I was scrolling down Instagram a few minutes ago, when I ran across this photo posted by @laurenloubate, who is an Instagrammer/blogger living in Paris. Her feed is excellent if you love little glimpses of Paris and she is friends with several other expat bloggers based in Paris (@pretavoyager, @farfelueparis to name a few).
Anyways, the important thing is this: I forgot today is the first of May. I’ve been studying for my exams for over a month now. It has been absolutely grueling and quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. But seeing Lauren’s post on Instagram reminded me of a little thing, which is simply that it is spring and we should take moments, however small, to appreciate the goodness and happiness in our lives.
The giving of muguet or Lily of the Valley as known in English, is a French tradition. On the first of May, you can find vendors all over Paris (and the rest of France, I presume) selling little bouquets of muguet. People buy sprigs for their family and loved ones and give them away as well-wishes of happiness, of bonheur in the spirit of Spring.
I remember clearly my first Premier Mai in Paris. It seems so long ago. I used to work at a night club in Paris and I finished my shift with my fellow bartenders around 5am. Absolutely exhausted, we headed to the Metro to wait for the first train of the day. My friend Morgan suddenly dashed ahead of us with a shout of glee. I was too tired to notice why she had run away so quickly. A few minutes later she was back and she thrust a spring of muguet in my hand!
“Joyeux Premier Mai!” she exclaimed. I was completely bewildered and exhausted having just completed a 12 hour shift. I thought Morgan had gone crazy and was handing me plants she had picked from the side of the road. But she explained that it was the first of May and this is a tradition in France. It is one of many fond memories I have of living and working in Paris. It also reminds me of how lucky I am to have friends living quite literally around the world. Even today, cooped up in the library, I couldn’t help but feel so (not-ironically) blessed to have the friends that I do. Friends who congratulate me on my achievements, send me study notes, and tell me about the amazing things they’re doing in life.
So on this beautiful (now almost over) first of May, I wish you all the happiness and joy of spring. May your days be filled with laughter and smiles.