Yesterday I went to Paris for the day. Yes, that sounds rather decadent and probably annoying to some. I went to a blogger event for the purpose of learning about SMELLS! It was rather fascinating what we learned and I was even able to turn it into some pretty amazing #embracehappy moments. The biggest things I took away from the day, however, was how we really need to be grateful and soak up every moment of every day, regardless of where we are. We need to take time to smell the roses, LITERALLY. We need to appreciate a display of fruit on a market stall for the colours and scents that it produces. We need to take the time to let the memories wash over us when we smell a familiar smell or hear a favourite song. We need to take a mental snapshot of those little moments that can slip away far too quickly. We need them when times are tough. Here were some of my observations and smells from my flying visit to Paris yesterday…
That picture is of a delightful Cafe Creme, my favourite French warm beverage. When I studied in Caen, Normandy, way back in 2005, one of my regular indulgences was a Cafe Creme from any number of cafes in the town. I especially liked it when they provided a small bowl of brown & white sugar cubes to accompany the drink. As we sat yesterday in a random cafe on the corner of a roundabout, we were told to order anything we liked. I instantly asked for a Cafe Creme. It’s simply an espresso shot with creme and some lovely foam on top. I am not much of a coffee drinker but in France and even better, in Paris, I am. There’s something about a Cafe Creme for me. The smell, the warmth, the smoothness as it slides down your throat. It’s just bliss. It brings a plethora of memories flooding back to when I was in Caen with friends and the beginnings of my relationship with Mark. Yesterday I smelled more than roses. I smelled Paris. The exhaust, the cigarettes, the coffee, the detergent smell from a laundromat, the glorious smell of pastry, the not-overly-unpleasant smell of fresh mussels, clams & oysters at corner cafes. I inhaled deeply and smiled. I slowed down. I pressed my nose against the glass of the car we were driven in and looked at everything we passed. Paris is like every big city really. Buildings, people, cars, more people, buses, gardens. But each big city has it’s charm; each village has it’s charm. Why not take the time to smell the roses?
Perhaps in part because we had such little time in Paris, I found the need to really drink it in. Maybe that’s the way we should be approaching every day though? We don’t know how much time we have. Why rush through everything we do without appreciating the beauty of what is around us? I don’t expect you to stop in the middle of a footpath, throw your head back and arms out to the side and spin round and round “Sound of Music” stylee to fully appreciate where you are and what you are doing. You’d look a bit out of place perhaps but you know what, if something really moves you that much, why the hell not??
In my corner of the world, Spring is just beginning to show some early signs. In the back of our garden, the traditional trumpets that announce Spring’s arrival, the glorious Snow Drops, have sounded their horns. Daffodils are beginning to push through the earth. The ground is warming up, the sun is staying in the sky longer each day. This the perfect time to smell the roses…maybe literally. Life is beginning again. Why not dedicate the next few weeks to slowing down, pressing your nose against the glass and drinking it all in? Resolve today, and maybe for the rest of this week, to slow your steps, take a look at what is around you, notice colours, smells and textures. Look at the world through fresh eyes and appreciate how beautiful every day life can be. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find your chest expanding with fresh air, you’ll find your spine stretching taller, you’ll find yourself smiling a rather goofy smile. Life is good. Take time to smell the roses! #embracehappy
By the way, I left 3 #embracehappy messages around Paris! The first one was left in a magazine on the Eurostar train, the 2nd on a coat hook in the cafe where I so enjoyed my Cafe Creme and the 3rd was left on the door handle of the apartment we visited as part of the blogger event. I wonder if any lovely French people will start embracing happy?