Far From Home: Paris in 8 Days

Eiffel Tower
Coat - Suite Blanco
Bag - EGG
Growing up in a tropical and humid country, I had to learn how to be patient with the scorching heat and intense stickiness of sweat on my skin. Trust me, it is not that easy (but I love it here). So when my friends and I were given a ticket to Paris, we seized the opportunity to escape the sun and lust over the cold breeze. Thus, throwing in the fashion coats and ditching the sexy shorts, we were ready for la ville de l’amour (“the City of Love”), Paris.

Paris is, like what I always say, the best of both worlds. It is the perfect fusion of creativity and simplicity, fast-paced and relaxed, wealthy and needy.

Staying in Paris for eight (8) days helped me learn more not just about this wonderful country, but also about myself.

Follow me through these five (5) carpe diem moments:

1: Always be prepared
Not because it says 20 degrees in Google, does not mean you have to believe that completely and leave all your pants, gloves and anything winter related behind. Remember, this is still France.
Days before our flight to Paris, it was said to be spring and that the ideal clothes would be skirt, shorts and dress. Thank God I brought with me three (3) skinny jeans, gloves and extra sweater. I was able to use them because once I stepped out of the CDG airport, it was freezing. That evening, the temperature dropped to 2 °C

2: Every country has its flaws and that’s what makes it extra special
In every station we went to, I observed that vandalism was so apparent. Graffiti everywhere, even in the slightest gaps between the rails. It may look dirty and untidy for some, considering we are in Paris, the most beautiful country in the world, but I honestly see it as an individual expression through art. It is pretty awesome.

3: Not all First World countries are rich
While walking to the nearest McDonalds from our hotel, what happened next was to our surprise. In front of us was a decent and handsome young man, his hands clasped together from the freezing weather. We were pretty excited that he was going to eat at McDonalds too. But he didn’t. Instead, he stopped in front of the garbage bin and dug for food.
On our way to Sacre Coeur, an old woman stepped on the train after us. After being followed days before, I was pretty much crept out. I did not want to be disrespectful when she started asking for donations, so I just put my head down and hugged the Maltesers to myself. When she came to me, I didn’t know what happened but I gave her my Maltesers and smiled. She started eating them in an instant. “Merci, merci beaucoup,” was all she said to me until we got off the train.

4: Hurrying does not mean leaving the others behind
We were supposed to meet three (3) of our professors near Louvre Museum and we were running five (5) minutes behind. After telling the others not to take too long in their shopping, I and another friend decided to move fast ahead. We were very irritated because we were already past the meeting time. This, then, resulted to misunderstanding and cold shoulders between each of us.
Remember, no matter how slow the others may be, the leader must never leave his pack. Never.

5: Bonds are strengthened with friends who travel together

Traveling with friends give you that sense of free-spiritedness. They make you feel extra, extra adventurous; they give you that adrenaline rush; and they make you want to stop, pause and just re-live the moment all over again. Traveling with your friends will always be like a roller coaster ride.  That is why it will always be worth spending for.

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