Les Yeux

Paris: Les Yeux de L'espoir from Hope Ruth Curran on Vimeo.

UC Berkeley Study abroad offers a 7 week program: 2 weeks in California, 5 weeks in Paris, the city of light. Praise God who provided financial aid that made this trip possible. We would have class field trips to places like Versailles, Giverny, Musée D'Orsay, Saint Chapelle and yes, I did "study" from time to time. I began to understand the importance of learning rather than just studying. Speaking french with strangers (making them less strange) and taking time to just sit in the Luxembourg gardens and study human interactions and the way the light dances with the leaves taught me new life recipes. I would swim at the local pool on my own time in between class and cafés. I made friends with lifeguards and old men in speedos. The sun set around 22h00 each day- giving time a whole new feeling and definition.The French have a phrase "Prenez le temps" that means to "take the time". Don't rush from place to place always on a schedule and looking to the next thing. Be. Exist in the moment and place you are in. God worked in my heart. I am learning what it means to be alone but not lonely, and enjoy solitude. To say no to things you do not wish or love to do and yes to the things that bring joy and life. Find beauty and connection with the things and people around you. My courageous and whimsical roommate Madeline whom I now call a sister taught me many of life's secret recipes and put it this way, "It seems that everytime we go some place we are missing something we are accustomed to, but there are always new things to be had and learn. Then when we return it seems we are missing something from somewhere else. I think every place is unique and we must live the way the people live where we are. That way we are never really missing anything, just living." 

I found myself sitting on an airplane flying across about 326 million trillion gallons of water they call ocean. That same salty substance that covers the land began to fall from my eyes. 49 days of adventure, exploring, discovering, meeting, walking, watching, tasting, speaking, and existing. New French vocabulary, tastes, friends email addresses, thousands of photos and clips of videos, journal entries, and ticket stubs are the memories I carefully packed up to take back home. My feet dirty, my hair messy, and my eyes sparkling from the excess of life that this summer has brought me. Merci Beaucoup Paris! 

{Madeline et Moi}