Monday, October 20, 2014

the road to nowhere {part four}


I cannot believe I'm on part four already! I really didn't mean to go on, and on about this, but I guess I still have a lot of emotions from this trip to work out, my apologies. Let's wrap this up. 

After causing quite the scene with the whole 'people mover' thing, I decided to get the heck out of dodge, or in this case, Dulles. I passed the baggage claim area by and left my luggage behind for the night. The gate agents had told me that it would take about an hour to get my bags back and I really couldn't handle waiting around anymore. Me and my trusty Michael Kors dress would just have to stay acquainted for awhile longer. All I could think of was taking my heels off and having a big old drink, so I walked straight out the doors to meet my savior, Kirsten, who was already waiting curbside. What an angel.

Kirsten took me home to her family and put a cold beer in my hand while her daughter found me some comfy clothes to change into. As every second passed, I could feel the stress slipping away. I ate dinner with their family and spent the rest of the evening outside on the deck, drinking beers and chatting. It was the perfect antidote to the nightmare day I had had. Being rescued by my new friend, Kirsten, was the silver lining to a dark cloud.

Unfortunately for Gregory, he had no idea that I had needed a silver lining...

It was barely past 4AM when my phone rang, "Skippy, where are you?"

"I'm in Washington DC"

"You are not in Paris?"

"No, I'm not in Paris, didn't you get my messages?"

"No. You are not coming to Paris?"

"No baby, I'm sorry, I'm not coming to Paris."

So that was a sucky way to wake up.

At 6AM, Kirsten's saint of a husband delivered me back to Dulles and I went straight to the baggage claim office. I had been cursing myself for leaving my bags overnight since I had woken up, because I was sure that with luck I was having, my bags would be nowhere to be found. But I guess my luck had changed because not only were the two people in the baggage office super, duper, friendly, but they got my luggage situation sorted in only a couple of minutes and then smiled at me and bid me a good day.

And then the good vibes kept right on coming.

At Dunkin Donuts, the guy behind the counter gave me a free coffee with my chocolate donut (the breakfast of stranded champions), I got on my flight back to San Antonio without any hassle at all, and when my mother saw my sad tear stained face when I arrived home (I had been bawling my eyes out on the plane), she took pity on me, and took me out for Chinese food.

So other than the fact that I was supposed to be in Paris with my husband, and had I just spent over twenty-four hours basically traveling nowhere, it wasn't a shabby Sunday. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

the road to nowhere {part three}


The moment when I found out that I was not going to get on the flight to Paris and be able to meet up with Gregory, I seriously almost crumbled. I remember standing at the desk and the gate agent telling me that there was no way it was going to happen, and I had to steady myself because I actually swayed. It was not good.

Traveling standby means that you don't get on lots of flights, and I'm used to that, but this time it felt different, worse, way worse. It had already been twelve hours since I had left my house, and after miraculously managing to get on the tight flight out of San Antonio, only to have a wide open flight to Paris suddenly become overbooked was too much of a roller coaster, especially when I knew that at that second, Gregory was somewhere in the sky between Houston and Paris, content and comfortable in the knowledge that I'd be meeting him at the TGV station at Charles De Gaulle in a few hours. But I knew that I wouldn't be there, and that sucked. And do you know what else sucked? The next flight to Paris was forty-eight hours away.

Well, if I couldn't get to Paris, I needed to get home, but that's when I looked at the time and realized that the last flight back to San Antonio was departing and I had to kiss my ride back home goodbye.

Fortunately, a good friend of my mother's (one of the golden girls that came to visit Le Petit Village a ways back) has a daughter that lives only fifteen minutes from Dulles and all I had to do was call her and she'd come and rescue me. How awesome is that? I was far too emotional to spend the night by myself moping in an airport hotel, so a rescue from a family friend was exactly what the doctor ordered. I gave her a ring and she told me she'd be outside baggage claim in fifteen. Whew! My day was looking up, but first I had to make my way through Dulles.

