Translation: goodbye (Urdu) and hello (French)
Traveling is weird because it completely destroys your sense of time, especially when you’re traveling across time zones.
Granted, I shouldn’t have had much of a time zone change to worry about when going from Qatar to France, as there was only a two hour difference between the two countries, but it felt like so much more.
I left from my hotel in Qatar at about 11PM at night, after saying goodbye to all of my Indian and Pakistani friends who’d been a part of the conference. This time, I really do question whether I’ll be able to see them again — there will be one more conference this summer in the same series, and I suppose there’s a chance that Notre Dame could give me funding again, but I doubt it. Perhaps I’ll get to see them if I ever make it to India or Pakistan, but I don’t know when that will be.
The moment I got into the cab for the airport, I was out like a light. I guess five days straight of staying up until 1 or 2AM in the morning and getting up at 6AM for class really takes a toll on you — especially if those five days of sleep deprivation follow about four months of less extreme but more prolonged sleep deprivation during the regular school year.
I wish I had been awake to see the city pass as I left, but I was just too exhausted. In fact, I was so tired that I completely forgot to check in for my flight online before I got to the airport. It’s not that that’s such a big deal, since I was able to just get in line to check in when I got there, but I feel a lot more comfortable when I travel internationally if I can cut the amount of time waiting in line by as much as possible. I get nervous about missing flights, especially when I’m in a foreign country and an unfamiliar airport. I’ve yet to miss a flight when I’m on my own, and I want to keep it that way.
In the end though, I managed to navigate my way to the gate and get there on time. From there, it was a six hour flight to Istanbul — the majority of those six hours which I spent passed out in my chair.
My travel debacle began when I landed in Istanbul. I had only an hour to make it from one gate to another, and apparently, that was not nearly enough. The security lines were terrible, and it seemed like there was hardly anyone working. I was lucky; I found a group of French people behind me in line who were headed to Paris as well, and so I followed them as they pushed their way past people in line. We probably didn’t make any friends, but we made it to our gate on time (just as they are doing last call!) and so I guess making some Turkish people mad was worth it.
The travel debacle continued, however. After a fairly simple (which is not to say stress-free) transfer in Paris to Clermont-Ferrand, I was on my way to my final destination at about noon. I arrived in Clermont-Ferrand, a very small airport, where I was to meet with my host family who’d transport me back to their home in Vichy.
That part went smoothly — my host mother was standing there with a sign with my name, and she was very friendly. What didn’t go smoothly was the acquisition of my bags, because apparently, they never made it from the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
And so, instead of a second, clean outfit after I arrived in Vichy, I had to keep the same one on that I had worn all day on my last day in Qatar. And then I had to sleep in it. And then I had to wear it the next day.
How will the story end? Will I get my bags? How will I survive in France with my limited French, and my semi-competent social skills? Tune in next time for the thrilling continuation of my French adventures.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my travels. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Top: The LOFT (thrifted, Goodwill)
Pants: The closet of a friend of mine