It’s that time of the . . . week! Deb at San Diego Momma is hosting PROMPTuesday #27: Trippin’. There are no rules, and here is Deb’s prompt:

“Write about a trip or an excursion that left you changed in some way. Did you conquer a fear on your trip? Learn something about yourself? Learn something about another person? Break up? Get together?”

Je T’Aime Bien Plus

It was Christmas morning, the day before we were to leave for ten days in Paris. We drank coffee, exchanged gifts, and I was on the futon watching TV. I was a little sad. Christmas morning is supposed to be for children, and I missed Kristen and Courtney that morning. They were having the last Christmas visit they would ever have with their biological father, in fact it would be one of the last times they’d ever see him, which was a good thing and another story. It is a story that I may or may not tell someday because that story is as much theirs as mine. Tom noticed that I was feeling blue and so he went and got my engagement ring from his nearly packed suitcase and proposed. He’d been planning to propose in Paris on New Year’s Eve, he told me, but he thought I needed cheering up.

The following day, Kristen and Courtney, who had returned home where they belonged the night before, joined Tom and me as we boarded the long flight overseas. Tom had grown up part of his life in Paris, the son of medieval historians whose work required that they do their research in the places where that history happened. We planned to visit Tom’s parents who were in Paris at the time, take in a few sights, visit neighborhoods and schools where Tom spent time as a boy, and eat chocolate-filled crepes.

When we arrived in Paris, I was a bit overwhelmed. Wouldn’t you know? All of the signs were in French. I had never been to Europe or anywhere that “they” didn’t speak English or Spanish, and at least I speak enough Spanish that when in Mexico I could get myself to the nearest baño. I had known Tom since our first day of law school, and well enough at that point to accept his proposal of marriage, but I was soon to find out something new about him. He spoke French, rather fluently in fact. I knew that he had learned to speak French as a child, but even Tom said he was surprised by how much he was able to recall.

As he navigated our newly forming family through the cobblestone streets of Paris, I felt safe and protected, a brand new feeling for me to have with a man. With Tom’s beautiful French accent, a native accent that can be acquired only from learning a language as a child, he ordered our food in restaurants, bargained with vendors on the streets, read maps, and led us through a magical journey. In that place that I had never been before, I fell more deeply in love with Tom. Paris was not the first time, and it wouldn’t be the last time either, that I’d find myself surprised by Tom, and falling more in love with him.

36 comments on “Je T’Aime Bien Plus”

  1. I love learning all this about you.
    The stories are always so well told.

    And…son of medieval historians? I just fell in love with Tom a little bit (platonically, of course). (Pretty much.)

  2. Isn’t it nice to have those moments where you *know* you made the right life choice in picking a partner that makes you feel proud of them, happy to be with them, or safe (your words)?

    I continue to have those moments with Katy as she takes on more leadership roles in our University (kind of cool to be working at the same place so I get to hear about her from other people that don’t know we are married). But I also remember a similar time within the first year of our relationship where we went to Mexico and Katy was able to speak fluently in that environment. It too was one of those crystalized moments where I felt enamored with her. It was partly because I’ve always thought intelligence was a huge turn-on, but it was also because of the sense of confidence she demonstrated in those moments.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories. These posts prompt me reflect on my own fond memories.

  3. Sweet!!! I took NINE years of French as a kid and still can barely express a complete sentence…. Glad I’m not the one who was with you!

  4. Oh, oh! what a romantic story. I just knew the minute he chose to get the engagement ring from his luggage – spoiling his planned moment, but doing it because you were feeling down – that he was the right person for you!

    Wonderful!

    And so tenderly written, and it really shows how Paris is a touchstone now for your relationship.

  5. OH, we will have to talk more this Spring when I venture off for my first trip to the City of Lights!

    This is beautifully written. I enjoyed it very much. :o)

  6. I really like what you write about Tom. He sounds like a really loving person and someone with a rich childhood. You’re whole story is amazing. I am so happy you found him. And him, you!

  7. son of medieval historians? that seems pretty made up. but i guess the cool francais helped him pull it off.

    he’s something, huh?

    you sure you want to ditch him to live with me? but wait, je parle francais un poquito.

    wait. that might be spanish-ish.

  8. no, really. it’s nice. it’s sweet. i swear, it totally is.

    and also? tech support just made me swoon with all his big talk of interest only mortgages and falling interest rates. when you leave tom for me? i might just snap him up.

  9. I hope your husband read this and fell to his knees, kissing your hands and getting all romantic with you. What a wonderful tribute to the love you share!

    I have a million other thoughts running about over your writing, but it all boils down to: fantastic!

    Da Goddess
    dagoddess.com

  10. Okay…so…you know I love ya like my luggage, right?
    That story was really sweet and romantic…and that Tom? yeah…he’s up there, baby, with the best of them…but…I, too, (along with katydidnot) had some sarcastic (yet really funny) comments that I am working really hard not to type…maybe i’ll go write them down somewhere and save them for later!!
    You, my dear, are truly a writer. I enjoy Tuesdays!!!

  11. that is such a beautiful story. I’ll have to really think of something. I lived abroad in college so there is a mine full of stuff.

    First time here and loved it.

  12. Lovely story, Cheri. I don’t feel at all snarky, I love a good romantic love story. Someday I will share mine. Maybe. Not sure I can handle the snarkies.

    Beautifully written as usual, also Cheri.

  13. What a great story. I like that he gave you the ring early, not because “oh, he gave you the ring” but he was going to propose anyway, had it and knew it was the right time for you and not just the right time for him to propose. If that makes sense.

  14. Don’t they say Paris is where love is born, or is it that Paris is where you fall in love again?

    Can’t remember. I just know that romance and Paris seem to go hand in hand.

    Lovely, lovely story . . .

  15. Il est avocat et il parle francais comme si c’etait sa langue maternelle? Wow. J’adore l’accent francais du France!

    Quelle histoire romantique! Bien ecrit aussi!

    (Get Tom to translate for you!)

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