If you've ever been to Dulles Airport, then you know that they use these bizarre, people-mover buses to transport you from the gate to the arrivals hall. They look like something out of Star Wars, they're these large rectangle things that pull right up to the building, and attach to it, so you walk through a door, directly onto a bus. They're weird yokes. Anyway, I walked up to the 'people-mover area' and saw that there were three separate lines of people formed, outside of three separate doors.

Not knowing which door the next people-mover would come up to, people just kind of picked one and waited. I chose the middle line, it looked pretty good to me. Besides, the line to my right was in the process of boarding a people-mover and it was obvious that some of those waiting in line, weren't going to fit and would have to wait for their door's next go-around.

Now, do you think these people decided to be polite and wait there turn? No, no they didn't. As soon as they figured out that they were going to have to wait some more, but spotted a people-mover pulling up to my door, they started to try to budge their way into my line. And that's when I snapped.

OH HELL NO, I was not having it! I was having a bad day, and I wasn't going to let pushy people be rude and push over me. And that's when I said au revoir to any sense of decorum and ladylike behavior.

"EXCUSE ME! THIS IS NOT YOUR LINE, YOU CHOSE YOUR LINE, SO YOU NEED STAY IN IT!"

(It's possible some head shaking and finger pointing accompanied this.)

I got quite a few looks but let me tell you, I did not care. I was frustrated and those pushy people seemed like the perfect way for me to vent some of my frustrations. They did there best to ignore the mentally unhinged lady that was yelling at them, and continued to push, so I kicked it up a notch.

"HELLO! WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE STILL PUSHING?! THAT'S YOUR LINE OVER THERE!"

They pushed some more.

"DOES NOBODY CARE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE CUTTING?! NOBODY?! NO?! OK, JUST ME THEN!"

I gave up. We boarded the people-mover but I let my elbows jab like they had never jabbed before, and I spent the ride shooting out as many bad and disapproving looks that I could muster while the rest of the people on board did their best to avoid eye contact with the crazy, people-mover, line lady. It wasn't my finest hour, but for the record, I really don't like cutters.
. . . . . . . . . .

Stay tuned for the next chapter in the continuing saga of my road to nowhere. [SPOILER ALERT: I did make it to Paris eventually, and I pinky-swear to tell you all about it.] 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the road to nowhere {part two}


Let's see... where did we leave off? Oh yes, Gregory had dialled my number at noon as instructed, but my phone had gone straight to voicemail. It had gone straight to voicemail because I had turned it off! Somehow by the skin of my teeth I had managed to get on that flight....

As the passengers boarded, I sat there right in front of the desk, watching as people who had been on the cancelled flight, got their new boarding cards. I was positive I'd be heading out of the airport in a car, not on an airplane. And then, as the last passengers went through the gate, the agent looked at me and asked, "Are you Sara?" and handed me a boarding card.

What in the what?! I was on!

Shock and excitement are the only words to describe how I was feeling. I was on my way to Dulles Airport and would make my connection to a flight to Paris that as of the last time I had checked, had about twenty empty seats. I was in like Flynn.

When we landed in Dulles, I switched on my phone and checked my voicemail, there was a message from Gregory... "Yay Skippy! See you tomorrow in Paris!"

Smiling, I made my way to my connecting gate. The flight was due to start boarding any minute. There was a cackling noise followed by a voice over the loudspeaker... there was something wrong with our plane, but they had found another aircraft to replace ours.

I could feel nervousness bubbling up inside of me but I convinced myself all would be OK. After all, there were like twenty empty seats, what could possibly go wrong?

What could go wrong is this... the new aircraft could be smaller than the original one, like thirty seats smaller, so it would be not only full, but ten paying passengers would be booted off of it! AARRGGHH!

It was sheer pandemonium. The poor gate agents were scrambling to reassign seat numbers while passenger after passenger stood in line to ask if there seat was OK. Yes it's OK! As instructed over the loudspeaker, if there was a problem with your seat assignment, your name would be called! AARRGGHH!

At one point a man came over and asked me why everyone was standing in line, I said that there wasn't any need for them to be in line, but I guess some people just like to stand in line. He laughed and then went and stood in the line! #truestory AARRGGHH! 

