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[01:41 GMT, 10,363 METERS ABOVE THE LABRADOR SEA, JUST EAST OF NEW FOUNDLAND] <- imagine this coming out a la JAG style (with the sound effects, too, and an extreme wide shot of my plane before panning and zooming in to my petite seat)

I just woke up in a state of rather rigid misery and all I could think of upon shifting my gaze on the overhead monitors is, we’re still in North America?!?

By this time I’ve already been traveling for more than 12 hours, including nearly five on this plane. I suppose I’m used to more spacious flights and this 767 feels ever so small compared to a 747. But mostly I think it is because the woman in the middle aisle in my row was able to get all three seats to herself and currently is deep asleep for the fourth hour in a row (and later continued for another two hours), lying comfortably while I ached and grumbled at my misfortune of being cramped and surrounded by people who turn up the volume on their headsets way too high, people who like to kick the back of the seats in front of them, and people who snore loudly. I’m actually pretty sure my left leg has lost circulation and I’m even less rested than if I had just stayed awake the entire time.

This last nap lasted about 50 minutes and it’s the longest one I’ve had all day. I’m already seeing myself arriving at my destination with a haggard look of despair and exhaustion on my face. (My total flight time is 22 hours, plus 3 hours of road time before and after.) My biggest regret at the moment is not using my last month’s eBay Bucks certificate on one of those travel neck pillows. It would’ve come in quite handy right now. I think I’ve become crankier with age, or maybe it’s simply because I used to never sleep on planes until after I started college.

This rather long journey has given me more time to think about my life the next few months in Europe. My biggest immediate concern is understanding French people’s French. Already at the airport I could tell the difficulties I was going to have on that level. It’ll probably be easier for them to understand my broken French than for me to comprehend what they’re quickly conversing about.

[TO BE CONTINUED…]

Next will be all the faux pas and blunders and cultural and linguistic misunderstandings of my first days in France.

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