Let’s start at the beginning. I booked this tour/adventure for my family and thought nothing about it until the date drew closer. I begin to become afraid of getting on the water in a tiki boat because I can not swim. I have been on three cruises. I still have some fear and I rationalized that as normal. Ok. No problem. I am still getting on the boat I tell myself.
I get on the boat and immediately, fear rises and changes into anxiety. I am now gripping the bar and I am having second, third, fourth, thousands of thoughts. I feel like I can’t breathe. I tell my fiend. I am scared! He says, “It’s ok. Just breathe. Nothing is going to happen.” I am thinking, “How many people have thought or said that and something happened.” I laid my head on the bar. The Captain wanted to know who all could swim and I was the only one that couldn’t. I looked at my friend and he said, “I am not going to let anything happen to you. I gotcha. Try to relax and enjoy.” The Captain saw my fear and begin to tell me his credentials and then he started to explain the physics of how this type of boat works. With the combination of trust in my friend and the captain, trust in God, the logic of how this boat floats, and comforting words (Oh yeah and downing a glass of pineapple sangria!) I started to relax.
I begin to talk to myself silently, “All is well. IF something happens you will not die. All of these people can swim and they will help you. The coastguard is literally in the water. It’s not your time. This is not how you will go and you know this. God is not going to let anything happen to you. Breathe. Look at the beautiful water all around you. Look at the clear blue skies. Feel the breeze. Soak up the sun and moment of this experience. And have a shot of vodka. :-D! ” Hey, my wine was all gone. After this photo was snapped, I thought about if I should post it. I look so confident but, I didn’t start out that way. I also thought about HOW I LOOKED IN THIS PHOTO. I am not a slim chic. I am who I am and I do love myself and my body. (I worked hard to get there) But most of us, even men, have some body insecurities. I saw the double chin. I saw the big boobs. I saw the mid section. I saw the lack of “junk in the trunk”. All of the things that cross between “WHITE AMERICAN BEAUTY” and “MY CULTURE’S DEFINITION” of beauty. This only lasted a split second because I was like, “The hell away with people. I love me!” Pic posted!
For some confidence is a given and for others we have to work at it. Confidence is built through experience. There are times you get to whip out your confidence on the spot and then there are times it has to be manufactured on the spot. The tools I was searching for in that moment seem to escape me. My fear of drowning swallowed up my confidence. TRUST is what I was searching for. LOGIC is what I was searching for. A PLAN for SAFETY is what I was searching for. When those things were presented to me I had to accept those tools. Then I had to use those tools to dig my way out of anxiety and an impeding anxiety attack. I did just that. It was difficult and it had to be done quickly.
I enjoyed the tour. I partied. I learned a few things about the area. I made memories with family. I did something new. I conquered a fear and silenced anxiety that day. Victory.
Hey! It’s a rare picture of my daughter. She is the reason I took the trip to Paris. It has been her dream trip since she was a small child and now she is entering her first year in college. Here we are meeting up with about 15 ladies preparing for the Ricki Stevenson Black Paris Tour which I HIGHLY suggest anyone in Paris take! ANYONE. ANY RACE/ETHNICITY. TAKE THE TOUR. My daughter was eating up the the experience and wealth of knowledge. I was, too. It opened up her perspective and I was there to witness it.
The best coffee and hot chocolate is in Paris. This cafe along with a few others had me coming back for more. Hey, I was on vacation! We made this place our last meal in Paris and it was worth it.
The Ricki Stevenson Black Paris Tour blew our minds. The knowledge, the history, the information and the experience poured into us will never be forgotten. Below are photos of memorials for the Dumas family. There were three that made their mark in history and they are so different in their personalities and contributions.
This is the church that held the funeral of Josephine Baker. Did you know she was decorated soldier that flew planes? She was buried in her uniform. She also was a spy! There was more to her than her beauty and body. She had brains!
More photos from a historical park that African Americans and Black Parisians, famous as well, frequented.
Awesome food at an African Restaurant on the tour! Don’t mind my Schweppe’s obsession!
But what was best at this restaurant was the soul-filled wisdom and knowledge poured into us by our wonderful and beautiful guide. We talked current and so many perspectives from a diverse group of women.
The tour was priceless. It was worth every penny. I will never forget this rich experience of knowledge and culture in Paris I shared with my daughter!
Once we made it to Paris, the stress began to melt away. We put our bags down and opened up the windows to our hotel room. It was like a boutique hotel and the view of the Eiffel Tower was amazing! Also, just to be able to open up those windows and watch the every day life of Parisians spill onto the streets made me feel at home.
Our first night we discovered that it doesn’t get dark until 10 pm!!! We had dinner reserved at an Italian restaurant one door down from our hotel. There also was a little mom and pop store in between that I went to everyday for Schweppe’s Mojito flavored ginger ale, water, and snacks. I learned to count my euros! However, I mostly used my debit/credit card which is what is suggested and accepted by most. I needed euros for some of the other places we went as tours.
I love the décor and the food was AUTHENTIC and the dessert was my favorite! So delicious. Every dessert I tried in Paris was DELICIOUS!
WE MISSED OUR FLIGHT! First of all you wouldn’t believe the drama and trauma we went through to get here. Flight delayed in Memphis for 2 hours! Then we sat for an hour and a half on the plane. Then diverted to Charles Town, West Virginia for 45 minutes. We made it to Newark and we knew the flight was gone and they delayed waiting on us. They said it was room on the next flight, but on arrival the bridge to let us off got stuck and by the time that was over seats were gone. I broke down crying at the counter. I was beyond stressed. The man put us on standby before booking us a room until next day. We get to the gate, last night and they told us others before us, but I said no we have first. Then they said only one of us. I said nope! Can’t leave my daughter. Again, I sat there and cried and was praying the whole time. Then BOOM they call our name. We get the good seats on the 747. They feed us good. I pass out from exhaustion, but my body was not in pain. Get to Paris and luggage is in Chicago. I blame Memphis because that girl was half doing her job when she tagged it. They comp us to buy anything we need up to $100. Luggage will arrive at hotel tomorrow. We are in our Uber and he speaks little English, but is very nice and is telling us many things. He speaks the language of Congo and French. He is from the Congo. We are laughing at the language barrier. The lady on the plane next to me was so nice and calmed me down. It’s crazy the madness yet we are here. We are safe. We are happy. (Taken from my Facebook page as I documented my journey).
I got a chance to get a view from the new Hu Hotel in downtown Memphis, TN. It was a private party for a great group of women I am in. You hear many things about Memphis and most think if Elvis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and crime. However, just like other cities there are so many other wonderful things about Memphis. I won’t get into the details, but just follow my blog and you will see.
Here are some more views & the wonderful sunset that evening. All photos are property of Nicole Jackson and Confetti Photography. They may not be used, shared, or copied without consent and written permission. Thanks and enjoy!