05 Mar '17 — What this city reminds me of
In college, I studied abroad in Paris. When I arrived, I was in total shock. Nothing bad happened but I was scared.
I wasn't the only one. My friend Saleet who I met through the program called her father immediately upon arrival begging to go home. In the handful of years we'd live, we hadn't ever been in such an unfamiliar place. I was surprised how scared I was.
It's not like we hadn't traveled abroad. Saleet's mom lived in Israel and my parents took me to Taiwan quite frequently. It didn't make any sense but we couldn't stop crying on our first few nights.
Of course the three months turned out to be great, but it took a while to warm up.
There was a lot of pressure back then to hop from city to city while in Europe. Saleet and I decided to book a trip on Easyjet. We found a the cheapest flight. It was to Turin, a place we hadn't heard of.
A week before the flight we looked for accommodations. That's when we realized we didn't have any money to go on this trip.
Instead of getting on that flight, we ended up at Vanves flea market. It was one of the first warm days of the year. We wanted to be outside and since we couldn't afford to do anything, selling our belongings seem to be responsible. Also, it was within walking distance so we didn't have to spend money on the métro.
The market had stalls full of vintage items. At the very end was an unauthorized section of sellers. There were no tables, just people on the ground with items arranged on blankets. That's where we set up shop.
'No one is going to buy any of this stuff!' I resigned right after placing our items and laid on my jacket to enjoy the sun.
A Swedish girl and her boyfriend stopped by and actually looked through our pile of crap. She tried on a shirt, one with billowing butterfly sleeves. I got it from Forever 21, but this was before the shop went global. It was made from linen, a material they'd never use today.
Seeing her wear my shirt, once a favorite, made me realize how good it looks. She tied up the sleeves and created an entirely new way to wear it. She looked really good in it. Too good.
'8 euros'. I didn't want her to have it.
She looked at it again. '6?' I refused and she went away.
Fifteen minutes later, I saw her approach us from fifty meters away. I quickly stuffed the shirt in my backpack when Saleet had her back towards me. I wasn't ready to admit how jealous I was.
She came to us and said she had the 8 Euros.
'Oh, sorry. You're too late. Someone just came buy and bought that shirt.'
My friend was surprised. 'Really?! When did that happen?' No, we didn't sell anything. You would know if we did. Why is she trying to blow my cover?!
It was a really awkward.
I'm surprised how incapable I was. I couldn't figure out how to travel. I couldn't figure out whether I was selling something or not.