Friday, September 28, 2012

The Day Starts with Espresso

Even before we were married I had developed a love for espresso.  I believe it came from a few trips to Paris I was able to take after my father had passed away. I rediscovered traveling.  I fell in love with Paris.  I even got over that pesky fear of flying and visited Paris several times. That is saying a lot since my first airplane ticket was purchased on September 10, 2001. 

Even though I could not speak French I was able to learn how to order an espresso, and the occasional double espresso.  Other handy phrases were: thank you, you're welcome, good morning, good evening, and ten tickets please.  I also fell in love with riding the screaming rails of the Metro. 

 Another key to my traveling success was blending.  I wandered the city map-less and without any expectation of being treated any differently than a native.  I dressed in the same style as an average, working, Parisian.  I was very disappointed in my fellow Americans who would crowd into a cafe leaving bags and satchels in the aisles for the waiters to trip over, or the complaints when they weren't served immediately.  I generally stayed silent as I sipped my espresso watching the endlessly fascinating parade of Paris rush past.  I loved my anonymity and got a kick out of Americans coming up to me, leaning into my face, and shouting in English while pointing "MAY - I - TAKE - THIS - CHAIR?".  I would just nod and gesture in response, not wanting to break my spell.  

Instead of being rude I found the French in Paris to be incredibly warm.  I found myself hugged and embraced by perfect strangers (and the occasional waiter).  I lived by the rule for a tourist: "Never appear lost" and one afternoon encountered a French woman desperately lost and asking directions. She was so flustered and anxious I waited for a pause and when I tried to apologize for not speaking French she suddenly laughed, "Ah! No French!" grabbed me and kissed me.  We walked arm in arm to the nearest Metro kiosk where she checked the map there.  I love the French!

Sometimes when I end a post I feel like Proust and his Madelaine's.  One thought opens a floodgate of memory.  Paris...

In bocca al lupo. m & v


  1. I love my country, the United States of America.
    And. We are so very young. Folks in other countries seem to me to be so civilized, in the best sense of the word. Cultured, warm, they seem to take pleasure in the basics: family, food, nature. They make time for those precious parts of our lives. I'd like to be more like that. m-e

  2. Yes, less rushed and insecure than our young, brash selves. m:) (doing well by the way)