After checking in, breezing through security, and eating Tami’s homemade bread, I boarded the plane and headed down to Dallas, where I wandered for five hours waiting for my flight. It turns out that when I’m bored in an airport, I buy lots of things, including lunch, a pillow, chocolate, and a copy of InStyle magazine (my go-to in-flight read). If I had been there much longer I probably would have ended up buying Cowboys memorabilia. Luckily I had facebook and MLIA to keep me entertained until it was time to board.
My transatlantic flight ended up being surprisingly comfortable. There were very few people on the plane, so we all got to choose our own aisle and spread out. With my three pillows, two blankets, and fantastically appropriate reading material (My Life in France by Julia Child), I was one happy camper and was even able to sleep for around four hours. I also got special attention from a nice LDS flight attendant, who was very excited that I was a BYU student. Arriving in Paris was a little anticlimactic, given that fog covered the city and I couldn’t see the ground until we were ten feet from it, but I was in France! I was supposed to meet up with Haley in the airport, but we had underestimated its size and never did find each other. After wandering around for an hour and a half and developing a deep loathing for my luggage, I realized that I didn’t have the address to my hotel. More wandering ensued as I searched for wifi. I searched, and I searched, until…McDo to the rescue!
After looking up the address using McDonald’s Internet, I managed to find a taxi to take me to the hotel. Feeling thoroughly exhausted at that point, I handed the cabdriver the address and said, “Je veux aller à cette hôtel,” and then kicked myself mentally for pronouncing the “h.” It was only later that I realized that I said “Je veux” instead of “Je voudrais.” Oh well, c’est la vie. The driver was completely confused by my writing, since my accented “e’s” apparently look like “i’s” (my French teacher last semester had the same problem), but he eventually got me to the hotel. Along the way, I was pretty sure I was going to die, since French cabdrivers like to drive in their own imaginary lanes, cut other drivers off, and generally ignore all traffic laws. In spite of my terror, I did notice that most people in Paris drive little hatchback cars, and I even saw several Lolas (yes, I named my car).
I arrived at the hotel to find my program director, several group members (including Haley, which was a relief), and pain au chocolate waiting for me. Once everyone had arrived we hurried down to the metro to head out to Hôtel de Ville. To be honest, I made absolutely no effort to understand the metro system that day – I just followed everybody else. We had a little time to look around and then took a boat tour down the Seine. It was a beautiful evening, even if it was freezing.