Today we are going to take a break from beauty for a bit. Some of you wanted to hear the whole story about how Stephane and I met, so in honor of throw back Thursday, here it is.
July 2012, I spent the month learning French at the Institut Catholique de Paris. I had always wanted to visit Paris, it is my dream city, full of history, the architecture, my love of food and pastries, the endless museums, and most importantly good red wine. I had high hopes for this short trip but as we all know, events surpassed my expectations.
We arrived on July 1st and quickly got settled. I had french every morning from approximately 9am to 12pm. I’m don’t precisely remember my class times but I remember it being difficult to wake up in the morning and then starving by the time I got out of class. The study abroad program I was part of wasincredible and they took great care of us. Before we knew it, we were doing tours of the city and they added events like wine tasting to our agenda when we asked for it. With all the events we were attending together I quickly made friends with a few of the other students but I became very close with one girl in particular, Erica. I also had a roomate, this will be interesting information later.
My trip to France was by first trip to Europe. With the new climate and the physical exhaustion from travelling and not sleeping enough on the account of studies and exploring, my skin broke out. I went to the pharmacy to get something for my heat rash/stress bumps/allergic reaction. I was pretty bummed by the incident, here I am in the city of love and now I have this awful rash on my back. I wanted to be alone for a bit. I grabbed my book and told roomie that I was going totake a walk. I was staying at the Cite U and across the street is Parc Montsouris.
Parc Montsouris is one of the largest green spaces inside Paris and it’s also home to many birds especially 2 pairs of swans, one set white and the other black. I walked all the way to the water’s edge, grabbed the only empty bench and tried to escape into my book. After barely 15 minutes of realizing I wasn’t paying attention to what I was reading, I looked up and there they were. It was my second time seeing them but they were so beautiful, so graceful. I have always loved birds but it was my second time seeing black swans, the only other time I had seen them was the day before. I just looked at them and this feeling of calm and peace came over me. At this moment the white swans came close to them and I was able to take a picture of both sets of swans together.
Right after taking the picture, I heard the ponies had returned to their normal spot after giving the kids rides. Since I hard my camera out I thought I might as well get a picture of them. As I turned from the swans to the ponies, my eyes caught sight of a very handsome man sitting on the bench next to mine. He was wearing a Brown suit with pinstripes, fine leather shoes and had a black pouch with him. He was coming out of a restful position to take a picture of the swans. I took a few pictures of the ponies, from my bench and as I turned back to the swans, our eyes caught and he said “do you see that?” I was quite shocked that he spoke to me that I must have had a confused look on my face because, he pointed to the swans “c’est magnifique” I mustered and “ah oui” and turned to put away my camera. He said something incoherent to me and I responded “je ne parle pas français” which was just about the only French I really knew. He turned back to the pond, thought for a while looked back at me and said “English?” I said yes and we starting talking first from separate benches, then I moved to his bench (the same bench we were sitting on in our wedding pictures) and we spoke until the park was about to be closed. Before we knew it we had spent over an hour talking about everything and nothing laughing the whole time. My face was hurting at this point when he pointed out that the park will be closing soon so we will be kicked out.
He proposed to take me on a tour of Paris on his scooter which I agreed to. The funny part about this is that earlier that day I was walking the streets of Paris with some of the girls from the program and we were excited about all the scooters. I made the remark “before this trip is over I’m going to find a hot french man to give me a ride on a scooter”, we laughed about it and thought about how cool it would be to ride around Paris on a scooter. Some of the girls still talk about this every time we chat, they still ask me, “how do you do it?”
He took me back to the dorms to grab a sweater and I told me roomie I’ll be back late. We rode along the Seine river and looked at some of the attractions then went to dinner. We went to a Japaneses restaurant and had sushi. Again we talking and laughing like we haven been best friends forever. I may have snorted a bit but he was polite enough to pretend he didn’t notice. After dinner it was dark and he took me on a second tour to see his city lit up. And she was certainly a beauty. We eventually found ourselves on a hill over looking the city all light up. We got off the scooter and were headed to the edge to the a better view.
I took two steps toward the edge and he grabs me in his arms, saying “let’s be Parisian” and french kissed the life out of me. I’m not even sure how long it lasted but by the end I was out of breath and me heart was racing like I had just run a marathon. I felts a surge to sensations travel up my spine and back down to the ground and I finally understood what those fireworks everyone was talking about was. He wasn’t my first and not even my first serious relationship, but there was something special about him from the start. We climbed onto the concrete walls and sat there, me leaning back on him, his arms wrapped tightly around me but not quite staying put. We watched as the Eiffle tour lights blinked and returned to normal. I have no idea what we were still talking and laughing about, I didn’t even have a drink that night but we were still at it. Talking, laughing, kissing, hugging, watching the lights. Before we knew it, it was 2 am and he had work the next day, and I had classes in the morning. This total stranger and I had just spent 7+ hours together, not running out of conversation, never a moment of awkward silence or misunderstanding, just pure catching up on life and having fun. At some point he said “it’s getting late but I don’t it to end” and I somewhere in my hazed I was thoroughly confused because I responded “why would it?” Attentive hottie reminded me that I was staying at the dorms and I had a roomie so he couldn’t really go back to my place. AHH, yes good point….
I think that’s enough for one day, I’ll tell you guys more about our story on another throwback Thursday post.