My inspiration for this blog was to tell of my travels which were made easier when my sister Alison got a job at Continental Airlines. As the story goes...
My sister left her job in Denver to live in Paris. She lived on a student visa for years and finally decided to get a job. She called me to ask for me to be a sounding board; it was uncharted waters. She got her act together. It's not easy in a foreign country but she's smart, a good accountant and is very professional. Still there were moments of doubt as we started into the process at the beginning of the summer of 2006. But by the end of the summer she had three job offers and was then asking for advice on which job to take, plus she was very clever in negotiating an addition 20% on to the salary on the offer she did take...after all she was in demand. She took the job with Continental Airlines. As she is single, she gets to choose a "designated spouse" for travel benefits, and I was her choice.
I was going to visit her at Christmas last year. It was last minute but no problem for us, sometimes we book less than 24 hours in advance. So, I'm on the phone with Alison and sorting out plans. Economy was oversold and the only seats were in Business/First. Alison said to me, "Just pay the difference, it is so worth it. The steak is this big." "That big," I joked into my phone. Yeah it's great. I had another this time, but it wasn't easy. Paris was overbooked so I went via Brussels, but I did get first class, great steak, good conversation with the gay Episcopal Minister and Theology professor (whose 30 year partner, wow!, was working the flight), and it's so much easier to sleep in those big chairs with space to stretch out. You're practically horizontal.
A couple of years of free champagne, thick steaks and hopping about, I was back in Paris. Alison is a great host, she loves to have friends over. I love small gatherings but don't have the knack for hosting. We talk menu, decide, she's very good at certain things and I charm the guests, then we change places when she's done and I take over the kitchen.
She's got great friends in Paris. I don't think she'll ever leave. (I tell my story about how I feel so at home in NYC, to me Alison is the same about Paris. She says she'll be in Denver again someday, but her heart will always be in Paris in someway. As Heminingway said...Paris goes with you as it is a "Movable Feast", great read.)
What a great Christmas eve! Lovely and lively conversation, beautiful people ... happiness can be so simple.