January 26, 2011

Breathtaking

When I was a kid and lived at home, we never watched TV - we didn't get cable, so it wasn't even an option. Shortly after I went away to college, though, my family got a satellite dish, and it was like the feast after a famine. There are hundreds of channels - no joke, anything you could possibly be interested in, there was a channel for. We all had our favorites. Dad liked anything sports related, Mom liked the cooking and DIY channels, Dan liked Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, and my sisters liked the music and independent film channels. one of my favorite memories of paris - hotel cafe, hot tea, and writing about my experiences 'til 2amBecause of school, I wasn't around much, but whenever I was home, my favorite was the Travel Channel - as much as I profess to be a homebody, I totally love traveling. Admittedly, I haven't done much of it, but I'm still completely in love with the experience.

It was so nice to watch these shows and see what kind of incredible experiences these people were having all around the world, but at the same time, I envied them - they were off having adventures, but I felt very grounded. I used the homebody excuse for years to avoid studying abroad, but the reality was that the thought of living in Paris paralysed me with fear. It was a nice dream, but just not feasible with me being over 300 pounds - even if I went, I wouldn't be having the dreamy experiences that Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain had. I was obsessed with what the slim and fashionable Parisians would be thinking...
Mais regarde cette grosse Américaine!
The dream of a second language learner is to be comfortable in a foreign environment and to be understood, even by natives. It didn't matter how good my French was, I would never be mistaken for a Parisian on my walks through the park or my trips to the market on account of my body.

My senior year of college, I did a course abroad - a one week trip over spring break to Paris, with coursework to be completed upon my return to Connecticut - and the experience was incredible. I visited historical monuments, ate incredible meals, and the locals even understood when I asked for directions! The perfect word for Paris is "breathtaking," and unfortunately, I found myself understanding it on a few different levels. felt like the ironman leg breakdownRunning in the rain for our night cruise on the Seine should have been a lovely moment out of a classic movie, but honestly, I thought it would kill me. Climbing the spiral stairs of the Arc de Triomphe isn't an impossible feat, but it took everything for my wobbly legs not to collapse before reaching the top. And walking through parks and gardens was somewhat less dreamy since I had to stop somewhat frequently to rest my feet. I was so glad that it rained the day we went to Versailles because the plan had been to ride bikes all over the palace grounds, and I knew that I wouldn't have been able to keep up.

Now, nearly three years later, these memories of my old self make me a little sad. Your first trip to Paris only happens once - I knew I was going for nearly a year, and even that couldn't motivate me to get healthy. I didn't do and everything that I wanted, and all because of self-imposed physical limitations. I don't want it to sound like I was miserable the entire time - I truly loved it. It was incredible, and I made the most of it given my situation at the time. I just can't wait to return as a lighter version of myself and take the city by storm!

5 comments:

fatgirlwearingthin said...

So exciting for you to go to a dream city like that. I do understand the weight being an issue. My first trip to San Francisco should have been like that. It was the first time I'd been to CA and I was in my twenties. However, all I could think about was how much 'better' it would have been had I been thinner. I was never able to just enjoy the trip. Walking those hills was impossible and I still don't enjoy looking at the photos.
I can't wait until you decide to go back to Paris with this new mindset. What a gift it will be, and you'll enjoy it like you were always meant to.

Tim said...

Maybe returning to France could be a reward for hitting your goal weight?

Considering how close to France I am, I have actually never been there. Infact, I don't know anyone else in Britain who has not been to France but me.

betternexttime said...

I did the Paris trip, and studied abroad twice in London. I'm so glad I did, but I definitely have regrets about the ways in which my weight held me back. A little self-confidence would have gone a long way to enhancing the experiences.

I'd love to go back - it might not be the first time all over again, but it would be the first time as seen through this new world view!

anewertammy said...

I dream to travel too but because of my weight I avoid it. I know everything from the flight to the walking would be extremely uncomfortable. I turned down a business trip to Australia for this reason. I regret it now, but I just didn't feel like I had enough professional clothes to be in front of the customer in addition to the other fat related stuff. My husband has traveled all over the globe and for business and I have never joined him. If I was thin, I would. For one, we would save a lot of money by only having to pay for my flight. He has been to so many great places that I have always dreamed of visiting (New Zealand, Italy, Amsterdam, England, China, etc.) Not once have I accompanied him. He is bigger than I, but somehow doesn't complain as often.

You will get back to France one day and it will be a different experience. You had fun last time, but next time it will be even better. Keep up the good work, you're doing great!

Rachael xxx said...

What a wonderful plan, and certainly a goal to look forward to!! Good Luck!!