MA-losophy in Paris: Conscious Connections to Differences

I will have a dozen or so blogs about my trip to France in the Summer of 2013.  Expect the MA-losophy style while also getting tips that you may be able to use when traveling with family in Europe (in my case with 11 people total) and my ability to maintain my sanity (most of the time).  While I receive compliments on my ability to speak French, I am far from perfect and it is a continuously humbling experience.  The following are some of my adventures as the only family member that spoke the language and was most exposed to the culture.  Wow, did I learn many lessons.  Read on…

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Paris We Go
For the past two years, Paris has been the last leg of our trip before we flew back to the United States.  Interestingly enough, the lesson we learned in Paris is the same I learned in New York City.  It is very difficult to find a cab driver to agree to take you to the airport.  The previous year in Paris, it was just my husband and I and we were in a chain hotel (vs. apartment like this year) and taxi’s were hungry to nab foreigners and cart them around the city for a quick buck.  However, when we placed our bags in the trunk and the bellman announced “aeroport, s’il vous plait” the taxi driver took our bags out of his trunk and left the scene (even the bellman was shocked).  (I have similar stories when in New York City, but one cab driver felt so bad that he drove me around NYC at no charge until he could recruit another driver to get me to the airport… I’ve digressed again).

Certainly, it is possible to take a couple of trains to and from Paris and the airport.  Especially with two people that are accustomed to walking and travel light.  For this trip, however, we knew it would be hair pulling to schlep ages 76, 2, and 4 (with car seats and luggage) and the balance of nearly one dozen family members on a train which also included a connector.

Our van made it into the garage with the weight of 8 people and luggage. Once vacated...

When renting the apartments (complete with kitchen and laundry washing machines) in Paris (called Short Stay which I highly recommend… great price and accommodations), reserving parking spaces for about 25 Euro per day was a bargain.  We would never get an ample number of cabs to fit all of our luggage and people at the same time.

We were lucky to fit our 8-seater van in the Paris garage.  Once eight people vacated the van and removed all the luggage, we couldn’t get the vehicle out of the space, but we made it and wouldn’t think about it again until it was departure time.

Saving a Few Euro by Pre-Planning
With any big city, prices for certain types of food are going to be higher than in smaller towns.  Plus, it takes a little research to find the location of a reasonably priced grocer nearby (when at the Short Stay, there was a small grocery stores within a block or so).  Before we drove from Avignon to Paris we stocked up on just in case items: milk (which comes in boxes rather than the refrigerator section in the U.S.), large containers of yogurt, fruit (it is much more expensive in the city), wine (bien sur… we came from the wine region where we could get a truly great bottle of wine for 5 or so Euro), fresh lettuce and other vegetables… items that we didn’t want to take a chance of not finding for our evening and morning meals or pay an arm and a leg for.

Bread and baked goods?  Those simply must be purchased not long before you are about to consume them.  The fluffiness of a fresh French baguette or chocolate croissant (pain au chocolat) must be experienced every day if you truly want to enjoy the culture.

In French Food I Trust
In the United States many are shying away from white bread or gluten in general.  Why?  Much of the wheat is genetically modified in the U.S.; however, in France and much of the EU GMO’s are banned.

I was in my local EarthFare in Asheville and my trusted baker commented, “the French use bleached flour.” While my understanding is the EU (European Union) doesn’t permit bleaching or bromates, my quick response was “maybe they do but it’s real wheat.” (Of course, this isn’t my baker’s doing, I really do like him.) But here is what really drove the point home for me. My 12 year old has had stomach issues since she was an infant.  We had her tested for both gluten and dairy in the U.S. and the doctor said she was not allergic to either.  However, we went to Italy when she was 6, she ate gelato and had no issues.  When she returned home and had ice cream she would, literally, vomit.  When she went to France this year she ate bread and cheese to her heart’s content.  When she returned home and ate wheat and dairy as usual she was up for several nights in tears and finally agreed that she can’t live like that anymore.  She is willingly gluten-free and dairy-free in the U.S. (she can have soy ice cream and raw cheese and has no issues) and her stomach issues have disappeared.

One of our Paris dinners in our apartment which included bread with no gluten ramifications

So, why do we have food sensitivities that adults my age never witnessed when we were kids?  Our children’s bodies are refusing to accept the decrease in the U.S. food quality and the additives that the body doesn’t recognize as sustenance.  Do your own research.  In my little lab — the Payton household — health abounds. I believe I’ve just ranted.

The MA-losophic Message is Pay Attention to Differences
Differences in the way you feel, differences in the way you purchase, differences in the way you eat, even differences in the way you park your vehicle!  How do the differences impact routines when you return home?  Maybe they are just great memories, but I believe that we never step in the same stream twice.  We evolve with every experience from the most tiny to the most grand.  Add a consciousness element and where does that take you?

To learn more about my mind over matter practice, my self-help books, workshops, and techniques to create comfort for yourself and others, go to  www.MichellePayton.com.  Speak to you soon.

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