Friday, May 15, 2009

The Nose

I cleaned my bathroom today. It was in need. I dropped my sports bra on the floor after I ran last on March 1 (I'm not kidding. It's the pregnancy, cut me some slack.) and it was still there, in the same spot, gathering dust bunnies until I picked it up and put it in the laundry today. Don't judge me. My husband does the toilets.

Anyway. As I rearranged stuff around so I could clean the counter, I noticed, for the first time in a while, my big, fat bottle of expensive perfume. And this brings me to The Nose.

After CPod graduated from . . . the long, long schooling that he attended in Memphis after graduating from BYU, we had a 6 week lag before he received his professional licensure and could do what he was trained to do. (This anonymity thing is hard sometimes!) I had a great job, and we'd been living on my earnings for a long time, so it was no biggie -- but CPod does not do bored. He cannot be idle.

So. He playied around on a few travel websites, all without my knowledge. He formulated a little secret plan, and one day made the announcement: honey, we're going to Paris! Well, flying in and out of Paris. What we did with the remaining three weeks was entirely up to us.

I was absolutely shocked. And ecstatic. But mostly shocked. I thought he was kidding, but he wasn't. What better way to burn through the last remnants of his student loan money? The surprise was an advantage -- my boss couldn't say no to three weeks of leave when CPod had already bought the non-refundable tickets and I had had no part in the planning.

We organized our trip, bought Eurail passes ahead of time, and test-filled our backpacks to make sure we weren't taking too much gear. I cut my hair super short so I wouldn't have to worry about it on the trip.

The trip was fantastic. I spent the summer after I graduated from high school travelling through Europe with an orchestra, so we went to all the places I could see again and again and again . . . the Louvre & Orsay museums in Paris, Santa Croce in Florence, the Jungfrau and Trummelbach Falls (I will write about this place again, I promise) in Switzerland. We ate fantastic food (after black truffles, how could anyone ever be the same again?), and explored amazing places. We slept on the train, and we slept in a 700 year old hotel in Venice. In Florence, we had gelato 14 times in 3 days. We made a big loop through France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany and it was all fantastic. All of it.

We have little handmade pottery salt & pepper shakers and a handpainted refrigerator magnet from Orvieto. We have a couple of small watercolors from some artist in Montmartre. We have a mechanically perfect hand-carved peppermill from Germany, and Christmas ornaments from Katya Wohlfahrt's in Rothenburg. CPod saved all his souvenir money so he could buy tools and Jack Wolfskin gear in Germany. And I spent most of mine in Sephora.

Have you been to Sephora? I don't mean the one in your mall, the one that smells like a flower shop on steroids. I mean a huge Sephora. A Sephora with a Nose. At the flagship Sephora on the Champs Elyssees in Paris, the first thing you see when you walk in the door is a small kiosk: nothing fancy, just a wooden circle filled with plain labelled brown bottles and a little man with a really big nose.

The Nose's job is to divine your scent: you tell him what you like, and he finds the fragrance for you. But it's more like magic. All of the bottles look the same, and they are arranged by major ingredient: citrus, floral, marine, musk . . . you get the picture. I thought I might like citrus, knew I didn't want musk, and that was all I said. He looked me over, and said, "Marine." He waved a few little wands under my nose, and voila! "L'Eau d'Issey, by Issey Miyake" was his proclamation, and darned if he wasn't right.

By the way, who is this Issey Miyake character? And where can I get whatever that is you're waving in front of my face, because I have GOT to get me some of that. It's divine: light, airy, clean, cool, and plus, when someone asks me about my perfume, if I say it fast enough, they have no idea what I'm saying. Because if you know me in real life, you are not allowed to share my signature scent.

So there's my memory. I have a newer, bigger bottle of Issey Miyake now. I don't wear it often enough. But every time I put it on, three wonderful weeks of my life flash before my eyes.


  1. lovely reminiscing. I was on your blog looking for your post about lists (after your comment on my blog...) can't find it. Can you email me/comment me back the link?

    PS: Are you writing a book? You definitely should, girl! You are an artist with words.

  2. Oh how scents and sounds can take us back to those wonderful places we've been ... I love that! I can smell certain perfumes and travel back 14 years, I can hear certain songs and go back to childhood. What a great gift, isn't it?

    So did you thought about all this while cleaning your bathroom or did the cleaning stopped while you were "traveling back in time"? :)

    I know about dropping something and not picking it up in weeks ... he he he.

  3. Sounds like a divine trip! All you needed was a little snorkeling...although 14 gelatos in 3 days might have made up for that!

  4. Why have I never heard about this trip to Europe? The one after high school, I have heard all about, but I had no idea you went back... and without me?!? Why didn't you call me up to come along?
    My dad claims he is going to take me this year...I guess we'll see. Believe it when you see the tale posted on my blog!

    Anyways, sounds like lots of fun!

  5. Paris? No children? Three weeks? That husband of yours is a keeper!

  6. okay....funny!

    ...I am posting SEVEN wordless wednesday, on SATURDAY!!! along...can you guess. starting at 9am....every hour...♥

  7. Sounds like a great trip ... I'm quite envious : )

  8. Ohh, I love the idea of someone telling me my scent. I love perfume, but rarely actually like it on me!

  9. I enjoyed this post! thanks for sharing!


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