un. deux. trois.

how do i even begin to find the words to describe a two-week journey through paris in a single blogpost? i can hardly wrap my mind around the thought of recounting our memories to others – this space included – because in all honesty, no one will ever, truly understand our experience.

that is, except for mama.

fifteen days in the city of lights, and all i can say is how magical she was this time of year. perhaps my favorite, in fact. fewer crowds of tourists, more lights and holiday festivities. the biting chill outside made for a welcomed break in a cozy cafe, and later, snuggles underneath blankets with a cup of tea and treat in our charming apartment.

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we walked and we walked, as one does in a city that relies on public transportation. what a delight, though, to discover new streets, oftentimes get lost, but always find our way home. and then there’d be those times when we had a sense of familiarity from trips past, recalling a certain corner or a particular store. revisiting paris for the third time together made us feel a part of a collective whole, as opposed to stranded tourists. we felt part of a community.

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i could certainly wax poetic about the vibrant markets, rich with vegetables and various foodstuffs, local residents and their unabashed voracity. i could also detail the intricacies of the baked goods – everything from the admirable baguette to the flaky croissant. even the cheese. well, that could very well be a post in its own right. however, i’ll leave those details for your imagination. my words will never measure to the experience of the senses.

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it was an interesting time for france, as civil unrest ensued over a proposed increase on taxes for fuel. beyond that triggering point were other protests, including minimum wage legislation, education reform, and general frustration with the current government. the revolt was led by citizens throughout the country, the yellow vests, and although their intention was for peaceful protests, extremists inevitably joined, creating chaos throughout the capital. stores and buildings were vandalized, cars burned, people wounded. the arc de triomphe, a symbol of fraternity, became a target for retaliation. staying away from the destruction, we couldn’t help but feel caught between the intentions of the government with its global perspective and the citizens, with their frustration and ultimate strife. it was heartbreaking to witness our home-away-from-home being defaced, but what an incredible eye-opener it served to the problems of the world-at-large.

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of course, these experiences wouldn’t be what they were without mama by my side. the way her eyes lit up when she first caught glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. the way she rejoiced over holiday decorations and festive lights. i’ll never forget how she enjoyed her daily croissants or the falafel on our last day. traveling with mama is as close to being back in her womb as i’ll ever get. it’s as if i feel her heartbeat, feel her rush of blood as she takes inventory of the beauty around her. there were several occasions i had to hold back tears as i watched this exquisite woman experience a love so profound, it took your breath away. she was paris for me.

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i’ll never quite fully grasp how paris innervates me, how she feeds my soul. i guess it’s just one of those agreements we have to make with ourselves – that there will be moments in our lives that contribute to the edification of self. this trip was no doubt a piece of my journey. wholly grateful, cheers to a new season ahead!

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