Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best Gift...



Christmas is a time of giving, and receiving.

Three years ago I received a gift... and my life changed. Completely, totally, and I hope permanently.

I received my passion.

Oh, I had passion for my family, and for God, and I in no means want to minimize those, but this was different...

It was a passion just for me... well, actually for me and my better half.

Paris gave me passion...

Only in a place of passion, is something like this created...
so full of emotion...
feeling...



Only in a place of passion, do you turn, and see this..

In Paris I received my passion...
passion for a place,
a way of life,
a way of thinking... thinking that told me there was more out there in the world than right here where I live...

My life gained texture, wonder, romance, awe, inspiration. I am willing to do things I would've never done before, all because I visited a place...


Here are a few things I've done over the past 3 years, that I would have NEVER done without open eyes to see the possibility to live more fully, to take chances, to get out of my rut... a rut I had carefully constructed myself, a rut I thought I was most happy in...
Until... Paris...

*I was the lead in a play for charity. I always secretly dreamed of being an actress, but never pursued it. You know what? When it was over, even though I was glad I did it because it stretched me, I realized I do not ever really want to do that again.
Funny, huh?

*I started writing. I took a writing class. I started this blog! I can promise you, no way would I have had anything to say, or the nerve to say it, a few years ago.
I did the book writing challenge. Without Versailles, and all the mystery and glamour of that place, and falling in love with Marie Antoinette, along with the city of Paris,
I would have never, ever had the imagination to do that.

*I took French lessons with a group of complete strangers.

*We welcomed a 14 year old French girl, Clara into our home for 3 weeks. That was so unlike us. We don't even like to have company!

*We visited Clara's family in Marseille, knowing they didn't even speak English! What a night... what an experience.

*I've turned corners, not knowing where I was going.

*Gone down deserted, lonely streets and alleys, unafraid.

*Walked alone (without Scott) in Paris at night at 11pm, thrilled by the exhilaration of knowing I would never do that in America.

*I got on trains without the proper ticket. Would I be thrown off? Get in trouble? Who knew? I just stuck my nose in a book, and hoped for the best. My heart beat wildly, but sometimes, when you have no choice, you just have to go with the flow.

*I went in buildings, restaurants, cafes etc. having no idea what the deal was, how the food was, or how we would be treated.

*I jumped turnstiles, when there were no other options.

*I learned to put on a scowl and argue with Frenchmen...ok, so it did me no good, but still, I did it! I stood up for myself.

*I tried snails... I love snails... enough said.

So my favorite gift I ever received did not come wrapped in a package at Christmas. It was given to me quite unawares, when I didn't even see it coming.

Only once in my life did a place that was man-made,
overwhelm me,
bring me to tears.
Only once have I sat in awe...
felt the passion of others...
felt the passion of creativity and artistry...
seen what can be created when there is time, no rush, no deadline...

Never have I felt so small, yet so full...


So Paris, I applaud you for preserving your past, for keeping your passion for beauty, for understanding that you can change and evolve...without removing all remnants of the past. An old building isn't torn down, it's recreated into something else. A palace that no longer houses royal residents, isn't mowed down for something new, it becomes home to some of the greatest works of art ever created. The residents of your apartment buildings change with each new generation, but the mystery and emotion in the air, never goes away.

So for me, I just want to say,

Merci Paris...Merci Beaucoup




21 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh my gosh, Teri! This made me cry! In a good way! I have had a similar experience the past few years with stepping WAY out of my comfort zone to do stuff I NEVER EVER would have seen myself doing -- I can so relate to what you are saying. So empowering! Nothing like feeling fully alive! However I am still dreaming of OUR trip to Italy and hoping it does the same thing for me that Paris has done for you. Which is funny, given that I took two years of French in high school and my teacher was just like you, so in love with Paris. But something about Italy calls my name! Not sure when this dream will come to fruition -- Johnny wants to plan it for my 50th birthday, but that's the year our son is going to Japan for a semester abroad, if all goes well, and we want to be able to visit him, too. Guess we'll see! Thanks so much for sharing this very moving post. Being our age definitely has it's perks, doesn't it?

Cathi said...

What a beautiful post! I, too found my passion thru a series of tragedies and of all places in an assisted living home for seniors. It changed my life too! I long to see Paris the way you did - you have given me that and I thank you! xxoo

Teri said...

Kelly,
I was able to visit my brother 2 Christmas' ago in Okinawa, Japan, and it was fabulous.

I will be 50 THIS JUNE... Yike-o-rama!

