Elaborate gold gilt dragon currently adorning a vitrine at Galeries Lafayette, Paris.
"Beyond this place, there be dragons!" These words once were found on every map, at the place where the mapmakers' known worlds stopped. These words sparked the exotic mysteries that beckoned every adventurer, every dreamer, every person curious to see past their immediate environs. It is the place that the discoverers sailed beyond and were rewarded for their bravery by finding the Americas.
I am about to embark on a journey that is different from the hundreds I have taken over the years. Yes, some of the roads will be familiar; other parts unknown and a little scary. But this journey is important, as it marks a huge passage, not only in my daughter's life - as she presents her first fashion collection to critics, including designer John Galliano - and graduates with honours from college. It also marks the culmination of a journey that Jordana and I have traveled together - just the two of us, on our own. Occasionally we had help from family and friends and when Jordana was 15, David came along as a father figure. But for the most part, it was just Jordana and me.
We navigated a long and sometimes difficult road, living in other countries, frequently traveling, adapting to changing circumstances and for Jordana, new schools - not always easy, but worth the persistent effort. I am thankful for Jordana and so very proud of the bright, talented and engaging young woman she has become, despite all the odds, some might say. Some well-meaning people once suggested I should stay in one place and suppress my dreams to insure more stability for my daughter. I didn't listen to those people; I chose my own path and by extension, Jordana's.
I always believed that as long as Jordana felt loved and safe, she would be fine. And I think she would argue that all the travel, the adventures, the ever-changing situations made her more courageous, tolerant, flexible and able to cope with any situation. I think Jordana would tell you that she's gained a multicultural world view that serves her well, wherever she goes. I think she would agree that while she may not have had as many material luxuries as her friends with two working parents, she gained invaluable experiences while living and traveling in some of the world's greatest cities, meeting many fascinating people along the way.
For Jordana, I pray her best adventures are still to come. And I will be cheering her on, along whatever path she chooses.
For me, the three-week journey that begins in Savannah also heralds major changes. Some thrilling challenges and creative opportunities are unfolding and I will see many friends, both old and new. Much excitement ahead! My laptop and camera are accompanying me, so barring technical glitches, will be posting on Paris Parfait comme d'habitude. Hope you'll come along for the ride!