City of lights, love and, apparently… life lessons.

{disclaimer: I’m in a super silly mood. . . bear with me}

The City of Love. The City of Lights.

The City of Glitz. The City of Glamour.

I longed and prayed to visit Paris.

I have a list of cities in my wallet at all times that I complied four years ago on the back of a yellow IHOP receipt. On the top of the list I scribbled the words Operation Dream Big.

I’ve been to about five of those listed cities today.

But in May of 2010, I had been to zero of those European destinations.

The first city on the list was Paris. 

By the forces of fate, or maybe the travel gods,  frequent flyer miles were offered to me by an uncle who could not use them around the time of my college graduation. I wasn’t going to take them as I was certain that flying and traveling to Europe alone was far too dangerous. But as destiny would have it once again, the week after graduation I found myself in three separate conversations with three women I respected who each had traveled alone in Europe in their early 20’s.

This gave me the guts to browse flights.

Flight to London – not enough miles.

Flight to Rome – not enough miles.

Flight to Munich – not enough miles.

Flight to Paris. . . just enough miles.

It seemed like Perfection.

Three weeks later, I was landing in Paris. I immediately found a mirror, sprinkled some make up on my face and dressed myself in a ballerina skirt that I hoped was appropriate to wear to meet the famous La Tour Eiffel for the very first time.

My bags were heavy. My body was tired. (I packed entirely too much stuff.)

But I didn’t care. My Paris dream was coming true and it would be perfect.

But, in all dreams, things are never quite like what you imagine.

Real life is far less sparkly then the movie-like-life I see in my mind.

In real life in rains. And Frenchmen yell at you for sitting at their cafe or getting off at the wrong train stop. (Rude).

And Paris ends up being really dirty.

And the Eiffel Tower ends up being an unflattering brownish color.

And I look back and wonder why I wore a weird short-sleeve taupe jacket with a cute 40’s inspired ruffled top.

But then you remember what an absolutely ball you had sipping espresso with new friends while eating french onion soup (it is definitely the best in France) while watching the starving artist paint in Montmartre.

And remember drinking way too much red wine at a Burlesque Show in the Red Light District.

(Favorite hang-over of my life)

And realize that you got to see the sun set behind the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

And looked around at least a half dozen times and thought “This city is so easy to fall in love with at night.”

And made life-long friends.

And I eventually decide that even when a city, person, experience, school, etc doesn’t quite live up to your exceptions. . . it’s just part of the journey.

There is no such thing as perfection. 

I can choose to find the pretty in the ugly, the fun in the weird, the entertainment in the boring. . . but a more honorable task is to choose to accept the ugly, weird, boring as truly intended, valuable parts of life.

Each this-is-not-the-way-I-imagined-it moment is here to teach you something.

Each oh-my-gosh-why-is-this-happening-to-me moment may just be part of the plan. (Isn’t it so much more relieving to assume it’s all part of the plan?!)

The rainy days, rude people and very intense hang-over just ended up being part my real-life-Parisian experience (which started one amazing month of European memories and contributed to a lifelong commitment to seeing the whole wide world).

And to put it lightly, I’d rather an icky-colored Eiffel Tower, than no Eiffel Tower at all.

This is real life. Accept the bad with the good. Embrace it. Laugh at it. Love it.
{{ Can you think of a time things didn’t go as planned in your life and your thankful for the way they turned out? Your comments make my day! Leave one below! Xo}}

Your favorite deep-and-ditsy-at-the-same-time girl guru,

Amanda Frances