Au revoir, Paris! Je te kiffe trop grave...

Paris Travel Blog

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Mika and Matthieu on the Pont Neuf

My last night in Paris was one of the top five nights of my life.  My friend Alex had come in from the States to fly me home, (he works for Lufthansa, and got me a sweet deal on tickets...I got to fly business class for almost less than you'd pay to fly coach!) and we'd spent the day doing last minute shopping, sandwich grec eating, and packing.  I walked arm and arm with him around the city I loved so and tried my best not to cry.  I sat one last time on the steps on the bridge facing the Conciergerie (one of my favorite buildings in Paris) in the sunshine, took one last stroll down Rue de Rivoli...

That evening my friends were all getting together to wish me well on my journey home.

Asra and Sally with the champagne
..and to say goodbye.  Alex and I first had to stop by Seb's birthday party.  We stayed for awhile in the 11eme with Seb and some of his friends drinking champagne and eating spinach dip.  Eventually we had to leave, and made our way to the Pont Neuf where my friends were waiting.  My goodbye to Seb was tearful, but he was planning a visit to the States in the summer, so I knew I'd see him soon.

When we arrived at the Pont Neuf, we were a little late, but my faithful friends had waited...everyone I loved was there (well, everyone who was still in Paris...); Mika, Sally, Asra, Matthieu, Ede...they'd brought champagne, so we sat on a bench and toasted our friendship and my imminent departure.  Soon, I got a phonecall from three of my former students--Elhadji, Kevin, and Precylia.

Kevin, Precylia, and Elhadji
  They, too, wished to say goodbye and wish me well, so I told them where they could find me, and within the hour, they were there!  As they arrived, a rush of rollerbladers blazed by, preventing them from crossing the bridge for a good 5 minutes...there must have been 200 of them!  Oh, those midnight rollerbladers!

Matthieu had to leave, so we said goodbye and a bientot, and the remaining members of the party decided we should go dancing.  Appropriately, we ended up at Freedom Bar, just off of the Champs Elysees.  This was the site of our Halloween celebration, where my friends and I had all hung out together for the first time.  Elhadji, Kevin, and Precylia are avid dancers, and their enthusiasm rubbed off on me and Asra...we were on the dancefloor with them all night!  There were periodic breaks for cigarettes or drinks of whiskey and coke, but for the mosst part, we were dancing queens.

Me and Precylia
  The bar played everything from Cotton Eyed Joe to Suave Mente...old school rap, new school rap, latin, country..you name it.  Asra and I had fun showing the boys how American girls dance...they were quite enthralled.  They in turn showed us how to salsa, and we set the floor on fire with our moves.

But all good things must end, and before we knew it, it was 3am and Elhadji, Kevin, and Precylia were leaving.  I couldn't help it, I started to cry.  Not just cry..bawl.  It seemed that I would never see or hear from them again...and in the month since I had ended my term as their teacher, we had become friends.  I hugged and kissed them all, and amid "Bisous! Reviens nous voir bientot!", I turned away because I couldn't watch them go.

Me and Kevin
  Suddenly, I heard "Meghane!!" (their name for me, which always tugged at my heartstrings)...I turned and saw Elhadji and Kevin simultaneously blow me huge, exaggerated kisses.  That only served to set me off crying again, but I managed to smile and wave goodbye one last time.

Asra, Mika, Alex, and Sally, sensing how down I was feeling, made sure to distract me with more alcohol.  Soon the bar was closing and we were making our way into the street.  Not ready to call it a night, we waltzed down the Champs Elysees.  My feet were killing me from dancing all night in my new shoes, so I ran barefoot with Mika down the middle of the street. (This was after Mika's "MEghan, it's your last night in PARis.

After walking barefoot down the Champs Elysees
..you HAVE to DO this")  We needed sandwich grecs, so we made our way all the way to Chatelet.  An hour's walk from the Champs...but the most hilarious walk I've ever taken.  When we reached the Place de la Concorde, Mika demanded that we wade in the fountain.  ("MEghan, it's your last night in PARis")...so we did.  When we'd had our fill, and began to walk away, Mika turned suddenly and with a "$%3@ it!", he ran and canonballed into the water.  After he got out, I jumped on him to hug him for being so crazy, and he took the opportunity to lift me and dump me unceremoniously into the fountain as well.  Sally, who had been trying to get out, was drenched from the spashing; the three of us were soaked to the skin.  Asra and Alex had decided to remain dry and photograph the moment.
Teary eyed, but still striking a pose
  The walk to Chatelet from there would have been very unpleasant if I hadn't been in such good company...I was freezing and dripping wet...and my feet were killing me. 

Finally though, we made it to our favorite sandwich grec place, which is mercifully open all night long.  We sat there as the sky grew pale with the approaching dawn, and laughed and laughed remembering the evening. 

After our grecs, it was time for goodbyes...Sally and Asra planned to see me off the next day, but I had to say goodbye to Mika.  Not one for sappy goodbyes, he gave me a rough hug and said "Have a good flight" and was gone.  It didn't seem real.

Alex and I only got 2 hours of sleep before we had to wake up and meet the landlord for the etat des lieux.

My best friends in Paris
..I won't even tell you how stressful all that was....but before I knew it I had hugged Asra (who went as far as Gare du Nord), and Sally (who went all the way to CDG), and I was sitting on the plane holding Alex's hand as I looked out the window at that beloved country.  When the plane took off, I cried as I'd never cried before; we were leaving French soil.  And I wept when we took off again from Germany, where we'd stopped for an hour, because we were leaving European soil.  And I bawled periodically throughout the flight until my eyes were practically swollen shut. 

But that last night...what a memory. 

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Mika and Matthieu on the Pont Neuf
Mika and Matthieu on the Pont Neuf
Asra and Sally with the champagne
Asra and Sally with the champagne
Kevin, Precylia, and Elhadji
Kevin, Precylia, and Elhadji
Me and Precylia
Me and Precylia
Me and Kevin
Me and Kevin
After walking barefoot down the Ch…
After walking barefoot down the C…
Teary eyed, but still striking a p…
Teary eyed, but still striking a …
My best friends in Paris
My best friends in Paris
The whole gang
The whole gang
I saved the shoes from getting we…
"I saved the shoes from getting w…
Soaking wet after a swim in the fo…
Soaking wet after a swim in the f…
On the plane heading home (and loo…
On the plane heading home (and lo…
6,304 km (3,917 miles) traveled
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photo by: Sweetski