LOST IN THE CITY
I and Eugène Lapierre had been working on the same project since last 2 years. We chatted almost every weekday, via text/voice/video chats, I am the lead developer of this project and he is the IT head of LPA Systèmes which is our client. It was a work relation but we were always on friendly terms. It was the critical time as the Project deployment was appearing close, and I had to leave for France. It was only 20 days earlier to my departure when I was informed that I had to be in France for approximately 6months – 2 years for pre and post deployment support. I was in a rush, buying new clothes, shoes, and a new laptop because my laptop is an oldie and I don’t trust it. I have never been away from my home except for my vacations. I love my mom, and I am so used to the cocoon of her love that in like a week away I would feel homesick. Being pessimistic, I would assume I have to stay there for 2years, and I’ve no idea if I would get an opportunity to come home for Christmas. Or I would end up celebrating it in my room alone? **sighh**
So many questions, and I don’t see anything good in going there except for my experience of clientele. As of what I could remember what Eugène once told me, he is the only American (half American) in LPA Systèmes. And others hardly speak English, probably this is the reason only Eugène converses with us. And I’ve been informed I would reach France on 23rd October, and Eugène would be on a vacation, and would come back by first week of November. **OMG! What am I gonna say to the Parisian’s?? C’est? Oui? Je m’appalle Amelie? What if I need to go to the powder-room on first day and I don’t know where it is? Should I learn some sign language?? Yikes! This is so terrible. Why wasn’t I sent to England? Or New Zealand? Come on any English speaking country? Even India would have been fine since major people there speak in English. Like Sujata came to USA from India, I would have filled her place. God! I was never good at foreign languages. Probably carrying a piece of paper with basic French words would do, but I may end up making a fool of myself by pronouncing something bad or funnily **Oh-God-Why-is-French-not-pronounced-as-it’s-written? **. What about food? I would get burgers, wouldn’t I? Burgers are all over the world I am sure. Sujata said you can find burgers in India in almost all cities. So why wouldn’t France have. I was trying my best to convince myself, I had expected my mother to be all sad and disheartened but she was on the cloud nine. She says I am lucky to go Paris, it’s a city of love and lights. And I am like “Momm.. I am nont going on a vacation!!”
My US Airways Non-stop flight was at 4.45 PM (22nd October) from Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Concourse B, it is an 8 hour journey but because of the time difference I should be in Paris by 7.00 AM. Mom, Dad and Christy came to drop me. I have stocked myself with my favorite chocolates and cookies as if they would last forever. Chris gifted me a minion collection with different expressions saying “One for every mood of yours” (Aww I loved them, she knows me so well). Mom gifted me a hand-made Photo collage book with pictures from the day I was born till date (oh I love them and I almost had tears in my eyes, she is a Do-It-Yourselfer and she did a very good job) and I embraced her tight in my arms. Dad sponsored my shopping what else do I expect? I purchased some branded outfits, bags, footwear, it has cost his pocket heavily. But I was surprised that he gifted me a “Living and Working in France” a Survival Handbook, by David Hampshire and I threw myself on him and wrapped him in a big tight hug and I was crying like a kid. ** Oh-I-so-love-my-Dad **
I get a window seat but I really am not excited. An old lady is seated beside me, and on a usual day I would have started a conversation with her but today I am controlling hard not to burst into tears because if I start I may cry forever. Somehow I manage to sleep through my journey by trying to think what all places I would visit in Paris. I reached at 6.55 AM (23rd October) on Paris Charles de Gaulle Apt on Terminal One and there is a mid-aged half bald man about 5.5″ (shorter than me) who later introduced himself as François Moreau, holding a sign bored with my name and DAMN IT! A spelling mistake in my last name? I mean really is it that difficult? It spelled “Amelie Sylvie” and it’s originally “Amelie Sylvia” and I don’t wish to change my name. *urghh*
I heave my baggages from cab to the lift (obviously Mr. Moreau didn’t bother to help). The room they provided me was on the second floor of the building named Devanley Résidence located at Les Pavillons Sous Bois (I am pretty sure if I am lost somewhere in Paris, I could never pronounce and reach back to my dorm), and by Public Transport it would take an hour for me to reach LPA Systèmes office (I so miss my old beetle). The room is small about 12×14, but pleasant and cozy with plain white walls. A queen sized bed with comfortable white bedding, small old wooden side table with a chest of drawers, a TV unit made of oak wood in the opposite wall of the bed that looks like that is some 1.5 feet tall, a wall mounted 14″ LCD with what? French channels, what would I understand? Later I would scan through and I am sure I can find few American channels. Small shower area with lavatory, it’s clean and I am relieved, because when I see dirty washrooms or lavatories, the first thing I do is throw up, and I have no intentions to spoil my first impression with this man. He greets me and speaks in broken English “Mademoiselle, youu resst n’ eet n’ sleeep, youu can eet at de restron on de ground flooor, I would peeck you tomoroo moorning at 7.00 AM, n’ I would teeke youu to de offeece, Au revoir ” (Fingers crossed. If not burgers or pizzas I at least want a pan cake).
Yeah after freshening up a bit, I was able to search few American TV channels like Fox, ABC, The CW, etc. I was hungry to the pit of my stomach and I start munching one of the chocolates I have got. I so wish I could get my Mom’s hand cooked bacon and a Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich. But in a worst case scenario, No mom’s food for 2 long years(Oh I hate it) I wear my jeans and my favorite tee that Chris and Me had purchased when we had participated in Twins Day at our office. Chris and I had been best of friends since our high school. We were selected in the same organization “Charles Brothers and Co.” after graduating from University of North Carolina in Charlotte. And I miss her, we are totally opposite, she is blond, I am brunette, she is all long legs, curves, sultry blue eyes and right complexion and I am big green eyes, pale skin, tall but not so beautifully curved, I can never manage growing long nails. But I love her, I can share all my stupid secrets with her and I am sure she won’t judge me, she is all girly and has helped me with the shopping. I started placing all my gifts on the TV unit below the LCD and tears clouded my vision and I go flat on bed, hug my Huggy-Bear (teddy bear that Mom had gifted me 4 years back), and cry till I dehydrate myself.
Because I am a girl who needs a hand to hold on to, and I feel I am lost in a new city.