I Do…Again

When we recently moved, I found a couple funny things in a box of school assignments my mom had saved. One from 6th grade was a book of predictions of where me and my classmates would be in 10 & 15 years (22/27ish).  (Yes, I know, I know – I’m not 22/27, but I’m not too much older.) While most other students said they wanted to be doctors, professional athletes, parents, rich, married, etc., I had big plans for myself.

Age 22 forecast

Age 27 forecast

Talking about setting an intention.  I guess that even as a child, I was a big dreamer.  But, relatively speaking, I don’t think I did too bad with my 12-year-old vision board. Sure, I take photo’s, so that would make me a “photographer”. I didn’t technically live in Paris, but I was about an hour away. Traveling to all the amazing places in Europe? I’ve only just scratched the surface, but I’m well on my way. And not only do I have an adopted daughter, but also an adopted son. Aren’t they adorable?

My daughter, Cally

My son, Bear

Then I found another book, where I designed the cover. Again, my psychic abilities weren’t too bad.

Sure, I changed directions a bit in Middle School and decided I’d like to have a baby, work in an office, drive a Mercedes and live the single life in Tennessee.

Yes, I’m well aware that I don’t have a Mercedes and that I don’t work in a big office building, but I’m okay with that. However, what stuck out most was the, “Marriage – not for me”.  Maybe this was a result of my parents recent divorce, but I also found myself in my single 20’s, feeling relatively the same. I was making good money, had a decent job, a house, a dog, cat and awesome friends. Why would I want to get married and mess that all up?

Well, within a short time of meeting Fabien, to quote my friend, Adam, “I chucked it all and followed my heart”. I quit my job and left my house and animals in the care of my friends and family to move to the other side of the world with some french guy I had only known for 6 months. Talk about risk. Fortunately, it all worked out, but , it could have been an epic disaster.

So, here I am. 3 years later and married. Our wedding last year was a perfect day and truly the happiest of our lives. BUT, the perfect day has some competition because this Wednesday, Fabien and I leave for France to get married again. Yes, the girl who didn’t even want to get married and didn’t dream of her wedding is having two weddings. Oh, the irony of it all.

So, here’s what life looks like for the next few weeks:

The Church of St. Cyr en Val

July 4th: Happy Birthday, America. We’re flying from Nashville to Detroit to Paris with wedding supplies in tow.

July 5th: Arrive in Paris and run around like a crazy woman doing last-minute preparations.

July 7th: Get married….again. Did I mention the whole ceremony is in french? And that it’s tradition that the reception lasts until the wee hours in the morning followed by lunch the next day? Next blog. It’s simply too complicated to describe here.

July 9th: Honeymoon (finally). We’re off to Athens, Greece where we’ll spend 3 days sightseeing and dodging protestors, which isn’t new to us. Remember our trip to Bangkok?

In Crete we’ll hike the Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains.

July 12th: Flying from Athens to Chania, Crete. We’ll spend 4 days driving around the island beach hopping and hiking the Samaria Gorge.

July 16th: Jumping on a boat to Santorini for 5 days. Honestly, while most little girls were busy dreaming of their wedding day, I was busy dreaming of Santorini, Greece. Check out the view from our hotel room. I could possibly die right there because my life will be complete when I spend 5 days with Fabien in this paradise.

!!! Our hotel and view !!!

July 21st: Fly back to Athens and soak up one more night in Greece.

July 22nd: Begin the long journey home. Athens > New York > Atlanta > Nashville – Hello, frequent flier miles!

So, here’s to being a photographer, living in France and Tennessee, having adopted animal babies and traveling to all the amazing places in Europe with the worlds most amazing husband.

Happy Independence Day, Everyone!


The Good Life

France is a country know for it’s “things luxurious” and there is no better example of this than the Palace of Versailles. Located on the outskirts of Paris one would find this beautiful château of châteaus which has over 700,000 square feet, 2.300 rooms and 2.100 windows.  And that’s just the main house.