It was pure chaos and unfortunately, due to everyone on the airplane feeling the need to stand in line and ask a question, the flight was delayed, the agents were on the verge of a breakdown, and by the time I found out that there wasn't a hope in you know where that I was going to get on it, the one flight back to San Antonio that I could get on, had left.

So there I was, stuck in D.C., with the next flight to Paris being forty-eight hours away.

Still to come... my rescue, a return to Texas, another stab at Paris, and one big ol' gigantic scene caused by yours truly.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

the road to nowhere {part one}


You know something? Hitting publish on that blog post last week felt so good, I decided to do it again. Since it's been yonks since I blogged properly, I have a whole plethora of tales to tell. Lots has happened in the past couple of months so this blog is about to turn into me going on and on, filling you in on the nooks and crannies of my not so recent, ex-expat life. Gather around friends and let's get started...

The first tale I'm going to tell, is the tale of my failed attempt to join Gregory in France (which you may remember from this sad instagram post and this hopeful facebook one). Here's the deal; I fly standby, that means, that due to family airline connections, I don't pay for my ticket, rather I pray that there is an available seat on a plane that I can get on. Sometimes, it works out wonderfully, other times, not so much, as in this case.

It was the last Saturday morning in June. Gregory's flight was due to leave San Antonio about 6AM, mine, an hour later. He was flying to Paris via Houston, and I was going on a different airline through DC. Our flights were scheduled to arrive in Paris about the same time, and we would meet at the TGV station to continue on down to Toulon together.

When I checked in, the first hiccup happened... the flight to DC I was hoping to hop on had been cancelled. That was not good. There was still another flight fours hours later that I could get that would arrive in DC on time for my connection, but I figured the chance of there being an empty seat were slim to none considering the earlier cancellation. But of course I waited with my fingers crossed, I knew that if I somehow got out of San Antonio, I was a shoe-in on the Paris flight as it was wide open.

Those four hours were torturous. Gregory was already in Houston, nervous as could be, and I paced the small San Antonio terminal. A kind waitress at the one restaurant there took pity on me and gave me free juice refills and kept my coffee topped up. I like that waitress.

When I wasn't hydrating at the restaurant, I was fielding calls from Gregory, assuring him that if I somehow got out of San Antonio, I would definitely see him in Paris, and if not, well, I'd go back to my mother's house and regroup. I told him to call me at noon. If I picked up the phone, we'd have to say goodbye then, but if I didn't answer, then that meant that the standby Gods had smiled on me and I was aboard the 11:55AM flight to DC.

And sure enough, at 12:00PM on the dot, he dialed my phone, but it went straight to voicemail.

I think that's a nice place to stop for now. À la prochaine...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

checking in


Hi there, c'est moi, Sara Louise! Can you believe it?

I have no idea what's come over me, but I suddenly had the strongest urge to check in with you guys, say hi, and fill you in with a life update. Of course I've given you snapshots of my new ex-expat life on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, but I felt like a blog update was in order, so here goes...

I'm still in Texas, and Gregory is still in France. That's pretty much my life in a nutshell at the moment. (Not very exciting is it?)

It's been 82 days since we've seen each other (I counted yesterday), but I have faith that we're closing in on the Green Card and the end is near (please, please, pretty please let that be true). If it happened for Betsy, it's going to happen for me too (again; please, please, pretty please).

Other than that, life is just kind of going by with me in this weird state of limbo. To be honest, Texas doesn't really feel like home at the moment. I didn't anticipate being here this long, and until things are settled, I can't move anywhere (international moving and visa fees are expensive yo). Don't get me wrong, I like being here and catching up with my friends has been a blast, but as I did in high school, I feel like a bit of a square peg trying to be mushed into a circle. No matter how hard you mush, it's not going to fit.

So yeah, we're in limbo; me and Fifty still at my mother's house, and Gregory shacked up with The London's (not that he and his Bumder are complaining though... trust me, they're not).

And there you have it... limbo.

Oh, and one last thing, Fifty says, hi! He's loving life here having a fenced in garden, squirrels to chase and his grandma to play hide & seek with. Life is good for our furry little friend, in part due to the bits of chicken and bacon my mother sets aside for him... three words; diet dog food.

