I began my travel journal while sitting in Newark Airport waiting for my 12:30 AM flight to board. I was feeling restless, anxious, but most of all apprehensive. I had this feeling something was going to go wrong. Really wrong. A feeling I couldn't shake. Now that I am safely home, I can say nothing went really wrong. Many things went right. Most of all, I returned with an improved change in my thinking and about how I feel about myself.
Planning for the trip was not smooth. The Thursday early morning flight I was scheduled to be on was cancelled and I was to leave a day earlier. Which meant changing my AirBNB reservation. Unlike with a big hotel, if the AirBNB is booked that night, there is nothing I can do. Fortunately she had an opening.
Two days before I was set to leave I realized the room was much too far from the start of the race (the RER line splits in two, and I was on the opposite side of Disneyland Paris, which meant having to go into Paris to change trains and then go out again). Perhaps it is "only" a 30 minute Uber ride away, but not something I wanted to risk at 6 AM on a Sunday. The hostess would not give me a refund for the day. The same hostess who gladly accepted an extra day when I needed that. I wrote her a note in English. She replied, could I type the note since it would be easier for her to read. I did so when I cam home and have not heard back from her. It didn't help her one-way street was a drag race for motorcycles at all hours of the night and that she left the key with someone for me to figure out once I arrived. We never met in person and I don't ever care to meet her.
The information about how to pick up the race bib arrived after I arrived in Paris, and did not have access to a printer.
Day of I learned I could only bring 10kg in my carry on (22.2 pounds). Not a lot for a 10 day trip that includes a race. I got it down to 8.6kg because they did not weigh my purse or my 1kg camera.
I was also nervous about seeing host families. I saw many of them last year and was treated like visiting royalty. Wasn't sure how the longer trip would go. In the end it was okay. Nothing bad happened, but I left feeling as if I was a burden and not feeling loved. Made me appreciate my family more. Made me look forward to seeing them again.
I was (and still am) missing Carin. I miss the back and forth daily part of our friendship the most. Hard to find a friend who has time to invest in a new friendship. I'm starting to accept it might not happen.
When I left for the trip my temp boss (Liza) left me a very sweet note wishing me a good trip and telling me she was looking forward to seeing me when I returned. I needed to feel that love at that point.
At the airport I posted a FaceBook gripe about the trip. The response was overwhelmingly filled with love and encouragement. It was the type of complaint I would have only made to Carin, but without her needed to get it out of me and into the world. I felt better knowing there were people out there who do care about me. Easy to forget in daily life.
Happily nothing horrible happened on the trip. I miraculously made all of my connections (even the 10 minute one from the old train station in Lille to the new train station in Lille). Helped they held the train for those of us making the mad dash to the TGV. I survived the trip on WiFi. When I did have it, Don seemed to drop what he was doing to chat with me. That made me feel loved.
Future posts will be about the six walking tours I took, a visit to the American Church of Paris, a museum exhibit, trip to Belgium, and day trip to Aachen, Germany. Other than this weekend's planned race and trip to Boston, I'm staying grounded for a while. One more week of temping, then I don't know what the future holds, but I am also not worried. It will work out.