In 2007, a new college graduate, I went to Europe. And it was as magical as everybody says it is: somehow, London makes beige-grey colorful. To the quaint, thatched cottages and the yellow roses creeping up the lattices of Shakespeare’s house. To the stern castles tucked away on rolling Irish hills. To the misty Irish cliffs above deep blue waves. I have always longed to explore Europe. And Paris. Eat chocolate. Linger on cappuccino at a sidewalk cafe. Gawk at the Eiffel Tower that the poets once declared a monstrosity. See the tiny lights sparkle on the Seine as night falls. Stroll through Notre Dame and imagine I am Esmeralda, the gypsy beauty, seeking sanctuary in a hunchback’s lair. Take the pilgrimage of many an artist, writer, or dreamer. Walk hand-in-hand with my husband down the lamp-lit streets, getting lost on one of many misadventures.
The passerbys stopped at Trocadero, stopped to watch him lift me in the air: it felt like a movie, surreal. He brushed the hair out of my face for a second, and we laughed at each other. I am not sure how many surreal moments we get in life, ones we can look back and dwell on. Those moments, though, they can happen anywhere. Something about Paris made me hungry for life, for experience. And I couldn’t really put my finger on why. So I went to discover what I miss missing, but all I really missed was home. I’ve always loved places, and believe that the beauty of the world has shaped my soul. But that was before I built my home. It’s not Paris; it’s not Australia or London– and it’s not adventure, but it is a place of love and warmth and belonging. And contentment: something hard to come by in my comparison-driven generation.