Hawaii: The Magic of Living

Day 4:

Julia and I started our fourth day in Hawaii at a restaurant called Cinnamon’s. I think we were the grubbiest people in there, hiking gear table side, bandanas tied, trace amounts of mud on feet and legs. Yes, the adventuring never stops! We split the two specials: Fajita breakfast burrito and Macadamia Nut/Chocolate explosion of happiness french toast.

Hawaii

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Mother's Day

Ok, I know I’m a bit late, but I found out yesterday that I passed my NCLEX and am officially a nurse, so……needless to say I was a bit too excited to sit at a computer for any length of time.

But enough about me. This post is dedicated to my lovely, wonderful, “practically perfect in every way,” mother. We spent the day shopping and then celebrated Mom with a sunset BBQ, poolside (obviously).

shopping

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#Anne’sBacheloretteParty

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have moved into the era of marriages and babies. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great! Weddings, moving away, new adventures…

That being said, as I write this, my housemates and I are all sitting around watching Mulan.

Anyway, last night was my lovely friend Anne’s bachelorette party. Portland, OR was the stage for our evening!

We started at our hotel, getting ready for a night out on the town, all in celebration of this lady and her upcoming marriage!

Anne

Here’s how our night played out…

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Paris Day 3: Lost in Louvre

Notes from 10 May 13:

Waking up on the morning of the 10th of May, my body felt like it had been hit by a bus. I was exhausted from all of the walking we had done collectively over the past 2 days. But French pastries and coffee were motivation enough to peel my aching body out of bed. I soon remembered, “Shoot, I’m in Paris! Good morning world!” and was ready to go in about 5 minutes. We grabbed breakfast at a little cafe and we were off.

Crossing over the “love lock” bridge was such a lovely thing. I couldn’t help but wonder about the many couples that said those most sacred of words, “I love you.” I wondered who meant it, who lasted, who didn’t, wondered if maybe I’d be back one day to utter those words to someone and actually mean it. Perhaps, perhaps…

On to the Louvre! We arrived about a half an hour before it opened and still took our place at the back of a (probably) 100 person line. I had to check myself to avoid certain facial expressions when looking at the array of outfits before me. Now I was no Hepburn myself in my tennis shoes, jeans, and emerald green top, but Louvre fashion was people watching at its finest! My favorite was a woman in stilettos (I’m positive she was regretting that by the end of her visit to that colossal museum) and a neon green, leopard print trench coat. I was happy for some pre-show entertainment….”Overture, dim the lights!” It was quite amusing, I hope I was able to put on a show for someone!

I have to confess, there was so much art that my mind and feet were on the brink of going AWOL. We probably walked a good 3 miles just within the museum, but had a good strategy: pick 10-15 pieces and book it to each. Ours included the Mona Lisa, The Sphinx, The Seated Scribe, The Wedding Feast of Cana, and Napoleon’s apartments. It was an incredible sight, navigating through the crowds, seeing people push past each other to get a chance at standing in front of these famous pieces while their photographers awkwardly holds their cameras high, trying to avoid stranger photobombs. I’m not going to lie, I photobombed at least one person’s photo…purposefully…with my creepiest smile. Clarissa and I very much enjoyed imitating the statues in between bouts of artistic admiration.

After the Louvre, we hit the Musee d’Orsay for MORE art, and MORE walking. I am ever grateful we did though! We saw some incredible pieces: Van Gogh, Rodin, Degas, Pissarro, Monet, and Renoir. These pieces spring into life, the Impressionist display that the museum had was stunning. I wish I could go back on a full stomach and fresh legs…my enjoyment would have increased ten fold and I think I would have had more dynamic interpretations of the various works of art.

We had two more stops before we could eat lunch, the first of which was Rodin’s garden. The garden itself was stunning, and the famous statues that inhabited it’s verdure were astonishingly intricate. I suppose there’s a reason for Rodin being one of the most celebrated sculptors in history! My contemplation of the statues, particularly The Thinker, was severely handicapped by the MOST cringe-worthy, off-pitch hum/chant dissipating like some airborne spore seeking helpless passers by to clutch in a poisonous grasp! Ok, maybe not that extreme, but this chanting made me feel like I was back at my rotation on the psych ward, a questionable choice in artistic accompaniment.

