I recently went on a trip to Paris, France and brought my mom and grandmother along for the ride. This was my first European trip and their first trip outside of the United States at all so the three us had great expectations and high hopes for this vacation!
Despite our enthusiasm, we ran into a lot of difficulties. I left my boots in The States, the weather was cold, wet and rainy for the duration of the trip. The long flight and a case of dehydration gave my Nana severe muscle cramps in her legs, which limited her mobility and slowed us down quite a bit. The 6-hour time change proved to be harder for our bodies to fight through than we imagined so we weren’t able to start our days bright and early to beat the lines. Our travels coincided with Armistice Day so working hours were limited for several attractions and public transportation. I could go on an on, but I won’t.
On our first full day of Parisian life, I was feeling very deflated. It did not seem like my dream trip was going to turn out as I’d planned. I was tired, frustrated, and disappointed. After only being able to see one exhibit in the Lourve before closing I was near tears. As we were walking out of the museum, downtrodden, my Nana turned to my mom and I and said, “As long as I get to see the Eiffel Tower I’ll be happy!”
She always has a way of putting things into perspective. Up until that point I was so focused on what the trip should have been instead of what I could make it. I wanted the movie plot, the perfect photos, and the fresh baguettes and perfectly bloomed peonies. Nana just wanted to see a beautiful building in the company of people she loved. We made sure she saw the Eiffel Tower that night and the next day. We followed up the Tower with dinner and a newfound determination to make the best of this trip. When we returned to our AirBnB that night my mom and I got to work researching ways to make Paris more accessible to us given my Nana’s injury. Voilà, we found it! Private driving tour from Cedric’s Paris! The next afternoon, our guide, Romain, picked us up in his 80s 2CV and drove us around the city detailing the rich history behind every narrow street, building, and monument. This was our movie moment, the perfect experience. It was still cold and rainy and roads were still closed due to the holiday but we made the best of it and enjoyed every second. We got creative and shifted our mindset. We set an expectation to stay positive and have a grand time; that we did.
At the end of the trip, I was so proud of Nana and so glad she came. If it weren’t for her we wouldn’t have ridden in this old black and yellow convertible. Understand this: my Nana hates flying, doesn’t like sitting still for very long, and is not very tolerant of the cold. But she pushed past fear, pushed through her pain, and packed a big coat and a warm heart.
We should all be a little bit more like Nana.