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Suddreth Vacation – Paris

To celebrate being married for an entire year to the best guy ever, the husband and I went on quite the vacation! Our entire whirlwind adventure started on August 15th when we left for Paris, a city he had previously visited but I had not.

 

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

We left our local airport early in the afternoon and flew for what felt like an eternity. I am not a huge fan of flying long distances (the planes go very high in the sky and I am terrified of heights), but I managed to make it through the whole flight without any tears (or sleep-not recommended). Upon our arrival at Charles de Gaulle airport I was amazed and impressed at the efficiency of getting people through customs and to their bags. It was a breeze.

 

Paris, nous voila.

Paris, nous voila.

We decided to immerse ourselves as much as possible in the public transport systems, and found a ticket station to catch the train into Paris. Riding through the city and people watching, taking in the surroundings, and really just being in the moment was an incredible experience.

Train Station selfie!

Train Station selfie!

 

We came to our stop and headed toward the streets of Paris. My husband is an incredibly thoughtful human being (that’s one of MANY reasons I married him), but I am always blown away by his thoughtfulness. I thought the stop we were at was a few blocks from our hotel, turns out the husband had another plan.

As we climbed the stairs out of the train station and onto the streets of Paris, I couldn’t help but hear and feel the buzz of energy that was surrounding the city. I looked around me, felt the warmth of the sunshine on my face, and soaked in the beauty of the blue sky above me (as opposed to around me). We walked towards the corner and as I started to turn, there it was.

Notre Dame Cathedral.

I stopped in my tracks, gasped in awe, and then, started to cry at her magnificent beauty. After close to thirteen hours of traveling, we had arrived. It was overwhelming, and exhilarating, and the only thing I had left at that precise moment was tears; of joy, of bewilderment, of excitement, of pure love.

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

After composing myself and thanking my husband for creating such a wonderfully thoughtful surprise, we found a taxi and headed for the Derby Eiffel Hotela charming boutique hotel less than a mile from the Eiffel TowerWe checked our bags in with the hotel and then out we went to explore Paris. We walked past the Paris Military Academy, a grandiose complex that houses several buildings and training facilities, and down to Champs du Mars to behold one of the greatest feats of engineering

 

Eiffel Tower

To say the Eiffel Tower is impressive is an understatement. It is that and so much more. It is, quite simply, awe-inspiring. To think about what they were able to accomplish given the materials they had to work with is incredible.

We were able to watch the light show (which starts at midnight and lasts about five minutes) both nights we were there and were even able to sit on the balcony at our hotel to watch it the last night we were in town. It was the best way to spend a first wedding anniversary.

We explored the Rodin Museum, walked back down to Notre Dame, cafe hopped our way through the city and ate some incredible food during our time in Paris.

 

Rodin Museum

Rodin Museum

Food Highlights

– Cafe du Marche

– L’Petit Fernand

Paris was everything I thought it would be and more, and nothing like I thought it would be both at the same time. Other people’s opinions and experiences in Paris were nestled safely inside my head, but I refused to let them cloud my own experience. The most common negative things I heard about Paris ahead of the trip were 1. Parisians are rude and 2. that Paris is dirty. I’ll address both criticisms.

1. Parisians are rude

Possibly. However, this was not my experience. Granted, we went in August when many people are on holiday elsewhere, but those who were still around were incredibly kind. Our server at Cafe des Officiers was as friendly as could be!

Our bartender, Tim. Obviously, one of those 'rude Parisians' I heard about before the trip.

Our bartender, Tim. Obviously, one of those ‘rude Parisians’ I heard about before the trip.

As we were walking along the Seine we came across two cute, little, kitchy, Eiffel Towers that are sold as touristy items. We looked around and saw a merchant closing up her stand and asked her about the towers and she told us that they were supposed to be keychains but were missing the rings so she can’t sell them – and she gave them to us – for free. That doesn’t sound like the rude Parisians that people told me to expect.

Our servers at L’Petit Fernand were so nice! My French sucks. It is so terrible. I can ask two questions, poorly; ‘what is this?’ (Qu’est-ce que c’est) and ‘may I have more white wine, please?’ (Puis-je avoir davantage vin blanc, s’il vous plaît). And I say both with a terrible American accent. But our servers LOVED that I attempted to ask them in French, however poorly it might have been.

2. Paris is dirty

People have been living in the area that Paris encompasses since at least 9800 B.C. It has seen two world wars. It has over 2 million people that currently inhabit the city. What do you expect? A pristine, sparkling, city?!? What struck me more, was that there is a lot of graffiti in the city. But overall, I think it just looks like a city that has been around since before America was even a country. There’s gonna be some dirt and grime. I think it adds to the city’s allure.

Found him!

Found him!

