The Trip Back to the US
I’ve been back in the US for just over 2 weeks now. It feels like so much longer though. I miss France like crazy even as things are slipping more into normal here. I’ve been busy and bored. It’s a weird discombobulation of things- working part time at my marketing job, working on projects, baking and cooking like crazy (thanks to the ridiculously awesome stocked kitchen we have and a gift of a ton of flour, sugar, and butter courtesy of mi madre), and I have a super cool new job – helping with catering at a well-known B&B! Thanks for the reference BMcD!
But I’ll have days were I’m not really doing anything and the France-sickness sets in (it’s a new deadly disease sweeping this part of the country). I start looking for a stinky cheese and a bien cuit baguette to munch on, Coeur de Pirate is turned on full blast, the dogs are taken on wildly long walks which I come back from and think of how far that could have gotten me in the city, or I’ll contemplate wearing all black. But mostly I think about my friends and the life that I miss so much across the ocean. oh and pastries like this pretty rose flavored religieuse from La Duree. :-)
But how was the trip back? You know I always have a good travel story. They usually range from missed alarms, forgotten passports, or close to flat tires but this one.. this one might just surprise you!
I bought my plane ticket to Dallas just a month before I was due to leave the country. A good bit of procrastinating ended up saving me $200 on my plane ticket annnd I even got a direct flight option. A sign of good things in my traveling future?
About a week before I left I started going through my things and deciding what should stay in France. A good amount of wine was involved. An early morning trip out of the city and they were stashed at a friend’s place. Thank you Jess and Vincent!!!
Four days before my flight I had a dinner party. We had enough plates but Julien, The Frenchman’s friend, had to drink wine from a juice cup. sorry! I made a salad with brie (that had been highly discussed at the fromagerie earlier in the day), pistachios, honey, and mache, lemon roast chicken, potatoes, and for dessert individual moelleux au chocolat with salted caramel. yum! And close to 5 bottles of wine. There were roof top pics with the Sacre Coeur as the backdrop, far too much French for my brain to comprehend all of it, and a bottle of wine that just had to be finished at the end of the night. ;-)
Then I was down to three days and contemplating packing? Especially because I had to narrow down what had come to France in two large suitcases, a backpacking backpack, and a carry on and what I had bought in France, to just one large suitcase and a carry on.
The next day I packed and repacked for a solid 4 hours. This is how the apartment looked:
Then did some errands aka. tea and chocolate shopping for mom, a last amazing pastry for me in the Tuilleries from Fauchon, and champagne with the chefs at La Fabrique where I did my stage. Then drinks and charcuterie with the girls before a mad rush at the end of the night to bring two bags over to Jenni’s that would absolutely not fit in my suitcase.
The next morning I was up at 5am, struggling to repack once again, double checking that I had my passport, and soaking in my last view of Paris. The plan as I’d told my friends the night before would be to see if I could make it to the elevator and the door leading to the street with all my bags. That would decide if I would take a taxi the full way to the airport or just halfway and catch the bus in between. A Zeus level struggle later and I was on the phone with the taxi company. There was no way, I was even starting to question my ability to walk through the airport!
I made it though. In a bit of a daze because me and early mornings never work. Up first- check in my massive, probably overweight, despite checking it 4+ times, bag. As I was waiting in line, the attendant took a look at my carry on and said umm I’m not sure that is going to fit in the overhead. Do you think you could make it smaller? A quick sure! and no more questions. I didn’t even have to attempt to show him that indeed it was going to fit.
Speaking of weight limits- let’s get to my checked bag. The one that was 2.5 kilos over. The lady just smiled at me and said “just be careful next time, or there will be a $60 fee.” as she slipped a “heavy” tag on to my bag.
Next was security and I was one bag over the two bag allowance, and you know the situation with my carry on. My purse got caught for a security search. Maybe it was because I decided that a liquids bag wasn’t necessary for this trip or that I’d entirely forgotten what I had in my purse? The security team was in the middle of training someone and being extremely thorough with the items that were stopped before mine. I was waiting and waiting until a new security guy happened to come through and call me over. A very quick search through my bag and I was suddenly being asked how old I was which then spurred a conversation with another security guy in French about the age range of women they would date. Needless to say, I was passed through without anymore questions.
An hour and a half wait and I’d had coffee, orange juice, a muffin, a chat with the Frenchman, ran into an older couple from Texas whose daughter lived in Paris with her husband, texted with friends, and gone through my Facebook feed too many times to tell. Then we were lining up about to board, and I was joking with my seatmates about my carry on and if it would fit. It didn’t until I took out two binders and two books. The same bin opened multiple times throughout the flight. My seatmate urged me that it was not my bag, but hers. I care to disagree though…
A little while into the flight and I was looking in my purse for my chapstick and happened to unearth pepper spray and a wine bottle opener…? Good job security man, good job.
The rest of the trip was uneventful- lots of flying, watching the overhead bin above us open, three glasses of wine with my new found friend in the seat next to me, looking out the window, and changing the movie to be in French, because it was incredibly boring in English. A super speedy walk through customs and I was in Texas!
This little guy was waiting for me at home. :-)