Et Merde.

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Waiting at Ottawa Airport

Waiting at Ottawa Airport

In the Plane

In the Plane





Mark Discovering French Magazines

Mark Discovering French Magazines





Et merde. Pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong—not in a major way (we did make it to France) but in a series of small annoying ways.

It all started in Ottawa, where the airport was jam-packed with travelers. Because of the massive snowstorm on Sunday, a lot of people were bumped to Monday flights, which translated into a very long lineup to check in and get our boarding passes and then to go through security. We were not able to take advantage of automatic check-in because my long name was cut off by the computer and thus did not match the name on my passport. Silly.

Ottawa-Toronto. Mark passed out and woke up when we landed. Perfect timing.

In Toronto, we had to go from one terminal to another and they were far apart, plus the gate number kept on changing. We waited patiently until the flight to Paris was about to board. We were in a new terminal where ”luxury” seemed to be the main theme—forget about grabbing a quick bite, but there was a Victoria Secret store, a Longchamp outlet, etc. We felt a bit out of place actually!

Eventually, boadring started.

”Alright, you get Mark and your bag and I get the rest,” Feng said. ”Dont forget your laptop!”

I froze. ”Tell me you have the laptop.”

”I dont.”

We looked at each other. ”Fuck!”

Feng ran back to the first gate where we had waited before it changed. I started sobbing like an idiot. It is just a laptop but… it is my laptop. I have everything on it, work, blog, writing… everything. Oh, I have backups. But still. It is my laptop, the only material thing I care about—it is a work tool, my lifeline to the outside world, carefully customized to my needs and yes, I have genuine versions of most softwares.

Meanwhile the Toronto-Paris flight was boarding.

Feng came back a few minutes later, out of breath but empty-handed.

”I don’t know Juliette, I don’t know. I am so sorry, it was my responsibility. We must have left it at the gate when we arrived from Ottawa.”

This was the most logical explanation. I had waited at the gate with the bags and Mark while Feng had gone to retrieve the stroller. I had assumed Feng had put it under the stroller, with Mark’s diaper bags.

We had no choice, we either had to board the plane or miss it. We explaned the problem to the gate agent. He made some calls and advised us to board. ”I will take care of your laptop miss,” he promised. ”If I find it, I will keep it for you.”

We were the last ones to board the plane… and we were stuck on the tarmac for a good hour and half due to some issues deicing the wings. I kept on hoping my laptop would be found and rushed to the plane but it did not happen.

The flight was long but fairly quiet even though the plane was full. Mark slept most of the time on my lap (he doesn’t fit in the baby carrier anymore, as I have just found out!). I tried not to think about my laptop and go with it. Shit happens and in the grand scheme of things, it is just a laptop. It’s not going to ruin the trip.

We landed in Paris, went through immigration (a two-minute chore, no questions asked and no paperwork to fill out… got to love European lax borders!) and went from Terminal E to Terminal F for the final leg of the trip, the flight to Nantes.

Once again, the flight was delayed: a passenger hadn’t shown up and his bag has to be taken off the plane.

We finally made it to Nantes at 2 p.m., tired but overall happy.

Once home, I checked my emails. Apparently the guy at the gate did find my laptop and there could be a chance I’d get it back when we fly again through Toronto in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I had a similar situation once, just that it was my cellphone which I forgot at the security check in London-Heathrow. Hell, that will never ever again. I can imagine how stressed out you were.
    Glad to hear the flights went uneventful albeit delayed. Enjoy your time with the family in your former home country :).

  2. Zhu, I felt so sorry about your laptop! But you have just the right mindset: it’s just a laptop. Anyway I can imagine your relief when you knew it had been found!

    Maybe this is a sign, forget work and online stuff, disconnect, enjoy the season, your family and friends, and recharge for new year!

    Best wishes!

  3. Oh gosh ! Hopefully they keep your laptop safe at the airport. French customs are awesome ! Cool and lax! Last time, i had one full bottle of red wine in my bag and they refused to let me take it in Paris but they let chug it while going through the metal detector thingie lol

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