I boarded the flight to Paris with sheer giddiness.
After 20 hours in airports and on the plane, I had finally landed. Whenever I got off the plane at Charles De Gaul Airport in Paris, the first thing that made my heart flutter was listening to the beautiful French language spoken by the airport officials. The airport itself was nothing fancy, however I felt entranced by the language and a special feeling would come over me. I knew I was in Paris and a small part of me weirdly felt like I belonged. I would wait at the airport train station for an hour before my train to Avignon (small village of Provence) departed. After the trip, barely eating and sleeping, I was running low on energy. I desperately needed my first croissant; yes I would devour a delectable pastry. I stood in line at the train station café, and smiled. I loved watching the French. It was such a different experience than being in line at Starbucks in the states, everyone here was ordering une café, petit. At Starbucks, grand Frappuccinos towered with whipped cream seemed to be the drink of choice. The French were so disciplined it was intriguing.
I was next in line and decided to do as the French do, “Je vais prendre une petite café, s’il-vous-plait…et un croissant.” I sat and relished my French breakfast. I continued to take in the mannerisms of the French people and became entirely fascinated. I looked up at the large screen hanging from the ceiling, and realized my train would be there in twenty minutes. I had never traveled on a train in Europe. I would be venturing to the South of France by myself and while it mostly excited me, it definitely felt out of my comfort zone. I was warned that when departing the train, to stand and wait at the door ten minutes early, make sure you have your luggage with you, and get the hell off the train immediately…otherwise it will start moving again, leaving you stuck inside. Suddenly, I heard the ringing of a new train departing station being announced. It was my train.
I quickly grabbed my luggage and went to the platform A4 where my train was set to depart.
Four hours later, I arrived in Avignon. At this point, I was surprised I was not hallucinating as I had gotten a mere five hours of sleep in the last 36 hours. I saw my name on a piece of paper BENDER with a chic French woman standing there. She was wearing a grey tank top that revealed her thin but perfectly toned arms and dark wash jeans. We exchanged Bonjours and she quickly made it very apparent that she did not understand me, and only spoke French.