For most people, fear of flying comes out of actually flying. Take off, landing, turbulence. For me, however, TSA and the French consulate and border patrol are far more intimidating.
Yesterday I left for Paris from Washington. I knew I was getting close to my gate and the other European flights when I saw the smoking lounge and “vino volo,” the wine bar inside Dulles(unfortunately I was still in America so I couldn’t go). On the plane I tried to watch The Social Network in French, which proved to be ineffective even though I had already seen it.
What has surprised me the most is how nervous I was not only on the flight to Charles de Gaulle, but the flight to Washington as well. As soon as I left my parents and little sister at the gate, I realized I was actually leaving by myself. I’m a free agent in a foreign country, and my unexpected anxiety has greatly prevented me from speaking French.
When I got in the taxi(granted I didn’t sleep last night), the taxi driver asked where I wanted to go and I completely forgot. The hostel is on rue cabanis, which for some dyslexics looks like canabis, naturally I keep saying the wrong thing.
Even now though, sitting in the lobby of the FIAP in the 14e arrondissement, the only French word I’ve heard so far is bonjour, though the number may increase in a minute when the American University in Paris group leaves. I’m hungry, tired, and emotionally exhausted, so I don’t really want to increase my anxiety…unfortunately check-in for the hotel isn’t until 2:30 (not that I know what time it is here, usually I rely on my phone for that).
Hopefully this will improve tomorrow when the rest of my group arrives, so I won’t feel as alone. But for now, I’m going to go get wine.
Update: Now there are people in here speaking Italian…I’m really glad my Italian education went so far.