Levi was absolute in his warning: I was not, under any circumstance, to allow myself to believe that we would be sent to Paris. I could not hope for it, believe in it, imagine myself dressed smartly, sitting at outdoor cafes, eating baguettes and all.that.cheese.

Whatever. I bought My Life in France and took the time to look up all those French words. (I was prepping myself to learn French). I imagined a picture of the three of us (thin and smartly dressed) smiling wildly under the Eiffel Tower. We’d send it out as our Christmas card with the caption C’est le vie…

I couldn’t help myself. I know all about the dangers of getting your hopes up, but I massaged the pipe dream on this premise: I married a lucky, lucky man. Life is almost always on his side.The last time he got called for additional screening at the airport, he missed his flight and they rebooked him direct and first class. When his car broke down in a third-world country, he happened to be in front of the only mechanic within hundreds of miles.

And so I reasoned, what is luckier than getting assigned to Paris? Besides, I know all about the power of intention. I put it into the universe’s capable hands and left it at that.

“Flag Day” itself was a grand emotional ride. When the parking attendant asked me if I was there for the ceremony, I started crying then and there. Then, we all sat together in an auditorium. The table at the front of the room had ninety-five flags on it, and some cruel trick, flag number ninety-five was French. “Rebecca,” Levi reminded me, “we’re not going to Paris. Stop it right now.”

But someone in that room was going to Paris and like I said, Levi’s a lucky man.

So I waited patiently for them to call his name. Djibouti, Riyadh, Montevideo, Moscow, Guanghzou. They weren’t calling his name. Fifty countries down.  Maputo, Port of Spain, Beijing. Seventy-five cities down.

“Five left,” the announcer said. This is when I go nuts. Twenty percent chance we are going to Paris. Levi turned around and looked at me. Both of our faces were a touch red. Then there were only four left. Then only three.

But I miscalculated when I counted on Levi’s luck to make my dream come true.

He’s a lucky man and Senegal was at the top of his wish list.

Le sigh. At least I still get to learn French.