The night after I wrote my last blog post in Italy, I prayed hard for God to bless me with something that was individually for me. It sounds selfish, but I really just had this desire in me to be blessed by my father as his daughter. I wanted to feel that love from a father who loves his daughter.
So when we left Cinque Terre, we stayed 4 days in Venice where we had the opportunity to stay on an AMAZING flat that was located on the water and was absolutely gorgeous. The roommates in the flat were so nice and inspiring. They had traveled and lived in so many places, and did a lot to make us feel comfortable, including giving up one of their rooms for us, and cooking us amazing italian dinners!
On the 23rd of September we left Venice for Paris! We arrived at our couchsurfing host Sylvain’s house at 2:30 in the morning on the 24th and went straight to sleep! When we woke up we knew we couldn’t waste the day because we would only be spending 3 1/2 days in Paris. So, Carly, Suz and I all got ready and headed out to the Louvre! I am not a big museum person, or statue person, or building person, but I was so excited to go exploring in the Louvre! While there I got to see the Mona Lisa, and declared The Winged Victory of Samothrace my new favorite statue (it’s so fierce!). However, I was a bit overwhelmed in the museum. There were so many famous pieces, and so many people that I felt like I really couldn’t appreciate each individual piece the way it deserved. After walking around there for a few hours I felt a bit frazzled and was excited to go outside and meet Sylvain who was taking us to a couchsurfing picnic in a park then a firework show/storytelling of the “little prince”.
We took a walk through the city and saw Notre Dame. For some reason though I couldn’t grasp that I was in paris, that this was some people’s lifelong dreams to visit paris, and I was there! I couldn’t stop seeing it as just another city that I was traveling through. I really, really hated that feeling because I always try to see each place individually along with the people I meet in it. So I told Suzanne how I was feeling and she told me to imagine like I was back in Hawai’i wishing I was in Paris, seeing new things, meeting new people and making long lasting memories, then to realize that I was here. So I did that then said a quick prayer that God would open my eyes and bring me into reality, because he had brought me here.
So I got a new perspective and was ready to enjoy Paris. The picnic and firework show was so fun. I truly enjoyed talking with everyone there, a few tried to teach me french, a few made fun of me because I couldn’t speak french, let alone another language (but it’s Paris so what should I expect? haha) and the fireworks were awesome! We ended up getting home fairly late and crashing because we were so wiped out.
The next morning we woke up and were going to go to church. Carly knew someone who helped start a church plant in Paris so we were all going to go check it out. First me and Suz decided to go down to the local market, but we only had 10 minutes. We both ended up getting separated and I had no idea how to get to church. All I knew was that it was located at Novotel Paris, so I jumped on a train and got off at the stop Sylvain told me it could possibly be at and ended up finding it. I was an hour late though, but so happy to see Suz and Carly there. After church our plan was to take a train to Notre Dame and find bikes to ride to the tower. When we got there we would climb up it, take pictures with it and enjoy the park. But if you know Carly, Suzanne and I then you know that we get distracted easily. And when you put the three of us together we are even worse. So we got on the train but ended up stopping to see the Arc de Triomphe. Then getting back on the train to Notre Dame. When we got there we couldn’t really figure out how to rent the bikes so we decided to eat first. It took about half an hour to figure out what we wanted to eat, then all three of us got something different and just ate at a nearby park. After eating we spotted a Starbucks and decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have Starbucks (it had been awhile) so we went in to get a drink. While we were over at the little stand where you spice your drink up a young guy was walking over and had an interesting drink in his hand. He looked friendly so I asked him what it was. Then we all started talking to him and he suggested we sit down with him. So we did, the eiffel tower had been in the same spot for about 113 years, we figured it could wait another hour or so. =]
So the guy’s name was Maxime. He was so fun to talk to and had a hilarious sense of humor. Within the first five minutes of getting to know each other the question of what year we graduated high school came up. Suzanne and Carly graduated in 2005 then it came time for me to answer and I had graduated in 2010. So Maxime looks at me and says, “Are you younger, or just dumber?” I looked at him in shock and realized he wasn’t joking then looked over at Suz and Car who were in as just as much of a shock as me and then we all started bursting out laughing. I seriously laughed until I was crying. Maxime was trying to console me saying he didn’t mean to be rude or offend me and I was just laughing because it was obvious he was literally curious and didn’t mean to offend me. So when we finally stopped laughing I explained to him that I was 5 years younger than Suzanne and Carly. We went on with the conversation and he told us that he might actually be moving to Hawai’i to go to grad school at HPU. So hopefully we will get to see Maxime again! About an hour and a half later we said goodbye to him and made plans to meet at a pub later and went off to finally see the eiffel tower.
