Say hello…

As promised I’m finally blogging about this summer’s EPIC trip…6 countries, tons of people, and 30 days is definitely once in a life time. I am going to start with the most unexpected experience of the trip…PARIS.

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I know this is totally abnormal, but I’ve never really had any desire to go to Paris. I’ve had opportunity to go to France a few times, but have always chosen to go somewhere else instead…I ended up in Scotland the first time and the Netherlands the secondI think it’s partially because I until I lived in Bangkok I never liked big cities…I had never really lived in one, so I think I was just scared…and Paris is a BIG city.

When planning for this summer, Andrew and I decided that it would be much more exciting to take the train back to England at the end of our cruise instead of flying, which meant ending up in Paris…which he was excited about. We shared our plans with my mom, and she decided to join us, then my sister-in-law and niece got on board with it, and even one of my brothers.

So, after a long and exhausting cruise…plus a couple extra days at the beginning and the end enjoying new and exciting places…6 of us boarded a train in Barcelona and headed for Paris.

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The six of us in front of la tour Eiffel

I feel I need to have a disclaimer here that I had very low expectations mostly based on stereotypes…it’s dirty, people are rude, it’s too crowded…but I had been given one small piece of advice, and that piece of advice may have completely altered my whole experience.

Say hello

Every time you walk in a store or restaurant, wether you think people can hear you or are paying attention or not…just say bonjour…that’s the advice I received from friends a few days before we headed to Paris.

So, I did.

I said bonjour to every person I encountered. Every store and restaurant we walked into, every counter I walked up to, every bus I got on…I said bonjour. And, you know what happened…I found Parisians to be some of the kindest and most friendly people…it didn’t get rid of the crowds or the trash but did I mention that Paris is a BIG city…I think that’s just part of big city life…

People were eager to help us speak French, helpful and patient with us when we didn’t understand. People were kind to us on the Metro, offering up their seats to weary travelers. When I was walking around looking lost, people stopped to ask if I was ok and if they could help. There was so much life in Paris…all those people sitting in parks talking and laughing and drinking…I was only there for a few days, so I am not any sort of expert on Paris or the people of that incredible city, but it seemed to me a wonderful place.

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This was one of my favorite things…sitting around ponds talking and laughing and watching ducks!

My experience there has had me thinking a lot about kindness. About how I engage strangers, and how I interact with the people I encounter in my daily life.

Do I say hello?

When I walk into a coffee shop is my first priority greeting the people there…both employees and customers…or do I walk in and say my order. I don’t think I am rude by any means…I don’t walk in and bark orders…and I’m very polite within what this culture says is acceptable…honestly people may find it very weird for someone to walk into a coffee shop and say hello to the room…but what if I took this advice and applied it to life here?

Would life change around me if I started saying hello? And not just when the cashier says it to me first, but initiated it, made eye contact, allowed it to lead into conversation…meant it the way I mean it when I see a friend.

Would I find just as much kindness and life here if I engaged people around me with this simple gesture? Because I think it’s more than just a gesture, more than just politeness. I think it shows a bit of humility, it demonstrates respect for the other person, an acknowledgment that life is about more than just me. And, maybe, in our culture of me, the simple act of saying hello is the kind of thing that Christ meant when he called us to be salt, to be light, to be in the world but not of it.

Oh, there was another piece of advice…to say au revoir…until next time my friend.

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Street performer tuning his piano…he just rolled down the street…in preparation for his performance in front of Notre Dame…LOVE this

 

Vacation is over…

 

We are home!!!

It’s been just a couple of days since we got back, not quite a week, and it’s good to be home. It’s a bit strange to wake up and not have my parents, my niece, my sister-in-law, or my brothers around. I miss them. I miss being on vacation…but then again I came home to no job…permanent vacation

Actually, no…vacation is over.

It’s back to laundry and grocery shopping, cleaning house, pulling weeds, paying bills…oh yeah, and starting a business. Yesterday I decided to jump head first into Frippery House stuff…and it felt a bit like I landed against a brick wall. Seriously though, I kind of just sat there for hours stunned and dazed. I was suppose to be writing product descriptions, but instead I spent about an hour staring at half a sentence on my computer screen…More than just an accent piece, the Faye… That’s not enough to sell the product…at least I don’t think so.

So, product descriptions will wait for another day. Instead I’m going to take some time to reflect on the trip, on the people I spent it with, and on the things I learned. It was an incredible time! I don’t know how much my son or my 9 year old niece will remember, but I will remember it always.

I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I learned a lot about my family. And, while it wasn’t necessarily all good…some of the things I learned about myself I didn’t really like…here is my biggest take away.

I have an incredible family.

 

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I have the most generous parents ever…seriously I would enter them into a contest if there was one. My father has energy that won’t stop, and my mom carries with her a peacefulness that we all benefit from. They’ve been married for ever, have lived on four different continents, have moved what I’m sure feels like a million times, have watched their children grow into adults…and all the good and bad that came with that…and now they are watching their grandkids grow up from a distance….for now.

They are the coolest!

Later this week I’m going to post my next Inspiration Page with a sneak peak at the latest design in Frippery House’s first collection!!!

 

Leaving on a jet plane…

It’s here, it’s finally here! Today is the day that I board a plane to go to visit my parents…in England…for a whole month!

There are a whole lot of things to be excited about in that statement…traveling, England, vacation…but I think the thing I’m just the absolute most excited about is my parents…and the rest of my family of course. My husband is joining us in a few days, my niece is traveling with my boy and I, both my brothers will be there, and I get to spend a lot of time with my sister-in-law which I really enjoy…growing up with brothers I really enjoy having sisters now!

But, I really miss my parents, I miss having them in my life daily. So, I am looking forward to being at my parent’s house and not having to run around and see every touristy thing possible, but just living life. I’m excited to pick my dad’s brain about business planning stuff, and to talk with my mom about the creative stuff…she’s going to help me figure out my packaging because she is a genius with fabric and unlike me the sewing machine is her friend not her foe. I’m excited for my son to spend time with my parents, especially my dad, just hanging out at the house and really getting to know him.

Oh, and I’m excited for Ian and the boy to see London in the summer…I love London in the summer!

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London last time we were there…cold and dreary

I’m also looking forward to getting away. Life has been crazy piled on top of crazy with a side of busy shoved in. I haven’t had much time to work on business stuff, hadn’t sat down to make anything in my creative space for weeks! Until yesterday when creative inspiration struck!!!

I finished a piece I’ve been working on for MONTHS that just wasn’t feeling right…I had assembled, disassembled, reconfigured, started over from scratch, and then yesterday everything just came together on it. I also came up with two other designs inspired by two of my most incredible and unique friends that I’ve just been having such a hard time designing for…I want to design something not just inspired by them but that they would wear and they are just so cool I am crazy intimidated by this process. But yesterday, I was on a roll.

Now, I feel like I have a boost of energy I didn’t have yesterday…I may just be ready to take on the world today. Which is good because I have a LOT of things to get done before we leave this evening and even more to do this month while I’m gone. I just want to launch this business already!!!

Next blog will be from one of my most favorite places in the world…London…in the summer.