Letting the cat out of the bag...

Alright, friends...apologies for having taken so long in writing a new post. I've been waiting for the dust to settle after dropping a pretty major bomb in my personal life. And I'm about to do the same to you all...

So, back to Paris. I believe I left you with my Parisian celebration of Thanksgiving. On to Black Friday...so there was no shopping, no fights in parking lots, no standing in line to spend money at three in the morning, no pushing, no shoving, no consumerism. Instead, we headed out to Chartres, where I lived for a year.

It is a beautiful little town that is completely and totally overshadowed by its magnificent cathedral. When I first moved to France, I rented a room in this charming old house owned by an older couple. The adorable room was up under the eves, with sloping ceilings, a straw-stuffed mattress, and antique furniture. Unfortunately, it was also infested with bedbugs and barely heated, and the kitchen was forbidden to me, so I wound up eating a lot of cold ravioli out of a can. I made an effort to spend as little time there as possible and would wander the cobbled streets of Chartres to kill time between teaching my classes and resigning myself to going "home." When the weather turned rainy, I turned to the cathedral. I would sit inside and take shelter...I'd read or work on lesson plans and it was one of the few places I felt safe and comfortable during my first month living abroad. To say that it is significant spiritual landmark in my life would be an understatement.

And now, Notre Dame de Chartres has taken on a whole new significance since that is where I got engaged!! Damien asked me to marry him in one of my most personally meaningful places and I happily accepted. I'm going to keep a few details to myself for private reminiscences, but needless to say, I am fortunate to be with a very sweet, thoughtful and sensitive man.

We spent the rest of the day wandering Chartres in a happy daze...I was staring at my left hand a lot, so I'm not sure if there were many changes in Chartres since the last time I was there. It still feels like home, though. That I can say for sure.

We headed back to Paris for a champagne toast and celebration at, appropriately enough, the very trendy bar/restaurant at the Hôtel Amour. So that pretty well beats getting 40% off at Kohl's, don't you think? ;)

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