France…A Reflection

We very recently returned from a two-week vacation, long promised and many times postponed.

First lesson learned–never put off the big stuff!paris-france-contemporary-french-studies-studying-abroad-seine-90

Second lesson–people most anywhere, despite language and other barriers, will nearly always give you a smile and the help you need…if you just make an effort to connect in their language first. It’s the effort you make that triggers instance acceptance!

We’re putting together a slide presentation. Good fun, but way more work than expected. Already just the act of doing this is keeping treasured memories alive. People we met come to life in our consciousness and talk to us. Our appreciation deepens with the distance between us.

medievel_castle_in_limousin_franceRandom, but meaningful recollections:

We drove many hundreds of miles on motorways and local lanes…maybe 2 times did I see a driver talking on a cell phone.
Several people safely passed me on the motorway like I was standing still…but no one ever tried to run me off the road.

On the Paris Metro, young people gave up seats to older folk and men gave up seats to women…all the time.

Helpfulness was everywhere, not rudeness.

We laughed together as we learned small different ways of doing things, like shopping at a green grocer, or in a patisserie, or getting ATMs to work for us.

We delighted in knowing–at any restaurant or cafe–our table was ours for the duration. No one brings a check unless you ask for it.

And, last but not least two lessons about transportation: 1) never throw away your stamped Metro ticket before leaving the station (big fine if you are caught in the tunnels without a ticket 2) in underground public parking garages, the passageways are very narrow–and the ticket that gets you in is NOT the ticket that gets you out! Think about that one for a moment.

Conclusion: We may have waited too long to go, but it was so worth the wait. Maybe we were just very, very ready to be there.

More soon…

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