Storytime: A Trip to France

by Chandini Antal

You know how there are people out there who have odd stuff just happen to them, or they meet bizarre people and are always found to be in unusual situations? Well, I’m one of those people– somehow, wherever I go, I always get an incredible story, and my trip to France last year was no different.

It all started in the airport. It was a big airport, and our trip chaperone didn’t want us to get lost, so they made us walk in a line: one chaperone in the front and one at the back to keep the whole group together. We were trying to get to our gate and we had to walk along on the moving walkway. Our group wasn’t in a hurry, so after slowly walking we just stopped to let the floor carry us. I was just standing there, minding my own business, when this girl (probably in her late teens) runs up next to me and stands to the right of me. I thought it was a little strange and I didn’t want to be awkward and make eye contact, so I just looked straight ahead. Then she turned to me (on her left) and stared at me. I thought this was even stranger, but kept looking forward. She turned away, and I tried subtly turning to my right to look at her, but as soon as I did this she whipped her head around to me and exclaimed, “DON’T GO TO MCDONALD’S YOU WILL MISS YOUR FLIGHT.” She continued to mutter under her breath about McDonald’s, and at this point I didn’t know what to say and just nodded along. After the moving walkway ended, she darted off running to get to her gate. My teacher and friend both asked me, “do you know her? Why was she talking to you?” I said I had no clue, I had never met the girl. The thing I really didn’t understand was why she got on the walkway and stopped to talk to me if she was going to miss her flight. She should have kept running, but who knows.

So we got to our gate, and we boarded the plane. The plane ride went so smoothly until late that night/ early morning. It was dark on the plane, and I didn’t have a clock, but I knew it had to be late. I was peacefully sleeping until the man behind me starts banging on my chair screaming “WAKE UP *BANG BANG * TIME TO WAKE UP” It was not morning so I was very confused and didn’t understand why this older man was telling me to wake up. He was so loud and causing such a ruckus my friend next to me woke up very irritated as well; we turned behind and glared at him. Eventually, we went back to sleep and everything was good.

We got off the plane and arrived safely in France, and soon we had to take a cab. This was an adventure. We didn’t have enough chaperones for all the cabs so the oldest kids (including me) went by ourselves. It was a little bit of a struggle to communicate with the cab driver because the only words I knew in French were pharmacy, shut your mouth, napkin, and vacuum cleaner, so I wasn’t of much help. Luckily, I was with two of my friends who both took French, so we were fine. I was sitting in the back-middle row of the cab, and in the middle of the ride the man yells at me “YOU, MIDDLE, ARE YOU SAUDI ARABIAN?”  I said I wasn’t and he proceeded to tell us his life story. He dropped us off at our location.

We walked up to the train platform where we were going next, and someone bopped another one of my friends on the nose saying “BOOP” and then walked away. For the next few days, my group and I had a blast; another memorable moment was when we pronounced our French, so terribly a native speaker just glared at us and rolled her eyes. Hey, we were trying.

On one of the last days of the trip we went Truffle Hunting. There we met a very sassy truffle expert. For some reason, the group was talking about the trend of water bottle flipping, and the truffle man overheard. He looked at us very confused, and my friends tried to demonstrate but he really did not understand what we were talking about. He asked in a very sassy manner, “what is the purpose of this, why is this a thing?” We tried to explain, but after a while he was tired of us talking and said “I’m NOT LISTENING.” We all thought this guy was hilarious, so we kept asking him questions. He got so fed up with us that he eventually said, “Curiosity is a sin,” and we all laughed.

It was a good day and a great adventure. There were so many more memories from this trip, but the article would be too long to write the rest. It was one of the best weeks of my life, and I would absolutely do it again. If you ever get the chance to go to Bordeaux and Aix-En-Provence, you should go, it’s an incredible experience, and I would recommend to all.