I know this post deviates from the normal routine of my blog, but I have to get this experience down in writing. Over Thanksgiving Break, I was lucky enough to travel to Toulouse, France to visit my boyfriend who is there studying abroad. I planned this trip way back in the beginning of the semester and checked all of my syllabi to make sure I wasn’t missing any big assignments or class meetings. Everything looked peachy, I had saved up enough money over the summer and I booked my ticket. The anticipation of waiting to go built week by week and I almost couldn’t stand my excitement. My week in Toulouse was absolutely incredible. Sam and I spent our days and nights walking around Toulouse, eating delicious food (5 euro falafels, yes please), strolling the Christmas market where we enjoyed delicious Churros (I ate more than he did, embarrassing) and taking full advantage of happy hours (when in France, do as the French do). I didn’t want to leave.
The last night I was there, Sam and I were packing up my stuff to leave. We had Parks and Rec on (of course) to keep us laughing instead of thinking about the impending goodbye. We had plans to go out to a nice steak dinner and hit the town as a last hoorah. That is, until we realized my passport was nowhere to be found. I completely panicked. We tore up his host family’s house, looked under rugs, shelves, piles of clothes, if you can imagine it we definitely looked under it, twice. Sam quickly got on the phone with every airline and airport I flew threw (all in French I might add). No one had my passport. We called the local US Consulate in Toulouse and they were, of course, closed. Their phone number just redirected us to the American Embassy in Paris. After about three hours of crisis mode and endless phone calls, we accepted the fact that we were going to have to go to Paris the next day to get an emergency passport. I cancelled my flight reservations for my trip home (with only 11 hours to spare) and we booked tickets for a morning trip to Paris. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Although, three hours of stress and total panic amounted to a whole lot of both. So, instead of stressing more about the current situation we ordered a pizza and watched Say Anything (one of my all time favs) and called it a night.
The next morning we woke up bright and early, caffeinated and said goodbye to his host family. His host mother told us a story that one time, she was saying goodbye to a boyfriend at the airport, and missed her flight. “Most expensive kiss of my life,” she said and laughed. This eased the pain of my situation a little better, accepting that these kinds of things happen. We made it to the train station on time and enjoyed the 6 hour ride of beautiful French countryside. Upon arriving in Paris, we made it as quickly as possible to a Starbucks to find some wifi. Both Sam and I contacted our parents to pass on the message that we were a-okay. I emailed my teachers so they knew why I wouldn’t be in class on Monday and we still had to find a place to stay. In the midst of all this, a boy (maybe 15 or 16) came into the Starbucks and approached me with a piece of paper. He waved the paper down towards the table I was sitting at and just stared at me. I, speaking little French, didn’t know what to say to him and had no idea why he wasn’t saying anything to me either. The paper appeared to be a scam of somesort, getting me to sign up for something. It wasn’t until we had this awkward stare down for about thirty seconds when I realized underneath the paper he had snatched my phone into his hand. I pulled it out of his hand and he quickly ran out. Sam and I were both so stunned. I was already down a passport, I really didn’t need to have my phone stolen too. Luckily, he was the worst thief ever and didn’t make it off with my phone. Sam secured us a place to stay and we decided to get the heck out of that Starbucks. We were then off to, finally, enjoy Paris. We walked past Notre Dame and made our way to a restaurant filled street. We enjoyed a cozy three course meal complete with nice waiters and a Frank Sinatra cd on repeat.
The next morning it was off to the embassy. We made it there before 8 am, but yet were still not the first people there. I only had a copy of my birth certificate on my phone (which my mom had graciously emailed me), but security took our phones as soon as we entered the building. I filled out my application and took my line number. Turns out the American Embassy is a lot like a DMV. A lot of sitting and waiting and anxious people. My number was called after an hour of waiting spent watching the TV loop on repeat (scenic videos advertising trips to Alaska!) As I approached the window, I was so nervous. So many questions raced through my head (Do i have the right documents on me? Will I get this in time to fly back tomorrow?) Thankfully, the whole process only took about two hours. We had the exact number of euros on us to purchase it and not a cent more, phew. Walking out, with a passport in hand, was such a relief.
We spent the rest of the day walking all over Paris (I still have the blisters to prove it.) We walked the Champs-Elysees, saw the Eiffel Tower and put a lock on the lover’s bridge. We made the most out of our unexpected trip, and then some. Paris is just as magical as I’ve always imagined it and I hope to definitely return. I feel like I have a written a novel and could most definitely go on but for now I’ll say Au Revoir. I have to also say so many thanks to Sam, could never had made it through this experience without him (and laughed as much through it.)