It’s been exactly 13 days since I turned 30. As they say, I feel like things keep getting better and better with age, just like a fine wine (I love this reference!). Throughout my 20s, I learned and accomplished many things in various realms – education, travel, life lessons, goals, etc. Now that I’m 30, I can look back and really say that I have done a lot. Of course, it has never been always easy and constant smooth sailing, but I have soaked in and savored the complete roller coaster ride of emotion, direction, and adventure during this past decade of immense discovery of life and self.
During the course of my 20s (because, you know, if you think about it, that’s 10 years!), I grew to appreciate my likes/dislikes, my personality, my strengths/flaws, and what I actually want in life. It really is crazy how fast time goes by, each year passing faster than the last. My not-so-baby brother turned 21, my sister’s daughter, my niece, celebrated her first birthday, and I am embarking on the second half of my second full year since establishing myself in France. Goals have been and still are being set, reached and accomplished in due time, and my everlasting patience is proving to be a powerful tool in different aspects.
This year alone, I brought in the New Year in New York City, traveled to Paris on multiple occasions, visited my family in England, stepped foot in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Venice for the first time, and discovered France’s Basque country this summer located in the southwest, getting to explore the small towns of Espelette (famous for its pepper) and San Sebastian, Spain, which lies just across the French border. Most recently, I visited the beautiful city of Dijon, famous not only for mustard but also for its beautiful architecture and, my personal favorite, wine.
Because I would be starting a new decade of life, I wanted to celebrate accordingly, so I planned it all out and spent the past month enjoying my last days being 29 and the beginning days of the new 30.
At the end of October, my boyfriend and I started the month-long shabang in Paris during a long weekend, broken up into three different parts. First, we went out and about with my boyfriend’s brother, who lives in the city of romance, walking around the swanky non-touristy shopping district, ending up going to a celeb-exclusive art exposition (I made eye contact with award-winning French actor, Omar Sy!), and then having dinner and drinks at a little bistro turned lounge bar to finish off the night. Let me not forget to mention that just as we were finishing up our drinks and about to turn in for the evening, my boyfriend made a sudden hand gesture while talking, which, in turn knocked his glass of beer over and onto my lap. This was the one time I had only brought one pair of jeans and needless to say, an emergency shopping session was in order the following day. Things happen – what can I say?
The following day we had a rendez-vous for lunch on a Bateau Mouche, a popular river cruise for tourists and curious Frenchies alike, along the Seine river in the center of Paris. Our package included lunch but you can book just take for the tour itself. The day was full of sun with warm, above-normal temperatures, excellent views all around us, from Notre Dame to the diverse bridges and ending with the grand Eiffel Tower – even getting to see Paris’ very own Statue of Liberty grace herself on the riverfront with the Tower becoming the backdrop as the boat past by. (I had no idea a duplicate existed! Did you?) Simply manifique! But! Before any of this magical boat ride happened, we were literally running (I, in high-heel wedges) to make the boat on time. Let me just recommend to always bring an extra pair of flats with you just in case of a rushing like mad moment like I experienced – your feet will thank you later, especially if you have to stand for three hours at a concert that very same evening.
Which brings me to the grande finale of my pre-birthday weekend in Paris: Red Hot Chili Peppers concert! It was probably one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. We had floor tickets which was the perfect place to watch the group’s amazingly innovative light show to go along with each of their songs. There were hundreds of cylinder-shaped lights attached to a thin metal cord hooked to the ceiling that could change color, beat, and movement, all customized to have a different effect with every song – along with a colorful backdrop of flowing images on the visual screens. I was impressed, indeed. My only critiques don’t go to the show itself, but to my poor feet that were hurting after standing for over 3 hours (plus from the pounding torture of running in wedges on cobblestone streets just a few hours prior) and that I was jumped on by a younger guy who tried starting a mash pit with his buddies during one song – super inappropriate! But it was stopped very quickly by my boyfriend and another guy that was standing next to me.
I never expect any gifts for my birthday, but this year I was pleasantly surprised by what my friends got me: cards and pictures of my niece from my family, a gift card to my favorite home accessory store, a French copy of Eat, Pray, Love from one of my students, and a bottle of red wine from the winery Chateau Simone, located in the Provence region of France. I am truly thankful and blessed for all of these kind thoughts and gestures, and ready to conquer this fresh, new decade of life!
I’d love to hear from you! What was your best birthday celebration ever or a favorite birthday moment? Have you brought in a new decade in a fun and/or unique way?
***Stay tuned for my next post and how I spent my Thanksgiving with friends across the pond…a la française!
Go Get Inspired by…Quote: “I know, I know for sure…that life if beautiful around the world…I know, I know it’s you…you say hello and then I say I do.” ~All Around the World by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Disclaimer: ALL pictures are taken by myself and are not to be reproduced without my knowledge and permission.