so basically, i ended up at the airport on monday.
after seeing the apartment and immediately deciding to take it, in typical french fashion, we (the realtor, landlord, and i) went down to a nearby cafe to discuss details, although i had to be at my school to meet my mentor in half an hour…twenty minutes…ten minutes…
basically, i left about ten minutes after i should have been there, and we’re talking about the boonies, the suburbs way outside of paris. a good amount of time on the metro, then switch to the RER train, then who knows? i think the thing that worried me the most was i wasn’t even sure how to get to the school once i made it to the station.
i tried calling the school a few times, to no avail. but i pressed on, running through the crowded stations and elbowing my way onto my trains, my computer clunking heavily at my side, trying not to obsessively check the time because it never, ever, made me feel better to see exactly how late i was. i finally made it onto the RER. exhale. finally reached the school by phone – she understood, said it was fine, just be there when i can. another exhale. check the stations. oh, that’s interesting, looks like we’re passing some of the stops before mine. cool – that just means i’ll get there faster!
…um, that was my stop…………….?
turns out i got onto the express train.
twenty minutes later we pulled up to charles de gaulle airport. fine, no problem, i’ll just cross over to the other side of the tracks and get on the next train heading toward paris. no need to panic. what a funny story, ha ha ha, at the airport, oh, silly carla and her french adventures.
why did i think it would be that easy? all the escalators leading to the paris trains were blocked. i briefly considered hopping over, remembered i was in a tightly guarded international airport in a country on red alert for terrorism, and thus decided against it. this wasn’t some random metro stop at 5 am.
after a brief tussle with the turnstile (typical), i made it to the ticket machine, where i was electronically informed that i’d have to pay 7 euro more than i’d expected to go back the way i’d come, and also, my debit card didn’t work. hoping it was just a glitch with that particular machine, i waited on line and tried to pay at the desk – no. luckily, i had twenty dollars and ten pounds in my wallet – could i pay with either of those? of course not. there’s a currency exchange desk at terminal three, however.
terminal three. great. fine. whatever. i started walking over just as it started raining, trying to keep a positive attitude. i got an apartment! who cares if i’m a little late for this meeting. this is life. these are life experiences. blah, blah, blah. then things got really exciting when everything stuttered to a stop because of some suspicious baggage that had been found. after about fifteen minutes of standing outside watching a patrolwoman pace back and forth with a gigantic gun, we were allowed to go, and i exchanged my money and bought my ticket. finally. back on the train.
it’s been rough, but i’m not quite ready to go back home yet.