A (Poor) American in Paris

At the end of our trip we stopped in Paris for a day.

Since I was a little girl, I’d dreamed of seeing the Eiffel Tower and all of the things that made Paris so magical.

The Eiffel Tower was cool…and when the lights twinkled at night, it was magical. Like seeing something I’d only ever imagined…and it didn’t disappoint.

But Paris…I have to reflect on this city, and here’s why.

I couldn’t believe the amount of Gucci and Chanel and Prada and expensive purses and coats and boots I saw. It seemed that everyone around me was just a walking advertisement for Vogue…and I looked down at my Target jeans and $5 combat boots that I wore while tromping through Paris.

And I felt poor.

We’d see people lounging in the late afternoon sun having a drink and a chat with friends at an outdoor cafe…and a quick peek at the menu told us exactly what they were paying to have that drink.

I felt poor again.

We wandered a bit around dinner time, looking for a place off the beaten path, but the prices just killed us. (Obviously, figuratively ;)) We could have paid the money and eaten that food, but we just couldn’t do it.

If that makes any sense. :)

It was a reminder, once again, that I felt poor.

As the evening wore on, Paris crept into every part of me, nagging and whispering to me exactly what I didn’t have. Lots of money, expensive things…

And then I caught myself.

And as we walked back through the narrow, cobbled streets and passed bakeries and bought bread…what we could afford…I stopped.

Thought for a moment.

And smiled.

Eight days of adventure with my honey, courtesy of some hard-earned frequent flyer miles. 😉 Going to places we never thought we’d see. Exploring and having adventures that didn’t require emptying our savings account. Riding a camel and suriviving the Tangier market. Basking in the beauty of the Mediterranean and the mountains and the sunshine. Laughing, mostly. Learning to love more deeply. Knowing that when we went back, we’d have our amazing daughter waiting for us in a place that is home…full of friends and family and community and love.

So I tromped through Paris feeling very, very poor.

And when we arrived home…had a precious reunion with our girl, saw some dear friends, started feeling a bit jet-lagged…I opened my purse to see a small paper bag containing my Eiffel Tower key chain, my lone souvenir from Paris that I paid half a Euro for.

I clipped it onto my keys and stared at it for awhile, thankful for the reminder.

The reminder that I am very, very rich.



  1. Wonderfully written! Beautifully expressed! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply to Rebekah Grace Cancel reply