 

Overall, Paris was an absolutely breathtaking adventure. I am so happy that I was able to share such a wonderful experience with my favorite person in the world, celebrating the first of many anniversaries to come!

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Stay tuned for the next leg of our European adventure…London.

Ode to a Name

Arianna Poland.

It’s a damn good name. And for 30 years, 9 months and 27 days it was my name. My full, legal name.

We had an awesome time. We did incredible (and not so incredible) things together, Name.

We were born. We moved around the country. We made friends. Graduated high school. College. Fell in love. Got engaged.

7 months ago we got married, Name. We got married to a new name. And while I wore you fiercely and proudly, today with that same fierce pride, I release you to wherever names go when they no longer exist.

As of 12:30 this afternoon I have a new name. Not because I dislike you, Old Name. Not in the least. I love you more than I can possibly express with mere words.

No, today I have a new name because I know that my name alone does not define who I am. Actions do that. And so, today I embrace my New Name.

Arianna Rose Suddreth.

New Name, let’s go change the world.

Post-Christmas; Pre-New Year

Since I haven’t posted anything since right after wedding when I updated the site to reflect my new name I thought it would be a good idea to post something before 2013 ends.

The months since the wedding have been a combination of highs and lows for us.

In October Brett’s aunt Jeanne lost her battle with cancer. She fought bravely and we miss her dearly. The memorial service for her was as lovely as such an occasion can be and the fellowship of family afterward is a resounding testament to Jeanne’s spirit.

November brings Thanksgiving and my favorite time of the year! This was the first year that we’ve had Thanksgiving at the lake house now that the kitchen remodel has been completed. After dinner the guys headed out to the Tennessee/Carolina border and spent four days fly fishing; I went to Tulsa to spend a few days with my Dad and nieces.

December always brings craziness and stress, but I think we mostly managed it with poise and grace. At our company’s annual holiday party Brett was honored with the company award for Culture; for the third year in a row. I could not have been more proud of him.

With Jeanne’s death, the tradition of Christmas Eve Eve was passed on to Brett and me. We hosted the entire Suddreth family at our home on the 23rd (all 30 of us); it was a lot of work but I am so glad we were able to carry on the tradition. We had lots of food, tons of laughs, and overall made sure that the spirit of the tradition Jeanne started was intact. I think we accomplished that – I hope we did.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were wonderful; watching the nieces open their gifts on Christmas morning is always a joy. I look forward to experiencing that joy with my own children in the future and hope that the nieces will share in their excitement!

While I certainly received some lovely gifts, I think the best gift of all is truly the time I get to spend with family and friends during the holiday. It is the gift I treasure the most because I know that someday we won’t have that gift – so I cherish while I can.

For now, I am preparing the house for my Dad’s arrival. Christmas continues this week at Suddreth Manor. I am also hoping to have a family dinner to celebrate Epiphany. We will see how successful I am with that!

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and that the new year brings you nothing but joy and happiness.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

If you have been following the other site I maintain, http://www.ariannaandbrett.com, then you know that for the last year I have been planning my wedding. Well, I am happy to say that the wedding has come and gone and it was simply perfect!

With the wedding two weeks behind me, I have started updating all of the 79034032 things that come along with a woman getting married and changing her name. One of those things is this site. I have updated the url to reflect my new name. Everything that I’ve ever written is still here, but if you have this saved as a favorite or a quick link, you will need to update the link, as the old link will give you the WordPress equivalent of a 404 error.

Basically, it will tell you that ariannapoland.wordpress.com no longer exists and that the author has deleted it; which is only partially true. I didn’t delete it, I just renamed it.

But, either way, that link will no longer work.

Now that the wedding has passed, I hope to be able to update this on a more regular basis – especially since we will spend the next year planning our first anniversary vacation! Stayed tuned for more details on that (the majority of that journey will be documented at the other site)

I hope you will continue to come back and check out what I have to say!

Kindness can change the world…

I don’t often post about my fiancee aside from the annual mention in the my end of year wrap up. I always say how thankful I am to have him in my life, and always mention how my favorite part of every year is the fact that we have spent another year together. But every now and then I just feel like I need to give everyone a glimpse at some of the reasons I love the man I am going to marry.

I love him for many reasons, not the least of which is that he is the most patient person I know. I mean truly he has the patience of Job. I know that I am a pain in the ass, frustrating beyond words, impatient as can be, and have the quick temper o’ the Irish. But he handles it all like a champ; even when I am being completely insane and irrational. He just waits out the crazy. Because he is a saint.

One of the other biggest reasons is that he is kind hearted and compassionate.

