In my favorite show there is a question posed of a character, he’s asked “Where is your assignment?” He then says, “It’s imminent”.. the professor then said “So is death…”.
This is true of life and change. I’ve gone through an enormous amount of change during the last year. Events are sometimes fuzzy but there are some during the last year that stick out very clear. The death of my best friend, Mbarek asking me to marry him, losing my job, working my ass off, the day I left Albuquerque and the day I first saw Mbarek in person. I don’t think I took enough time to really look back and think about the other times, until now. The times I was riding in the car dreaming of Morocco and thinking of my future. The ceremony at Florence, Kentucky for my father honoring him as a fabulous race car driver and him being inducted into the National Late Model Race Car Hall of Fame. The race that his hometown track held in his honor, The Butch Shay Memorial. The drive to Denver knowing that I was going to miss the snowstorm and catch my flight. Saying goodbye to my neighbor who had become my new best friend. Starting my new life.
I remember leaving Albuquerque and being so happy to start my new adventure, the day had finally arrived. I got to the New Mexico-Colorado line and said my final goodbye to the place I’d called home for 9 years. After a long drive with the animals crying and being restless almost the whole way I finally made it into Denver. I got checked into my hotel that I would call home for 3 nights. There was so much snow that I really couldn’t go many places and many were closed because it was Christmas. Thank God for McDonalds being open I don’t know what I would have done without that. I stayed for 3 nights at the airport Motel 6 and just counted down the time to board my plane. I decided to call a shuttle to take us to the airport. I had 5 big bags and 2 big big animal crates. The man who took us to the airport was actually from Albuquerque and he managed to get all of our stuff into an SUV, I still don’t know how he did it. The ride to the airport was liberating and exciting. He got us very close to the curb and the sky help were standing by just kindof watching us probably thinking oh my god look at all of this shit. I got into the check in line with much help and then I got a phone call. The man who brought me to the airport called me and said what a pleasure it was meeting me. He wished me luck and then I just broke down in tears right there in line. I WAS FINALLY HERE… I WAS FINALLY HERE … I HAD MADE IT!
I got checked in but that took about an hour to do with the animals and all. I paid my $1350 for my luggage and babies then they wisked me and the animals off to security. My babies had to be screened by security then I had to go through the normal security lines. I will have to say Denver gets you through quickly, props to the airport because I was running late after all of the check in procedures and still managed to have my last meal in the United States. Yep it was McDonalds a double quarter pounder combo. I did receive some heartbreaking news while standing in line for security. I opened my facebook and found that one of the people I grew up with had been killed in a car accident in Lexington, KY. I remember calling my mom quickly to give her the news then I had to go because I was approaching the examination line.
I got through got to my gate, ate, then boarded my plane. We took off late so I was worried about my babies getting to their plane in Detroit. Hell after we were really running late I was worried about getting to my plane in Detroit. It’s amazing when they announce to let the international people off the plane first how everyone becomes an international passenger. Oh well right I made it obviously but I was worried. We were late taking off my Detroit but that was ok because once I got to Paris I had 7 whole hours. All I could think about was the macaroons from Laudree’ and how I was going to get me some. If you’ve never had the macaroons from Laudree’ (https://fabricantdedouceurs.laduree.com/en_int/) you must try to get them. They do have a store in So-Ho in NYC it’s worth the money for heaven on earth, while they last. I suppose if you have the money you could be in heaven all the time LOL.
We boarded our Airbus and off to Paris we went. I was very lucky to have sat next to a great guy who was fun to talk to. It’s not often I enjoy a strangers company on a plane but he was very nice and it made our flight a lot of fun. You know I never got his name.. huh. Anyway we talked and talked I got to know him very well. He lived in Detroit and was travelling to meet up with his wife and young daughter in Bulgaria. He had met his wife online a few years ago and flew to Bulgaria to get her. She was from a small town close to the Turkish boarder. He had only been there once and that was to meet her parents and announce their engagement. He had a 3 hour drive once he landed in Bulgaria.. WOW what an adventure. He was equally interested in my new adventure so needless to say our 7 hour flight went by nicely. There was also two meals and free alcohol so who’s complaining.
So I made it to Paris and looking back it was the nightmare I thought it was. The French are not very helpful. I did find a couple that were helpful and nice, I wanted to handcuff and duck tape them throw them into my purse and keep them… I wish they would have walked with me and helped me the entire time but NOT. So I had to go through French Customs in order to claim my animals and re-check them. I had done my research so I kind of expected to have to do this. Some people said they would transfer some said no so I just went and got them. Here I am in the Paris airport with two big animal crates and my carry on luggage going through the airport with a small trolley. No one would help me, people just ran over me walked into me, stood and gawked, pointed fingers like Oh there’s a dog in there then laughed. I was to the point I wanted to just go through the airport saying fuck you, fuck you and fuck you. Only if I knew how to say that in French.
