Posts Tagged ‘Charles de Gaulle’

Home Again

July 29, 2018

I got back from my travels last night.

I was in motion for 24 hours.

Although what with the time change it looked like I had just traveled 11 hours.

But no.

When I got in to my studio last night the clock said it was 6 a.m. Paris time and I had been up since 5:30 a.m. the previous morning.

It was a long day.

I am very, very, very grateful that I woke up before my alarm went off, it was too hot to sleep and I kept waking up and having difficulty falling back asleep, so when I woke up at 5 a.m. I never got fully back into sleep, just lay in bed sweating lightly and wondering if I should just get up and get going.

When the light began to grow bright enough I gave up the ghost, got up and started my getting ready to leave.

I gave myself time to have a light breakfast, which thank God I did, because there was no time at the airport to get food, I was super lucky to be able to snag a bottle of water for the flight, let alone have had anytime to forage for food.

I had done most of my packing the day before, even went a bought a cheap suitcase to haul back my goodies from my trip.

Notebooks, a stuffed hippo for one of my charges, a model car for another charge, stickers and rainbow unicorn rub on tattoos and a pretty notebook for the little girl.

Other gifts for folks.

And then the things that I had gotten for myself: a purse, a market basket from Aix-en-Provence, an art book from the Zao Wou-ki show I went to at the Musee Moderne, lots of notebooks, five or six I think, magnets from the Klimt show and one from Marseilles, some notecards, three dresses (three! I was so thrilled to have found a shop, with the help of my friend, that carried my size and had lovely clothes), a sweater coat, and a blouse.

I can’t believe I found such lovely clothes, it’s very rare for me to find clothing when I have gone to Paris before.

Partially because I just didn’t know really where to look, having a friend who lives in Paris show you the spots is a huge perk.

I also got a vintage candle holder/lantern from a shop on Ile St. Louis and some prints from the Klimt show.

I couldn’t have squeezed all of that into my little carry-on.

My carry on, which as it would turn out, was not so little anyway.

It got flagged at the airport.

I was not happy.

This was the first time that it’s been flagged.

I didn’t even get it through security.

A couple of times I have had to check it at the gate but never before did I have it flagged before even going through security.

I was not happy.

I was on the same airline I took to get to France, so I knew it would fit, in fact, it had slightly fewer items in it since I had bag checked the other suitcase and figured I would fill that one heavier and keep my carry on fairly light.

But nope.

It got flagged.

Ugh.

I had already had a bit of a rough start to my Charles de Gaulle experience.

I got to the airport with plenty of time, I splurged and took a cab.

Again, thank God, if I had done the train I would have likely missed my flight considering the amount of time it took to get to the gate.

When I arrived I did a check in on a kiosk, printed off my boarding pass and got a sticker for the checked bag.

Then I stood in line with my checked bag to get it to a counter to get loaded onto the plane.

I was in line about thirty minutes.

About twenty minutes into being online a little voice in my head said, “hey, did you get your card from the kiosk?”

I couldn’t remember.

I took a deep breath, got out my wallet, opened it up and looked.

No debit card.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

I had left it in the machine!

I flushed very hot then almost started to cry.

I took another deep breath.

What should I do?

Odds are it’s gone.

Somebody was right behind me to use the machine.

Either they took it and went wild at the Duty Free shop.

Or maybe they turned it in to lost and found.

I started to think about how to ask the next Air France agent I saw about where the lost and found was in French.

I resolved to stay in line and check my bag and then go look.

It was a long ten minutes.

I got my bag on the belt and dashed back to the machine.

Of course.

The card was gone.

I looked around, there was a desk next to the kiosk, but nothing on it.

I turned to go back to the line that had to Air France agents working it.

I should mention that there were three different areas to queue up to, each area having two agents, then agents roaming between and agents at the desk.

I don’t know how I decided to ask the woman I asked, but I made a snap decision and walked towards her.

I approached and asked if I could speak English with her, I really wasn’t sure I could get across in French what had happened, although I had been practicing it for the last ten minutes.

She said of course.

I told her what I did, I pointed to the machine, I was about to ask if there was a lost and found and she said, “you’re Carmen?”

I nodded, yes, yes, yes, as she pulled my debit card out of the front breast pocket of her jacket.

I nearly wept for joy and thanked her profusely.

What are the odds that the person I asked would have my card in her pocket?

I don’t know, but it felt like winning the lottery.

I was so happy about it that when I was told my carry on would cost me 80 Euro to process I didn’t give a fuck.

Who cares?

I had found my card.

And though the whole process set me back over an hour and a half of going to and fro, it was all worth while.

I made my plane with minutes to spare, enough to be able to dash to the nearest counter and buy a bottle of water and then get myself settled in for a very long flight.

There were a few other adventures.

