My seatmates on my flight from Boston to Frankfurt were Jimmy From Alaska and Alma From St. Petersburg; he, with a dopey and stale joke for every comment, and she with a steely gaze and the occasional polite smile for one of his jokes. It only struck me after I got off the plane and began walking to my flight to Provence how appropriately they each represented the world I was leaving and the world I was entering. (See the photo for a sketch I did of Jimmy while he napped. He looked and sounded remarkably like Milton from Office Space. And he called me “little lady” about four times.)

Such was the strange and dream-like trip from Boston to Frankfurt.

Arriving in Frankfurt was actually quite a serene, pleasant experience. The flight attendant pointed out the booth where I could exchange my dollars for Euros; it opened at six AM and I arrived at quarter of, so I sat and looked out at the runway, enjoying the peace of a nearly-empty airport. After getting change, I got a light breakfast, and was delighted to find that my next gate was a two minute walk from the one at which I arrived. I sat facing the massive glass windows, drinking coffee, eating a fruit cup, reading Vogue and basking in the soft morning sunlight. I glanced behind me at one point and noticed that a very tired, almost catatonic, but friendly face was sitting a few rows behind me. Megan and I met in the IAU Facebook group and realized that we were on the same flight from Frankfurt to Marseille-Provence Airport, so I knew to keep an eye out for her. Perhaps it was the coffee, or the excitement of my upcoming trip, but jet lag didn’t set in at all that morning. The flight to Marseille was very pleasant and short, and Megan and I found our bags on the carousel pretty quickly. And then we were off on a bus to Aix. Et laissez les bons temps roulez…comme les Cajuns disent.

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