Browsing "Lacoste"
Apr 30, 2010 - Lacoste    2 Comments

Of Pistachio and Mustachio

Massive Paris Blog #1: Versailles.

But first I would like to finally introduce you to my friends. (The above picture was taken in Arles.)

This is Carolyn. She is probably one of the most joyful people I have ever met. The first week we were here, I overheard countless people telling her how wonderful they felt talking to her – that she truly listened, that she cared, that she was so positive and encouraging. Carolyn lives in the same room that I do in our Murrier house. She whistles and sings all the time – often with Susanna, who you will meet in a minute. Her tub of Vaseline is always nearby. And she does the most hilarious yoga instructor impersonation when we all stretch together in the evenings.

This is Susanna. This girl has so much beauty and mystery surrounding her. I very much would like to see her paintings, her etchings, and hear her play the violin. (She almost went to Belmont University in Nashville, TN to study music, but changed her mind last minute and came to SCAD for painting!) She was enraptured by the orchestra ensemble we stumbled across randomly in the Metro in Paris. Susanna is out hiking a mountain today. If we don’t know where she is, that’s what we assume she’s doing. I love that she sings in the shower all the time. She has a beautiful voice.

This is Marissa. She has the prettiest blue eyes (here, looking green) and the best sense of humor. All my girls have such great humor – such great laughs. But I think Marissa pulls us all together in our silliness. She is so laid back and approachable. It was quite interesting meeting her the first week – I sat with her randomly on the bus ride to Lacoste and learned that before she came to SCAD she was at a school for missions – now she’s here for photography – just like me. Interesting connection & overlap of interests.

I did not expect to form such close friendships while in Lacoste. I expected to make friends… but not the kind I would want to continue hanging out with in Savannah! And three of them! A whole group, plus or minus a few extras depending on the occasion. But these are my girls. I love them. God brought us together for our time here in France, and I am so excited to see how He is working in each of them as our friendship grows stronger.

So – now that you know my people, I would like to share one big adventure from Paris: Versailles.

The inside of Versailles was gorgeous – but I had seen pictures before, so I had an idea of what to expect. However. No camera could ever capture what it felt like to walk through the Hall of Mirrors mid-afternoon. Golden sun poured in from the windows, golden objects catching the light, shiny decorations, mirrored surfaces, crystal, a light airiness abounding in the hall… yet grounded by walls decorated in the most delicate details. Regal. I could not stay inside myself – I was instantly transported to another time, another way of living – alternate definitions of femininity and honor and value. How strange to think that had this been my palace I would waddle (gracefully, of course) down that hall with all my petticoats, my dresses, my lace.

We were all especially eager to see the gardens. Within minutes our feet weren’t too happy.

I had pistachio ice cream for the first time. See my mustachio? Marissa documented our ice cream eating experiences.

After that we made one of the best decisions of the entire trip – at Susanna’s suggestion, of course. I had my doubts at first. But it was so incredibly worth it: riding bikes around Versailles. We took them out until closing time, and it only cost me £11. So worth it. My feet suffered a good deal from all the walking in Paris – so this afternoon was rather magical. A sudden weightlessness, a glorious afternoon breeze rushing past us, dancing sunlight shining through bright green leaves all around. We rested at the other end of the lake on the grass.

Dipped our toes in.

Marissa got creative with perspective.

So perfect – the light, the family, the buggy. I love how they faced their baby the same way they were sitting. That’s how it should be. There was quite a lot of romance going on around the gardens – many, many couples in the grass on blankets. Some with toddlers. Sweet families. I was extremely surprised to find all the park-like activity going on at Versailles! I mean, it’s a palace! But it felt put to good use as a modern-day place to spend a sunny afternoon – a picnic, a romantic date, playing with your kids, riding bikes, paddling across the lake, hiking through the woods, enjoying an ice cream or snack. There were many runners. All the activity beyond just visiting was a big shock to me – and I was glad to see it. I doubt we would have seen much of the gardens had we not rented the bikes. Best decision ever. So perfect.

After that we were nuts and rounded out the trip with the Eiffel Tower! Mega dose of touristy France for me, but it was worth it. I counted 671 steps down from the second platform – the line was just too slow and we got impatient. Seeing the Eiffel Tower in addition to Versailles in one day made for some super exhaustion.

Although at times the massive hoards of tourists tended to upset me and infringe upon my enjoyment of our visits… there’s no way I could ever regret going. That day – Saturday – in particular. The spontaneity of it all is what got me – what made the day so incredibly joyous. I hadn’t even planned on going to Versailles… earlier that day I didn’t even want to. Susanna and Marissa invited me last minute. I was feeling the pressure to spend some time wandering about – having some Rachel time in Paris, “Lost-walking,” taking photographs. Throughout my stay in Paris, much of how I spent my time was dictated by the required visits I had for each class – and my fear of missing one. Sure, I had free time. I guess I was just wanting to stake my claim on a whole day… decide how to spend it. Well, Versailles was the perfect solution. Sure, I made plans to go. But what happened – the whirlwind wonderfulness, the glory of the afternoon, time spent outdoors in the sunshine, relaxing, breathing, exercising, taking it all in – and not having expected how refreshing it would be! That was all God. I could not have planned something like that for myself. I could not have orchestrated, calculated, or configured such a wonderful afternoon – my internal desires corresponding with the warmth of sun, the beauty of light, the rush of air – being surrounded by adventure and complete peace. All at once.

(We stayed until the last bit of color had faded from the sky.)

Thank you Jesus, for one of the best days of my life.