Last week the Kansas City area received an unusually-late-for-the-season snow storm which dumped over a foot of snow in the area. Shoveling snow is not super fun so by the time the weekend rolled around we (read Brett) had only cleared out a small area on one side of the garage to get the truck in and out. But, when the snow plows came through they left a bank of snow at the end of the driveway blocking our way out. 

Typically, we (read Brett) would just gun it out of the garage and plow the truck through the bank, but on Saturday when we were getting ready to leave, Brett saw a man walking up our driveway. He got out of the truck and met him to see what was up.

The man told Brett that he was trying to make some money to help him get his family through to the next week and wanted to know if we would hire him to shovel our driveway. He said he didn’t need much. 

Brett asked if I had any cash on me, something neither of us regularly carry on us. I did have some cash and gave him what I had. Brett explained that we didn’t have the full amount of cash to help him out completely, but could we pay him what we did have on us to shovel out the snow bank at the end of the driveway.

The man said that he would do that, and then asked if we had a shovel he could borrow. Brett pulled one of the snow shovels we have out of the garage and handed it to him. As the man started to shovel and Brett started back to the truck, I heard him say to the man, ‘You know what, keep that shovel. I hope it helps you earn some more money today.’

My heart exploded with love at the kindness and compassion in Brett’s heart.

When he got back to the truck he sat in the driver’s seat and we sat there for a moment while he was shoveling the snow. I looked out the window and noticed that this poor man who was obviously down on his luck, asking to shovel our driveway and not even having a shovel, was not even wearing gloves. It was 30 degrees outside. And he was shoveling snow. I pointed this out to Brett who immediately went down to the basement and found a new pair of work gloves that he wasn’t using. He came back outside and gave the man the gloves as well.

I couldn’t see the entire exchange but I have the feeling that this man was very grateful for the kindness that was shown to him.

I cannot imagine the circumstances in this man’s life that led him to having to ask to borrow snow shovels to shovel people’s driveways, but I pray that he was able to earn the money he needed to take care of his family. I am thankful everyday that I have the life I do. That I have a nice home. Heat for the winter. Air conditioning for the summer. Food in the pantry and in the refrigerator. Reliable vehicles to take us to all of the extra things we like to do.

For I am well aware that to many our life seems extravagant. That there are too many people without a home. Warmth. Food.

I am proud of Brett everyday, but Saturday I was more proud than I thought my heart could handle. He could have so easily told this man that we did not have any cash on us and left it at that. But instead, he thought about what he could do rather than what he couldn’t. In the grand scheme of things, what is a few dollars, a shovel (that we weren’t using anyway) and a pair of gloves? To us – not much. But to this man, it very well could have been the difference between dinner for his family or not. Or money to pay the heating bill. Or gas to get a sick kid to the doctor. Or any other number of things.

A little bit of kindness goes a long way and I hope that man was able to make the rest of the money he needed. Even more though, I hope once he is doing better that he pays it forward and continues the kindness.

Knowing the kind of man I am going to marry makes me so proud to become his wife.

I know I say this often, but I truly believe it, kindness can change the world. I hope the man’s world was changed; I know my world was changed by it.

‘Twas the 14th of December…

‘Twas the 14th of December

and all through Newtown,

people where gathering

prepping for guests coming ’round.

Presents for kiddos were wrapped nice and tight

ready to be opened in just eleven more nights.

But evil was lurking in this sleepy ‘berg,

for one troubled child demanded to be heard.

He came to the school to inflict terror and pain

and now we’ve learned twenty-six more angels’ names.

Let us remember their beautiful faces

and though they left Earth, they arrived in God’s graces.

He’ll keep them and hold them and make sure they’re loved

until they’re reunited with their loved ones above.

So mourn for the losses, grieve for your kids

but find comfort in knowing they’ll always be His.

 

I don’t have children of my own, but I have a bunch of nieces and nephews.  And while I realize that’s not even remotely close, I know that if anything ever happened to any of them I’d be devastated. Half of ‘my kiddos’ are old enough to be in school.  They are old enough for the tragedy in Newtown to strike a special chord in my soul.  Because I realize that I could very well be one of the people grieving the loss of a child they love.

And as the friend and relative of teachers, I could doubly be one of the people grieving. A friend, a cousin, a sister.  It’s all too much to take in.

We have to do better.  I don’t have answers or solutions.  I just know our friends, our families, our children deserve better than what we are currently providing.

Let’s focus on what’s truly important right now – each other.  Love. Peace. Kindness.

Because truly, kindness can change the world.

Neglected….But for a GREAT Reason

Man, I feel like I’ve been ignoring this for a while.  Moving and starting a new job in July side-tracked the whole blogging thing for a while.  And now I have TWO sites to update.  The second site is OUR WEDDING SITE! You can check it out here.

So, if this doesn’t get updated as often as it should, bear with me – I’ve got a lot going on!