In my life there are a few golden rules and I was breaking a big one. Hoping on a bike without a helmet, what would my cycling friends at home think of that? Not to mention I’m on a date with an Italian stranger I’d met on Tinder only a few days before. Either a huge adventure or the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but at this point I was all in. Pedaling up a hill in god knows where Paris traffic I followed the tall slender Carlo on my newly rented grey bike with the biggest smile plastered on my face. I was cycling around Paris having a crazy adventure and loving every minute.
Retreat mates Jen and Christina (aka new besties) waited parentally with me for the Tinder date to show up at Les Deux Magots. I watched nervously scanning the men walking by as they pointed guessing, “is that one him”? I was starting to get knots in my stomach maybe this had been a bad idea? Then he rounded the corner talking on a cell phone and the knots disappeared. There was something about his energy I couldn’t put my finger on that put my fears to rest. He wasn’t going to be an ax murder, or worse someone I wouldn’t enjoy spending time with. Yes, those are the worries that cross the minds of all women before they embark on a date with a stranger whether in Paris or the safety of their own city. Christina reminded me “there are no bad decisions in Paris” and off I went for a date in the city of lights.
Sitting across the table from him at a café I could never have found on my own given it was tucked away out of the reach of main tourist arteries, the couple at the table next to us was chain smoking. That’s a part of Paris culture I’ll probably never enjoy, but it didn’t matter it only added to the texture of this Paris experience. I looked over into his kind green eyes, and wondered is this really my life? Was I really in Paris on a date with a handsome man, who seemed as genuinely interested in my life as I was in his life while drinking a fantastic red Bordeaux? This kinda luck never seems to find me in Greensboro.
I giggled to think an Italian, who’s been living in Paris for 7 years turned out to be the perfect tour guide and company this summer night. After drinks Carlo suggested we ride our bikes to the canals because he thought they were beautiful and off we went. The water seemed to twinkle as we walked up and down the canal, and over the bridges until we settled on a bench to sit and chat.
Every part of this trip has been magical, each day filled with multiple stories to tell, and each story vibrating with synchronicity. Sometimes in life you get a moment in time that sets your heart on fire. Maybe you don’t fall madly in love with a stranger, but you do ride a bike around the most beautiful city in the world, have fabulous conversation and cycle back to your hotel at almost 1am. If you’re really lucky you even get a sweet hug good night and a new pen pal before you realize you might be momentarily locked out of your hotel. Finally back in my hotel room, tucked safely into bed next to my sleeping roommate I thought about what Christina had said “there are no bad decisions in Paris, only good stories” and I have to agree.