Sunday, December 18th, 2016:
It has now been three good months since we decided to leave the Paris region once Matt's studies were finished, in order to profit one last time from a WHV...in Australia. It's been a week since I resigned as a middle school English teacher. A month ago our land-lord knew that we will vacate the apartment on December 31st. And two months ago we announced to our families that we were going to leave once again.
Yes...but...three weeks from the start, we still do not know exactly when or for how long! (Can you say undecided? Procrastinators? Overwhelmed by the day to day? Yeah, that's about it!). We know we want to go to Australia. We would love to see New Zealand again. We have to visit Matt's parents in Georgia, USA. And then we would love to take a trip to Costa Rica, as well as to New Caledonia...
In short, in our head, as in our hearts and in our lives at that moment, it's a mess.
Well, it is 11:40, we are already 30 minutes late for an appointment in Fontainebleau... I urge my dear to hurry up when suddenly, there, under my eyes, on my screen, materializes a plane ticket...the plane ticket. One way to Atlanta, 240 euros or 340 euros with luggage... The last chance! In the space of 5 minutes, we decide. We'll go first to the USA, then...who knows? We'll see in a few days!
Wednesday, January 11, 2017:
We have butterflies in the stomach (well ... in between a small flu for Matt and the great stress for me, I do not really know if we can call it butterflies...goodbye friends of poetry!). Our backpacks are ready since this morning (procrastination, remember?). We say goodbye to everyone. A big kiss to the brother, the sister, the dad, the mother and the grandmother, and we fly!
Except that...for a ticket so cheap...there are compromises to make. In our case, instead of the usual 10h flight, it will be some 50h of travel to arrive at our destination. A journey, I say!
We embark at 15:00 at the airport of Mérignac to arrive at London Stansted 1h30 later. From there began a long, VERY long wait of 17 and a half hours... And in this airport, in this city, at night, there is NOTHING to do.
The first 5 hours were endless. The following 12h30 were even more so. To sleep, it was necessary to fight. The seats are hard to get on the benches.
Matt managed to sleep from 2am to 6am. My night started at midnight and ended at 3am when I wanted to go to the toilet and barely sat up (literally 20 seconds after I stood up, still in front of my spot) a couple of Russians (Or Ukrainians, or Polish...from over there!) had taken full possession of my seats! Bye bye the rest of the night!
At 9:30, we boarded again with Ryanair, direction Oslo! 1h20 later, some 5h45 of waiting we stayed in a terminal quite empty and cold. That's when we found out that the company that was going to take us over the Atlantic, Norwegian Airlines, does not provide a meal (unless it was booked before and payed extra, or if not snacks at an extra cost, no headphones, have to buy them on the plane), no coverage (for purchase too!). Low-cost company!
All that said, it was a very pleasant flight despite some turbulence, with a super friendly staff, a brand new plane that glides well (and it is a flying phobic saying so!)
10h flight, and we landed in Orlando... Customs was a real pain to go through, as usual...
After almost 38 hours of travel, we still had to wait 7h30 in Orlando. When you get there, after you've seen London and Oslo, you know you've reached the other side of the pond. The airport itself is a gigantic shopping mall. Every country has a smell when you get there, a somewhat typical smell. In Ireland, the smell of coal burns in the air. In Scotland, it is a little salty. In the USA, it is the odor of fried food. But when you step outside in Florida, it is the smell of the brackish water, the ocean, all in a humid unique atmosphere.
In short, it took another 40 minutes by plane to Atlanta, 45 minutes by train, 1 hour waiting and 40 minutes by car before... ARRIVING !!!
After some reflection, we will not take longer travel time just to save 200 euros. It's not worth it. Too much time wasted, too much waiting, too much trouble in spite of all our books and card games.
Actually, I say that but...bah...we'll tell you about our journey to Australia!