Saturday, August 27, 2011
The only travel unpleasantness that we encountered was of my own making. Please take note of this: when traveling by train in Europe, it is unadvisable to bring monstrous suitcases in any quantity but carrying three that weigh almost fifty pounds each is INSANE!
Jed did not sleep on the flight so the gentle rocking of the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse), put him into a coma. As we approached Lyon (where we had twenty-four minutes to remove ourselves and our embarrassing luggage from the top floor of one train and find and board the next one), I began trying to wake Jed up. He was so deeply asleep that he did not respond in any way. People around us started laughing at my attempts while I started panicking inside. I finally had to haul him to his feet and drag him down the aisle. Fortunately, there were nice people all along the way who took pity on us and helped carry the suitcases and load them onto the trains. Merci mille fois to these unknown French people!
When we arrived in Montélimar, a welcoming committee of three awaited on the platform. Caroline is my mentor for the year; Françoise is another colleague in the English department; and Jean-Marie is the amazing friend of Béatrice's who is letting me borrow his car for the year. They each carried a cumbersome suitcase to the parking lot where we had to use one entire car just to transport them to the apartment. They then helped me carry everything up four flights of stairs to our new home. As if this were not enough of a good deed, the two women went to the grocery store and bought us enough food for at least three days and would not accept payment. What a relief it was to be taken care of when Jed and I were both so mentally and physically exhausted!
Please do not ever tell me again that the French are rude and unapproachable. I just have rarely seen evidence of that.
Posted by Margaret Sullivan at 3:31 PM