Fromage in France

Cheese and France. It’s just too easy. Is there anything more synonymous with France than cheese? And when your blog titles are all about alluring alliteration, it’s a gimme.

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But we’re not here to talk about that. We are here to talk about bananas and whether they belong in heaven.

Do you remember those wild women of the world? There have been more than a few that I have to thank for the adventure behind me and the life ahead of me. But there is one in particular. She was one of those older cousins I watched storming across borders and breaking boundaries and being a general go getter. If it is possible to attribute such a great trait as wanderlust to one influencer, it would be her. I watched her become the adventurer I knew I would someday be. It is her footsteps that I followed away from my comfortable life and into a backpack.

And there we were, adventuring cousin and adventuring cousin adventuring together through Paris.

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We spent our week in Paris as any good travelers would. We ate, we drank, we shopped, and we took in culture until it poured from our every pore. Yes, food, wine, shopping, and art. Yet, somehow we managed that entire week of Parisian living without entering one restaurant, bar, high end boutique, or museum.

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We took to the streets.

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We shopped the local corner artists, we ate the fromagers and patisseries and boulangeries out of cheese and pain au chocolat and baguettes, we bought wine from well stocked bodegas, and we walked through parks and secret gardens.

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We discovered that my expired student card served as a perfect picnic knife. We discovered that wine tasted best straight from the bottle in our pajamas. We discovered that when you go back to the same jewelry stand not once, not twice, but three times you should perhaps treat yourself.  And we discovered art and beauty and divinity with every sprawling, meandering, ambling walk through the great city of sprawling, meandering, ambling walks.

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One fine day, when the temperatures dipped to the frigid 40s, we found ourselves with a bad sort of hunger. We had laced up our walking shoes hours and miles before and suddenly, without even knowing where we were heading, there we were. We stood eagerly, mouths watering at a tiny crepe stand down an alley off a street in a quarter of a city full of alleys and streets and quarters.

As we stood and watched the batter pour, spread, flip, roll, and transform into a soft doughy tunnel of delight, the great debate began.

There exists in life an endless world of possibilities. This endless world of possibilities is not unlike the variety of topping choices at a popular creperie in Paris.

Savory or sweet?

Chocolate or cream?

Powered sugar? Nuts? Fruit?

My mind began spinning before I even finished the list of dessert permutations. I watched the person in front of me accept a simple, plain crepe with chocolate. I want that one I pointed, unable to see clearly through the fog of craving.

But wait. 

Maybe I don’t.

Maybe I want the cream with strawberries. 

Or do I want something savory? We haven’t had cheese in almost an hour. I haven’t eaten myself lactose intolerant yet. Maybe I should have some more. 

I debated this running stream of ideas aloud for all to hear.

Maybe I want the chocolate with bananas. I do like bananas. Maybe that would be healthier. 

“Cousin!” my cousin interjected. “Cousin,” she said, “you don’t need bananas in heaven.”

And, as it turned out, I didn’t.

When heaven is a simple harmony of flour, sugar, egg, butter, high heat, and chocolate, you have everything you need in one transparent, butter laden paper plate.

So I ate and pondered, those words bouncing around my buzzing chocolate brain.

Bananas in heaven. 

Could it be the sugar speaking or had we just discovered one of those life secrets that creep in at the oddest moment?

The life out there in front of you is going to be full of options. Much like a chalkboard full of crepes, you will be faced with life altering decisions from day to day. Some days it will be simple. Others not so much. It is easy to get caught up in mulling options aloud, wondering at the virtue of savory vs. sweet, pitting chocolate vs. cream, but don’t let that stop you from ordering. Don’t let it stop you from devouring and learning and continuing on.

I am a thinker. I ponder. I weigh options. I debate and second guess and wonder. Even as I am diving head first into something I question whether I have picked the right pool. It is one of my greatest faults. But it is also a great gift, this need to make decisions. It means I have choices, I have a path and I am guiding myself through it. That is a gift.

There are no wrong decisions, only different routes to a different discovery, a different delight, a different decadent dalliance.

My crepe was delicious. I ate it up so quickly I didn’t realize it was gone. And then I wanted more.

Like life.

Eat up every moment with the gusto you would a fresh crepe. Go back for more. Try new flavors. Strike out into the unknown. Pick bananas and see if they are a part of your heaven. Make decisions and move on. Know that there will always be another choice to be made and another crepe to be eaten.

And in the end, enjoy the life that’s right in front of you. The life you hold in your greasy paper plate. The life that sings with cocoa and simplicity. The life that will morph and grow with you. And remember, you don’t always need bananas in heaven.

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