When living in a foreign country it is inevitable that you will fall in love with something. Perhaps not necessarily a person, but maybe a city or quiet park or secret cafe. Given the “foreign” factor, it is inevitable that you and your love will be forced to part ways at some point. I say not necessarily a person, but judging by the title of this post you know I could only possibly mean someone.
This is nothing of a new narrative in the expat or exchange experience. It comes as a matter-of-fact, an essential loss you must pay for having the most beautiful times of your life: the pity of being forced to leave someone you love. There is no cutesy 1920s romance filter I can throw over this tale to make it seem less tragic to myself. One minute you are strolling along the Seine, brunching in Monaco, taking night trains to Italy. Laying in parks with empty bottles of wine and thinking maybe, just maybe, this life could last forever.
Soon it is the end of July and the past three weeks were the best of your life. But they are ending, even though your visa isn’t. You are packing up suitcases that aren’t even yours and hiding love letters in them just to have something that will survive the distance. Of course you will go to the airport for your tragic movie-esque farewell, which is every bit sad as you imagined.
Yet, there are some things I wasn’t aware of before I set off to say goodbye to my foreign lover at the airport. So to ease the pain of the farewell and embarrassment of crying in public, I wanted to present to my loyal readers of this under-utilized blog with my top six tips for the broken hearted traveller to survive saying goodbye at the airport!
- if you are the one departing: do not watch a sad movie on the plane
I will admit that one of the lowest moments of my life was when I sobbed in the midst of eating Air Canada’s finest coleslaw while watching Her on a plane. Tears were streaming down my face as I tried to chew through the rubbery vinegar cabbage, all while the Quebecois man beside me pretended like he wasn’t staring. Opt for something more heartwarming like going to sleep where you can forget all about your life for a few hours!
2. be aware of your closest bathrooms at all times
It is crucial that you locate the bathroom closest to your designated farewell spot ahead of time. This step is often overlooked by lovers saying goodbye, yet it is a key component of keeping your cool at the airport. Having knowledge of the closest bathroom will allow you to make a quick dash there to lock yourself in for a good cry as soon as you’ve bid farewell, otherwise onlookers will be staring as you wander in a daze, crying loudly through the maze of suitcases and tourists.
3. bring sunglasses to the airport
It is inevitable that you will be sobbing during the goodbye. While bystanders may find this tragically adorable and even touching while you are together, you must remember that eventually you will be forced to turn and walk away….alone. To avoid people staring at your puffy watering eyes, bring sunglasses to hide your shame and heartbreak. The bigger the better!! Darker too!!
4. don’t forget tissues either
If you have forgotten your travel size pocket tissue pack, please refer to tip number two. But to save time it is better to stop at your local Monoprix beforehand to avoid trying to discreetly wipe your nose on your beloved’s shirt.
5. do not wander around the arrival gates
There is a great disconnect in the aura between the departure and the arrival gates at the airport. No matter if there is a Mango, a Laduree, or a Starbucks located near the arrival gates, avoid this area at all costs as it is full of pre-travel excitement and happy reunions between lovers and families. The departure gates are 100% more likely to have sad goodbyes, as every day people leave their foreign lovers without any inkling if they’ll ever see each other again!
6. if your goodbye is in Paris: fly from CDG, not ORY
Paris Orly Airport has a serious disadvantage if you are planning to say goodbye to your significant other there, mainly that the only form of public transport is a nausea-inducing bus that is always crowded. If possible, opt for CDG airport which is connected to the RER B train. It might smell like urine but at least you won’t vomit on your way home while you are crying and sitting backwards across from highly uncomfortable men who don’t know how to deal with public displays of emotion.
I hope my tips help you survive your sad parting with your significant other! If you are like me and now live in Paris sans amour, at some point you may wonder is there a point of even living in the City of Love if you don’t have a lover anymore? It will surely be sad, maybe just outright depressing, and maybe you won’t be able to eat the same food or listen to the same music or go to the same places anymore or even hate coming home to your formerly shared apartment, but there is never any ending to Paris. If there is anything that lasts, it will be the love this city has fostered and annoyed many city officials with on its lock-covered bridges.