Taking a leaf out of Eat, Pray, Love. The word: Moment

My mother had emailed me Sunday evening to say her childhood best friend, Raphael, would be in town. Would I like to meet her?

I had met Raphael’s parents back in March, during the few days my parents had come to visit. It had been incredible for me to see Raphael's parents glaze back into the memories of my mother as a child. Our parents have a life before we become theirs—and I find it thrilling to discover a part of who my parents were before they had each other-- before they created our family.

And so I met with Raphael, her son, Theodore, and her parents for drinks at Le Select, a cafĂ© just next to Rue Vavin. We sat and talked for an hour and a half.

Odeile, Raphael’s mother, turned to me, near the end of our time together. There’s a fierceness to her gaze, emphasized by the dark liner that shapes her eyes. She peered over her rimless glasses, her burgundy hair gleaming as the sun poured through the area around the outdoor seating.

“What will you take away from your life in Paris?” she asked—a deepness to her stare as she looked me straight on, complete attention for the answer I’d provide.

It had been a question I had thought of a few days prior, on my walk home from work. And, as I often do, had jotted down my thoughts onto the notepand on my phone. My answer, as a result, was immediate.

“The moment,” I responded “Life in the moment.”

Because that’s what Paris—this life, these people—that’s the word that describes this existence. It’s the appreciation of now, a desire to maximize the present wtihout too much plan for what lies ahead. They take the days off when they want (if possible); they spend their evenings after work in the company of others-- hours at a cafe over drinks (orange juice and coca cola among the favorite choice-- typically one of the more expensive drinks on offer), continuing for a late dinner before ending the evening with a final drink. They use their hour for lunch to go somewhere, be it to read a book in a park or go for lunch in a cafe. The weather too adheres to life in the moment-- changing from gloomy to gorgeous in a matter of minutes.

Odeile nodded her head, slowly-- as if taking in my answer-- asking how Paris compared to London, to the states. “Which is better?” she wanted to know.

The answer rolled off my tongue; “None,” I said, confident in my response. “There isn’t a better.

It’s one world, with thousands of ways to live our lives-- and for me, it's what makes travel so appealing-- living abroad, so thrilling. It’s the differences that captivate.

It’s not better here, nor there. Just different.” 

She leaned back, taking a sip from her glass of orange juice—satisfied with my response. 



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