Weekend in Paris (Part one)

In April this year, I went to Paris with my boyfriend for our three year anniversary.

It was the first time I had gone abroad without my family, and the first time my boyfriend had ever been abroad, so it was a big deal.

We got to the airport the night before our 7am flight as neither of us own a car so we had to rely on public transport to get to the airport (trains did not run early enough in the morning so we got to the airport at about 11pm the night before. Regrets.)

We planned to take it in turns to sleep at the airport (which did not really happen!), so by 4am, when we were permitted to drop off our baggage, we were past the point of tired.

When we finally got on the plane, it was so endearing to see my boyfriend get so excited like a child as we flew through the thick, grey clouds and into the morning daylight.

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I felt incredibly ill on the plane. I was feeling so sick, maybe from the lack of sleep or the lack of breakfast, but it was horrible. This sickness continued until we landed, and pursued until we got to the apartment we were staying in, until we went out again to have breakfast. I felt extremely guilty about how I felt. I was so happy to be in Paris, but I could not shake this sick feeling. It finally passed by the early afternoon and I could finally enjoy our first day in this amazing city.

We first walked to the Panthéon, which is where my boyfriend in particular wanted to go (We decided to walk everywhere to get the most out of Parisian life. Plus I didn’t want to risk getting travel sick again!). I am not massively enthusiastic about history and religion, but I do appreciate the architecture of the majestic buildings. Originally a church, the Panthéon now serves as a mausoleum for some of France’s most influential figures (I would like to take this time to thank my Lonely Planet Paris guide for the information on these sites and for not getting us lost the whole trip!). For €7.50, we toured the inside of the building, which was surrounded with old paintings and statues and stuff. The iconic dome was unfortunately undergoing renovations so we saw lots of lovely scaffolding.

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First time my boyfriend has ever felt small in his life.

After this, we walked to the Luxembourg Gardens. It was a particularly cold day when we arrived in Paris, which was not the best weather to be walking around gardens, but this place was absolutely beautiful.

Situated near Notre Dame, the Luxembourg Gardens is a 17th Century inner-city oasis comprised of lawns with vibrant flowers, it’s own museum, palace and an ornamental pond where children can play with toy sail boats. Although the gardens were dedicated to the children of Paris by Napoléon, it truly is a spot for anyone, giving people a taste of the quiet Parisian life within the city. I think that if I lived in Paris, I would spend many summer days here, wasting time reading and just experiencing a more chilled out Paris.

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My photos are not brilliant. As I said, it would look more impressive if we got a hot sunny day.

Exhausted from zero amounts of sleep, but still determined, we walked over to the Notre Dame. This Gothic style cathedral is 852 years old this year and is iconic for its gargoyles, crypt and of course, its famous bells. Unfortunately, we did not enter Notre Dame as the queue was so so long and we were already struggling to walk for much longer. Therefore we took some obligatory photos, admired the noble architecture, and went on our way.

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We were really feeling some ice cream by this point, so using my trusty Lonely Planet book, I discovered there was a highly rated ice cream parlour near Notre Dame, called Berthillon. We walked around for a while, but we could not find this so-called glorious ice cream. Beginning to think the legend of the Berthillon was simply a myth, we decided to just eat at the next café we saw. I had a coffee to keep me going (I had plenty of coffees in Paris and acquired quite the taste for them).

We exited the café and walked past this attachment to the café which sold ice cream. It turned out we accidentally had drinks at the Berthillon and did not even realise! Overcome with happiness, we browsed the different flavours of ice cream and sorbets.

We got a little pot each. I had mango flavour which was so nice. So smooth. So refreshing. The boyfriend had a chocolatey one, which I tried and it was so rich and also so smooth and ugh. Just so good. I didn’t care if the weather was cold, I have no regrets for having that ice cream. It transported me to a place where I was no longer sleepy, and everything was just ice cream and glorious. I totally recommend this place if you’re ever in Paris.

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After this, we walked back to the apartment. We were staying in Alésia, which is south of the city centre, but still pretty central. I used Airbnb to book an apartment to stay in which belongs to an actual French girl who was very lovely. I recommend using Airbnb if you are on a budget as you can get a cheap place, but also find somewhere pretty close to all the main sites.

Once at the apartment, we instantaneously had a nap (my boyfriend fell into a coma-like state and I could not wake him again for ages!).

After a quick refresh, we went out for dinner in Alésia where we had the typical French dish of… cheeseburger and fries.

We went back to the apartment, chilled out, then fell into a much required sleep ready for the next day.

‘Father’s’ Day

This is going to be a downer of a post.

I realise that so many people have issues with their fathers so I know I do not have a rare experience. I just wanted to talk a little bit about my issues with the person I call ‘Dad’, and if anyone relates to this, it may be of interest to you.

