When I was about 18, I had a dream that I would go to Paris to study esthetics.
The dream actually started when I was 12, saw the movie Funny Face and fell in love with the whole beatnik thing.
At 19, I followed that dream and here is the receipt for the airfare.
Why have I held on to it?
Well, first, in those days no self respecting Armenian girl would dream of taking off on their own (my poor parents).
Secondly, because I actually fulfilled the dream. I did not allow anything to stand in my way: not my parents objections, not the fact that I did not speak French, not the fact that I really did not have a lot of money.
After all, at 19, anything and everything is possible.
Because it was my dream and my dream alone, I had to learn to be very resourceful to figure out exactly what I needed to do to live there as a student.
After several visits to the French embassy and with all of the proper letters and applications in place and a list of esthetic schools (yes, I did not know what school I would be attending), off I went.
Once in Paris, I visited about a dozen schools with some very clear criteria in mind assuring them that by the following year I would be speaking French.
(Ok, much to my surprise, there were no schools that taught in English).
I felt incredibly strong because I was doing exactly what I wanted to do. Every so often, during those two years, I would think to myself “holy f**k, I am in Paris!!!”
While running my business, over the following 38 years, I have tapped into that feeling numerous times, because marching to your own drum as a single self-sufficient individual is extremely difficult.
I have paid dearly for that independence.
But, through the years I have met the most incredible people as clients, business associates, landlords and tenants. Through you, my life has been enriched.
Through you, I have learned major life lessons. I have learned about love, loss of love, aging and death.
Through you I have also: gained travel tips and cottage trips, found apartments, been introduced to boyfriends, heard about the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (the nutrition school I attended), and been helped with writing resumes and introduction letters and navigating my webpage and social media. The list can go on and on …
Most of all, you have given me lots and lots of encouragement and support.
The rollercoaster ride has been very scary at times but because of all of you I have hung on.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of you.