Paris. It is a place which through all of its aesthetic flamboyance has earned the title of, 'The City of Lights'. As I sit in on the floor in the Charles De Gaulle Roissy Train Station fluorescent lights blindly illuminate everything and everyone. The brilliant back-lighting of vending machines, and the massive 20ft tall monitor lit up with the next four hours departing flights from Paris are breathtaking. Sure, they're no Eiffel Tower flicker in the night sky, but they're all I have for now. These are the city lights I've longed for for 8 months.
A couple walks by, and the brief flash of their faces awakens remnants of memories three years past. I manage to stand on my travel weary legs and walk over to them, as they stand in front of the massive monitor.
“Excuse me. Are you the Krietz’s?” They turn, and I immediately know it's them.
They strain their eyes past my full beard and huge hair, to see the exchange student who came to their university in Strasbourg 3 summers ago.
“Oh my! Hello!” says Mrs. Krietz. “What are you doing here?!”
I tell her how I've just arrived in France from Houston, Texas. I explain how I’m passing a little time in Vendee before heading south for the summer, and that after that we'll see where I land.
“Houston? Funny,” Dr. Krietz begins. “ We’re heading there now.”
“Yeah...That is funny,” I respond.
We talk a bit about university and professional plans, but admittedly my mind is somewhere else. I am reminded of something easy to forget, but that should never be forgotten. Our world is small. We’re all connected in this crazy globe. To travel is to face the beautiful truth of our earthly conglomerate. After so many adventures, I’ve ceased to believe in coincidence. Today, even after running into people I haven't seen in 3 years, I still don’t.
I've forgotten many things since leaving La Roche sur-Yon, but it doesn't take long to be reminded of them. I only need one time of trying to go to a supermarket after 9pm to remember that 24 hour shops don't exist. In buildings, the first floor becomes “the zero floor”. What I know as the second floor is actually the first. It's often confusing, but at least I can do some light cardio while going up and down the stairs.
Though I’d forgotten these things, I’m happy to see that other aspects of life have not forgotten me. I walk into the Sahara kebab restaurant. I used to live a block away and was a regular for the restauration rapide. It appears that hasn't changed. One of the workers recognizes me as soon as a walk in. When it is time to order, he stops me.
“Wait, wait. Menu kebab, with lettuce, onions, samurai sauce, and no tomatoes!”
He’s exactly right. I take a bite of the kebab deliciousness, and it is more potent than I ever knew.
I sit on the terrace of the Grand Cafe. Just like I always used to. I take a small breakfast: croissant and a double espresso. The chair creaks sweetly as I lean back in the calm morning sunlight. I look up at one of the cafe workers who’s waiting tables across the street. He keeps looking in my direction, and finally yells, hand waiving wildly, “Texazzzz! Goood Morning! Good to see you! I love you!”
I choke on my coffee while trying not to laugh, but am able to squeak out a;
“Good Morning! I love you too...”