November 30, 2008

Some things are worth doing twice

We're home. Yes, we were gone for a bit more than a week. We went with friends to visit France. They got a deal on an apartment in Paris for a week and we joined them. It was near Disney Paris and it required us to take a train into this magnificent city every day.

When you visit the World's Great Cities you often get a fictionalized view of the city because you don't get to really live there. You go see the sights and experience the best side of the place and then you leave.

From our view of Paris, we rode the RER Train into the city each day, toured, walked around in the rain, snow, sleet and hail. We saw the sights and then returned to the suburbs with the locals who carried their groceries, work bags and briefcases to and from home. We watched the locals, chat, read and sleep on the train. We met people from other parts of the world and chatted with them. In a local Marne-la-Vallee restaurant, we dined with a Westie Terrier and his owners with another couple who were local and were delighted to practice their English with us. A smile speaks volumes.

We had a kitchen and availed ourselves of the supermarket - much larger than any I have experienced here and buying unfamiliar products was a great way to understand new things in another language.

When language was a barrier, we smiled, pointed and tried to communicate. "Pardon" with a smile. Several times we saw other tourists trying to take photos of themselves and I happily offered to point their cameras so to get a decent snapshot of them at the landmark. The view from the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day is amazing. Seeing the real Mona Lisa smile was something too.

We saw 1000's of holiday shoppers doing their Christmas shopping. Just like at home. Although, the terrier in Galleries Lafayette with it's Burberry Coat was not a common site here, it was sure to make me smile.

So what was the best part of this? Seeing the world and knowing that while we have our differences, we are all one. We all mourned the tragedy of this week in Mumbai away. We missed Thanksgiving, but we had a nice luncheon of "Magret et Purple Potato Au Gratin et Cranberry" But being home, the cliche "There is no place like home, Toto" applies.

Thanksgiving is in our hearts - we're celebrating a few days late. The turkey is waiting. We have much to smile about.