Like the plane having to sit on the tamarack for another hour because a person had to be de-planed, which led to me literally sprinting through the Atlanta airport to make my connecting flight, but I did then too.

So even though it was a long trip getting back.

Get back I did.

And I am very grateful to be home, unpacked, all my laundry washed and put away and almost ready to get back to my regular routine.

Almost.

I have one more delicious day off.

Ah.

Summer vacation.

You did me good.

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A Long Strange Day

May 12, 2017

But.

I’m here.

Whew.

It took a minute.

I have been in transit for a long time and it’s nice to finally be situated, although I won’t be here but the night.

I am at Mama Shelter, 109 Rue de Bagnolet, and happy to have finally figured out the internet, and gotten myself fed and sorted out.

I had an unexpected delay at Charles de Gaulle that threw me for about two hours.

My flight got in right on time, which is awesome, since my first flight had to stay aloft for 40 minutes to be cleared for landing and that meant a sprint, well, a fast hobble, to my connecting flight, which I made, but yes, heh, I broke a sweat to get to.

Yeesh.

I also got a bright orange card to wave at everyone I ran through to get to the gate, I don’t know how I did it, I just did, up and down a couple of escalators, on a train, through the crowds at Heathrow and I made it just as they closed the gate, I was allowed on and even got to bring on my carry one, which technically for the size of the plane was too big.

I got through customs quickly and I got a quirky smile from the French security when he saw my tattoo and got waved quickly in.

Then.

It happened.

On my way to purchase the Museum Pass–pro-tip to any one traveling to Paris, buy the Museum Pass at the airport.  You can buy it at the museum you go to, but you have to stand in line, which is a pain, and the whole point of getting the pass is to not stand in line.

So.

I see my trusted Banque de Postale, which is where I traditionally pulled money from when I lived here and inserted my card.

And it got denied.

I lost my breath.

I got faint of heart.

Hmm.

Maybe I asked for more than my limit.

I tried again.

Transaction denied.

Fuck me.

I started to panic.

I was hot and cold all at the same time.

I had set my travel alert, it should have been able to allow me access to my funds.

Fortunately I got myself together enough to sit down and pull out my laptop and log into the WiFi at Charles de Gaulle and I saw, yup, “suspicious activity” reported on my account and I had to call the bank.

Fuck my mother.

I had the hardest time dialing out.

I finally got some assistance from a very sweet woman at the information desk and together we figured out how to place the long distance, COLLECT, call to my bank.

I am scared to see what my phone bill is going to be, I was on and off hold for ever.

I was finally able to get through to a live person who rectified everything, assured me I would be able to use my card and sent me back to the Banque de Postale to use my card.

And.

Motherfucker.

It was denied again.

I was going to melt into the floor and dissolve into tears.

I did not.

I rallied.

I also noted I was getting marked by a pick pocket, so I gathered myself, looked him in the eye and made sure he was aware that I was aware that he was casing me.

He skulked off and not a minute later a cop strolled by.

I got back on the phone with my bank, more holding, more transfers, three different service people and finally, FINALLY, they over rode the system so that I could use my card.

I kept the woman on the phone with me until I had successfully made a withdrawal, thanked her profusely and then promptly went and bought myself an iced coffee.

Then I went to the Toursime desk and purchased a four-day museum pass.

It’s the first time I bought the four-day one.

I am going to get my museum on people.

I said, screw the train, I’m over it, I had planned on being settled at my hotel and out strolling the neighborhood for a few hours, not stuck at the airport, so I hopped a cab.

And.

Hahahaha.

Got stuck in rush hour traffic.

ARGH.

It’s funny now, but at the time I was just like really, REALLY?

Enough already.

Then.

I just breathed.

I am ok, I have money, I am in a taxi, I’ll get to the hotel, I will brush my teeth and wash and put on some perfume and go have a nice meal.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I ask the super sweet, super friendly front desk guy what his favorite place was in the neighborhood and he directed me to this sweet little bistro Blaise et Brasil.

I had a salmon tartar.

Veloute avec chou (silky smooth cauliflower soup with truffle oil and crisped kale).

Fromage, (cheese plate with greens) two kinds, a Gruyère and another I don’t know what it was, but I made a very happy face eating it.

A bottle of Perrier.

And a cafe creme.

Heaven.

Welcome back baby.

I probably won’t be able to sleep for having had a coffee at 10 p.m.

But fuck it.

I’m in Paris and it felt really good to sit and eat and watch the people walking by and the patrons in the cafe.

I spoke French in totality and in fact, was able to make a funny joke with the table next to me as the waitress brought them my bill and not theirs that I really appreciated the kindness of strangers.

It was sweet.

And I feel settled now.

Writing this certainly helped, it always does.