Following that almost indescribable sense experience, we gathered ourselves and walked to the Institute of the Invalids. The inside of the Institute was incredible! Everything in Paris is ornate and wonderful! Napoleon’s tomb was gigantic! Clarissa and I gave our best Napoleon “hand in breast pocket” pose to pay our respects and then rejoiced in the idea that lunch was so soon to be had. Ready for another check off the Paris bucket list? I sure was.

Wine and sandwiches under the Eiffel Tower, basking in the glorious sun and glorious view! Check. If your face is in the shadows, let it be darkened by something beautiful. My toast to Paris and la vie en rose was bathed in the darkness of the Tower’s elegant shade. In that moment, my happiness was unalterable.

After lunch (3 p.m.), we climbed the Arc de Triomphe for the most wonderful view of the city. Emerging from the interior of the Arc, 284 steps conquered, seeing the city was spiritual. Every other panoramic view was forgotten. Before dinner we stopped at the ever fantastic Shakespeare and Co. Bookshop. It rivaled Powell’s as far as uniqueness goes! We ate delicious crepes for dinner, and are going out for some Parisian nightlife soon. Tomorrow is Catacomb and Versailles day! Goodbye for now!

To hope and madness, Lauren.

Paris: I believe in La vie en Rose

The following Paris series is from the journal I kept during my trip:

I think I finally understand the Paris obsession.

We have just arrived at our hotel after having been awake for the past 24+ hours. Clarissa and I opened the door to find the most charming little room accessorized with a floor-to-ceiling window, a mini chandelier, and a view of one of Paris’ numerous Gothic churches. The church provides an enchanting focal point that commands our attention, but fortunately I tore my eyes away to peek slightly beyond to see an intricate dome barely cresting the top of one of the church’s spires (a dome that would soon be known to me as the top of the Pantheon!). My immediate reaction is to open our secluded little sanctuary to the world and let Paris in. The sights of the Latin Quarter (our home for the next four days), the sound of the bells, the musical French language floating up with sweet intoxication into my unassuming vantage point.

Driving through Paris for the first time was everything; a dream and a nightmare, a joy and a pain, beautiful and repulsive.

Like any great city, the jewels are, in a sense, quarantined to a few square miles, buried beneath layers of cast off businesses, forgotten apartments, and their somewhat miserable looking inhabitants. They might rebuttal my praises of this grandeur. But grandeur is often reserved for a city’s guests and is replaced by a certain amount of repression for those that remain, fixed in their city and their tired views of it. I know this feeling. It’s the feeling I get after I have spent too long in Portland. I have to leave, for when I come back my eyes are no longer tired. I can look upon the city fondly and with a fair amount of delighted exasperation, exasperation that would border on malice if experienced in conjunction with an extended amount of Portland rain.

But, happily, I am a stranger to this place, and the Parisian grandeur does not fall upon unenthusiastic eyes. Every second that passes presents a beautiful snapshot into a world that makes me want to lavishly cast my money towards things I do not need. Each building draws me in, and begs the passers by to peek through its windows. The sky is grey, but the city bursts through it with every color I know and dares me to name the new colors it generates, created for me by my kaleidoscopic town.

My reverie is grossly brought to an end as our French cab driver spouts off some angry sounding remarks. We had fallen prey to side street construction and were about to be treated to a beautiful display of French patience. “Oh God….” I think to myself as the cab driver lurches forward to “tap” the worker out of the way. More angry comments, this time from both parties. The exchange is drown out now by an exceedingly bad compilation of American music, music from an era filled with peace, love, bumming around the California coast, and probably a fair amount of weed. I have heard some strange remixes in my days, but it takes a special breed of desperation to remix the Beach Boys with jazzy French beats and “sultry” interjections.

As I pondered this disastrous cultural hybrid, my stranger eyes caught glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, shrouded in clouds, an elegant dagger as soft as it was severe. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach active with excitement. The only fitting description is likening it to falling in love for the first time, completely alive with delicate clarity. But for now, I must leave you, it’s adventure time…let us pursue this new love.

To Hope and Madness, Lauren.