Paris forgives, knows, and goes with the flow. And, by example, you learn to value yourself and your dreams. While I walked along the Seine, my feet were screaming in my boots that I have lived in for about a month. They had hours and hours of meandering through the streets while I peeked into charming shops that were exclusively Paris. My eyes were roaming, my feet were aching, but my heart’s feet felt elated. I love that feeling; the feeling of knowing your dreams and your reality at the same time. After that, I have never walked faster. My feet did not hurt anymore; they felt like little clouds seeing everything, missing nothing.
â–º honorable mention 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Near the Eiffel tower, it started to drizzle, a slow rhythm of soft caresses. I admired the sky and saw no stars, but I felt them. The crowd was pushing against my heavy coat, prepared for the December weather of Europe. The crowd was a river, me fighting upstream feeling invincible. When I finally spotted a shining, yellow taxi, I breathed a sigh. Not of relief, but of breathing the captivating thoughts I had felt the minute I left my tiny hotel on Montmartre that morning.
I then turned my head and gazed at the forever-favored Eiffel tower. Although the rain had dampened my cheeks, I had contentment inside my heart, my mind. The tower was sparkling with lights. It was impossible to imagine how the lights were so perfectly set in equal rows running up her sides. Like a glowing woman draped in her best dress for a ball, the Eiffel tower knew she was beautiful. Everyone in the confusing crowd turned their noses to the sky, not out of self-importance, but to cherish and honor the tower. And to honor that moment in Paris, that moment in every visitor’s life when they cast their attention to the monument.
I knew, Paris knew, that I would never quite be the same. Paris and I know a secret that is still being whispered back and forth, a private conversation that will go on within me until I perish. Throwing my legs into the taxi before I clicked the door shut, I thought of my sisters sleeping in our bunk beds at home, soon to be awoken by my dog, Kevin. My mom would be reading on her iPad, looking cozy in her robe, eating toast with black coffee. Our giant sparkling Christmas tree would be sagging a little in the background. It was a silly thought, them comfy and complacent at home; I exhausted from striding the streets of Paris.
I was departing the beloved city in the morning but I had discovered so much more than the croissants and crispy sweet macaroons. I unearthed a part of me that only Paris could take credit for. I learned that there is so much possibility in myself, all I have to do is stop and dream a little. The people who parade the streets of Paris offer an aura I can’t quite explain. Confident isn’t a big enough word. Like a smoker from the 40’s, a Parisian gives off a cloud of charisma and mystery that is the essence of Paris. Passionate and weathered, just like the historic buildings that line the streets, they keep their past with them but they live in the present.
Paris knows no boundaries, no criticizing, and no unoriginality. Paris gives more than the amazing sightseeing; it gives you the chance to find who you really are as a person. It lets you grow and bloom into the creature that is you.
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