I am currently sitting in Charles de Gaulle airport, eating a raspberry tart (my official last meal in Paris), and drinking an espresso.
It’s hard to sort out how I am feeling about leaving Europe—I am sad to go but excited to return home, where I don’t have to worry about language barriers or pay for bathrooms. I also have missed my family a lot and cannot wait to see them at JFK Airport later today. I think I made the most out of my one month—I visited three major cities, saw all of the major sites in each, tried escargot, had tea at Harrods, drank wine in front of the Trevi fountain, saw the pope give his weekly blessing, and saw the Tour de France, just to name a few things. I also learned more about cultural differences and about myself than I could put into words.
To put it in perspective, when I arrived in Paris a month ago I only knew that Charles de Gaulle was a 20th century figure in Paris, I had never eaten a tart, and had never had espresso.
I think the worst part about leaving Europe is not knowing when I’ll be back.
I miss the Haussman-era buildings, with their iron railings and uniform look, the sparkling Seine, and the resolute tour Eiffel already. After our dinner cruise last night I looked around by the Ile de la Cite and tried to memorize exactly how it looked and felt, so that I can keep that feeling locked in my head until I return to the city of lights someday.
Also, a humorous travel anecdote:
Since flying by myself for the first time last summer, I have always worried about going through security. It’s an irrational fear because I always diligently put my liquids in the correct plastic bag, measure my bag, and scan my items for anything that may be an issue.
This morning was the first time I set off the metal detector and had to be patted down. I don’t know what set it off because I am wearing the same outfit I wore coming here. On top of that, my carry-on bag had to be opened and looked through. It’s my bag of souvenirs and I had made sure I wasn’t bringing any liquids or contraband items home. It turns out that the Buzz Lightyear toy that I bought for my little cousin caused the additional search. The highlight of my morning was definitely the security officer pressing the button of the toy (while it buzzed and lit up) while asking me what it was. I didn’t know how to say, “It’s a toy” or “It’s from Disney” in French, but he deemed it acceptable and let me on my way.