Is time standing still?

If only, oh the things I could change! This photo was taken at Musée du Louvre in Paris. I think I'll just be quiet now ....and let time stand still. Shshsh.

Check Please!

Or as the French would say, " L'addition, s'il vous plait!"

So this picture was taken nearly two years ago. It was at about midnight in a cafe in Paris. We had just arrived from a really long flight, were exhausted and searching for a nice quick martini and small snack before heading back to the hotel to catch some sleep. The cafe service was prompt and polite, and the food of course was delicious. We consumed our drinks and snacks, and were ready to head out. The jet lag was quickly creeping upon us. As we sat at the table, we realized that our drained minds could not remember the French term for "Check Please," and despite our several attempts could not communicate that to our waitress. So we decided instead that we would just wait it out for her to bring the bill to our table - I mean it couldn't be long, right? We ended up waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting...until eventually over two hours had passed and the time had reached nearly 3am. We wondered what had happened. Didn't she want to go home? Didn't she want to get rid of us? We finally decided to step it up, get pro-active and track down the waitress with perhaps a more effective way of communication. The situation turned more confusing as well as comical with our stupid hand motions and ignorant attempts to pronounce the word "check." After much ado, we eventually communicated to her that we were ready to pay our bill and she was prompt and sweet and kindly waived, "Bonne nuit!" (Good night!) as we exited the cafe.

So, as the rest of the trip continued, eating at many other wonderful French cafes and restaurants- the similar situation played out again and again. I slowly started to understand how the typical French really enjoy a meal. There are no hurries, there's no rushing for the door, and by no means the bill offered until we specifically and politely requested it. I was initially confused and then came upon the epiphany, what a great concept! Enjoy the food, enjoy the drink, the surroundings and the conversation - just purely enjoy the meal and the entire experience. By all means no-one certainly had to twist my arm to acclimate to this forgotten and basic appreciation! Over the years I had become so wrapped up in the rush of everyday life, as well as our Americanized expeditious ways. I'm already a pretty relaxed person, and have always appreciated a nice evening with friends and family simply enjoying a good meal - but this experience had taken that to a new level. It made the rest of my vacation much more enjoyable, whether we dined at a small cafe or a highly rated restaurant, it all came down to the same point; slow down and enjoy the moment. I mean seriously, at the end of the day, ...what's the rush? With that, ...good evening or bonne nuit!


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