Parting gift….

When we go our separate ways in any relationship, it is possible to gain insight, left over belongings, and various shrapnel in the form of hurtful words and unsolicited brutal honesty.  In this case, I was told we never actually had anything in common and we were not really friends anyway.  Which is so interesting because I have long time friendships that are not always built on commonalities, but an actual bond stronger than hobbies and professional and personal ventures.  But I digress.

So here I am, just told  by this person  that we were never really friends because of the way I conduct my life (mind you, I am not a felon or anything like this).  I had asked him for the truth about what he thought (were we friends at one point, but not now? What gives?). I need closure, dude!

Did he tell me the truth, yes,  and oh so much more! To use an AA term, he completely took my inventory (think Step Four).  He pointed out every single shortcoming with brutal, uncompromising, and unfiltered honesty. It’s funny, because I thought we were not even friends. Where does this come from? Insecurities of his own. He’d flat out deny that. I would not air his dirty laundry here, but I can tell you, I restrained during this texting battle with him on  offense and me on a weakened defense (I was half asleep).  While he had some valid points, they lost credibility with me in part because he admitted he lied to me earlier in the conversation and also because he was not very accurate or relevant on the other points.

This was my last parting gift in a ‘not so real’ friendship. Next time I get into a relationship, I will be more cautious  about divulging my hopes, fears, and vented complaints.  My lesson in this gift, the gift itself so to speak, is that I need to get to know someone better before divulging all of these emotions.  I don’t need to bleed emotion all over someone only to have them criticize me during the messy clean up.

Paris, Part Two: Arriving In Paris

First of all I owe you all an apology. I said I would be publishing these Paris posts about a week or two after my trip and its been a month and I have only gotten one out. So here we are, over a month later and I absolutely miss Paris!!!!

I thought I would be able to easily describe Paris because I loved the experience so much. I’ll try to put it into words that will express my awe and wonder about this amazing city.

I arrived Sunday morning in Paris. I was so excited that even reading the French traffic signs and directions on the highways was fascinating.  When I got in the cab and called my landlady, she spoke with my cabbie to clarify directions. I then called our old family friend  to arrange our lunch.  Everything I had dreamed about and worked my ass off for was finally becoming a reality and I bathed in that ALL WEEK long. Believe me, I never spent a moment taking this for granted.  This was going to be the most amazing trip I had ever had in my adult life.

I arrived at my flat on Rue de Grenelle and my landlady was waiting for me. She was so nice. She helped me set up my WiFi and gave me the lay of the land. Then she invited me for tea up the street. I knew my family friend would wait and understand. So I went to this cute little place, the Cafe du Marche with her and we had tea and wonderful bread.  She invited me to join her for a drink around 7 p.m. at the Cafe.  I said “yes” of course.  I headed back to my flat and texted our family friend that I was ready and she picked me up and gave me an amazing driving tour of downtown Paris going from the Left Bank (where I was staying) to the Right Bank and back and forth. It was pretty awesome and the architecture is just fabulous. I was in awe; I just couldn’t stop staring at everything Paris.  We then parked the car and walked to a fantastic little  cafe. Of course, I thought everything was pretty damn fantastic.  I looked over the menu and had to have my favorite  type of soup, onion soup, French style and a chicken Caesar salad. To make my first Parisian meal more decadent, we had champagne. For dessert: crepe brûlée.   We chatted about old days back in Washington, DC (where I grew up). She gave me very useful tips on getting around Paris. It was as amazing of a first experience in Paris as I could hope for!

She gave me walking instructions from the cafe to my flat, passing the Eiffel Tower. I found  the Eiffel Tower to be more incredible than I would have imagined; this may be just because it represented Paris to me and here I was!! I was so happy that I was a bit overwhelmed that I was actually in Paris.

The next six days were a blur of metro, museums, and memories. This was my first big international trip and it was amazing. I didn’t make it to some of the sites I was hoping to hit, but my adventures fulfilled and took me beyond my expectations.

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Paris, Part 1: Before Paris

So this will be a short little series about my experience getting to Paris, enjoying Paris, and saying good-bye to Paris.

I was so excited to get there. I had been anticipating this trip for a year. I was a little nervous, but like I said, mostly ecstatic! I had a long layover at SFO, so I hid out at one of the airline clubs and just chilled out with my music and my Paris tour books. Finally, it was time to board to Paris.

It wasn’t too long before I was settled in and watching a movie.  We got our meal fairly quickly and I tried to sleep after my first movie. I tried to read my Nook (The Late Show by Michael Connelly) and assorted magazines. I was too excited to really focus on anything for more than 30 minutes. So, while we were headed toward the East coast, I went up toward the galley and saw a woman with an oxygen mask on. Someone was on the phone. I didn’t think much about it for whatever reason. I went back to my seat and started a movie. Within an hour, we were headed over Eastern Canada when they made the announcement. We are making an emergency medical landing. HELL NO! This isn’t happening….I felt my heart sink. LIke really sink.. I felt nauseated. I prepared myself for all things Paris, but not emergency landings and re-positioning my trip plans. This can’t be happening. But yet,  it is. They announce we are landing in Newark, New Jersey. The perfect place to start my Paris vacation. NOT. No offense for those in New Jersey, but I was planning on Paris, people! They told us they would be making plans for us for the night, but we were NOT going anywhere till 7PM the next night. Which means I have one less day in Paris.