So, the Chevrier’s and I took a trip to the gardens of Versailles since the last time I went in 2010, it was winter. We spent 7 hours, just exploring the fountains, flowers and the outside monstrosity. I loved it, but I can totally see why the Revolution was necessary. Versailles is an ultimate symbol of excess at a time when the have-nots, had nothing. However, the people eventually got their revenge in the form of putting the guillotine to Marie Antoinette’s head.

So, without further ado, I present to you, Versailles (or you can click here for the individual photos):

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So Paris

Jardin du Luxembourg

Friday after I finished classes at noon, I was off to Paris to spend the weekend with Marjorie. This weekend was especially exciting because it would be my first time in the city when it wasn’t gray, cold and freezing. So, of course, within moments of arriving, we hopped on the subway to walk around the Jardin du Luxembourg.  It was a beautiful afternoon and the place was packed with Frenchies soaking up the sun. We spent the rest of the day walking around and then at a bar listening to 4 different bands.

Spring is in full bloom in Paris

More beautiful gardens

Saturday, we slept in late and awoke to the Paris I know and love – cold and gray.  This called for brunch, which is the new, fashionable thing to do in Paris. There’s nothing like paying 22€ (about $30) per person for 1 coffee, 1 juice, 1 egg, bread, a bagel and fruit to remind you of how expensive Parisian life can be. So, because, we had a lot of carbs to burn  and it was gloomy, we decided Père Lachaise Cemetery was a perfect place to spend the afternoon.  This is where you will find (literally) thousands of tombs stacked on top of the tombs of Édith Piaf, Jim Morrison, Frédéric Chopin, Gertrude Stein and many other famous french people.  Père Lachaise has that dreary, beautifulness that is (sometimes), so Paris.  We were surprised to find a number of recent burials which only made me wonder, how does one get buried at Père Lachaise?  Well, basically you must put yourself on the waiting list and be living in Paris when you die. It also helps if you’ve lived in the city for a long time and if you are a french citizen. But even if you “get in”, you can only rent space for 10-50 years until they “get rid of you” and re-lease it to “someone else”.  People buried in the 19th century were lucky enough to have bought their space for perpetuite (forever).  This process makes me laugh because it is so Paris.  Unfortunately, we were trying to save our feet for Sunday’s marathon, so we didn’t explore too much, but I did manage to see the grave of Jim Morrison.

The grave of Jim Morrison

After our afternoon with dead people, we returned to Marjorie’s apartment and got ready for a party to celebrate one of her friends birthdays. Even though I was a tad shy because of my language ability (or lack there of), I still managed to have a good time and talk (mostly in french) with a number of people. I am grateful for Marjorie and her friends being so patient and gracious with me. This is evidence that Parisians can, in fact, be very warm, welcoming people. However, the most exciting part was not practicing my french, but the apartment where the party was held. I tried to play it cool, but I couldn’t help but totally freak out when the I looked out the living room wall of windows and saw a perfect shot of the glittering Eiffel Tour.  Please, someone pinch me.

Needless to say, a beautiful marathon course

We didn’t stay too late because Sunday we had to wake up early and head to Fontainebleau for the marathon. Apparently, Fontainebleau is to the Parisians as the Hampton’s are to New Yorker’s. Really, the place is totally adorable. After picking up our race numbers, we had lunch and walked around a little to look at the magnificent Château. In my opinion, this is the best castle I’ve seen in France so far (yes, even better than Versailles).

The magnificent Fontainebleau Château

When the race began I really tried not to focus on running, but to focus on soaking in the ambience and beautiful views. I took this time to think about how much has changed in my life since my very first 5k race 9 years ago. In 2003, I never dreamed that within the next decade I would have run several half-marathons, a full marathon and let alone a race in the French countryside. I ended up finishing in 2 hours and 19 minutes. Not too bad for my one run a week training schedule.

After the race and looking pretty good!

As you can see, I had an absolutely fabulous weekend and can not thank Marjorie enough. I’m sure all of you are a little sick of hearing stories from France so on Friday I am jetting off to London for the long weekend with the Chevrier’s. Pictures and stories to follow!