Too Many Days in France

Emese Kassai

I planned every single detail of the trip. Obviously, it still didn’t go the way I wanted.

I couldn’t sleep the night before the flight, I was extremely excited. Probably that was one of the reasons that I had to run as fast as I could, so I was able to catch my flight to Paris. The plane took off, and I, being relieved after my rush, could finally rest. I watched the clouds beside us turning from white and fluffy to the most gorgeous shades of orange, red and purple. I could see lights from the cities below us.

After the landing, I grabbed my bags and caught a bus that would take me to my hotel. I was basically stuck up against the window. Looking at the old, lighted up streets of Paris felt like I was dropped into another century. I got so caught up in the view that I almost missed my stop. My hotel was only a few blocks away from the bus stop, so after fifteen minutes, I was already in my room, checking if I had everything. I had only booked my room for two nights, which doesn’t seem like much, but it would have been just enough for me. Anyway, I ate my last sandwich for a very late dinner, then literally fell in the bed and didn’t get up, until my alarm went off.

The first day was the most exciting. In the morning I went to a little, old-fashioned bakery, where I had to try some traditional croissants and some other pastries, next to my usual morning coffee. After breakfast I went sightseeing. I strolled across old and new streets bathing in the sun, rambled in a park filled with the smell of roses and freshly cut grass, and took at least a hundred pictures just of the Eiffel tower. I felt like all my stress had disappeared. Then I got back to the hotel. They refused to give me food. That only gave me back all of my stress. I missed lunch and there was still one hour until dinner. Have I mentioned that I was starving at that point? Finally, after I begged for something to eat, one of the cooks offered me a cheese plate. I happily accepted.

18:05. That was the time, I had to leave to arrive at the concert on time. I decided to walk instead of taking the bus again. Thankfully, I didn’t get lost, and I got to the concert just in time.

I had the time of my life at the concert. I was screaming, singing and jumping. I took so many photos and videos that my phone storage has filled up. I laughed, and I felt like Paris was the best place ever. I was dog-tired by the time I got back to the hotel, and I still couldn’t sleep. I just kept grinning like some teenager who just got a message from their crush. For an hour. Then I fell asleep. Next day I felt like all the muscles in my body had been torn apart. And that was just the beginning.

I packed my bags and went to catch a bus to the airport. As I was about to check in, the loudspeaker spoke.

“Attention! Attention! We would like to inform our passengers that due to a technical problem all the flights from Paris to Budapest have been canceled for two days. For further information please go to the information counter. “

For a few minutes I didn’t understand. Then it hit me. That was my flight.

After my great discovery I was practically broken. I had no place to sleep and almost no more money to spend. I just wanted to lie down on the ground and cry. Sadly, that wouldn’t have helped, so I pulled myself together and went to find an information counter. A lady stood there with a big, fake smile. Great. According to her badge her name was Marie. With high hopes, I told her my problem and politely asked for advice. She told me that I could go back home on the next flight. Obviously, Marie couldn’t help me find a place to sleep. I wanted to cry again. I took a deep breath, grunted out a “Thank you” and walked away. I kept thinking about a solution. I could have slept at the airport of course, but for two days? They would have probably tossed me out. I didn’t have enough money to book a room for another two nights. I definitely didn’t want to sleep on the street and I didn’t know anyone who lived in Paris. I searched for a motel, or a youth hostel near the airport on my phone, but all of them were above my budget. I felt hopeless, so I started crying. Of course that did not help with my situation or with anything else at all. A few people stared at me. I really wanted to go home. After three minutes I decided to stop crying. After another three minutes I actually did stop crying. I was in Paris. I spoke French. Somehow I had to find a solution. I looked at my phone again. I searched: universities in Paris. I thought that there must be a uni nearby with dorms and maybe some of the college students could help me stay alive for two days. And I was right. I found a uni near the airport. It was time to socialize.

I still do not understand how, but my plan worked. It was late at night and I was sitting in a bed, chatting with a bunch of college students. We all were almost the same age, so we could easily find a common subject. I already told my mom about the plane, and how I solved the problem. She said she was proud of me, and I was pretty satisfied with myself too.

I spent the next day with my new roommates. It was Saturday, so they didn’t have to go to school and they insisted on showing me the city. I accepted my fate and let them take me from one place to another. I was laughing and walking all day long. At night I went to a party with my new friends, and it was almost as awesome as the concert.

They even came with me to the airport. We hugged goodbye, and they made me promise that I would tell them when I got home safe and sound, and that I would visit them someday.

The airplane landed. I was still smiling like a dumb teenager.