It is just a damn good way to process all the stuff that happened and help me see, with perspective and humor that I am fine and things happen and I get to roll with it and still be grateful.

Hell my cabbie dropped my fare by 7 Euro when he dropped me off.

Of course, he also gave me his phone number, so maybe he had an ulterior motive, but it was sweet, we were stuck in traffic for close to an hour, I was grateful.

And now.

Well.

I am going to try to get a little rest.

I know.

There’s not much for the wicked.

But.

I shall try.

Bon soiree mes amies!

Bisoux.

 

 

Hello Again

May 8, 2017

I have been remiss my friends.

I have not been keeping up with the blogging.

I did post last night.

A poem.

But I had no energy after the emotionally exhausting day of classes.

It was a big school weekend.

A lot of deep work.

So much.

And it’s all great stuff.

But.

Fuck.

A girl could stand a break once in a while.

I did get to see my friends a bit more than I have in the past school weekends.

I had a girlfriend dinner with two of my favorite ladies in the cohort on Thursday.

We met at Mazzat, a Lebanese restaurant in Hayes Valley after I got out of work and had scootered home to let in my friend who was hanging in the Outer Sunset waiting for me to get back from work.

She needed to drop off her overnight stuff.

We were having a slumber party.

Hence no blog Thursday night.

It is just not a nice thing to do, I have a small place and I wanted to be a good host and although my friend did encourage me to write, I didn’t feel that it was necessary.

All my delicious catching up and being with her and our other French friend in the cohort at dinner had filled me up, made me happy, completed my experience for that day and it was more important to crawl into bed with my friend and whisper and chat and talk girl stuff.

God.

It’s nice to have girlfriends.

She is like a sister to me and we have pretty much connected to each other since the first week of retreat our first year.

God damn.

I am done.

DONE!

With my last weekend of classes.

I am officially now a third year student.

Holy shit.

And.

Oh, thank you sweet Jesus.

I went to the financial aid office this weekend and sorted out my aid and my package and the lady in the office was super kind and accommodating and it was all done in five minutes.

Such a help.

And I am so grateful to have that settled.

I should be getting enough that I can pay for the tuition for my summer school practicum and for the supervisor and have a bit left over, about $1400, which should cover my costs for out-of-pocket therapy for the summer.

That’s the plan.

It felt so good to get that taken care of.

In other housekeeping stuff.

I e-mailed the bookstore when I got home from class today and listed the books I’d like to sell back, some of which the awesome manager at the bookstore had told me when I was selling back in the fall, to hold off until spring, that I would get a better price.

So.

Fingers crossed.

A few bucks in my pocket this week.

Always handy when a lady is getting ready to travel.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

I leave for Paris in four days.

Four!

I am so excited.

It is finally here.

I have three days at work.

I have to go tomorrow and meet with my supervisor before work and I am hoping that I will be able to run a few quick errands before heading to work.

I need to pick up a few travel toiletries.

I went grocery shopping today after class to pick up some essentials to have in the house for the next few days, as well as to have some things for myself in the freezer when I get back from France.

I bought a new neck pillow for the flight as well at the co-op in my neighborhood.

It felt super fun to tuck it on top of my roll on suitcase.

This trip to Paris will make it number three for this particular suitcase.

It has also taken me to London once, Rome once, New Orleans, Anchorage, Minneapolis, Madison, New York twice, Orlando, and Los Angeles.

It’s a damn good piece of luggage.

It may need to get replaced soon, one of the wheels is getting a little wonky, but having had it for seven years, I think, that’s not bad, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a trip or three that it has taken that I didn’t list above.

No.

I have not taken it to Burning Man.

Ha.

That is the one place it does not go.

Soon it shall come out of the closet and get filled with clothes and shoes and stuff and things and I will be heading out the door to SFO to London to Paris.

The only small fly in the ointment is that I got a slightly changed flight out of London to Paris, and now I have a bit of a layover in London, so I won’t get into Paris until 5p.m. on Friday, May 12th.

I was supposed to get in around 10:30am’ish.

Oh well.

I will probably save myself some travel hassle from Charles de Gaulle and just take a cab to my hotel.

Mama Shelter.

There is a music venue across the street that my Parisian friend told me about today, Fleche d’Or.

I may go check it out after I get checked in and settled.

Could be a fun, spontaneous first night in Paris sort of deal.

I was thinking I would get myself to the hotel, check in, unpack a few things, hit the shower and go out into the city.

I will grab dinner, somewhere in the neighborhood,  Les Desnoyez or perhaps Le Baratin.

I mean.

I sort of want my first night in Paris to be special.

A lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace.

Music at the club.

Dinner in a French bistro.

A walk past Pere LaChaise in the evening.

Oh.

The things I am going to do.

I am excited.

