I finished packing up my bags the morning of the day that I was supposed to leave for Paris. Feeling confident that I had done a descent job pacing, or at least keeping my suitcases under the weight limit (a huge feat for me), I packed the bags into the car and headed to the airport with my family.
While many of the people who would be studying abroad in Paris this semester took the group flight from NYC, I had opted to book my own flight. I would be flying by myself on a non-stop, overnight flight from Atlanta, GA to Paris, France. “Perfect,” I had thought to myself, “I will be able to go to sleep on the plane at night and when I wake up in the morning I will be in Paris and it will hardly be jet-lagged.” There was also something about flying by myself to a place that I had never before visited that made me feel somewhat noble. I have always considered myself to be an independent person and to me this trip was just another opportunity to prove that I could do anything on my own.
I really don’t think that I could have been any more wrong. After a tearful goodbye with my mom and dad, I went to my gate and as I sat there, full of nervous excitement and with a million thoughts buzzing around in my head, I realized that I had absolutely no one to share this with. “You’re going to be fine,” I thought to myself, “just get on the plane and you’re going to go to sleep.” Wrong again. Not only did I not go right to sleep, I didn’t go to sleep at all.
After the nearly nine-hour flight and many, many in-flight movies, I landed in the Charles de Gaulle airport exhausted, but so excited that I was finally in Paris. Now all I would have to do is gather my luggage and get a cab to take me to the FIAP, where NYU was housing us for the next few days, until we moved into our apartments. This was also not as easy as I had anticipated, and as I sat in the taxi, not recognizing anything, I thought to myself, “oh my god, what have I done?”
At the FIAP, I still felt very much on edge, and as hard as it is for me to actually admit this, there was even a part of me that wanted nothing more than to get on the next plane back to the States. Over the next few days, I met more and more people and I began to start feeling at ease in my new “home.” Now, nearly two weeks later, I am having the most incredible time and those thoughts upon arrival are nothing more than a blip on my radar; however I have gained a new found respect for people who travel alone.