Day 1 May 31 Arriving to Paris on June 1 (Jour 1 Mai 31 Arrivee a Paris le 1 Juin) My departure day was quite a learning experience, and anything that could go wrong, went wrong. Before I get started, let me back it up a bit. Notes to fellow students who plan to travel abroad in the future:
- Break out of your procrastination stage
- Get everything you need ready at least a month or 3 weeks ahead
- Banking (Money)
- Medical and etc.
- If you check-in luggage and also carry-on luggage make sure you pack essential things you may need in your carry-on just in case your checked luggage is delayed, lost or stolen.
- Dress with comfortable shoes, you never know, these same shoes could end up being the only shoes you have until your checked luggage arrives.
- Chill out and have fun!
I am a big procrastinator and because of that, of course everything didn’t quite go my way. My professor recommended that we make accounts with Bank of America because they have ATM machines in Paris, which is great if you don’t want to be charged extra by your bank that may not have a branch in Europe.
However, because I didn’t get this done before the week I departed, I came across some issues I did not have time to solve before leaving. I also had to pay extra to get my card in before I left and that was stressful because I didn’t get it until Friday night! Two days before my departure!
Saturday night I had a “Going Away Party” and some of my friends gave me some money and other great gifts, like things I may need in my abroad experience and their presents were awesome! We had a great time at the AMF University Lanes.
On Sunday going to the airport was stress free and everything seemed to be going well. When I went to check-in my luggage I realized I had extra room to add stuff so I took things out of my carry on and put them in my checked bag. I would realize later that I had put things in my luggage that would have play a greater purpose in my carry-on. Anyway, I went through check-in and security with no problem I got to my gate early about an hour and 30 min but it was fine I wasn’t stressing. I also met up with another classmate, I must say I am so thankful she was there with me because who knew we were going to walk into a new experience like no other and help each other in this journey.
Our flight supposed to depart from Tampa at 2:45pm to Atlanta and our flight to Paris departed at 5:45pm and would arrive around 8am Central Europe Summer Time (CEST). There was bad weather in Atlanta and we ended up being delayed. The plane departed but didn’t start flying. We stopped for a while then returned to the gate. They asked us to get off the plane until they got the ok to fly out. We didn’t leave until after 4pm EST and by the time we reached the Atlanta airport it was already after 5:45pm.
Yes, we missed our flight. So went to the help desk to see if we could catch the next flight. The line was not moving at all so we talked to someone on the phone. The first person we spoke to said the next flight leaving at 8:45pm EST was full and we would have to stay the night in Atlanta either at the airport or in a hotel. We weren’t happy about that. I was getting stressed out and mad but my fellow classmate really worked some magic. We were able to talk to another lady and she put us on standby for 8:45pm EST Air France flight and had book a flight for 3pm EST the next day.
We had great faith that we would make it on the earlier flight. So yes we got our flight to Paris and we were full of joy! But our checked luggage would not be on the same flight and would arrive the next day. But if we hadn’t packed the things we needed in our carry- on or personal bag we would have been out of luck. Lucky me, I had packed at least another pair of jeans and a few shirts and sleeping wear, however, I only had the boots I came in with and I felt the pain of not having an extra pair of comfortable shoes on me or in my carry-on. I also put things in my check-in that I originally had in my carry-on when I saw that I could still pack more in my check-in without going over the weight limit. I also realized when I got to my room I didn’t have stuff like my outlet adapter or necessary toiletries.
Even though so much has happened. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. If my fellow classmate and I didn’t have the same flight, doing this on our own would have been ten times more stressful. We had each other’s back. When we reached Paris we met with the customer service baggage claim people and gave them the address to our location where they will be delivering our checked bags and they also gave us a complimentary toiletry package.
While walking from place to place and on the train we realized if we had our check-in bags it would have been a lot harder to walk around. So I think it worked out great. Also if we didn’t get on the 8:45 pm flight we would have been sitting next to strangers, instead we ended up sitting right next to each other. I felt this experience helped me and my fellow classmate built a friendship we can share during our time in Paris and maybe even when we get back to America.
By the time we reach Cite universiaire de Paris at around 2:30pm CEST we were able to join the rest of the class to the market place and then we received our room keys and start unpacking and settling in to our rooms. That night we went to “Marco Polo” Italian restaurant.
After all of that I finally went to sleep but my sleeping habits still haven’t adjusted yet so I woke up around 2:30am CEST June 2, 2015 this ended up being a long day.
I I’ll keep you updated for my next adventure.
Thanks, Lakeema Matthew