I read somewhere that experiences create lasting happiness, while the joy that comes with material things quickly fades. Part of the joy that comes from experiences, even long after they are over, comes from the fact that we tend to look back on our experiences with rose-colored glasses. We remember them better than they were in the moment. When I first read about that I didn’t like the idea of it. I wanted to remember my experiences how they were, not as a idealized version of them. It really bothered me for a while, especially because I realize that I do it all the time. One of the times that I realized I was doing that same thing was when I talked about the winters we spent in Finland. I would describe the days riding our bikes from one place to another, in sub 0 temperatures, as no big deal, I’d just shrug it off. Then I forced myself to recall my specific thoughts and feelings during a particular bike ride and I’d start to remember how miserable it was. The ice cold wind cutting through my thick scarf and piercing my skin, straining to take a breath through the bone dry air, and peeling my frozen scarf from my hair once I was inside - I still can’t quite feel how that once felt, but I do know that I was not so thrilled about it at the time. So why is that so hard for me recall? Why isn’t that the first thing that comes to mind when I think back on that memory? I don’t know why it’s like that, but I think that in some way my feelings are now connected to my experience as a whole in Finland, and not just that specific day. In a way, I think less about how I felt during that particular experience and more about if it was worth it, if the whole thing was worth freezing for. When I have some time and distance from experiences, even the less than ideal experiences (or even outright bad ones), they seem to have less impact. In fact, they actually make the overall experience more memorable.
I’ve realized lately that I’ve been doing the same thing about the time we spent in Paris at the end of the summer. All I think about now is how much I want to go back. Paris is such a inspiring place. Don’t get me wrong, we actually did have a great time and love the city, but I’d be lying if I said that we weren’t yearning to get back to Texas by that last week. It was a combination of a bunch of different things, but we were struggling to enjoy every moment in city. There was an internal push that got us out, walking around, exploring, when all we really wanted to do was get on a plane and go home. At the time I felt like we were ungrateful for the time we got to spend in Paris, but we just couldn’t shake the feeling. Talking to some friends who spent a lot of time traveling and who shared similar sentiments during moments of their travels, helped us to realize that that is often part of being on the go for long periods of time. And it’s worth it. Even though I know that it’s not as rosy as I remember it most of the time. Even though I know that traveling comes with its own set of struggles and difficult moments, I never regret it. In fact, I just crave it more.
These photos were taken the first ten days we spent in Paris, when my mom and aunt came to meet us, before we got into our slump. I had so much fun taking them around to some of my favorite places and planning out our days, which mostly consisted of lots of walking, wine, and bread. Exactly as one should experience Paris.
I'm ready to go back.
For all of those who have prayed, hoped and wished for warm weather to make its way to Finland, thank you, it has. Now if we could work on a little AC up in here, that’d be really cool (no pun intended). I am so thankful for and loving all this warm weather and sunshine that we’ve been getting, really I am. Everyone is happy, people are out and about and picnics are happening all over the city. It’s the best. But when it’s 80+ outside and you have to be inside, with no AC, well let’s just say if it weren’t for the mosquitos I’d be sleeping in the forest. When the wind blows our door closed, I sprint to prop it back open to prevent an immediate pool of sweat and suffocation. I have my fly swatter (thanks mom) ready at all times in case one of those annoying creatures tries to sneak their way through the open windows and doors. But I know that sooner than I care to admit the chilling winds will be back again and open windows won’t even be an option, so I’m going to turn that fan on high and keep reminding myself that it’s better than frozen eyelashes.
So a little over a month ago we took a trip to Paris for a week with Scott’s parents. I’m going to blame the fact that I’m just now writing about it on the mere three weeks that I’ve spent in Joensuu since the beginning of June AND my little motivation to do anything that involves my legs sticking to a chair while staring at a computer. Yep, that’s my excuse. My idea of Paris was pretty much the same one that is portrayed on TV. Beautiful, wonderful, romantic…just about everything perfect squished into one city. There’s so much hype around the city that I thought there was no way it could live up to my (and many people’s) expectations. But as cliché as it sounds, I did kind of fall just a little bit in love with the city. The museums, churches and Eiffel Tower are all amazing, but what I really loved was the everyday kind of stuff. Like the millions of cafés lining every street, filled with people enjoying the weather and good company. And the parks, or just dots of green, for people to bring their picnics of baguettes, cheese and a bottle of wine (yes, that actually happens in real life). Oh, and all the buildings. I just couldn’t get enough of the white-grayish old buildings that give the city it’s relaxed, romantic feel. It also didn’t hurt that we had near perfect weather the entire time we were there, which really makes everything better. I don’t know what it is about the city. You can do nothing except sit at a café and people-watch, and at the end of the day you still feel like you’ve had a pretty solid day. But that’s what’s so great about it.