We were truly, madly, deeply in love.
It was the early '90s and we had just spent a year merging our lives (his three sons and Ph.D.-in-progress and my uber-busy consulting practice). We took a honeymoon of sorts in the American Southwest. I can't tell you if we were in Arizona or New Mexico, but as we crested a rise on the highway, there rose before us something we'd only seen before in the movies: a butte. "Stop the car," I whispered. And we ran through the scrub holding hands, without words before such beauty.
Has the world ever taken your breath away?
For Deirdre Kelly, it was Paris. She made her first trip as an au pair and, looking back from the vantage point of midlife, realized that she'd been back eight times.
So she wrote a love letter to the city, called "Paris Times Eight: Finding Myself in The City of Dreams":
What would you expect of a memoir set in the city of light? Food, fashion, art, romance? Mais bien sur! But the best parts are the insights as Kelly moves from ingénue to poised professional. And falls in love:
(1979) Deplaning at Charles de Gaulle airport, I desperately sought proof of the city's uniqueness, its enviable otherness in the faces of every one of the baggage handlers, custom agents and custodians buzzing around me... And then, waiting for my baggage, I saw the women, real parisiennes, a unique breed... They walked from the hip, the rolling, self-confident stroll of the born-to-it femme fatale. I will perfect this walk, I said to myself.
(1995) I had been alone in my apartment, making myself an espresso. It was morning, I looked out the kitchen window at the new day. "You are going to marry Victor," declared a voice inside my head, just like that, as I was reaching for the sugar. The voice was sober, sensible, not inflamed by infatuation. I thought it was a true voice, its message clear. I put the spoon in my cup, deeply aware that my life was about to change. But I wouldn't tell anyone, least of all Victor. No way. I was crazy in love, but not that crazy.
Springtime is coming, the perfect season for a trip to Paris. But is there a better time than February to treat yourself to a delicious book, a little plate of colourful macarons and a café au lait? Bon appetit!
(Gentlemen: Women don't only want heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for Valentine's Day. We like books, too. Nudge, nudge.)
Now, do tell. What place won your heart? What took your breath away? Where did you fall in love? And what special part of our planet do you cherish most?