I have not spoken to my dad since 23rd December 2014. That was when I tried to get back in contact with him, to give him a second chance. Before that, I had not spoken to him since June 2014.

I initially stopped contact for a several reasons:

1. We had nothing to talk about. The only similarity between me and my dad is that we are both incompetent in social situations. We are both quiet and keep things to ourselves. Therefore, when we were both alone in a room, we had little at all to talk about. Luckily, my younger sister had plenty to say, so whenever I spent time with my dad, my sister was always there to fill in awkward silences. And whenever it was just me and dad alone, he would usually ask questions about my sister, rather than ask things about me. Since she is clearly more interesting and had more drama going on in her life that she is willing to share.

2. Did not really provide for us. I know that money should not be a deciding factor as to whether I should or should not stop contact with a family member. But as I will go on to say, it was more than just the issue of money. I rarely got money from my dad. Unless it was Christmas or my birthday, the only time he would spend money on me was when he picked us up once a week and took us to the cheapest pub to eat dinner.

But you’re probably thinking ‘That sounds like enough. Maybe he doesn’t have enough money for anything else.’ Oh yeah, but he’s constantly going abroad with his wife and buying expensive gadgets for my step-brother and providing for his ‘grandchildren’ (my step-sister’s children. Also, another point to make is he considers her children his first grandchildren, so when his actual daughter has a baby, it will be nothing new!).

Also, he tried anything he could to get out of paying my sister any money. (Side note: my sister has severe Autism, and although she is of an adult age, she is not mature enough to live by herself or work a full time job or anything normal ‘adults’ do.) So my dad went to his lawyer the literal second my sister turned 18 and claimed that my sister did not actually have a proper disability and she was an adult now, so he was not paying any maintenance money to my mum any more.

????????

This made me so angry. This made my mum so angry. I mean, it was bad enough that he wanted to stop paying money because she is an adult, but the fact that he denied she had any disability was just below the belt.

Eventually, my mum got through to him and now, even though we never see him, she still receives money from him every month to help look after my sister (He also denied he had told his lawyer she did not have a disability!).

3. He never seemed to want to spend time with us. As I said, I saw my dad once a week (I think it was Tuesdays from 4:30pm – 7pm) and he took us out to eat. However, never once did dad eat with us. I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t want to splash out and spend more money on another dirt cheap meal or because his wife was making dinner for him at home. But it was always awkward going to the pub to eat and him just sitting there watching us eat…

Oh, but a lot of the time, he didn’t even sit with us. No no. Sometimes, he would get a text from his wife that she needed milk or something, and he would go off and leave me and my sister while we ate. My sister spent a lot of time with her boyfriend or in her room, so I felt like the times we ‘saw our dad’ were just times for us to spend together. Plenty of times did dad get a text that his wife wanted something or wanted to call him. Most times, he would drop us back at home early because he had to go collect her from work or somewhere. Maybe his wife is just really controlling, doesn’t like him spending time with his biological daughters, prefers him spending time with her and her offspring (I heard my mum say that his wife did actually say that, but I don’t know if it was blown out of context because I felt like my mum would say anything for me to dislike my dad and his new family).

Then once we were done at the pub, he would take us to his parent’s (my grandparent’s) house as they live in my town (my dad doesn’t live in my town so he wanted to stay close-by. Either that or his wife didn’t really want us there). Then once there, we would usually talk to my grandparents but we would not talk to each other. It was just another way to fill in the silences. I always felt like my grandparents did not want us there, I felt like we were intruding (I also hear negative things about my granddad from my mum that he did not really care for us. And I haven’t heard from my grandparents since January 2014 so maybe that is true. I’m starting to believe my mum more and more).

To summarise, my dad would do anything to get out of spending time with me and my sister, and if he had the choice (which I did give him), he would choose not to see us at all.

4. He did not care about my mental illness. I was going through a hard time in 2013. I had what I thought was depression. I broke down in front of my mother and she made me go to the doctor and the doctor diagnosed me with depression (I later came to realise that I don’t think I actually had depression, I think I was experiencing anxiety attacks).

I started to have counselling and my counsellor mentioned my dad a lot (I also later realised that maybe her approach was too old-fashioned, and relating everything to my daddy issues was unnecessary). I decided to tell my dad that I had depression. Due to us both being socially awkward, I texted him about it. I was extremely nervous about doing this, but I worked up the courage and sent the text. To which he replied ‘Ok c u next friday’.

No joke. Seriously.

I cried floods. I honestly believed he did not care about my mental health. I did indeed see him on the next Friday, and no word was mentioned about what I texted him. In fact, I never mentioned it again and he never asked about it again. I learnt that opening up to him was pointless.

