J’aime Paris (I love Paris)

“Paris is always a good idea.” – Sabrina

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June 5, 2017….exactly one week ago marked our first year of marriage. This past year was filled with many adventures, a few challenges, but most of all love, friendship and support. My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary in none other than the city of love, Paris!

I’ve seen it already. Hundreds of times, in fact, on pages of books and in movies, but standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, marveling at its presence was still surreal! This was my first time in Paris and whether watching tennis at Roland Garros (site of the French Open), viewing Da Vinci’s most famous work (the heavily guarded Mona Lisa) at the Louvre Museum, or walking past run-of-the-mill (to Parisians) 500 year old apartment buildings on every corner it felt as if my grade school education had come to life.

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Photo Credit: Gloria Villa

Unfortunately we are already back in Dubai and have nothing but sweet memories from the trip! When I think about our anniversary, I will always remember the sights in Paris, but the growth in our relationship this past year is what makes me smile the most. While visiting family back home the previous week, my husband and I spoke to a mostly single crowd about accountability to yourself before entering a committed relationship. Finding someone who you are willing to change for and who is willing to change for you is the foundation for a successful marriage. If we have learned anything this year it is that even if the change seems small and insignificant, the willingness to make an an honest and sincere effort to listen to each other’s concerns and adjust accordingly will make a big difference.

Walking around the streets of Paris and in particular, roaming the seemingly endless halls of the Louvre, reminded me of important lessons reinforced this past year. The Louvre is the world’s largest museum and impressive not only in size, but also in grandeur. The careful maintenance of the grounds and each individual piece of art is incredible and absolutely necessary for their longevity. Similarly, a marriage is filled with love and and if not preserved properly, cared for and invested in, it could easily crumble and fall apart. It takes effort and attention to detail in order to cultivate it. If maintained properly, it’s remarkable and the collection of experiences and memories that make up the relationship grow even more valuable with age.

For our anniversary dinner, we had a reservation at La Grande Cascade. The restaurant embodied everything I dreamed of in a fancy restaurant. The food was so good I even enjoyed the lamb (which normally I detest) and the macaroni starter speciality, that happened to cost more than the entree! From charming grounds to the meticulous attention to detail, such as a carefully positioned stool for my purse, separate menus to keep prices secret and well trained staff in tuxedos, La Cascade Grande proved to be an experience to remember.

The next day our French Open experience proved to be memorable for other reasons. The timing of the French Open couldn’t have been more ideal (or so we thought)! My husband and I were very excited to attend a women’s and men’s quarterfinals match while we were in Paris. Ok, maybe I was more excited than he was, but knowing the joy it would bring me made him just as excited if not more! Little did we know, the quarterfinal between Djokovic and Thiem would get rained out after we spent all day waiting for the clouds to disappear.

Rain or shine, what made the trip exciting was the overall experience and sharing it with the one you love. I still can’t believe we have been married for a year already. Last year was filled with many adjustments and big life changes. We learned a lot about ourselves and our relationship since this was the first year we actually lived in the same city! This next year, we look forward to accomplishing much more as we take an active look at how we spend our time and find ways to be more productive. Second year of marriage, ready, set, go!

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