Oh. Mon. Dieu. by Christy Illius

I’m here. And, unfortunately, against what everyone has said thus far, Paris has not been all berets and baguettes . Let’s start with our dreaded airport trip. I am currently the most hated American at Charles De Gaulle, but I swear it wasn’t my fault. Remember how I wrote about my somewhat shady Paris-shuttle.com plan? Well, gut instincts were correct, and it was a HUGE disaster. They were supposed to meet me at my gate, they weren’t there. I was given two phone numbers to call in case they weren’t there ( which is another disaster in itself because we were not given our French cell phones before we got to the airport. So I have a pretty scary AT&T bill waiting for me when I go home…)

So after several failed attempts at trying to get ahold of the worst shuttle company on the planet, I try my darndest to speak French to a few airport workers. The first gentleman was polite, but not helpful at all. The second woman was not happy, and the third was even less happy, but she still helped. Also, even though I tried as hard as I could to speak French, I eventually had to switch to English because I ran out of vocab words that could be substituted for phrases pertaining to my dilemma. The third lady was kind enough to call the phone numbers in the email I had received from this company. She couldn’t reach anyone, just like myself. Then she dialed another number, and that lady told us that she could not find my reservation and that my name was not in the system. Then the lady at the desk hopped on the phone and started getting ( from what I could tell by the tone of her voice) very VERY heated with the company on my behalf. So, thank you info lady, and I am very sorry to have bothered you. Because at the end, she just hung up the phone, looked at me and said, in perfect English of course, ” This shuttle company is stupid, go use a payphone”.

Finally, I decided to cut my losses and get a taxi. The word “taxi” does not mean taxi by the way, so that was also another challenge. And of course I over-packed, so I was lugging giant suitcases around CDG with me this whole time. Finally I got a taxi, which was actually quite reasonably priced/ rated at the end. My taxi driver was also a saint of an individual, after listening to my “horrible accent” according to him, I wrote down my address, and then he dropped me right off. Which was then me standing in front of St. John’s for 20 mins pressing buttons yet no one would let me in. Then as soon as I got in, I was led to my room and abandoned. Thank God I was with the other girls as soon as I got to St. John’s , because (faculty director) Judith Grant and (Teaching Assistant) Nicki Re were somewhere in the city, and after the day I had, I was NOT leaving the safety of my dorm. Needless to say, Paris thus far has been scary . Kind of a downer, but it will get better. Especially since the RA told us at orientation that there is a wine bar that serves people in baby bottles. Yes , you read that right. Baby bottles. Fascinating.

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