by Renee Borage
Sometimes you just know. It’s love at first sight. Even after that initial spark of childish infatuation has faded, you feel it. Love. L’amour. Magic. I’ve been in love with Paris for the past three years, since I first visited in 2008 at the end of my senior year of high school. I was younger then, a bit more starry-eyed, and traveling with my mom and sister. We spent a week in Paris, only leaving to take a day-trip to Versailles, and I loved every minute of it. This year, I was lucky enough to return to my beloved with my beloved. We had lunch (a baguette and cheese, of course) beneath the Eiffel Tower, climbed up beside the gargoyles in Notre Dame, walked along the Champs Élysées, and said hello to Mona Lisa in the Louvre. And the food, of course, was delectable: crêpes with nutella, quiche lorraine, croque monsieur, chewy baguettes, and little raspberry tartelettes. I love Paris. If I could speak more than un peu de Français, it would be the city I dream of calling home. As it is, I only hope to live there at some point in my life. For more than just a week or a month, preferably a whole year, I want to live in Paris and make my time there more than just a dreamy visit.
While I’m making plans for my future self, I might as well add that sometime in my life I will go back to Italy, the other country I visited during Fall Break. After a whirlwind day in Rome, we spent two days each in both Florence and Venice. Our time in Rome was short, but we made the most of it by walking everywhere and seeing everything we could; the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain amongst the sites we enjoyed. Next was Florence, with its charming bridges, churches, and piazzas. The view from Piazzale Michelangelo was magical and I loved walking across the bridge Ponte Vecchio to get to my hostel each night, the lights glittering beneath us in the river. Venice was next, so unique and beautiful with its canals and bridges and gondolas. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the narrow streets, but when you emerge back onto a canal, the sight is almost always so magnificent you’re compelled to take yet another picture. Italy charmed me with its beautiful buildings, rich history, and most importantly, I think, all the scrumptious pizza and pasta. Paris may have my heart, but Italy has my stomach.
Of course the trip had its flaws as well— extremely expensive water at restaurants, having to use my tee-shirt as a towel at the hostels, realizing how elusive free public restrooms can be— but it’s impossible to let your thoughts linger on the little things when such big things (see: the Eiffel Tower) are standing right in front of you. I’ve been abroad for about two months now and while I do find myself missing home sometimes (especially when I think of Andy’s pumpkin pie concretes, colorful fall leaves, and my dog), it’s also rather heartbreaking to realize that my Greek journey will soon be coming to a close. For now, I’ve chosen to pretend there isn’t any end date in sight and just enjoy my time here as much as I can. Shouldn’t be too hard, I think, especially with the Halloween/toga party we have planned for this weekend!