It was a chaotic hot mess in New Jersey. We (about 150-200 of us) stood in several lines to try to figure out what was going on. Until I stood in that line with everyone, I felt alone and stranded. I know that’s selfish. And when I started talking to these people. People just like me, totally inconvenienced and panicked and in a generally pissed mood. Then something happened. To me, anyway.  We were all in the same boat. We all needed to be in Paris Saturday morning. I learned some people needed to be there by a certain time Saturday even more than I did; they had tours and cruises and their vacation was on a very exacting schedule.  As selfish as it was, it made me feel better that I was not alone.  We all started talking with each other. Trying to figure out what was happening at the front of the lines. We were promised a new flight, hotel passes, and food vouchers.  We started talking about life and what got us headed to Paris in the first place.  It was amazing. Everyone was getting along together, instead of being divisive and rushing for the customer service desk.  Granted, we are all adults, but funny things can happen in crisis.  I finally got to the customer service agent. He apparently was only giving out the hotel vouchers (score for Crowne Plaza) and food vouchers ($30….what???). The lady at the front wrote down our flight number, but couldn’t confirm our seat assignments. Damn…this can’t be good. But I took the flight number and thankfully I had my baggage (there was a reason I paid for the priority boarding), heading for the shuttle with a few other people I had gotten to know during the course of the crazy chaos.  During the stay on the line, I realized I should start contacting my Paris connections, my landlady and a family friend.  By the time I got to the hotel, it was about 3AM.  I called my landlady (poor woman, who just was recovering from her birthday celebration the previous night) at 9AM Paris time.

So I finally went to sleep for about 4-5 hours at the very most. I wanted to get to the airport  and take care of business.  Then I talked to a friend who urged me to call the airline directly from my hotel room. YES!!! I got my flight confirmed with a seat assignment and my boarding pass was ready to go before I even left my hotel that morning. I went down to breakfast at the hotel and saw a fellow traveler, originally from Haiti, who was returning to his Paris, his home of several years. I shared my good fortune with the seat assignments and he called himself. I went upstairs and got ready, then headed down to the lobby to catch the shuttle. Even though I got my seat assignment, I thought it would just be wise to be at the airport. My fellow travelers were on the same page. A group of us were in the lobby by 10AM; I saw a woman I had spoken with the night before and shared the phone number and advice with her. She called as well and got her boarding pass online.  It felt so good to be positive about this whole crappy experience.  I was so happy I could share the phone number and more people could feel secure with confirmed seat assignments. I ended up spending a bit of time with one of the women in that group.

Once I boarded, I took my seat and recognized the young French woman next to me from the night before. We chatted a bit before she went to sleep for the majority of the flight (lucky her!) …. I felt calm and knew the next  7 hours would pass quickly compared to the last 16 hours or so.  They did, indeed, pass and I was soon in Paris.  Once I landed, I was in the customs line with one couple I remembered, but otherwise never saw anyone else again. I never saw the nice Haitian man or the woman I spent four hours with in the airport or the couple I talked to in line for three hours in Newark.  While it was a chaotic time and we weren’t sure exactly how to navigate the  system, we all did just fine and landed in Paris safely.

I arrived in Paris!! I got through customs. I found the taxi stands, had my taxi driver talk to my landlady, and made my way to Rue de Grenelle in the 7th district in Paris, my home for seven,  I mean six days.

 

Back from Paris

So sorry for the radio silence, but I made a decision not to bring my iPad to Paris and blog. Honestly speaking, I am so glad I made that decision, because I had quite the adventure. I am going to share my experience in three parts: pre-Paris, Paris, and my last night and travels back to the States.

You can expect to read these in the next week or two. This was one of my biggest adventures in my life (particularly going solo) and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!!

I want a partner, not a pedestal

So why are there so many men looking for princesses and queens on POF… other dating sites, for that matter? You’d  think they would know princesses and queens are for Disney or some far off country.   Or are there really a lot of women here in the US of A that want to be treated like a princess? I really don’t know the answer to that. I can’t imagine wanting to be treated like a princess and it leaves a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Like Tab from the 80’s.

You see, I want a partner, not a pedestal. I want someone to walk side by side with me, someone I can discuss things with across the table at dinner. I am not helpless. I don’t need a proverbial pedestal to know my worth. I want to be able to be respected and treated as  an equal partner. I am not some princess that needs “things”, much less a pedestal for my ego.  What is it with guys today? What do they think we want?

A princess, I guess….