I had another one of those starry-eyed moments the other night. One of those catch-your-breath-oh-my-god-is-this-really-my-life moments.
I work for the most prestigious luxury house in France, and every year they throw a big event for all their employees in the Paris region. They have a ceremony to handsomely recognize those who have loyally worked for them for 40 or 50 years, and then graciously throw a party for the rest of us. Every year the event is held in some magnificent venue, this year we were told it would be in the Grand Palais.
We all received a ticket to present at the entrance, so when I arrived I was surprised that everyone else who was arriving also had these special tickets. Nobody else seemed to have a different one, as I assumed there would be. I stood in the coat check line, and everyone else in the coat check line also seemed to be from the company. That’s when it dawned on me… They had rented out the ENTIRE grand Palais for us! The ENTIRE GRAND PALAIS!!! I still am in awe, at the sheer budget of it all and the incredible generous gesture to offer us something so spectacular and just as a way to say thank you for our hard work.*
The Grand Palais has a giant ice skating rink in the center of it which we were allowed to use with free skate rentals. There was also a super long foose ball table and a ping pong table, and then there were tables and tables and more tables of lovely delightful things to eat and drink. A giant dance floor area was surrounded with heat lamps for those who wanted to stay toasty, but there were so many of us in there that we didn’t really need the scarves or the required gloves for skating. I swirled around the rink many times with the soft music wafting in the background and the mirror ball sending sparkles twirling overhead.
At one point we all sat on a series of steps to watch a special ice skating show created just for us. I put myself at the very top step for a good view. And at one point I lifted my head up and looked at the Art Nouveau glass domed ceiling… and beyond the green iron, the twirling sparkles, the music and against the night sky, I saw peeking between several panes, the French flag that floats up at the very top of the dome…waving at me, softly. A beautiful reminder that I live in the place that I have always dreamed of. That I have made a life here, and that I have found THE place where I feel at home. It was serendipity that little moment between me and the French flag, but it will remain engraved in my memory as it was so striking. My heart swelled three sizes and I instantly felt more lucky than ever. I live in Paris. I just married the love of my life. And I am part of an amazing company. I belong.