“Make sure you fill up your water bottle, ” she told me.
It was my mom’s 55th birthday. She had flown into Atlanta from Phoenix on a red-eye flight and my husband drove me up to Hartsfield- Jackson airport to meet her. He got my luggage out of the trunk for me, and pulled up my suitcase handle to make sure I was ready to roll before he hugged and kissed me good-bye. I watched him drive away and I thought about how much I missed him and the kids already. I had never been so far away from home before. My mom was waiting for me at the gate so I went ahead and walked to the counter to get my boarding pass printed out.
The man behind the counter looked at my boarding pass and then looked at me with his head tilted sideways and said, “You are going to Paris alone?”
I stood there confused why he even cared where I was going or who I was going with. Then I told him I was meeting up with my mom and we were traveling together. I finally made it through security and found her sitting next to the window at our departure gate. We hugged and talked for hours until it was time to board the plane.
My first international flight! It wasn’t too bad… I was able to watch three full movies. We had a layover in Charlotte, NC and then flew into Charles de Gualle airport in Paris, France.
From the airport we took a taxi to our french apartment. It reminded me of a taxi ride in New York City. The driver was switching lanes without using a blinker, swerving left and right, and cars were honking. The buildings were old and the sidewalks were narrow. I was getting nauseous and we finally turned off a busy street onto rue Aubriot where our driver pulled over.
We were greeted by our Airbnb host, Pierre. The calm and quiet street was nestled in the heart of Le Marais. It was a hidden gem with the surrounding streets containing shops, markets, and cafes. Pierre grabbed our luggage and escorted us inside. We went through a massive door which led us to a cobblestone courtyard with ivy climbing the walls. He insisted on carrying our bags up the spiraling wooden staircase. The building was over 100 years old. We entered our apartment through another massive door. The apartment had hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves, and windows that reached the ceiling. There was a kitchenette, a closet, a beautifully renovated bathroom with a walk-in shower, and a separate room for the toilette. It had everything we needed and it was our home for the next nine days.
We made it to Paris! We had flown over the Atlantic ocean, passed through multiple time zones, and were now over 4,000 miles away from home.
“You need to drink some more water,” my mom told me.
No matter how old I get she wants to make sure I stay hydrated. She’s always worried about things like that. Of course I listen to her, and I immediately think of my own children who were staying with their grandparents for the next nine days. I missed them terribly, but I knew they were being very well taken care of.
My mom and I were now relaxing in a real french home. It was Saturday morning and we knew we had a busy week ahead of us. We were thrilled to be able to spend our mornings together writing in Paris street cafe’s and our afternoons exploring the city.