The tower was amazing. You think it wouldn’t be as amazing because you grow up seeing pictures of it your whole life, but I was in complete awe. We took an elevator to the top of the tower and just admired the view. We were all extremely giddy and I just felt pure joy being up there. While we were on top of the tower it started twinkling like it does every hour at night for 5 minutes. It was so cool to be up there while it was shining. We spent about an hour at the top and then decided to make our way down when it started twinkling again! We wanted to be on the ground to see it so we decided there was no time to take the elevator and started running down the stairs. I seriously laughed the whole way down the tower at Suzanne repeatedly saying, “Wow” and Carly making comments about the Wow’s and then just because I was really giddy about being in Paris and running down the eiffel tower in time to see it sparkling.
We finally made it down and ran out in just enough time to see it sparkle for a few more minutes. It was so beautiful. When it was finished I couldn’t contain my happiness. It sounds so silly but it really felt so magical to be there with everyone around who was just as happy and to have two good friends with me. I felt like a little girl, so I started twirling and leaping below the tower, just to get the full magical effect. =] It was so beautiful.
The next day if you can believe it was even better than the eiffel tower magic. A year ago I had met a guy named Adrien in Indonesia who was from Paris, studying to be a doctor. I decided to contact him and see if he could meet me for a coffee to catch up. We made plans to meet at Starbucks. When we got there we got a coffee and started talking, then an hour later I was on the back of his motorcycle while he was giving me a tour of Paris. It was so fun. It was in the late afternoon so the lighting was perfect, it felt like a crisp fall day and it was so gorgeous. Seeing the city that way was so romantic and I felt like it was straight out of a movie. It sounds silly but I had always wanted to live out that cliche of getting a tour in another country, on a motorcycle, from a local. He showed me a lot of things and told me the history of them that I would have never known. It was so, so fun. Then he dropped me back off at Starbucks and we said our goodbyes, hopefully convincing him to travel to Hawai’i.
Later that night I sat and really thought about my weekend in Paris. God had answered my prayers and blessed me with amazing, individual experiences for me. I really felt like he had given me this weekend as a gift for his daughter. Everything I experienced was already amazing, but he gave me this special perspective where I really felt in the moment and alive. Again, I felt a new freeing or God releasing me. I was so happy to be a daughter of the most high who enjoys blessing his children. I felt encouraged to dream, and enjoy life. I felt free and at peace to be simply who God created me to be, and to let him take me on adventures and to really trust him with everything. It’s such a weight that is lifted off when you stop caring about what others think, worrying, and being anxious and you really just be. It’s so simple once you realize it, and I was 10 times happier once I let it happen. I felt this release to really start dreaming for the impossible. I felt encouraged with my photography that I could possibly use it as a future if I really started focusing on learning. But most of all I really just felt blessed to have had such an amazing 3 days in Paris, and I was excited for whatever God had for us next during our day in Athens and the next two weeks in Israel. =]
Take a deep breath, relax, surrender it all to God, pray for an opportunity to feel like His child, and just be simply who he created you to be. Revel in the simplicity. Alooha.