Of course my last days in Phoenix were spent making last minute preparations for my move to Paris! Although this may seem simple, it was anything but easy. Seriously, finding a pair of boots in Phoenix is problematic because selection is limited and no one seems to understand that my feet are my main mode of transportation, so I need some decent shoes that support my feet more than I need big huge heels! In addition to this, I also needed to find an umbrella, which was even more difficult than boot shopping in the desert! Especially since it had been raining before I left, finding a suitable umbrella that will fit into my purse took going to more than five stores, but thankfully I finally found one! Spending time with my mom has been so awesome, so it was sad to face the fact that I was going to have to say goodbye to her again. However, we had a truly wonderful visit and interestingly enough, she had begun this collage of postcards from me that was completed while I was there with a card from Croatia. Although she will need to add to it in the future, that card filled the last empty space. When she took a photo of me in front of it, I realized afterward that I had been standing right by the Paris card!Then at last it was time to go to the airport to get my flight to Paris! Despite the fact that I slept only about two or three hours the night before, I could hardly contain my excitement! My mom took me to the airport and for whatever reason, she insisted on helping me inside with my luggage, which was odd since typically I just have her drop me at the door. However, I was extremely grateful for her intuition because when I went to the British Airways counter, they informed me that I had to go to check in with American Airlines, which was in another terminal. Obviously, this was strange to me since I had called American Airlines the night before to pay for my extra suitcase, and they had informed me that my flight was through British Airways and they could not help me.
Luckily, my mom drove me to the other terminal, which was really fortunate for me since I had three suitcases, one small and two large. However, the guy working the counter totally flipped out when he realized that I had no return flight from Paris. Seriously, he told me that they could deport or detain me for this once I arrived in France. Then he made a bunch of phone calls and I just stood there growing more anxious by the second! Of course I explained my situation, why I had no visa, and that I have absolutely NO intention of overstaying my Schengen visa, which is evident by the travel patterns found in my passports. Yet this guy just kept on freaking out on me!
Not only was it an issue with a lack of a visa, but in addition to this, my first flight to Chicago that connected to Paris was delayed, and he therefore switched me to a flight connecting through Dallas that was leaving in less than an hour! After arguing with the guy for what seemed like forever, he FINALLY told me that it was up to me whether to go ahead to Paris or whether to delay my trip by a day and book a return flight. So I told him I was going ahead with my plan! Then he went to weigh my luggage, both of which were overweight, but in the commotion of all of the visa business and changing flights, he must have totally forgotten to charge me extra for my extra bag, which was FABULOUS and definitely the positive thing that came from the situation.
At last, I boarded the plane, BUT I was so anxious and stressed out feeling, it was not even funny. Seriously, I spent the whole flight to Dallas on edge. When we arrived there, I went straight to the desk and asked the lady about my situation and she told me that I most likely had nothing to worry about. Since I was early for the flight, she offered me the option of bumping to another flight routed through London before arriving in Paris in exchange for an $800 voucher to use through American Airlines and British Airways, so I told her I would be happy to do that since I still felt rather nervous and wanted some more time to message some of my friends who know more about a situation like mine. However, shortly thereafter they called me up and told me that I did not need to go to the London flight after all (which was a bummer since I wanted that $800 voucher), and I talked to a different guy who was SO nice and even made me a return reservation that will just expire when I don’t pay for it. So at least I had something to show to the customs people, yet still I could not shake the worries that I had been feeling all morning!
Due to this fact, I unfortunately spent the whole flight to Paris feeling much less than relaxed. When at last we landed, I walked through the line to pass through customs, prepared to deal with whatever situation may arise. Yet when I went through the line, the guys simply took my passport, scanned it, stamped it, and welcomed me to France! Wow, after ALL that worry, he didn’t ask me anything or for any return ticket! Yes, I am extremely grateful for this and it is definitely a lesson to shield myself from the anxiety and fear of others, no matter what the situation!