Posts Tagged 'family'

From Picturesque Streets to Pickpockets – A Long Weekend in Prague

While I love Paris, one of my favorite parts about living here is the number of possibilities for leaving. In under two hours I can find myself in a totally foreign city, an adventure in a new destination awaiting (Barcelona! Berlin! Rome! Madrid!)

That’s how last weekend I found myself in Prague, walking its cobblestone streets and confronting the most confounding language I’ve heard yet. What’s even cooler is that I got to meet my parents there, thus continuing our tradition of planning reunions in worldly cities (last year it was Istanbul).

The flight to Prague was only an hour and twenty minutes. I arrived safely after chatting with my very interesting seatmate (former nightclub promoter now dealing in “African commodities,” anyone? Hmm…there’s a lot more to that story).

I’ve gotten so used to the convenient euro zone, I had to remember to change currency. Conversion to the Czech crown took some calculation (1 euro is about 25 crowns; 1 dollar about 19). Easy enough to exchange, though, and even easier to make my way into the city. I love straightforward public transport! A bus directly in front of the terminal dropped us directly in front of a metro – it’s speedy and clean!

And when I came out from underground…well, I was kind of in a wasteland.

Continue reading ‘From Picturesque Streets to Pickpockets – A Long Weekend in Prague’

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Happy Thanksgiving!

As we speak, this wonderful, witty woman is making + baking a Thanksgiving feast.

Good times at my birthday

(To avoid confusion, I’m referring to the woman who is not me in the picture, of course. You know by now, yes? I don’t cook or bake. I am very thankful others do!)

Molly is my fabulous American friend who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner tonight with her French partner. I think it will mainly be French people, which is why the feast doesn’t begin until 8 PM. (Don’t they know you’re supposed to eat and drink all day?! Well, it is just a regular Thursday here, I suppose.)

No matter, this allows me more time to reflect on what I am thankful for.

Continue reading ‘Happy Thanksgiving!’

Happy Thanksgiving

Last year on Thanksgiving Day, I was flying over the Atlantic, worried, scared. My mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and I was coming back to be with her through surgery and recovery. So much unknown. It’s times such as those that the reality of living so far away hits home.

This Thanksgiving, I sit calmly in Paris where a strange sun is breaking through the gray clouds, a sky that might even promise snow. I am thinking about all that I have to be grateful for, how light can pierce through what at first looks bleak.

I am happy to report that my mom is doing great; breast cancer is something we can beat. I am also grateful that despite the distance, the ocean cannot break the most important of bonds. In fact, I think being an expat makes me think even more about gratitude, how much I have to be thankful for in my life. Sometimes, at a remove, we can see how precious everything is; stand back and we see things shine.

This past year has been quite challenging, on many different levels. There have been times that I felt my light burning low. But it is also through struggle that I become so intensely aware of the many gifts that surround me. Daily miracles. I am one of the luckiest people on earth. I know what love means.

I have family, friends, my health, my imagination, my dreams, a beautiful city, new possibilities, opportunities – and a voice inside me that tells me to leap at them with everything I have.

I am also grateful for your readership and comments. Thank you. I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with joy.

The Joys of Travel

Often, adventure lies in the journey itself.

Like a roadtrip in Mexico where we set off without destination and ended up diving from high cliffs into a turquoise sea, sleeping on a white-sand beach, and stumbling upon a haunted house (we ran away as there were haunted people inside, too).

Or in Ghana, where my guidebook’s only accommodation recommendation for a certain region was to find the “Jesus Reigns Supply Shop” and ask the owner, Michael, if we could stay at his place. (He wasn’t there, but the two workers we met kept us stuffed on sweet mangoes until Michael arrived to whisk us away on his motorbike. He and his wife’s little B&B turned out to be a nice respite).

Sometimes, though, you just want to get to where you’re going.

For my trip back to the States, this was the aim. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

On a good day, the drive to Charles de Gaulle Airport takes 30 minutes, though we always leave over an hour for the inevitable traffic jams. The airline had already called early in the morning to inform me that the flight had changed – I love (read hate) how they’re allowed to change any thing at will up to the last moment.

Even with the delay, it became a race to the finish. After over an hour and half stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, a mad dash off the highway to find the nearest RER train station because it was obvious I would miss the flight if I stayed stymied amongst the cars, a worried wait in the Aulnay sous Bois station as it began to rain, I made it to the airport and through all check-in and security procedures with 20 minutes to spare.

I was seated next to 15 young Russian children for the next 7 hours.

But I made it, and I remember why I come back home:

My niece, the cutest little girl in the world.

The hardest thing about being an expat is being far from family and friends. So you soak up every last second with them, say grace for the time spent.

I stayed with my sister and her husband in their new house in DC (congrats, homeowners!) and my above-noted gorgeous niece. My mom came up from North Carolina.

At the end of the weekend, I couldn’t imagine how I ever thought these few days would be enough. (No matter how long, it’s never enough).

But then another travel mishap to distract me. A tardy cab, an asshole driver, a missed bus, a long wait in the hot sun.

But now I’m in New York and it’s all okay again. My last trip here was something of a heartbreaker. I felt like an outsider to a place I had once known so intimately.

This time I’m more prepared. I accept that I am a visitor, that Paris is now home. But I’m visiting as I lived here – with an open wonder. This great city helped shape me, taught me to be who I am to the fullest.

I’m on 95th street on the West side and found it a good omen to pass this building on my block:

Sans Souci. Without Worry.

I’m adopting that motto.

Until I fly up to Vermont on Monday, that is. (Third trip’s a charm?)

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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