Where else would a studying aboard European newbie spend her Saint Valentines day but in Paris, France.
The day of our arrival, my travel companion and I were greeted with a gray, spitting, overcast sky that was not the most welcoming. Determined not to give in to the cold and fatigue, I hung my spirits on high expectations, and tried to keep warm at the thought of what lay in store for us. We were in the most romantic city in the world on one of the most romantic days of the year.
We made it to the flat that had been arranged for the weekend via a taxi and the french highways that looked remarkable similar to those at home. After hitting a few glitches that can be expected during travel, we were finally settled and ready to hit the city.
Everyone has a picture in their head of what something looks. Whether it is based on what they have seen in the movies or read in magazines and books.
But it is very difficult to FEEL a city and its’ rhythm until you have tapped its streets with your heels, and clattered up the steppes of its iconic monuments.
In the city of romance, I expected to feel aware of the fact that I didn’t have anyone special to buy me flowers on valentines day, or to close a lock and throw a key into the river with.
The city of romance didn’t make me feel a need to find love but instead it brought out the love I already had within me.
The romance of the city was with the centuries of history that I felt there. The enormity of the buildings was like nothing that has been built for decades, even centuries. The amount of work that would be put into these buildings reminded me of an era when time was slower, and projects were works of passion and required committment, just as loving people does.
The cities beauty lay its’ ability to transport a person back to an era that has been romanticized and portrayed in paintings, written works for hundreds of years. Where the unattractive aspects were be covered with fine embroidery, lustrous silks, fans, carriages, and a society that was made almost more beautiful by the restraints of protocols and rules.
On the last night of the stay, as I walked down the streets, the Seine’s voluptuous waves seemed to act as a metronome for the city, and the glittering facades that surrounded me were the silent applause from an audience wanting an encore.
It would have been easy to feel as cold as the river probably was. I was filled with a mixture of being full of love and also sadness that only comes from wishing that your dearest ones were with you. I chose to embrace the warmth of the love I felt. Paris had given me a gift: It reminded me of the importance of loving others and being bless with having anyone at all to miss.