Thursday, February 8, 2018

Coincidental Parisians

This was written in 2015 but I'm just now posting it. Sorry about that.

Facebook has turned me into a big fat liar . Let me explain. According to the dictionary, a lie is an intentionally false statement. If you don't know me well and only follow me on FB, it appears I just took my wife to Paris for a romantic weekend and to watch the Tour de France. Here's the rest of the story. The "truth" if you will.

Heather is working towards her B.S. in theatre arts at UVU. To graduate more quickly she decided to participate in their study abroad program in London. Sounds extravagant, right? To pay for the opportunity she worked long hours at a job she doesn't enjoy, applied for grants and scholarships, sold baked goods and even tried to sell her first-born (the market for 19-year-olds isn't what it used to be and I wouldn't let her). She's enjoying the opportunity of a lifetime.

Me? I'm at home working to pay the bills in her absence. On occasion, work takes me to India. By the grace of God, my semiannual trip coincided with her single free weekend. Taking advantage of my layover in Paris, we decided to meet up.

Here's where it gets messy. There are bad bugs in Delhi and one lodged in my intestinal tract. In a 24-hour period, I lost 8 pounds (approximately 42 million micrograms for those who prefer the metric system), wasn't even sure I'd be able to make my flight. Luckily, on Friday I had 6 kilometers of dry toast and felt well enough to fly. I made it to Paris where my sweetheart was shocked at how much weight I'd lost in the two weeks we'd been apart.

On a previous trip, our penchant for cramming as many sights and activities into the trip as possible earned us the moniker "turbo tourists". On this trip my "turbo" was not working normally--at all really. Heather patiently towed me along to see Paris. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Napoleon's tomb, strolled along the Seine, never straying far from a bathroom, "just in case".

There are no photos on FB of our room at the Hotel des Mildew which was only 65 Euro per night (about eight kilograms in dollars). The accommodations were adequate, and if you kept the bathroom door shut, the smell was tolerable. Our lock broke so the staff had to trudge up five flights of stairs to open the door each time we returned. Each day they said they'd fix the lock "tomorrow". On the plus side, Hotel deu Mildew is affordable, in a great location and with an inoperable door, safe from thieves.

Romantic? Let's say that if you're afraid the Teton Dam will break, you don't fish downstream. Get the picture? I was thrilled she agreed to share the same room with me.

Sunday at church someone asked where we had been before arriving in Paris. I said "Delhi", Heather said "London". Then they asked; "How do you know each other?" We laughed and told them we've been married for more than 20 years. After church we walked 200 liters (still keeping an eye out for a restroom "just in case"). We saw the grounds of the Louvre and tried to find a good vantage point to see a bunch of guys on bikes whiz by at 40 kilograms per second (still trying to figure out the metric thing).

Eventually it started to really rain on our "romantic weekend". Wet cold rain. By this time I'd secured the perfect spot to photograph the bikers--at the foot of the Arch des Triumph, only an urgent need to use the restroom could have uprooted me. Fortunately, I was not uprooted. Blessed with more sanity and lacking my irrational need for the perfect picture, Sweetheart retreated to the hotel for some warm dry clothes.

Heather returned with warm clothes  and I eventually stopped shivering. After 200 hours, the racers did come (eight times in fact) and I did get the "perfect picture" of the peloton rounding the Arch des Triumph. We took the subway home and had a delightfully delicious Greek dinner.

Today as I tried to find the perfect souvenir (stores in France don't open till long after it's convenient) I was a bit grumpy, Heather was her usual kind self. We parted at the train station, me back to Utah, her to London.

We had a great time together in Paris, saw and did amazing things (just not that thing), had dinner at a sidewalk cafe, held hands, listened to the bells at Notre Dame. Really had a nice time together, but in a cheap, coincidental way, not like it might appear on Facebook. That's the real story of how average Joe and Jane of average means ended up in Paris. Because God loves us and sometimes arranges for people to meet in spectacular places at wonderful times. 

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