Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Beginning

So much to write about - where do I begin? It started with surrealism, moved into perfection, and ended with a heaviness of heart and a rather smooth flight across the Atlantic.

I departed Washington, DC on a cloudy day, racing down U Street to the Metro, then hopping a bus to Dulles before being thrown around the airport. I was flying United because it was the cheapest flight I could find, though I much prefer Air France. United is...how should I put it? Disorganized? When you fly Air France, you check in online and give them your bags. There is no such thing as a line. With United, you check in online then are sent to a billion different places before you finally are able to give your bags to the sketchy looking security people and hope that they actually get to your destination.

I should say bag. I had one bag. It contained a few clothes and 8 bottles of different American beer for my friend Amigo. The beer made the bag pretty heavy. I hoped it'd get to Paris and then to Beirut in one piece. It did.

My greatest curse is my fear of flying. Love to travel, hate getting there. This time, I actually slept a couple of hours on the flight, something I can never do.

During the previous couple of weeks, my brain actually was adjusting to the time zone change - it was quite an amazing subconscious process. I just started waking up earlier and earlier and going to bed earlier until I was already asleep by the time the Daily Show came on. I really can't get over that. When I got to Paris on a Friday morning at 7am, then managed to get to my hotel by 9am (to discover I couldn't check in until 3pm but could leave my bag full o'booze), I set out to wander the streets of Paris wide awake, happy, and not at all full of yawns. I got back to the hotel around 4pm, checked in, and took a two hour nap before heading out to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. Went to bed around 10pm, and voila, I was fully in Parisian time.

But I never felt fully in Paris. Yes, I was physically there and very happy, but I felt a sort of disconnect, like it was all surreal. I went wandering the next morning down streets I used to know and discovered I had very little memory of any of it. I got to Stade de France around 3pm and managed to get in the inner circle for the U2 concert, but never fully felt like I was really there. Even now, a couple of weeks later, I can't figure out how to explain it. What I can explain, however, is how I spent ten days in a place where I felt 100% whole. For the first time since I can remember, maybe in my entire life, I felt like I was physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally in the same place at the same time. As my friend Ash would say, I was totally living in the Now. That place wasn't Paris, it was Hamra.

And so, in the next few days, I will be posting about the trip with photos and videos and write ups of the amazing things that happened and how the whole direction of my life is probably changed and how I am once again scattered across the globe - mentally in Paris, physically in Washington, with my heart stuck in filthy, chaotic Hamra, just waiting for me to retrieve it. And I will, as soon as I can.

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