All my planning was coming together, it was about one week full of research and word of mouth put into my trusty travel google doc. I had anticipated everything I could have wanted to do while Paris, but I had not anticipated waking up incapacitated the day before I was supposed to get on a flight to France. It came on suddenly and powerfully. I had planned to call my parents that night asking their number one thing to do in Paris, but instead informed them that my TA in med school confirmed my symptoms were flu like. In true motherly fashion, my mother immediately wanted to change my flight. No way José, I had my hopes up expecting a weekend getaway to Paris. After informing them that I was still going, with slightly doubting faces, they ended the phone call requesting photos and updates.
I was on the plane, half asleep, with green phlegm coming out of multiple orifices but I was going to have a romantic weekend in Paris with myself dammit because I am sophisticated. The next thing I heard was a loud thump of a piece of luggage being dropped on the man sitting in front of me. I had a flashback to my childhood and a mysterious Billy Mays death and saw this is a very very bad sign. The young child screaming at what felt like a rocket lift off in the most rickety plane I have ever been on encompassed my emotions pretty well.
A pilot with an extremely French accent announced our descent into Paris. Seriously this guy’s accent made a French SNL skit seem like a documentary. I looked out from my window seat and saw the Big Dipper, the one star formation I constantly can pick out while in the keys or at home. I had a type of Dear John thumb-by-the-moon moment in the realization that I really could see the same things from across the world. I was in this lovely contemplative mood felling much better about my journey and enjoying the bright full moon with the prospect of romantic evenings in Paris and just as we were about to touch down… I saw a KFC. Moment = over.
Once I trekked a mile in the Orly airport to arrive at the tram station I was stopped by a lovely couple who asked if I speak English and how to get to city center. I am a freaking local already. I stumbled my way through an entirely made up explanation of how to get there to boost my confidence, but some parts of it actually worked! I could not for the life of me understand how to use my metro ticket while in the flustered state of almost missing the train, so for the first time since getting Europe I heard my voice raise quite some decibels still speaking in English so I could be better understood. I had done it, I had reached obnoxious American level without being in France for even an hour. This can’t be good….