I finally made it here!
This is my first time traveling alone to (and within) a foreign country, so there were quite a few anxieties riddling my heart, though I couldn’t really feel them at first due to my packing-induced sleep deprivation. Praise the Lord, seriously, because I was quite worried for the past 24 hours that something would go terribly wrong, like I would get lost and be unable to contact anyone, or have my wallet/passport stolen, or get kidnapped by a taxi driver, or miss the train/plane/exit/lose my luggage, etc. etc. None of these things ended up happening, thankfully, though there was one minor glitch in the plan that kept everything from running smoothly–my plane didn’t take off for five hours.
Yup, that’s probably the longest delay I’ve ever experienced or even heard of, where they didn’t let us off the plane or feed us anything, or tell us why this was happening, except for vague announcements every 40-50 minutes saying that we would surely be taking off in just 45 more minutes (and the passengers on the plane would groan 3 times at each announcement, a different group of people for each language, until towards the end everybody just looked at their french-speaking neighbors and groaned after the first announcement). Along with everybody else in the plane, I started to grow very frustrated, and increasingly anxious as I was supposed to make my way to Lower Normandy by train after getting to Paris, but each hour we waited meant that I would have to take a later train, and ask my nice employer lady (Mme) to come and pick me up at an increasingly unreasonable time (approaching midnight and beyond).
When the 10:40 plane finally took off at around 3:30, half of the passengers were relieved (you could actually feel the happy sigh sweep through the plane), while the other half were already too frustrated to appreciate anything anymore. By 2pm I had started to think that we would never take off nor cancel the flight, and that I would just live on this plane forever, barely surviving on strange little Chinese snacks… I was definitely more naturally inclined to react to the situation like the angry Italian man sitting next to me, who kept mumbling under his breath and giving death glares to the flight attendants when they told him there wasn’t any more food available.
Thankfully, I called my dad at each hour and he was able to email update Mme as well as keep me calm and collected, reminding me to just be grateful that I was on the plane and would eventually be on my way. So when we finally took off, I realized that it was pointless to be angry and spoil the next 12 long hours on the plane, and that really there are much much worse things in life. Besides, I’m pretty used to 16-hour plane rides by now, so I could just pretend I was going back to Newark and it wouldn’t make much of a difference. As for the food, I knew it would come eventually, and my stomach needed a break anyway after being at home for so long (read: eating a lot a lot a lot)!
At this point my only concern was getting to Basse Normandie and being picked up–but it turns out there aren’t actually any trains to Lisieux after 9pm, so my dad and Mme worked it out so that I would stay at a hotel in Paris overnight, and then take my time getting to Lisieux tomorrow afternoon. Now I’m here, and am infinitely thankful that everything after takeoff went extremely smoothly–I even had a great time chatting with the taxi driver (my longest real conversation in french with a real french person!!), who ended up showing me music videos of his two favorite singers on his phone (Charles Aznavour and Charles Trénet, if you’re interested–they’re from the 80’s and 40’s, respectively, and are actually pretty cool). He also told me, “Paris, c’est une ville qui bouge!” (Paris is a city that moves! Or in other words, is pretty bumpin’ ;P)
Tomorrow I get to walk around a bit (and get breakfast!) before leaving, so I’m feeling very very blessed–my hotel is right in the middle of the city and everything is so beautiful–to have had that 5 hours’ blessing in disguise.
This is a painting of the Seine River that’s hanging above my bed.
❤ paris, je t’aime déjà! :)) (I know I said I wouldn’t use smiley faces but… I might make some exceptions while I’m here ;P)