April 3, 2012

At last, my daughter Gabi and I are at JFK,  waiting to board our 9:55 p.m. flight to Paris. The entire day was a mad blur of finishing stories for work, squashing everything into my carry-on luggage, straightening up the house and getting the animals ready for the pet sitter (needed to organize their food and take the stinky dog to the groomer).

So if my eyes look blood-shot in this photo that I just took with my Mac, it’s because I’m tired! But I’m also very happy to begin a fun trip that I already know is a turning point in my life.

— For starters, Gabi is almost 17. I miss the fat, cuddly baby that used to wrap her chubby little arms around my neck.  But I am interested in getting to know the emerging young woman who has taken her place. It will be nice to take a break from yelling at her to clean her room and do the dishes. This vacation will help us find our way into an adult mother-daughter relationship.

— I only brought one book to read on this trip, “Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965”, a graphic novel by the powerful artist Joe Kubert. I want to finally look at the war, which was central to the life of my dad, who died of a heart attack when I was 19. He was an impossible tyrant and we didn’t really get along.

But I am my own person now and feel ready to embrace him as we visit the city of his youth. He attended university on a French scholarship as a foreign student from Saigon. The war became important much later, when he struggled to get his siblings into the U.S. as refugees. I want to know who that man was. I am looking for my daddy.

— Instead of books, I brought pencils and sketch pads. This is my first time traveling with the knowledge that I am an artist. I want to really experience Paris with the emotional vision of my own eyes.

— I am getting on that plane as a work-hardened professional. Yes, I made the transition to a full-time reporter! Got the house painted too. The colors are beautiful. Will show them to you when we get home. To get the job done, all the art on the walls came down. Most of it was Chinese stuff from my parents’ apartment.  Most of it will NOT go back up. They have been comforting anchors but it’s time to transition to new beautiful stuff for our home.

— If you check out the top of the sidebar next to this post, I’ve added my twitter so that you can be part of my daily travels.  I want to try having a digital vacation, sharing my trip in real time. Not sure it will work but let’s go for it as a form of performance art. Well, gotta run now and get to the gate. xo

If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can follow my tweets here. There’s a little scrollbar to the side of the tweets, which is pretty cute.

And if you’d like to read the rest of my Paris posts:

3 ways I’m learning to be a smart traveller

How to eat for $38 a day in Paris

10 tips for a trip to Paris