I do love being this age. If Italy calls... go! We keep talking about it, but like a magic potion, Paris calls us back over and over. We have actually planned out complete Italy itineraries, and in the end... we keep going back to the same place.

I think the secret to a place meaning SO much, is to go alone with your hubby... it's the only way to travel...LOL.

Teri

Teri said...

Cathy... So glad to hear that.
It warmed my heart. You never know what will enter your life when you least expect it!

Teri

Jenny said...

What a sweet celebration. And the fact that you get to share it with your other half---what joy! Thank you for sharing your inspiration and giving it your voice. I love the pic of you amongst the glowing cream sculptures...at...I guess..the Louvre. How lovely. Merry CHristmas season.

Diane said...

Teri,
What a beautiful post! I believe that passion is what makes dreams come true. I'm so glad you're living in it fully.
Diane

Kelly said...

Would you happen to still have those Italy itineraries? I'd love to have a starting place if you do! And I do believe my son will also be in Okinawa. So I need to pump you for information on that when the time gets nearer!

char said...

Teri, Your post is awesome. You have your voice, you have shown your passion and you have written the first chapter of your travel book or the forward to you Marie novel. I can't wait to read them both.
If Parisians read this post they would immediately go out to see their city with new eyes.
Beautiful!
Char

Simply Colette said...

Aww! It's amazing what travel can do for the soul. I had that same feeling a few years ago as I stood on the shore of Lake Como. I was about to be engaged, and broke it off for a sporadic trip to Europe to clear my head, but ended up blowing off a proposal. I had tears in my eyes as I licked my gelato on the shore, thinking I would never be standing here if I said yes. And in that moment I knew I made the right decision. :)

JBeaudetStudios said...

I love your blog! I've never been to Paris (yet) but now I know I must go! You make it sound so great. My daughter is becoming very passionate about other countries and France is number one. She's teaching herself French and planning to go abroad when in college. I hope I'll be able to go with her. I dream of someday being able to paint where all the great painters. I love how you say Paris has changed you and opened you up to new things. That's where I am in my life too. Now I just need to get the money to do those things!:) I'll definitely be following your blog! Thank you for such nice comments about my art. It really means a lot.-Jennifer

A Tale of Two Cities said...

Teri,
I think this is one of your very best posts. You are really writing from your heart, and we, your readers, are inspired. Keep talking, keep dreaming, keep sharing.

Debi

*The Beautiful Life* said...

You post is awesome. You blog looks awesome... Teri -- everything is just perfect! :)

Ruth

Meagan said...

I love the new layout.

Blondie said...

Hi there! THANKS so much for stopping by and your sweet comments on my blog! I appreciate new followers and am following you now too! Love your blog. Hope you are having a great day honey and so excited for you that you completed Nano. Kori xoxo

BonjourRomance said...

Bonjour Teri!
Love your new header, the images are great. Thanks for stopping by my blog and to bring you up to date - yes, I met my honey in Paris (it was fairy tale material) and he is absolutely wonderful! I moved here just over 3 years ago and never one regret! Sounds corny - but it was destiny!!
All your photos are fabulous.

Andrea - Faded Plains said...

I truly know how you feel...when my hubby and I went to Paris...we came home different too. We plan on living there one day...fingers crossed.

Teri said...

Andrea~
We talk about moving there at least twice a week. We talk about exactly the kind of apartment we want, we discuss furniture, artwork, all aspects, until it's as if our plane leaves tomorrow. This fall, we rearranged (in our minds) each of the apt. we were in. We had some pretty good ideas of what we could live without... almost everything! We were so content in ONE room. It's amazing. We would even have arguments about which kitchen appliances are necessities. We were taking it so seriously, each sticking with our own ideas. Actually, we might kill each other in one room over time! LOL.
We are thinking of starting with spending a summer there... with hubby flying back and forth (someone has to work...). Of course our 15 yr. old thinks her life would be over if we made her go to Paris...someday she will not believe her own words.

BTW...How's the truck????

Teri

The Liberty Belle said...

Beautiful post!

KaReN EiLeeN said...

What a beautiful post. Our family went to Italy two years ago. It is something everyone should do, venture and explore another country. Makes you realize how big our world is. Love your writing...

Karen eileen

Bonjour Madame said...

Teri,

This post puts into words exactly how it made me feel too. I felt alive there and it stayed with me. Every time I think about going back I get giddy with excitement. It truly is the best place on earth.

The Flying Bee said...

Teri,

This was definitely one of your best post ever! I love it! I could feel your passion as I read each word! I am so happy for you!

xo,
Adrienne

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