Au Revoir, Mes États-Unis…
And so the journey begins… With my excitement beginning to mount, demonstrating itself in an anxious nausea (“butterflies” being all too endearing), I headed to the airport. Ticket in hand, I was still tormented with a disbelief that can only stem from such a surreal opportunity… I’M TOO PUMPED. THIS CAN’T BE REAL. Yet, still also unbearably nervous…And it is with this frame of mind that I walked through security, unsure of what this new adventure may have in store.
Now, I have never really been a fan of airports. Forced out of your shoes and your dignity, you are essentially trapped in a large maze of aggravated individuals only concerned with their own agenda. Top that off with squeezing yourself and all you carry into a stall just to pee, and food three times the price any sane person would pay, and you’ve got yourself a socially acceptable form of torture… but this time was so different.
I decided to bid adieu to America with one of the great delicacies of the age and while sipping my McCafe Mocha Frappe (I should be paid for product placement… My name is McDonald after all…) I started talking to the gentleman waiting beside me at the gate. He introduced himself as a man named Paul-typically a homebody- off to go celebrate his friend’s 50th wedding anniversary. He was so genuinely happy with life. He had children of which he was extremely proud, and grandchildren whom he adored. His perspective on life was almost beautiful at times. With his stories about mining and accounting, dogs and cabins, he was an amateur philosopher, wise even beyond his vast experiences. “People–just people–people can be so fun if you are willing,” he said. Let my experience guide me, he said, meet amazing people and do unforgettable things.
Thank you so much, Paul. I will.