When I was 18 I spent a long weekend in Paris with my best friend Jesse, our first great adventure and the shaky first steps into adulthood. On our final night in the City of Lights we found ourselves with our two other friends, sitting on the Champs de Mar, sharing a bottle of cheap wine and anticipating the midnight Eiffel Tower light ceremony. Four girls from Jenks,Oklahoma, fresh from high school graduation and marking the right of passage in grand fashion.
With the Eiffel Tower at our feet and stars over our head, drunk on Paris and independence, we lost track of time and eventually found ourselves lost at 1:30am on a Sunday night, the subways shut down, change in our pockets, 6 hours before our train back to London was scheduled to pull out of the Gare du Nord. We were scared shitless.
With no one in sight and not a single cab to hail, we walked through the streets of Paris - all four of us in various states of panic. 30 minutes in and fighting back tears we suddenly came upon a family of four walking out of a McDonald's. Soccer jersies on their backs and en route home from the Stade de France, we rushed to their side to explain our situation in dramatic hand gestures and broken French.
While the mother offered us sympathy and encouragement, her husband was hailing down a taxi from nowhere and explaining to the driver what we needed and making sure he would take us directly to our hotel, assuring our safety. We made it back to the hotel and attempted to get a few hours of sleep before catching the Chunnel back to London.
With my mind racing and adrenaline still flowing, I laid there staring at the ceiling, absolutely certain that I would remember this evening with a vivid clarity that that would never fade. Was it fate, fortune, chance or pure dumb luck? It was none of those things. It was kindness, it was generosity, it was compassion, expressed to us by complete strangers in the early morning on the streets of Paris.
Tonight as Paris is gripped by horror and the people of France made victims to acts fueled by hate, I think of that family of four and where they are this evening. Are they safe? Are they together? Were they cheering again for France at the Stade de France? Will they be met with kindness, compassion and generosity in their time of need?
Paris is so much bigger than its' size, so much greater than the beauty of its' sights, so much grander than its' pockets of wealth and grandeur. Paris is where Hugo found his verse, where Voltaire made his playground, where modern revolution was born, where the seeds of liberty were sown, where the people were able to rise and fight for freedoms won and despots were dethroned.
Paris is that family of four who took the time to listen to strangers in distress and insure their safety. Paris is the 60 year old man who painted the sights of Paris on a bridge over the Seine and sold me my first piece of art. Paris is Luz, running late for work and just missing the horrors and devastation inflicted upon his coworkers and love ones, and in the aftermath sharing a message of forgiveness. Paris is a love and passion for the beautiful game and our shared mutual devotion to PSG. Paris is the Muslim man who hid Jewish hostages while under attack in a kosher grocery store.
Paris is all of those things and more. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I disagree. Paris ,for me, was a courtship with an uncertain beginning, a few tears shed before a life long love and understanding was found. Paris is a certain future. It showed me my metal, kicked my ass and made me fall in love. It was my right of passage and it started the long journey of knowing who I am. Paris is what you make it. Paris is what its' people give.
I hurt for you, Paris. I hope for you, Paris. My heart is with you Paris.
Those were the words that I wrote as I watched in abject horror as the events unfolded Friday and my thoughts, feelings, grief, fear and hope remains the same. We're faced with tragedy each day and my heart and support goes out to any single person living in grief and in fear, wherever and whoever you are. The events in Paris just happened to be what hit so close to my heart.
I can't shake it, it is with me in everything I've done over this weekend and it has made it difficult to find purpose or reason to update a blog, finish kits, share freebies. I apologize to all of you for that. It has been one roller coaster of a month and I wish I could prevent my emotions from spilling over but alas, they're there. Part of me feels that I should end today's post right here and promise for a return to routine tomorrow. Yet, will routine ever return in a world where it is disrupted with such rapid and repetitive frequency? It won't. So we'll move forward and figure things out as we go.
So...this is a look at what's new in the shop. You can find more info with each listing.
It felt a bit crass to give away a new freebie when my mind hasn't been further from that. Instead I've compiled the "Woodland Tea Parties" Kit and all its' links and listed them below. This is the full kit, just collect every download from each link.
Thanks for stopping by. Here's a pic of my niece in her favorite Paris Saint Germain jammies...
...and another of her eating Brunch yesterday.
Take care of yourselves, wherever you are <3
VIVE LA FRANCE!