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  • It is the summer of 1996. I am about 26 years old and have gone to Europe for the summer to study French and Spanish. My first month is spent in Paris.

    THE Paris.

    Paris, France. (Not Paris, Texas. Not Paris, Tennessee.)

    The REAL Paris.

    And I am in love for maybe the very first time in my life with a place and a life and a city.

    During my time in Paris, the city held its annual Pride parades. I don't remember how I heard about it but several other students and I went down to check it out. The people marching were so fabulous! The joy, the costumes, the pride, the colors, the naked, the drunk, the sober, the young, the old, families, singles, couples, pets, camels, angels, and demons.

    I wanted so desperately to take millions of pictures but felt shy and wondered if anyone would object to having their picture taken. So, I tried to raise my camera very discreetly to capture the scene only to be caught!

    My subject stopped, grabbed a friend, pointed at me, and......POSED! Yes, posed and laughed and waved and blew kisses. After that, I snapped away!

    Ah, Paris in June. There is no other place I'd rather be. As they say, "Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris."

    I hope I'm a good American.
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