16 November 2015

Crossing over

Today will be the 81st time in my life that I've flown across the Atlantic Ocean. In other words, 40 round trips + one one-way crossing. My first transatlantic flights date back to 1970 — 45 years ago.

I don't know why I fell in love with France back then, but I did. I loved the language and had a knack for it. I had already studied French for six years before I went over there at the age of 20. I turned 21 in France that year.

I've lived in Aix-en-Provence for six months, Grenoble for six weeks, Rouen in Normandy for a year, Paris for five years, and now Saint-Aignan for 12 years. In between those years in France, I lived in Illinois, Washington DC, and San Francisco. That said, the two poles of my existence, the ones that tug at my heart, are France and my birthplace, coastal North Carolina.

Today I leave the N.C. coast one more time to return to my second home. Leaving home to go home — that's the story of my life.

I'll be back in touch when I get to Saint-Aignan. Tomorrow morning I'll be waiting in lines at the airport north of Paris, waiting to have my passport stamped one more time, collecting my heavy suitcase, and running to get on a train back to the the Loire Valley. There, I'll be able to relax again, enjoy being back at home with Walt, and go for daily walks in the vineyard with Callie. North Carolina will be a kind of dream.

I hope my arrival in Paris this time will be better than my arrival in 2014. International travel is always an adventure. Oh, the photo on the left shows the Tour Saint-Jacques in central Paris.

I climbed to the top of the Tour Saint-Jacques on a little spiral stairway a couple of years ago to enjoy the views from up there.


15 comments:

  1. Have a safe trip, young man. Keep my fingers crossed that everything falls into place. Regards to your MA.

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    1. Everything did fall into place. The 90 minute layover in Atlanta was just the right amount of time. The Air France flight took off on time and landed early in Paris. Passport control lines were short. My bag was one of the first 10 to come off the plane and down the conveyor belt. At customs, no questions were asked.

      The only hitch was the TGV, or the TLV as one passenger called it: le Train à Grande Lenteur. A bomb scare at Marne-la-Vallée wrought havoc with schedules and I was 30 minutes late getting to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps.

      The weather here is gray and drizzly/misty. Typical November stuff. Morehead's weather was much sunnier and warmer.

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  2. Good luck with Everything. Stay safe.

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  3. Have a safe trip home Ken. Hopefully less passengers by the time you land and disembark - most fully loaded flights must have already come in ( time for connecting flights) for you to take the TGV to Tours.

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    1. All systems normal at CDG, except the TGV. Minor delay. No biggie, as they say.

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  4. I wish I had your gift for languages. I shoulda started a lot earlier in my life. Have a safe and trouble-free ride home.

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  5. Hope you have a safe and uneventful journey back to France. I couldn't help but think about about your time in Paris before coming to NC. What a difference a day can make.

    I wish I had a knack for the French language. I dropped French class after a week when I was in high school. I figured if I was ever going to get out of high school French had to go. I wish I had stuck with it, but I'm afraid it would have brought my grade level way down. Surprisingly, the French teacher told the principal that I could not drop his class because I was one of the best student he had. I guess that was the dumb and dumber class! I do remember the scandal of students cheating on their French exams though. Maybe I will try again…it's never too late!

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    1. The trip really was uneventful — very smooth and pleasant — until I got on the train that takes me from the airport back to the Loire Valley. There was a bomb scare at one train station that threw the system into chaos, causing my arrival to be 30 minutes late. No big deal. Glad to be back...

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    2. Glad you're back home safe. Was getting a little worried.

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    3. Glad you are safely home!

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    4. Good to read that you are back home

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  6. fly safely yopu have flown so many times amazing

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