Hi Friends,

My departure from Paris ended on as good and hectic a note as it started. There’s something about the process of flying these days that brings about a certain madness/panic/adrenaline rush. It’s the combination of uncertainty, making it through customs, and possibly missing a flight that evokes feelings of controlled hysteria.

At the Air France check in counter at Charles de Gaulle airport, the agent informed me that the weight allowance on China Eastern Airlines for two pieces of luggage and a carry-on is 42 kilos, and that my suitcase was seven kilos (14.4 pounds) overweight. He also regretfully informed me that each kilo would cost 65 euros. 7kilos x 65euros= 455 euros= $620.66. I think as much blood drained from my face as the day I put my hand in my purse and discovered that my wallet wasn’t there. His best advice was that I go to the side, near the scale, and figure out what to do with the offending seven kilos.

What could I do with 7 kilos?  I knew a girl who lost seven kilos in five months, and here was this guy telling me to lose seven kilos in thirty minutes. I was at a loss. I sat with my two suitcases open, trying to decide what was priority, what I’d need in the next year, which items I could stuff into my purse. I piled on an extra sweater, and an extra pair of socks, but that only amounted to .2 kilos. So, into a plastic bag, that I’d found in my suitcase, went black jeans with a messed up zipper, two cases for my sunglasses, toiletries, a few long-sleeved t-shirts, and one pair of shoes that really are a pain to walk in. I rested there for a long moment rearranging, weighing, and just generally looking drained by airports. Then, in a puff of light, came Remy.

Remy is yet another angel I’ve met this summer in France. It seems he had been observing my goings on and wanted to help. He spoke no English, but let me know that he was there to help me, and nothing should be discarded. He took my suitcase to the Safety Bag counter and asked the man at the kiosk if he had any overhhead bags for the cabin. The SB guy said that he didn’t, but we should try another terminal.

I kid you not when I say that Remy took off on a run to terminal 2E (we were in Terminal 2F). When we got there, there were small bags available; so, Remy took everything out of my “trash” and filled the bag. There was still room, thus we threw in scarves, belts, and some shirts from my two suitcases. It worked out perfectly. Do you want to know how much the Safety Bag cost? 10 euros. $16.

Remy went out of his way to help me, and when I asked him why, he said “I could see you needed a hand.” It just reconfirms what I know– people are amazing, I’m blessed and fortunate, the French are truly awesome, great things happen.

* At the second Safety Bag counter… you wouldn’t think I’d be taking pictures at a time like that, would you?

Ciao for now,

Val