I've spent the past few days preparing myself (mostly mentally) for my trip to Nice on Friday. This will be my first time ever accompanying my husband on a working trip--where he will be up front in the cockpit, driving the airplane!--in the almost 24 years he's been a pilot for the airline. I'm flying standby, and so far (gulp!) the flights both there and back look wide open, so I should have no problem getting a seat. The flights are so empty as of now that I may even end up in business class, which I've heard is definitely the way to go when you're flying across the Atlantic. The Atlantic Ocean...that big, scary ocean...water, water, everywhere...flying in the dark of night...flying through vast, black emptiness--flying as only birds should do, really--when you could be snug at home, on good old terra firma, in your cozy house that's all decorated for Christmas...WHAT HAPPENED? I think I blacked out for a minute. Where was I? Oh, yes: I was talking about my upcoming trip to Nice, the French city on the Riviera that's a stone's throw from the fabled principality of Monaco. Just about anyone would like to be in my shoes, right? Flying across the Atlantic to the French Riviera, in business class (hopefully), no charge, with a free hotel room waiting over there on the Cote d'Azure, as they call it. So...do you by any chance wear between an 8 and 1/2 and a 9? (Ah, je m'amuse.)
Yesterday, I went out and bought this slim paperback book, See It and Say It in French, to take along with me to Nice. I used to be somewhat fluent in French back in my younger days. In fact, during a French Lit class my senior year of college, I took all my notes and wrote all my papers en francaise, and had even gotten to the point where I was actually thinking in French and didn't have to take the time to translate in my head. Mes amis, those days are long gone. I'm as rusty now as my passport (which I got in 2002 and have never taken out of the fire safe until now, which is a good thing because it expires in a matter of months!). If what they say about the French is true, however, I shouldn't even bother trying to converse in their native tongue. If they pretend not to understand ugly Americans who endeavor to speak their language and mangle it beyond recognition, I may be in trouble. But I do hope to have the opportunity to order un cafe au lait at a restaurant, parler a bit with the locals, and to tell everyone who'll listen about how j'ai pris l'avion! Across the great, big ocean, no less!So these are my trip essentials: my Sparknotes-style French language book; my never-been-used passport; and my St. Joseph's prayer card, which I have with me every time I board an airplane. Before takeoff, I like to recite the "Unfailing Petition to St. Joseph," which I've posted on this blog before: O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in thee all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me from thy Divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below thy heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thy arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen." Saying this prayer, and holding onto this card for dear life as the plane lifts off the ground, helps to calm my nerves.
Am I looking forward to the actual cross-Atlantic flight on Friday? Je pense que non. But I am, certainement, looking forward to the mini-vacation with my husband. And this trip should give me some interesting material to blog about!
Cote d'Azure: Sky Blue Coast
je m'amuse: I amuse myself
en francaise: in French
mes amis: my friends
un cafe au lait: a coffee with milk
parler: to talk
j'ai pris l'avion: I took the airplane
Je pense que non.: I don't think so.
certainement: certainly, of course