The Channel Tunnel is 20 Years Old Today – A Tale of Two Cities
Happy Mother’s Day! I love you Mom! When I found the photos from this is trip I realized it is the only out-of-Texas travel my mom and I have ever done together. Eeegats! Time to change that. Life is too short to have only seen my mom giggly on beaujolais a couple times. Enjoy the story.
May 6, 2014 marks 20 years of rapid train travel between Great Britain and France.
Of Paris and London – this is my tale of two cities, connected.
As a teenager I was fascinated with most British pop singers, one in particular. Along with what was basically George Michael wallpaper, a framed art poster that said “LONDON” hung on my wall through high school and early college. That LONDON poster represented something of a goal. The specifics of the goal I did not grasp. Would I travel there, live there, study there? A princess lived there, as did my pop idol. That’s really all I needed.
As a Texas girl it likely (shakes head, rolls eyes) would’ve come in handy all these years for me to know Spanish. But I had a poster of a European destination on my wall, so in high school I chose the logical thing, I studied French (Spain must not have had pretty advertisements at the time). I made the choice sound even more logical by taking “Business French” in college as surely that would cement my dreams of international business travel. I worked towards that, and three years into my first real job, I pushed myself into an opportunity at the company’s office outside of London. And when I say “pushed” I mean pushed. They finally gave me an interview when I told them I was planning a trip to London anyway. I was not, but no matter. My sister Stephanie and I cooked up a girl trip to Paris that December with my mom and two aunts. I would be taking the CHUNNEL to my interview!!
December 1997 in Paris was cold. Like, windy, freeze your face off cold. Stephanie and I knew Paris, and felt comfortable getting around. The ladies? Not so much. I imagine Steph wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being tour guide to all while I charged off to conquer my future, but the cold was an ally. Sitting inside cafe after cafe drinking beaujolais for a day led to fine and funny stories when I returned. And a day was all it took. I left early in the morning, watched everything blur by, felt a little sick knowing we were underwater, and came up in greyness. I was an international business traveler.
It did not matter so much when I returned that the job did not work out. Calais and Dover weren’t points I saw from a windswept ferry like so many taking the trip before. If I’d had a mobile phone of today, I guess I would have clocked my speed, posted my joy on Facebook, Instagram’d something, text checked my sister’s sanity level, Yelp’d where I would have lunch, and sat there absorbed in emails and work. Instead I looked out the window, watched passengers, bought some crazy British snacks and coffee, and daydreamed. I was an international business traveler.