First Days in France


Early June 2001…

It is freaking cold for what they say is summer. Come on, 15 degrees. Though, everything seems so modern. The airport building is made of glass. The place smells clean. And the floor is smooth, I can run and slide.

However, there is a lot of walking involved. The escalator thing is kind of scary. What if my laces get stuck in the machine: It will eat my feet. I am sure someone has died like that. It is even noisy. Why are people looking at us amazed?

The excitement is there. First time consciously taking a plane. First time to Europe. First time to Paris, France. Maybe I will have the chance to meet Zidane or Trezeguet. One thing for sure, my number one mission is to taste a goddamn strawberry. I am sure it tastes like a flower with a lot of sugar.

Haven’t slept much. The trip by car from Accra to Lome, and the binge-watching of the plane’s digital catalog (video clip of Michael Jackson, that guy can dance). I will be needing several days to fully recover. Wait, who am I fooling, an 8-year kid always have energy.

Wake up Earvin… The captain just announced the plane will be landing in a few minutes. You damn ass slept so much, u missed the breakfast.

I woke up tired. Also jaded I missed the breakfast. The meal they served the night before was good so imagine the breakfast. Sigh…

The landing goes smoothly. It is incredible how a plane can so crowded. The airport looks so modern, automated. The luggage takes some time to come through. Maybe they are being inspected.

The train is so modern. I was expecting a train with the choo-choo. The guy with the “accordéon” is offering a sad rendition of Michael Jackson’s repertoire. Switching to a song without going through the best part. Wait. So he is playing on top of a CD track coming out of his big radio thing.

We are passing near the Stade de France, where Zimezine Zidane scored during the grand final against Brazil. The thing is huge. We should get down of the train. He must be training. We have to switch to another train. The trains line seems complicated, Numbers, Colours, Letters, Romi, Mona, Jill

We get down at Ivry Sur Seine. I am in tremendous pain. The apartment is a 10-minute walking. And the bags are heavy. Not mentioning that it is on the seventh floor, no elevator. Well, the decision is taken: I am going to pee on the street. National Safety. The police station is just in front. Hopefully, there is nobody on Sunday there.

There is something off. Why did we need to clean the house before leaving? Why did we bring that much-stuffed luggage? And why did Grace seem sad as if, it was the last time she saw me.

Three months later…

On my second day in CLIN, Ghislaine, the teacher does only explain the exercises in French. That language was made by the devil himself. Sujita and her sisters first eyed me then helped, after seeing that I was not comprehending. We are the same after all, kid freshly removed their family, their daily life, from what they have always known. I am lost, confused, but mostly sad. I miss my school, Christ the King. Grace. My Toys. Eladhji, Mama Franck. Papa Franck. Sista Ma. Uncle Ebo. My Mum.