My First Culture Shock

Bonjour Mon Amie,

Happy Friday eve! Plan to celebrate your life this weekend. When we celebrate our lives we align productivity, ambition, and delight for our future.

Today, I want to discuss the value of travel and exploration. At fourteen years old I had the opportunity to travel to Pontoise, France with my best friend. We stayed with a charming French couple, they lived in an adorable suburb just thirty minutes south of Paris.

My best friend arrived in France before I embarked, so I boarded the AirFrance redeye all by myself! I remember a feeling of pure awe enveloping my mind as my plane jetted off toward a new country. I glanced all around me on the plane & listened as various individuals spoke the beautiful French language. At that time, I had only practiced French for two years, un peu d’expérience! I was so excited to see this new culture and in that moment I realized there is so much beyond our daily life. It was my first experience flying alone – I was not scared, I was ready to step out of my zone of comfort and immerse myself into this world.

So, I landed safe and sound in Paris. I found my best friend and on our first day we visited le jardin du Luxembourg. It was simply, magnificent. I had never seen such a beautiful garden. The garden was filled with people enjoying nature’s beauty, relaxing, and taking a moment to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. There was so much history in France! I loved it.

As we were walking throughout the city I noticed the myriad of cozy cafés. Many had stopped to sit outside, enjoy a cup of coffee or freshly squeezed juice & simply watch as people passed by. I loved this aspect of life in France.

Throughout the course of my time in France, I also enjoyed spectacular cuisine. Their culture takes pride in culinary beauty. Food is an art. It is about enjoyment for the flavors, ingredients, nutrients, and beautiful color. I found a true meaning to life while in France. My favorite moment was when we hosted a family party. Each member of the family greeted and welcomed me with a smile and a kiss on both cheeks. I felt so loved and inspired – they treated me with pure kindness. For our meal, we began with an eclectic variety of cheeses and fresh baguette we picked up at the boulangerie. Each cheese so decadent, deep and rich. Then we enjoyed our homemade ratatouille that we made from scratch! It took all day: we sliced each vegetable, minced the garlic, chopped the onion, then allowed the flavors, herbs and spices to infuse.

Life was not rushed, but enjoyed.

The ratatouille was so fresh – you could taste each ingredient that we had picked up earlier that day. Finally, for dessert we enjoyed a delicious shiny peach tart.

The French live their life elegantly. They have beautiful posture, authentic fashion, stand up tall, and appreciate the moment. This culture has balanced both simplicity & ambition.

Our world has much to offer you. Slow down, reflect, & spark your soul with life’s beauty. Cheers to designing your story and painting your life with memories.

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