Ciao, ciao for now my dear friends. I hope all of you are happy and healthy and enjoying life. You never know, I just might pop in again!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

La Fin?


Look at that... over a month since my last blog post and it wasn't even written by me! Without meaning to, I've taken quite the blogging break this summer and to be honest, I'm not ready to break the break.

When I moved back to the States five months ago, I had every intention of continuing blogging, hence the switch from Sara in Le Petit Village to C'est Moi, Sara Louise. But truth be told, repatriation has kicked my butt way more than I expected it to (not in a bad way per se, just in a very tiring way), and aye yai yai, Gregory's green card process... don't even get me started on that whole thing (it's happening, it's just happening at the slowest snail pace possible). 

So yeah, I've been busy trying to build a new life here in America without my husband (temporarily of course) and for the moment, blogging is way down on the priority list. While I miss all of you, I'm not really missing blogging. But after careful consideration, I have decided to keep this space alive in case the blogging bug bites again. After all, I still have loads of stories to share with you. In the meantime, my Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram feeds are still hopping so if you'd like to check in, you know where to find me. (Please check in, I miss y'all... oh and Fifty asked me to tell you that if you happen to miss him too, you can say hi here or here). 

And that's that. I'm gone, but not gone, gone.

Thank you all for four amazing and wonderful years of your friendship, love and support. You mean more to me than I could every fully express in a meaningful enough way, but please know that I never could have survived life in the middle of nowhere in a tiny village in Provence without you.

Much love to all of you.

À bientôt mes amis.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Because Who Doesn't Love Pugs? {guestpost}


Hello readers of C'est Moi, Sara Louise! My name is Jackie and I blog at Jade and Oak.  I'm excited to be blogging for Sara while she's on vacation. Though I'm obviously jealous that she is on vacation and I'm not. But I'll let it pass. This time. So on my blog, I talk a little bit about everything. I live in Pennsylvania with my fiance and have been planning my wedding, trying to fix up our old house (I'm an HGTV addict) and reminiscing about my younger years of traveling Europe. (I was a short-lived ex-pat in London a looooong time ag0.) But, one of my fave things on the blog is to talk about and share photos of my puggies.

me

Just like Sara has her baby Fifty, I have my two pug babies, Bowie and Rosie. I never had dogs growing up but now I'm a crazy dog lady. So if you're thinking of joining the crazy dog lady club, let me share my experience of how great being a crazy dog lady is.

My pugs are the weirdest dogs I know. Pugs can be known as "velcro dogs" because they are always attached to your side like velcro. If you're watching tv, out in the yard, sleeping, blogging (ahem) or cooking, you can guarantee they will be right by your side. Especially if food is involved. Puggies love their humans and they're pretty cute, so I don't mind being shadowed by a dog constantly. And you're never alone!

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Pugs also make a lot of noise. Bowie mainly just snores sometime when he's sleeping but Rosie snores SO loudly when she's sleeping. She also makes a near constant snorting sorta noise whenever she breathes. So if she isn't velcroed to your side, you know where she is because you can probably hear her! Adorable! (Usually. Not so much when I'm trying to sleep.) Their noises are hilarious so, even though I usually have to turn the tv volume up to hear over her snoring, their noises are precious. They never fail to make me laugh.

Pugs sleep a lot. Every morning they are maniacs because they want to eat. After breakfast and their potty break, there are ready to go back to sleep. Pretty much all day. Then more craziness for dinner and then more sleeping. Considering they do nothing all day, it is amazing that they can always be so tired. What a life. But the good thing is - whenever I'm feeling lazy I always have 1 or 2 companions who will relax with me on the couch for a quick (or long) snooze.

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So basically this post was an overload of photos of my dogs. Hope I didn't bore you all too much! But seriously pugs (and dogs in general) are the best. If you had told me 5 years ago, I'd be a crazy dog lady, I wouldn't have believed you and here I am. But I swear I have other interests. If you want to hear about my wedding planning or see my attempts to decorate our 70+ year old house, come on over to my blog. I also share random funny stories (well at least I think they're funny...), some easy recipes and some blogging tips. I hope you'll come over and say hello. Oh and Bowie and Rosie say to bring them treats when you stop by!

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