I would stop and ask directions, stop ask directions, stop ask directions it was crazy. It got crazier once I got to the Air France Desk. OMG. Air France in Paris has the typical thin girl wearing heels and a uniform at all of the desks. I swear it was if I had stepped back in time to the Pan Am era of the 60’s. Let’s put it this way they didn’t lift any luggage because they might break a finger nail and that applies to the men too. So I had to weigh the animals in their kennels myself while they watched, no they didn’t help me lift anything. Finally I get them checked in and go out to smoke, which in that field I was definitely not a minority, everyone there smokes. They still have smoking areas in the airport, inside, now a thing of the past in the US. So I planted my ass out side on a bench and light my cigarette. I got no more than 2 drawls off of it and the luggage man comes to get me. We have a problem madame.. he says. Holy shit what now. Well they couldn’t take the animals until midi and it was 10am. So I had to trolley them with me for two hours. I went back outside with the animals on the trolley and sat. I must have smoked 4 cigarettes and then the man comes back outside to get me an hour and a half later and says we can take them now. Concerned that I hadn’t seen my cat move I was worried thinking was he still alive. I didn’t have anything to cut the zip tie with and neither did the luggage guy so finally they improvised and took their lighter to melt the tie. Bhakdi was fine he was just hiding under the covers. Whooo I was relieved, I grabbed them and hugged them and thanked them. They didn’t know what to do I’m sure they were thinking like what a crazy American Woman. I will warn you now it didn’t end there!
I finally went to the bathroom and had to go through security and customs again….So I make my way through a gift shop too exhausted to shop, yes I was too exhausted to shop. Found my way into the Air France line and they asked me to weigh all of my belongings. Well be advised when travelling on Air France you are only allowed 12 kilos of carry on bags period. I had 30 lbs. so I had to go back to the luggage check and give them my roller bag. Then they wanted to charge me another 100 euros. I was like hell no! It took a while and a manager was called and he let my bag go for free. So it was back to the security line to be weighed again and I passed YAY. I got my second stamp in my passport and found some water and a coke which cost 8 euros. Planted my ass again and took a breath. I skyped with my mom and thought this is it. I’m home free. I met a guy from New Jersey who was on his way to Mali and little did I know I only had 1 1.2 hours free time after that whole ordeal. Thank God I planned a 7 hour lay over there. So we go to board the plane for Casablanca and they tell me that I owe for my bag that I checked. Here we go again. After showing them my paperwork I finally get released to board. I never thought hearing “bon voyage” madame would be music to my ears. I boarded the plane and we were off. At this point I didn’t care what seat I was assigned to I just wanted to get out of Paris. They fed us again and the food was good, then they came through selling stuff like nick knacks, watches, perfume, jewelry, toys, and cigarettes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. LOL. I’m sure you’re asking… Did I get the macaroons? With everything going on no :(.
Finally I land in Casablanca and from the minute we touch down I know that it’s unlike any place I’ve ever been. Honestly this place is like a movie, things I’ve seen I’ve only seen in movies. I make it through customs after being pushed by this older couple, they were cutting line and pushing people it was interesting. I get into the hallway and the smell is different not appealing so to say. I make my way to the bathroom and there is no toilet seat or toilet paper. Oh boy, right? I think what have I gotten myself into. I go to get my luggage, again, no one is around to help. This time I’m worn out, exhausted and pissed. So I command that someone help me with my luggage and two very nice young men volunteered to help. They took me to claim the animals and they stayed with me until I got in the car to leave. They got a healthy tip too. All of my luggage had to be scanned and I presented the paperwork for the animals to the inspector, he looked at it and said ok you’re good to go. Now I had to find Mbarek. Was he there waiting for me, the thought had crossed my mind.
I followed the boys through the crowd looking for Mbarek and finally I see him…. He was very tall, thin, and very dark hair with these eyes…. I ran to him for a hug and a kiss that changed my life. I left my purse and everything because I knew he would take care of everything now. My nightmare was over! We drove 2 hours to get home and my eyes were wide open the whole way looking at everything I could see in the dark. We made it into Khemisset and pulled up to a restaurant where we were going to get turkey sandwiches and fries to take home and eat. We arrived home on this tiny street which will only fit one car at a time and unloaded my cargo. I think his family must have thought I was nuts bringing all of this stuff. At night things looked normal like they would in the US but when I woke up the next morning…….I was in a different world. A VERY DIFFERENT WORLD!
Change is good for everyone. I will paraphrase from the Bridges of Madison County…when they are talking about change. Most people are afraid of change, but if you look at change as something you can always count on then it can be a good thing. I have had a couple of bad days since I’ve been here, I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been frustrated at the simplicity of living here and how you can’t just go to Wal-mart or a store to get what you want. I’m learning to let all of that go… the former life is no more. Here, patience is a virtue. I am learning to embrace this new life and it’s challenging growing pains for me. After all I’m not use to having family. Things like family intimidate me because of being an only child and not having any real aunts, uncles, or cousins to be around. I’m use to small. It’s funny that I’m use to small but I’m not afraid to travel the world, how could that be I ask myself? I still am battling with depression, it doesn’t go away overnight, but it’s getting better. I’ve made a list of things I need from the US and momma is gathering those things to send a box, UNO cards are on the list! Maybe by playing games with the family we can get a chance to have some fun. My Arabic is coming along better since my melt down the other day and I’m learning a lot more which makes me feel more safe believe it or not.
Oh wow how time flies when you’re having fun blogging, it’s the call for prayer so I gotta go. Ciao for now! One more thing… I have photos for this entry but they aren’t uploading right now so I’ll add them later.