Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Merci Beaucoup Betty

This is a post to thank Betty.  An ode to Betty if you will.  Unknowingly, Betty set into motion a chain of events that had a dramatic, and positive, impact on how Sherry and I spend time in Paris.  Our plans used to center around which new restaurant to try, museum to visit, or arrondissement to explore.  Now, they include dinner and drinks with friends.  

The always smiling Betty!
How did one person, who we did not know at the time, create such an impact? Betty, along with a couple of friends, started the running group called Let’s Run Paris. 

In 2015, Sherry and I were fortunate enough to spend Christmas in Paris.  By happenstance, I read a travel article on running in Paris that suggested running with a local running group.  It suggested finding groups on the site Meetup.  A couple of clicks later, I requested to join LRP.

I don’t remember why I selected LRP over the other options.  On that trip, I ran with them three times.  During those runs I was warmly received, as all guests are, and made a few acquaintances who I kept in touch with through Facebook.  I met people from all other the world but I did not meet Betty.

The LRP crew on a Saturday run.
Back home, I was pretty active on the LRP Facebook page posting pictures of me running in various U. S. cities in my LRP t-shirt.  Of course, as the founder, Betty was also very active on the page.  As I read Betty’s posts and comments, which frequently included words of encouragement, it was apparent to me that she was a special person.  She seemed very warm, caring, and genuine.  

Our next trip to Paris was very short so I was only able to run once with LRP.  It was great to see my friends once again.  I also met several new people including Betty.  Within seconds, you realize the Betty on Facebook is the real deal.  She is just as warm and caring in person.  She is one of those people that not only do you instantly like her, but you feel like you’ve known her for years.  

That trip was also the first time our itinerary included having drinks with friends.  It was such a treat for us to meet with people, who live in Paris, for drinks and chit-chat on a warm Saturday night.  This was a complete game changer for us and it felt like it moved us one step closer to being more Parisian than tourist.

Dinner with Betty and Nelson.
The dinners and drinks with friends continued on our most recent trip.  We had dinner with Betty and Nelson one night at a great little bistro.  The next night we were invited to the home of Gabriela and Pascal for a dinner party.  Betty was there as well.  This was an remarkable evening that quickly turned from dinner party to dance party.  As we were walking home, Sherry and I both had a feeling of belonging in this city we love so much.

I missed Betty’s last run (for now) with LRP by one day.  Sherry and I flew home on Sunday and Betty returned to the U. S. on Wednesday.  For various reasons, Betty decided it was time to return home to San Francisco after several years of living in Paris.  Fear not!  LRP is still going strong thanks to the foundation built by Betty and others.  

While I’m sure the LRP crew misses her, and I know she misses them and Paris, I am personally happy she’s in San Francisco.  You see, that puts her just one hour south of where we live in the Sonoma Wine Country.  We are already talking about getting together to laugh, eat, drink, and of course run.  I’m sure we will get to hear all about her latest adventures.  

I wonder whose life she’ll change next?