Today’s journey home, from Dakar, Senegal to Tirana, Albania, was a long one! We left at 1:00am Dakar time and flew to Paris, then to Rome, and then to Tirana. The whole trip was over 18 hours. But…what made the journey so much better was my layover at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. No, it wasn’t long enough for us to go into Paris. I wish! What made it so special was that I got to catch up with a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen since departing Shanghai this past summer. Heather was on her way to Mauritania to begin a 2.5 month substitute teaching position, and just so happened to land in Paris 15 minutes before I did in the same terminal. Now that’s a coincidence, huh? Well, naturally, once we figured this out, we made plans to meet up in the terminal before moving onto our connecting flights.
I was coming down the escalator when I saw her. Of course, we both screeched, because that’s what you do when you see a friend you haven’t seen in forever! We hugged, and then sat down on a nearby bench to “speed catch-up.” It’s like speed dating, only instead of getting to know someone, you trade highlights of your life since you last saw one another. Sure, we keep up on social media and chat using WeChat, but that doesn’t replace really chatting, that fluidity you get in face-to-face talks can’t be matched by typing or even Skyping. All too soon, our chat came to an end, as we watched the clock and knew we needed to give each other time for our connections. The best part of our meet up is that Heather decided to come visit me in Albania this June once her contract is over. We had plans to have her come last August, but circumstances and timing prevented that from happening. I’m so stoked that she’ll be my first visitor! Here she is…how cute is she?!? 🙂
After running into Heather, Sally and I made our obligatory Starbucks run. I had my usual Iced Chai Tea Latte and a blueberry muffin. She had a Java Chip Frappaccino. We had to go through security and customs, exit the terminal, and hike to another terminal, but when you are Starbucks-deprived, you’ll go to great lengths to get it! It was yummy!
Our last stop before boarding was Laduree for some of the best macaroons in Paris. When in Paris, you must Laduree! Today’s flavors were salted caramel, raspberry, pistachio, praline, and chocolate passionfruit. The salted caramel and raspberry are my favorites, but the other flavors are new to me. I can’t wait to try them! If you’re ever in Paris (or even just the airport), do stop in and pick up a few. You won’t be sad you did!