What I Learned On My Trip to Paris

04/23/2012 08.55 EST

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Remember returning to school after summer vacation and being asked by your teacher to write an essay titled “What I Learned on My Summer Vacation”? This question immediately came to mind after I returned from a trip to Paris with my mother and brother. We had the good fortune of treating my mother to this special trip, which has been on her “bucket list” for years.   What did I learn from my time spent to Paris? Even though it was a brief trip, I discovered several things about life in general.   Smell the Flowers: It was so delightful to experience a new culture that is more relaxed than the one I’m used to. We loved the pace of Paris, particularly the pace of the meals. Of course, we loved the food; who wouldn’t appreciate being served chocolate croissants every morning?! Each meal was savored slowly and lasted between two or three hours. Initially, it was challenging to adjust to not having the waiters and waitresses shoo you away so they could turn the table over to another customer. The wait staff was not focused on rushing to give us the check – what a shock! Each meal was enjoyed and relished. We actually ate more slowly, had longer conversations and just enjoyed each other’s company. We appreciated taking life a bit more slowly, remembering to smell the flowers along the way.   Mind Your Manners: My one observation of the culture is that typically (although...