Expect the Unexpected

In life, if expectations don’t matter, I try not to set them.  Does it really matter if Paris isn’t what I thought it would be or if I slept on a couch instead of a double bed? Of course not. That doesn’t mean I’m unprepared, no, actually I’m usually over-prepared for every situation. I find that this mindset allows for me to enjoy experiences MORE. Nothing in life will ever go exactly as you plan, so I encourage everyone reading this post to dig in deep and figure out what expecting the unexpected means for you and see if it makes your life a little bit sweeter. Now enough with the life lessons, let’s talk about France.

– Side Tangent that most of you won’t read…. Air BnB is fantastic! I have used it all over the world to stay and it has been the biggest blessing.  You should check it out/use it –

First stop in France was Paris…actually that’s a lie. The FIRST stop was a few miles in the border so that everyone could have a smoke break….I on the other hand went to go look for the bathroom…and you know what I found…a hole in the ground. Yes, you read that right…a hole. It was a standing toilet. WHO DOES THAT???? I would rather be uncomfortable for the next few hours than experience that!!! ANYWAY.

The bus to Paris was pleasant. It was uncrowded and everyone had a row to themselves. I got off and it took me about an hour to get to my Air BnB. The train/metro system was exceptionally easy to follow (At least compared to the German system in my region,)  and if I ever had a questions, every person I asked was so kind and friendly and guided me in the right direction. When I got to my Air BnB, I was a little surprised, I thought I was sleeping in a bed, but instead it was a couch, a very tiny couch. Good thing I’m tiny and flexible otherwise this could have been interesting to say the least. My host was kind but didn’t speak much English although he went out of his way and made me a Moroccan dinner for free!

For Paris, I had no plan and no expectations. It was never a city I dreamed of going to my whole life. That part has been fulfilled through Germany, but if you are keeping up with my blog you already know that. I actually had no intention of going to Paris at all but Uncle Jamo said it was a must see and so I went. I made a list of the “big to-dos” as I only had one day to explore.

Here are pictures of places I visited. I’m sure you have seen these places in person or in pictures and so the only thing added is me 🙂

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There was one thing that shocked me about Paris…and that was the dogs. Dogs are Everywhere…in the subway, on the streets, in the restaurants on their own chairs. I mean I actually ate at a restaurant and watched this lady spoon feed her dog food off her own plate. He had his own chair and water and everything. It was amusing. They say pets are family, but this is another level. We all know how much I loved Snickers. She was my dog. She knew who to come to at dinner time because I would sneak her food… But on the chair in a restaurant??? HELLO sanitation people.  I digress.

The food was incredible. I had a salmon salad. It was so fresh and also came with a basket of French bread. It is only with all my might that I did not eat the entire basket. I’m not supposed to be eating a lot of bread now, but it was French and so of course I had to try a piece….or two.

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I had the opportunity to visit Montmarte and Notre-Dame while in Paris. Montmarte I was able to go into but the line for Notre-Dame was slightly…ok a lot…longer than I had time to wait in. I’ll put that in my “Maybe Someday,” category.  My favorite moment was just being at the Eiffel Tower. I walked around the park for quite a while just listening to music. I have a playlist called “Peace,” and I just put it on and said thanks for the opportunity to be here.

That night, when I was in Paris, I received word through Facebook that one of our Marching Chiefs passed away from a seizure very unexpectedly. The F in chiefs stands for family. We are all family no matter if you only served a rookie season or were a 5th year drum major. Zack was not someone I knew personally, but the legacy he has left behind has touched Chiefs Old and Young, Far and Wide. I hope and strive to be that person that dedicates their life to serving others. If I could live my life in a way that left that kind of legacy, it would be a life well lived.

I feel that in general, I live every moment to the fullest. But Zack’s passing is a gentle reminder that we only have one life on this earth and none know how long or how short that life may be. I want to use and savor each moment in life, the beautiful and the ugly, as reminders and lessons that this life is not about ourselves but about how we treat those around us. So whether you’ve known someone your whole life or only had 24 hours with them, remind them that they are chosen, that they are loved, and that they have made a difference in your life.

From Paris, I ventured to Strasbourg , it’s a beautiful town not far from the German border. My friend Phil met me at the bus station and drove me to my Air BnB where I got the key and met my host! There wasn’t a lot of time as my bus was late, but we drove around the town and he showed me things like his college and church. It’s crazy to me because he has lived in this city his whole life. I’m currently working on move number 10 and the thought of living in one place for that long just escapes me. I can’t fathom it.

The next day we did a walking tour of the city which made my fitbit pretty happy! Pop Quiz…what are my two favorite things to do in new cities???

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If you said go to old churches and try new food you get some chocolate from me when I come home!!!

The day started off kind of cold and grey, but ended up being one of the prettiest days I’ve seen since being in Europe. We saw SO much so I’ll leave pictures per usual and just tell you a couple of my favorite things.

The cathedral! The Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg.  It’s a beautiful gothic-style cathedral that now stands as the sixth highest church in the world.

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The food! We ate some food typical to the region. It called Alsatian. It incorporates German traditions and is oh so delicious. It was probably my favorite meal here so far!

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My favorite moment though was just standing on top of the Barrage Vauban. There was a beautiful view of the city. It was incredibly peaceful. Sometimes, I am happiest doing absolutely nothing, just spending time enjoying God’s creation with friends.

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I headed back for Germany yesterday afternoon. The bus was a couple hours late. I think I know why transportation is so cheap haha, you’re not always going to be on time…But That’s Ok!

This morning has been full of a little R&R, some studying, and some catching up with friends! I want to give a super special shout out to the incredible KINSEY FOURNIER on your Day of Birth! I love you and I wish that I was there to dive into Pizza and Cinnamon stick and get lost in Ann Arbor with you! ❤

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To all my friends at in Tallahassee, Auburn, and Ann Arbor cheer extra loud for me today!  Go Noles, War Eagle, And Go Blue.

Have a Blessed Day my beautiful friends and family! Enjoy your nachos!

Always,

Kens

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