You must have a fantastic view of my father right now! There were other points to make which contributed to my decision to not see him any more but the list would go on and on.

So from June last year I stopped any contact with him (aside from a happy birthday message from him in August). Then Christmas was approaching and I was feeling forgiving. I had not gone a year without spending some time on Christmas day with my dad. I had a routine established since my parent’s break up and I liked it that way. So I made the decision to contact my dad again.

We met up at Starbucks, I had a whole speech prepared, I was shitting myself, he turned up and of course, he did not order anything. I pretty much said why I stopped contact beforehand and gave him the choice to see me again. To which he had to think about for several seconds before saying ‘Let’s start fresh’. He said he loved me. Which is the first time I can ever recall him saying that to me. He also pretty much blamed me moving away for university as a reason for him not talking to me much (?????).

I said I would need time to think things over since I wasn’t particularly thrilled with our meeting. I contacted him on 23rd December saying that I did not want to see him in person, but I wanted him to make contact with me on the phone as well as explaining that he did not act mature enough at our meeting. I sent a pretty lengthy text, to that he replied ‘Wat bout ur xmas presents?’ as that was his major concern in that moment. So I said that he can come to my house and give them to me.

Oh then this spiralled into a whole other issue on it’s own! He refused to come into my house. He wanted me to meet him outside the supermarket. I told him to come to my house again. He said he would meet me at the top of my street. I expressed this to my mum and her reaction was basically just ‘?????’. For some reason my dad has an issue with coming inside our house.

In the end, I got him to come to my doorstep (-_-) but he was there for a literal minute to give me what was blatantly money in two envelopes (one for me and my sister. So festive and thoughtful!). After that, he said a Merry Christmas and then goodbye. He knew that was the last time he would see me in possibly ages, and he was in a rush to get out of my presence.

I texted him about an hour later as I was furious. I said how he still did not even seem to care after pouring my heart out to him and saying I did not want to see him. I sent a couple of long texts. I can’t remember exactly what I said and I removed all messages between us because I was torturing myself with them.

He did not reply to me.

I have not heard from him since I saw him on my doorstep two days before Christmas.

But I am okay.

I have been so much more happier since I stopped seeing my dad. My sister has also not had as many blow outs (she still has blow outs due to her disability but that’s another issue for another time). Now I am getting older, I am learning to remove negative people from my life and it is scary but much better in the long run.

I am not keeping my father out of my life forever. But, I am sick of making all the effort and getting nothing in return. If he wants to see me again, he can make the effort to contact me. I am always going to leave contact open between us for if he finally decides he needs his daughters. The only times I would consider contacting him again is if I am getting married or expecting a child. Which I do not expect to happen for several years, so maybe that is enough time for him to mature? Who knows!

Anyway, I do not feel sad on Father’s day at all. In all honesty, I hardly thought about my dad until I decided to write this post. I do not even feel angry at him any more, I am just done with him until he is ready to care.

I do not feel like I require a father figure in my life. I have my mother, who is enough of a parent for me. And I have my boyfriend, who has helped me through this nonsense so much.

Therefore, if you have experienced something similar to me, if your father does not care if you are a part of his life, just think about the people who are in your life. Do not dwell on someone who does not deserve you and do not chase them if they are not worth chasing. Surround yourself with people who unequivocally think you are worth something.

Finally

I finished unpacking all my stuff I brought back from uni.

I had a massive clear out of things I don’t use and reorganised everything. I still maybe need to buy some storage containers, but overall my room now looks ready to live in.

Myself and my family moved into our new house a couple of summers ago. It’s a brand new house, pretty much on the canal footpath, with amazing views of the sunsets on summer evenings. However, because we moved in between my first and second year of uni, I had not really moved in properly. Some of my stuff was in my new house, a lot was at uni.

I feel like I’ve been moving around a lot. Which I do not mind at all. I’ve lived in a different place each year of uni, but never really felt like anywhere was my proper home. Until today, when I finally unpacked the last of my bags and I feel like I have properly moved in now. I can settle down, for a while at least!

Hi

Hello to my blog (can you hello someone to something?).

I decided to make a blog where I will post things.

Basically.

Okay, I will try not to be so vague throughout the entire existence of this blog.

Okay so I have social anxiety and I really wanted a place where I can be free to talk about things, build a support network and get to meet some interesting people who may be able to relate to me.

I plan to not wholly dedicate this blog to social anxiety. I want to talk about several other generic items of interest, funny stories etc. Everything is all very muddled at the moment. Or you could say… very… baffling. Yeah, so the theme and type of blog this will be is not completely decided thus far, it is just the inside of my head at the moment, disorganised.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading if you are kind enough to read!