Well I have finally made it to Toulouse, France! Talk about opening your eyes to the world. I haven’t done much traveling by myself, much less to another country with a few layovers thrown in there as well. After briefly visiting Dallas and London,for the first time at both locations, I have arrived at my ultimate destination. It’s funny looking back on the whole travel arrangements because I think I convinced myself that my luggage would not be in Toulouse when I got here. I just about hugged a total stranger standing next to me when I saw my “American”esque bag exit the baggage claim line. I’m glad I contained my elation otherwise I might have paid an extra visit to customs due to perceived insanity. During the entire trip here, I found myself asking the question, “Do people know I am an American?”My bag probably answered that question due to its giant size compared to the rest of the bags at baggage claim. It’s not like it really matters what total strangers in Dallas and London think of me, but after people watching, reading, and listening to music in airports on two different continents, I started wondering where everyone was from and where they were traveling. The only real evidence I had of anyone’s nationality was usually a snippet of a conversation heard in passing. Even then though, everyone started to sound like they were speaking in tongues I never knew existed. Consistency set in when I boarded the plane from London to Toulouse because suddenly all of the flight instructions were in French and the sporadic conversations among the passengers were all in a shared common language, that wasn’t English. It escalated even more when I got off the plane in France, because rather than hearing too many languages to comprehend, my ears were trying to clue into several French conversations going on around me until I exited the airport. Nervousness set in when I realized that I would not be walking to my hotel from the airport and that I would have to flag down a taxi and request my destination. Surprisingly enough, the cab driver must have understood me because after a few screeching turns that would have turned a sailor’s stomach upside down, I was walking into the hotel. First conversation in French=success. That did not last long though once I found myself talking to the guy at the front desk in the hotel. We traded a few comments in French and then he immediately switched to English. Second conversation in French=not so successful…I did not let it get to me though and continued to speak in French upon leaving for a McDonalds across the street. En route, I thought I had all the bases covered and would masterfully order a Big Mac and fries with little mistake. Third conversation in French=not so successful. Thanks to the customer behind me, the baffled cashier finally understood what I wanted to eat. Unfortunately, I don’t think the customer was being friendly though. Hunger can sometimes be a strong motive for doing things such as helping an American order his food at McDonalds. It’s funny how I am half way around the world and I had Mickey D’s for dinner. The only difference here though is that they don’t think its funny when you order “freedom fries.” I think I’ll call it a day with that and get some rest before I meet my group tomorrow back at the airport. More posts to come soon. À bientôt!