And as the weekend is wrapping up and I just turn around and head into the work week I know it will go fast and before one can say “croissant” I will be leaving on a jet plane.

I am so ready for it.

Seriously.

 

 

Making Plans

September 26, 2016

I knew I was going to say yes before she even finished asking me.

I know to say yes.

Even when there was a tiny voice in my head that said, “but what about work?”

What the fuck about it?

I have no idea where I’m going to be working in May.

Granted.

Yes.

I will have a job.

One always comes around.

For instance.

This new gig tomorrow could lead to my next job (I am still working for my current family, but I’ll be Monday with this new family).  The family is fantastic, friends of my current family, living up in Eureka Valley, on a block, is it possible?  That doesn’t have parking permit issues, meaning I can park my scooter on the street without having to worry about moving it.

The 20 month old is delicious.

And.

Oh.

Wait.

For.

It.

She takes two-hour naps.

Bless you little girl.

I am so excited for two hours naps and parents that don’t work from home.

I got the impression that there will be some overlap occasionally, that one of the parents will be there, but for the most part it will be me and the 20 month old for six hours and then a mixture of the two other brothers.

Both of whom are in school.

This gig starts this Monday and will be every Monday until December 12th.

I am thinking at that time I will have secured my next gig, whatever that will be.

I may also take a little time off at that time, give myself a week or so to let myself have a few days off to acclimate and transition.

Plus.

I’ll be thick into my final papers for the semester.

But.

I’m also thinking further ahead.

All the way to May.

Yeah.

Like that.

Because today I was asked if I wanted to go on a trip to France in May.

Of course I said yes.

Duh.

I already have looked for tickets.

I know better than to not say yes.

Especially when I was told that I would have all my housing covered.

I would stay with my friend and her family.

She won’t be as available to me as if we were really going on holiday together, she’ll be studying for her exams in France, but I was like.

WHATEVER.

She’s my dear friend.

I love her.

Of course I’m going to say yes.

Besides.

Hello.

FRANCE.

Yes, please.

We would actually go to a few places, not just Paris, take the TGV to Provence, for instance and to the seaside.

Oh yes, I don’t care where I’m working, I can make that work.

Plus, I’ll have a little more financial aid that will come into my pocket come Spring semester.

After my disbursement was made, paying for my summer classes, retreat (intensive, it was an intensive), and my current semester I received $675.

Which you know.

Means working as much as I can to cover the rest of my costs, because that’s basically a half month of rent.

No food.

No phone.

No gas for the scooter.

No insurance.

Definitely no yoga.

Just some money toward 1/2 a month of rent.

I remember laughing to myself when my current employer asked if I would still want to work when I won the scholarship I was awarded.

Um.

Yeah.

I have to.

I live in San Francisco.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t save a for a ten-day jaunt to France.

I can fucking well do that, especially if I don’t have to worry about the cost of hotels and places to stay.

Plus, South of France in May?

Of course I said yes.

I am still saying yes.

I have no clue how it will work out, but I told my friend I knew it would and yes, what a perfect way to cap off the end of the second year of school with a trip with one of my dearest to France.

I’d still fly into Paris, and probably from Paris too.

The TGV, the bullet train, will get me to and from really quick and it’s super affordable.

God.

I am so excited.

This will definitely be a different trip for me than the last time I went to Paris.

First, it will be in Spring.

I haven’t been in Paris in Spring in a while.

It really is the best time to go.

And then to the South of France, in warm weather, all my sundresses are longing to be donned, all my sandals ready to be buckled around my ankles.

Fields of lavender.

The sea-side.

The pool with deck chairs.

Oh goodness.

Such deliciousness awaits, strolls with my friend in the dusk, after dinner when she ends her day of study.

Farmer’s markets, flower markets, and I’m sure I’ll stumble upon some art.

I usually manage.

Second.

It will not be with a man who I am in an unrequited love relationship with.

Nope.

No thank you.

I was deleting some files earlier and stumbled across a section of photos of the two of us in LA last summer and my heart banged around in my chest and I felt some sorrow, a sweep of sadness.

I deleted some of them, but I kept the majority.

I don’t have to wallow in something that never came to fruition, but there was love there and to be reminded of having been loved and having loved another, is a great blessing, even if it was a painful experience.

My.

Oh.

Fucking.

My.

How I did grow.

So.

Yes.

Yes, please, another experience with my dearest Paris.

And my first time going to Provence.

I have been to the South of France, Toulouse, to be exact, but not since 2002 and it was just three days and well, I was tipping back the cocktails a wee bit, so my experience I dare say this time around will be much sweeter, happier, and joyful.

I knew I was going to be going back to France again, I just wasn’t expecting the conversation to pop up today.

How glad I am it did.

It colored everything with delight.

My sweet, sweet life.

Ma vie en rose.

(My life in the pink)

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

 


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