A stop in Paris…

I’m up and at it again, back for two in a row! In contrast to my last trip to Haiti, now I’m headed to Jordan with a brief stop over in Paris. Enough time to grab breakfast with an old friend (a croissant perhaps) and then back to the airport to continue my journey. To start off the trip, I hopped on the A train to get to JFK. Conveniently the train did not indicate if it was headed to Lefferts or Far Rockaway (at some point the line splits into two). I hopped on anyway and at some point noticed that there were others who needed to go to the airport as well. Sometimes you can just tell if someone is from the area or not. These folks were definitely not. When I realized that the train wasn’t going to the airport, I walked over to a man sitting alone, who was also sitting across from two older folks (all looking like foreigners) and told him that the train wasn’t going to the airport. After he opened his mouth to clarify what I had said, I immediately recognized that he was Italian and then proceeded to speak with him. He was not with the two older individuals so I tried to tell them as well. Nino is from Torino and was visiting New York to study dance. He’s a hip-hop dancer. We spoke for the rest of the way to the airport, got on the air tram together and parted ways when I had to get off to get to my terminal. It was a lovely encounter.
I worked and spoke with my mom for the time I had at the terminal and boarded last. I never understood the rush to get on the plane. You have to stay there for such a long time, why not enjoy being out and about while you can? There’s something beautiful about traveling that brings out friendliness and kindness between individuals. The moment I sat down, the couple next to me began chatting with me. They were from Alabama and heading towards Florence to stay for a few weeks. Watching them interact made me smile. The man spoke about how he was stationed in the Navy in Sicily for a while. He didn’t like the food; he got tired of seafood and said the steak wasn’t really a steak (in Greece they do a nice steak according to him). They were so lovely. They began chatting, I read, and as soon as we finished our takeoff they took out some trail mix, cashews, and dark chocolate. With each new snack, they made sure to offer me, twice. They promised that I wouldn’t go hungry.
Planes are great for watching movies as well. I had always wanted to see Nebraska and I did, after which I napped and woke up in time for breakfast and landing. The cool thing about this trip is that I get to spend 6 hours (more or less) in Paris each way. My friend Kader, who I know from capoeira, who also visited me while I was living in India, happens to have days off on Fridays. He picked me up with a smile and we went to his favorite areas of the outskirts of Paris. We first started at a mall for some croissants and coffee. Then we went to a huge park and wandered around in the wilderness. It was so beautiful and amazing and relaxing. It’s funny how without even knowing people can choose the best activities. The park has 10 lakes, paths to walk through the different islands, different activities including your own weight lifting machines and areas to do cookouts, water activities, fishing, and places to sit and ponder life. No cars are allowed except the ones that transport food or whatnot to the different parts around. We spent almost 2 hours wandering around, catching up about our mutual friends in Pune, talking about capoeira of course, and just about life. I love that I can do this in all parts of the world and know how lucky I am to have this kind of a network.
Now, I’m back at the airport. I met my coworker and Mousef, who gave a smile as I sat trying to charge my dead phone. He sat down near me and asked if I knew how to use his converter. It was for a US plug so it doesn’t work here. Another woman approached me asking if she could use my charger, I feel bad but my phone needed a good charge. Mousef also taught me some words in Arabic so that I’m not completely lost when I get there. This might be the most unprepared, linguistically, that I’ve ever been for a new adventure in a new country. But I’m very excited.

    • Nancy
    • September 5th, 2014

    I can only imagine Nino’s surprise and happiness when you began to chat with him in Italian and rescued him from a trip to nowhere. Your ability to make and keep friendships is a blessing!

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