“À Paris”Paris, Summer 2012
I conceptualized some really great blog entries in my mind during my travels.
As I sat ensconced in my flame-retardant, polyester airplane blanket on my flight to Paris, I figured I’d write about how I had conveniently placed myself next to the French-speaking couples at the gate, about how I had been astonished that those of northern African descent outnumbered those of European descent, about how I had ordered my first glass of wine in French (and inevitably messed it up). I also wanted to somehow fit in the anecdote of how the French flight attendant asked the American woman next to me if she spoke French or English and she replied “chicken.”
That was thought number one.
I came up with my second blog idea as I was descending what was probably my 500th metro stair, sweating enough to receive unwanted glances from everyone who could tell I wanted to cry, pondering how my cell phone AND my credit card could possibly not work, envisioning my French mom yelling at me for arriving an hour late and not having the decency to give her a call.
I don’t think I need to go into much more detail on that thought.
But both of those thoughts completely slipped away after I had a very panicky call with my host mom outside her apartment and she fetched my flustered American self from outside the complex. She could tell I had had a rough day, for my bloody heels and red face spoke for itself. “Amanda, tu es à Paris,” she said over and over. “À Paris.” I understood what she was saying, but I wasn’t in Paris. I was in Paris, the place where American Express cards aren’t accepted at metro ticket kiosks and blistered heels go to die. But as we walked into the quaint apartment on the fifth floor, I turned the corner and looked out the window. In front of me sat a vast network of metal rods, nearly taking up the entire window view. I was looking at the Eiffel Tower. Je suis à Paris.
And that’s when everything else in the world stopped mattering.
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