From one visitor, to the next to the next to the next. Having friends and family visit is beyond special and I look forward to it every time. But it is definitely just as exhausting as going on vacation yourself. Except that you are required to keep one leg on firm ground, constantly trying to balance things like job, school, visitor social life, and playing the tour guide.
A mere week after Budapest Boy left my intoxicating embrace, my father and stepmother made their second appearance on the Parisian soil... well, their second appearance to see me, and actually their third appearance seeing me in Europe since I have moved here. Needless to say, from a very early age, my father has liked to stalk me around the globe, showing up in Disney World, Quebec and London to see me sing in various school choirs, and now meeting me in all manner of European locales.
This time they would be spending a full ten days in my current city. As most travelers know, any big metropolis has a veritable cornucopia of offerings to feast upon, and one visit just never really cuts it. They also decided to book an airbnb apartment this time around, so as to have more access to homelike comforts and the ability to cook or clean when the mood strikes. I helped them out with their search, recommending various neighborhoods around town, my favorite of course being anywhere around Montmartre. They therefore chose a sweet little studio just up the hill from the Moulin Rouge, an apartment and a destination I would frankly consider working in the Red Light District for if it came down to it... Joking... (sort of)...
Regardless, it ended up being a perfect spot for our lengthy week of adventures. And after a day of airplanes and RER rides and walking and settling in, I met them at their new abode for dinner when they arrived. Now, my dad is an epic planner, to the point where he does on occasion actually believe I might know what my life will look like months or even weeks in advance. My other siblings may have a slightly more visceral grasp on this concept, but I have long since proven that I have zero idea ever what is going on anywhere. Despite that, however, he managed to show up with a list several miles long of possible outings, and I was even able to confirm one or two before they landed. He therefore already had a dinner spot picked out for us in his hood, so we wandered off in the direction of reputable pizza.
Perhaps one would not assume pizza for one's inaugural dinner in France, but as I mentioned, this was not the first, nor will I expect it to be the last, of my father's appearances in this great land. We arrived at the restaurant, took our seats, and I almost immediately started flirting with the true Italian waiter who came to our aid. First of all, the pizza was yum yummy yum. Second of all, it was once again an experience that proved (however reluctantly) that sometimes it really is like father, like daughter. My dad is a notorious flirt and a notorious planner. Though I have very little control over my life most of the time, I am a strange weird planner for my immediate schedule, work or projects, and I do flirt incessantly without realizing it.
As my stepmother looked on while my father and I drank too much rosé, I suspect she was already taking deep breaths in anticipation of the days ahead.