A year ago today

Thursday, August 03, 2017

It's crazy to think that a year ago today marked the beginning of a crazy whirlwind of an adventure traveling around the world. As I boarded my plane with my family towards our Mediterranean cruise, I had no idea what to expect in terms of my journey for TAPIF. It was the beginning of August and I was as blind as a bat in terms of where I would be moving in the couple of weeks to follow. My arrete de nomination was no where in sight meaning that I had no idea where I was living or working .

Our cruise journey started off to a rocky start (no pun intended). A part of me thinks that this was a great metaphor for my time to come in Europe. We began our voyage from Minneapolis over to Paris. It was my first time back at CDG since studying abroad and I couldn't have been more excited to put my feet (even if it was only supposed to be a 1 hour layover) in my favorite city. Flash forward to a couple hours later when we were informed that customs was on strike and that the next airplane wouldn't be arriving for another 9 hours.

That day, I had to learn what it was like to truly be patient . I was stranded in a Parisian airport only an hour away from familiar sights and smells incapable of  leaving. I was frustrated. I was so close to being in the town I loved so dearly, yet unable to go visit because of ongoing strikes. Fate had yet again proved that there was another plan in mind for me.

I spent the majority of my time imagining the 'what ifs' and wishing I hadn't spent my 25 euro gift card from the airline so quickly on a LongChamps bag rather than food. Oddly enough the only comforting sound that kept me sane during those 9 hours were the firefighter sirens. They reminded me of the mornings waking up in my Parisian apartment staring curiously outside my balcony.

 I  stuffed myself up with cheap macaroons from Paul and a questionable tuna sandwich from REPLAY before the flight and counted the minutes until our departure. Finally, it was time to board.
As we began our climb into the clouds to Barcelona I heard gasps from the passengers above me pointing at the window. I nudged my head over to see what the commotion was about. There it was. Like a scene from a cheesy American movie, popping out above the clouds glistening for everyone to see. The Eiffel tower was sparkling  in my direction, almost as if she was welcoming me back.

The sight was so beautiful that I cried next to complete strangers who were freaking out about the ongoing turbulence. You see, even though those 9 hours were grueling I think they served as a metaphor for my time in France as a teaching assistant. Though there might be times of waiting for unwariness long hours, the final product is worth it. At the end of the day, no one can take away my experiences from me. There are going to be bumps on the road when traveling. It should be expected. We travel not because we know its going to be hard, but because of those unexpected and painfully beautiful moments that we encounter. I'll always be grateful for the year were I got to see the world and truly understand what it's like to live (even if that does mean waiting in an airport for 9 hours).

Until next time,

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