talkative vs friendly?

Things I learned
arrive home on a Friday
pack less
layers
Paris walking city OC and LA not

Next trip
3 weeks
cooler weather
move around
plan better
schedule me time
pack in layer

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