Bonjour! Several years ago, for a significant birthday, my husband gifted me with a Patricia Wells cooking class- to be used when I felt the time was right. My kids were much younger and I couldn’t imagine leaving for a week, let alone going abroad without them. Fast forward to a Christmas party circa 2014, and a dear friend and I were chatting about our favorite subjects… food, cooking, and traveling. I mentioned that I had this cooking class and asked if she’d like go with me. With gleam in our eyes, we turned to our husbands and shared the wonderful idea… Joanne and I wanted to go to Paris for a week. On our own. Reminder- we’re at a Christmas party where everyone is full of spirit(!) and cheer. The answer they gave was a resounding and supportive, “Yes!”
A few days later, back in the real world and in the light of day with clearer heads, Joanne and I reconfirmed with the husbands, that yes, they were ok with the plan. With that, we booked our trip for April 2016- a year and a half out.
I returned home a few weeks ago. It was my first time in Paris, and I couldn’t have asked for more. It was absolutely incredible; everything from the apartment we rented, to the cooking class and the amazing women we met, to exploring and experiencing the culture inspired me. My biggest takeaway was to slow down… sit, enjoy time with family and friends gathered round the table. Linger over fresh simply prepared seasonal food and share your stories, thoughts, and ideas. Why do we always feel the need to hurry up and go, go, go? What are we racing towards? Most importantly, at that breakneck pace (to nowhere?), what are we missing that is right in front of us?
An interesting observation was prompted by our multiple passes at the Starbucks just down the street from our apartment. Joanne pointed out the window display, “What do you see- or rather, what don’t you see?” “Travel mugs! There aren’t any travel mugs.” The window display had real espresso cups, coffee mugs, and coffee stacked decoratively, but not a travel or to-go cup in sight. No one is drinking coffee on the run; quite the opposite, people sit and actually enjoy the moment. What a novelty! I understand that a blanket statement like “no one” is a very broad generalization, but in my defense the only eating/drinking I saw on the go were a few people at the end of the workday tearing off and nibbling at the heels of the baguettes poking out of their paper sleeves.
I’ll be sharing much of what I learned in the cooking class in future posts. For now, appreciate the present moment- enjoy what’s in front of you, whether it’s the company you’re keeping or the produce that’s in season in your part of the world. Ideally, you’ll get in the kitchen and find a way to do both at the same time! À bientôt!