Romantic Paris – it’s more than a cliché says finalist in our 2014 Writing Competition Milaysha Roussy as she tells how she met her true love in Paris via the internet from Puerto Rico
Some people believe with all their heart that in Paris love is in the air. Literally. I have never believed that myself. Before.
On 2008, I opened a profile page on a well-known social media site. Looking over the things you can do on that site, I discovered a game that consisted of buying profile pictures using fake money. One day I was looking at some of the pictures and I saw a French guy with a serious expression but at the same time you could tell that after the picture was taken, he smiled. I don’t know why, but I imagined his smile after that moment and that made me smile too – and I bought it.
Days later I received a private message on my game’s profile. The serious guy! I replied and we chatted online. Weeks later, I received another private message from him, asking if I liked the drawing he made of me. “WHAT?” I replied. What are you talking about? YOU-draw-ME? I didn’t know everyone could see my email on my social media profile even if they were not my “friends”. He didn’t know that the email I used was a “notification garbage” email. I went to the “garbage” and found his messages and the drawing! That was the moment he made me smile for the second time.
I gave him my real email and we started to chat every single day, for hours. Two months later he asked me if I would go to Paris. It was not possible for me that year, “but maybe next year” I replied. Then he told me he could not wait a whole year to meet me in person.
Just days later I stood at an airport in my home town of Puerto Rico with a ticket to Paris in my hand, because even if I have a phobia for flying, someone on the other side of the world that I met only weeks ago, could not wait until next year to meet me. I arrived in Paris. The moment of truth also arrived. What if this was a mistake? What if he is a serial killer like my friends told me?
Suddenly I saw him and he smiled at me for the first time and I smiled back. Immediately all the questions in my head left to stay at the Orly airport and fly away for ever.
I stayed for two months, living the Paris cliché. Romantic walks boarding the Seine, waffles with chocolate while looking at the Eiffel Tower. We were in Paris and we were in love.
The time came for me to leave Paris. He was going to China for three weeks without Internet connection but we knew we could survive that and we did. Two months later he announced that he was going to enjoy Christmas in Puerto Rico. When I told my mom, she said: “He’s coming for you and he is not going to leave without you.” She was right. We left the Island 3 months later together – it was January 2009.
When you are in love you have to make choices like to move to the other side of the world. You need to learn a new language and sometimes you need to go back to school. It’s hard work, but you do it. I learned French (I still learn), and at 32 I’m on my last year of a Bachelor’s degree. Later I want to become a Pastry Chef.
When you are in love and you leave your country for love, you think about the bad things that can happen to your family, mostly to your parents. I’m always afraid about that. Is not a feeling that haunts me every second but it’s like a thorn inside my head, I ignore it but is always there. On September 2010, my youngest brother had a car accident. It was a Saturday and I was prepared to travel immediately if it was necessary. Sunday afternoon my mother told me that I should travel because, well, things didn’t look good. The soonest flight we found to leave Paris was for Tuesday morning and we took it. My brother died Monday late afternoon.
And there, the hard way, I learned that if I was courageous enough to move to the other side of the world I would have to be also courageous enough to take what comes from where I am from, no matter how horrible it is. But most importantly I also learned that happiness is always there even if the sadness embraces you and suffocates you. When the time came to leave Puerto Rico and continue life in France, my love told me that he thought I was going to stay with my family. “You are my family.” I replied smiling and both of us cried.
In 2011 we were married and one year later we had an incredible baby girl, she illuminates our lives even brighter than the sun. When I look into my daughter’s eyes I know that moving to France was the best decision of my life. When my husband smiles at me I can tell you, six years after my story started, that yes, the cliché exists and no, my story is not unique. Before 2008 I didn’t care about Paris, less about France. Today I consider France my home. When people ask me about Paris I would like to say that for me Paris is like a beautiful woman with long hair, spreading a nice perfume all over while she looks at you. She’s there, calmly waiting for you to smile at her. If you do, she will hold out her hand to you and invite you to take a walk while she is smiling back at you.
Milaysha Roussy is from Puerto Rico and lives in Paris
More stories from the winners and finalists in our 2014 Writing Competition