Expat Life

Paris is always a good idea, you betcha!

Recently I went to two of the most romantic and magical places. The city of lights and the cheesehead capital of the world!

That’s right, Paris and the midwest of the United States of America.

The similarities were endless.

Arc de Triomphe

Mall of America

Both have architectural masterpieces.

The Louvre

The Lego store

I started in the midwest in Minneapolis, home of the Mall of America. It’s really something special. It’s a whole four stories of mediocre shops and a county fair in the middle.

Wow

I was in this magnificent place due to a work trip and my colleague and I really made the most of it!

One day after work we went for a spin on the Fairly Odd Coaster, among a bunch of 8-year-olds, in our dresses and heels (totally appropriate roller coaster attire). The overly nice midwesterner, controlling the ride, suggested we both sit on the same side of the cart, so it would spin faster. Ok dude, I’m from Florida, you know Disney World, but sure whatever you think to make this “roller coaster” go faster. We buckled in and over the next 5 minutes I thought for sure this was how I was going to die. In the freaking Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

Finally, all the spinning and twirling came to an end and I yelled “Thank God, that’s over!” at the same exact time as my colleague squealed, “Let’s go again!”. I won and we made our way to get drinks.

I must say the drinks were of equal sophistication in both the midwest and Paris.

Rose at a Parisian cafe

Beer in a mason jug 

As is cheese.

Cheeseboard selection

Cheesehead selection

Now my trip to the midwest didn’t end in Minneapolis, it extended to Wausau. Where is that you may ask? Who the hell knows. Somewhere in Wisconsin and about a 30 minute flight from Minneapolis. I hopped on a tiny plane with a flight attendant that started his career when planes were invented. The guy came by to check our attendance three times and marked us off in his little notebook. There were 12 rows and it wasn’t full. He asked that we all turn off our discmans and to feel free to move into the seat next to us, if it was empty. Thanks buddy.

Everyone was overly nice in Wausau. They asked if I needed directions (there were only four streets in the town), strangers said hello (that was creepy) and everyone offered you a drink (that part I enjoyed).

Everyone was also really nice in Paris…I had a man propose to me while he tried to sell me fruit. It was very romantic. 

I will say that Wausau proved to be colder than Scotland, which was a real treat.

Look at all that snow

After a glorious week in the midwest, I had to pack my bags and head to Paris to meet up with my bestie, Alli. We planned this trip months ago and as an added bonus my old boss and friend, Robin, had a conference in Europe and decided to crash our trip for two of the nights. She’s a bit selfish, but we put up with it.

Still smiling in front of the Arch de Triomphe before we climbed up a shit ton of stairs.

We spent the first day walking around the city soaking up the culture. The views from the Arch de Triomphe, the shops along the Champs Elysees, the magical public bathrooms.

Paris Bathrooms GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Beam me up, Scotty

I’m not one for public bathrooms normally, but this was different. First I was desperate, second it appeared at the height of my desperateness and it was also highly entertaining. Or at least we thought it was after having downed a bottle of champagne right before. We spent a good 10 minutes just trying to figure out how to open and close the door. It also spoke to you and had a washing cycle before it let another person go in. Good times, right?

Speaking of good times, the sightseeing options in Paris and the midwest were very comparable.

City views of Paris

Train tracks of Wausau

And let’s not forget the food!

Sweet crepes

Greasy cheese curds

Now in Minneapolis I may have had a thrilling experience on a mini roller coaster, but in Paris I was able to have a beautiful ride on a carousel. I love carousels and they are all over Paris. I was picky though and waited for the perfect one to appear and I found it in front of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica.

This is what my dreams look like

The carousel was a double-decker and you all know how I feel about double-deckers! We ran past the little kids and up the stairs to seek out which horses were our favorite. 

Move over kid I want that one

Alli casually enjoying her hot chocolate

Finally, we ended our trip by buying a bottle of champagne and walking to the Louvre at midnight! Woody Allen would have been proud. This was after consulting the locals sitting next to us at dinner, our waiter, the nice lady who sold us the champagne and google if it was ok to have open containers in Paris. They all said some form of yes or I’m sure it’s fine, so off we went!

Midnight in Paris

I am a very lucky girl to have been to both of these magical places earlier this month and will take away such good memories.

 

Some more than others.

 

#MyNewNormal

I wore a giant pin cushion for the first time on my head to a wedding.

Unfortunately, I decided to go for an all black theme (per usual) and with the addition of my black fascinator I looked more like a fancy widow than a wedding guest. Oops, rookie mistake!

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