Growth, development travel

Day 27. – Paris is Burning

Post 27 of 27.

View from the Pompidu Museum- Marais

I am posting with a small delay as I was in transit between Paris and London and I wanted to take the time to write about this last day of my 27 day challenge, and what it meant to take this much needed journey.

London Bridge 
Street Art in the London Bridge neighborhood of London

This year I celebrate my 40th birthday. It’s a milestone of sorts, as I’m sure it is for all who cross that threshold. I never knew what to expect of this day, whether I would have a family by now, whether I would be living in a big house or a small cottage in a village somewhere, or what I would be doing for a living. I remember when I was 18 or 19 calculating the year I would turn 40, and it was way beyond my comprehension at the time; but now here we are. For better or worse I’ve arrived… and new challenges and paths are beckoning to be explored.

Street Art in the Les Halles neighborhood of Paris

I was speaking to my mother, who reminded me of a memory she had of me when she turned 40. We were in northern Athens, at our then home, in what you would call an “affluent” neighborhood now; but back then, it was in an area no one wanted to live at. I was riding my pink and white bicycle with its training wheels; it was 1982 or ’83 and my mum had just turned 40 that December. I clearly can picture her memory; my mother was slender, as always, with a beautiful smile and a determined gaze, short curly light brown hair and big square glasses. My father good looking and in his late 30’s, a hit of seventies sideburns still donned his face and he wore aviator glasses. A year later we would take our first trip to Paris as a family.

The magic of Paris through my 6 year old eyes, will never match any other trip I’ve taken since. I was in awe. We would visit many times after that, but that first trip was like new world had been revealed. I had never seen such beauty in my life. Glimpses of the Louvre museum before the pyramids were built, the clock of the Muse d’Orsay from up close and the smell of the Parisian air, as we walked through Montmartre and the “dangerous” artistic neighborhoods of the 18th Arrondisment.

I remember still the taste of rich chocolate and french food at a small restaurant in Place Dauphine, now probably long gone. I visit that same little park every time I go to Paris. I sit on a bench; eat a pain au chocolat, and dream of my six year old self walking up the stairs of this larger than life Brasserie with sumptuous deserts lining each step.

Today I celebrate my 40th year, in one of the most poetic, beautiful places in the world, with some of my most treasured memories, and most treasured friends. Cheers, santé, Γεια μας. Onward to this next chapter.

Where, do you remember your most fond childhood memory, and where would you travel to next?

 

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