I Forgot My Passport

I Forgot My Passport

Yep, I did.

It was a hell of a way to start this trip. I had so methodically set aside one special box to keep my passport, my computer codes, copies of my drivers license – all the items that were most important to my trip. It’s the one thing I forgot to pack.

There was no option other than to turn around and go back home for it. In 5:00 Atlanta traffic, that was a 45-minute ordeal – each way. Add all that up, and it left me no time to get back to the airport, through security . . . nor did it allow time to check baggage. That meant I had to leave my computer behind. I’d had a hell of a time with my eyes in New York, working all month on a tiny screen so I thought it would be smart to box up my iMac, my big desktop. That idea didn’t work out so well, so off to Paris I went with no computer.

Our flight was miserable, to say the least. Nice professional staff on the plane, but the seats! As soon as we all buckled in, you could hear people all around me complaining about how small the seats were. At 5’9″, I was especially compacted – couldn’t even cross my legs. About 3 hours into the flight, I got my first taste of claustrophobia. Not good, Air France.

Going through customs was a breeze, negotiated the Metro with little trouble and found the apartment after a short walk. La Marais, my little ‘hood in the 4th arrondissement, is ideal. It so reminds me of the West Village in New York . . . well, maybe a few centuries older. Streets packed with young people, old gorgeous façades on buildings, beautiful flower markets, lots of little fashionable boutiques. It’s great.

{ one thing I’ve NOT missed in the US is the smoking, especially in the restaurants. I’d forgotten what it was like ‘back when’}

So, the apartment. Up seven stories in an elevator that was almost as small as that airline seat. Oh, it was a lovely filigreed, round contraption that slowly rose to the top of our building. If I eat one too many chocolate croissants, which I’m sure I will, my fat rear end won’t fit in that elevator. I’ll be hauling up 8 flights of stairs.

As the landlady opened the door, all I could see was wall. Yep. If you stand in the center of the apartment and hold out your arms, you can almost touch each of the four walls. You laugh.

But the view is worth every 1/2-inch of this place. Outside my window I can see, no lie, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Montmartre, plus the one skyscraper in all of Paris.

Had a wonderful lamb dinner at le Temps des Cerises, a quaint little cafe around the block. After stumbling through a translation of the menu, our waitress surprised us with a cherry apéritif. Tasted a bit like cherry cough syrup, but what a delightful gesture–a nice little end to a tough day. I hardly remember crawling into bed.

At 5:41am the alarm went off in my head. Wide awake. But with my sister and my friend, Annie, still asleep, I could do nothing but watch the red LED numbers on the microwave’s clock. 5:42, 5:44…you know that awful feeling when you’re stuck and can’t move, nor flush the toilet. But then I remembered that the Eiffel Tower lights up on the hour, shimmering with light. I waited until 5:58am and quietly maneuvered myself over to the window to await the spectacle.

Instead I saw the most amazing sight. A huge, huge cloud slowly moved west, revealing the fullest harvest moon I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I realized at this moment that I was finally in Paris and I was here for a whole 30 days. Big ol’ alligator tears streamed down my face. I’m not sure if it was because I was feeling so grateful or because I was so damn tired. Either way it was an incredible sight.

The Eiffel Tower didn’t light up this morning, I never got any more sleep, I still have to deal with the computer issue, but I’m in Paris. I’m here for a whole month and I plan to make the most of every single minute I’m here.

I’ve got so many things to share with you – just from today. But right now, I’ve got to  jump in the shower and meet a friend for dinner.

20 Comments

  • amanda
    08/31/2012

    So glad you made it. I look forward to hearing about how you managed all of this with your super woman skills. XOXO and food is always worth the stairs.

  • Max
    08/31/2012

    Was it the blue moon? – 2 fulls in one month. Would have been a beauty! xo

  • Jane K.
    08/31/2012

    A picture is worth a thousand words. And you painted a terrific one for us of the harvest moon out your window. Hopefully the trauma of your travels will melt away into l’ambiance francaise — and a chocolate croissant!

  • Kristen Leigh
    08/31/2012

    No! That’s the nightmare . . . no passport! Now, I’m just going to carry my passport with me at all times before I leave for London in November!! 🙂 Have a wonderful time. I’m so excited about what you’re doing. And always remember:

    Eat the food. Take the stairs.

  • Gwen Motley
    08/31/2012

    Hey Lisa…so glad you made it safe and sound. Can we see pictures? I want to see everything…….lol

  • Candy Maley
    08/31/2012

    I’m tearing up just reading about your month in Paris!

  • christinajones90
    08/31/2012

    like mother like daughter! remember the time emma forgot her passport?? 🙂 glad to hear you made it safely!! can’t wait to hear more!!!

  • EJ
    08/31/2012

    What!??!?! I never knew there was such a thing as Chocolate Croissants….are you just messing with me?!?! Oh, yeah, and I’m sorry about the computer and documents, but…chocolate croissants?!?!?!

  • victoria
    08/31/2012

    Oh what a beautiful description! I’m so incredibly jealous not to be joining you, but I can’t wait to follow along through your blog! Have an amazing time, and capture every moment of wonder as you explore!

  • The forgotten passport is a right of passage.
    I made it to the flight check-in (flew to NY from LA before heading to Paris) and only when they asked for my passport did I realize I’d left it at home.
    Had a friend go to my house, enter an unlocked back door and Fed-Ex it to me at the airport so we could make the next day’s flight.
    Cost me a first class seat that was available on the first day (and why we went a day early…). Coach on any airline isn’t much fun after a couple hours!

    Both my kids have also shown up passportless at a departure city!
    Husband had his stolen (and had to get a same day replacement) but I think he’s still due a forgotten one…

    PS EJ you can get chocolate croissants at Starbucks but be aware, they are addictive.

  • Joanna
    08/31/2012

    What a mess getting there. But 29 more days of heaven.

  • jessicaandaaron
    08/31/2012

    I want to hear this passport story! This blog makes me miss my twelve days in Europe. Guess I need to find a reason to back 🙂

  • Ciaran M Brennan
    09/05/2012

    Lisa, Keep up the wonderful account of your trip and remember we are all “Walking with you”!

  • Michelle Short
    09/09/2012

    I’M tearing up just thinking that someone didn’t know there was such a thing as chocolate croissants…Forgetting the passport is the traveler’s worst nightmare. My heart is racing just READING about it! Hope you are having the MOST wonderful time. I’ve just begun to catch up on my 9 day Baltic whirlwind.

  • Kitty B. Stockton
    09/22/2012

    How did the passport thing work out. Did you just go the next day?

    • Lisa weldon
      09/24/2012

      No, I had to turn back and head home. Had just enough time to dash thru the airport. But couldn’t check anything including my computer.

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