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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Paris is nice but it’s not Highland Park

Carolyn Molina has found it hard to get sympathy from friends and family when she talks about being stranded in Paris with her twin sister and mom. The women who operate Highland Park-based Oilcloth International were scheduled to leave Paris last Friday when their flight was canceled after volcanic ash spewing across Europe disrupted air travel. They are now scheduled to return on April 25, spending their extra days at the Luxembourg gardens, strolling the city streets and snapping photos, including the cafe scene above. Doesn’t so bad. But the trio – which includes sister Anjelica and mother and company president Cardie Molina – must be out of their Parisian apartment by April 22. “The Euros are quickly adding up” to pay for the extended vacation and hotel rooms jammed with other stranded visitors. In addition, back in Highland Park, only two employees remain to run the wholesaler of colorful oilcloth, said Carolyn via email:

“We are quickly approaching our busiest season and while we’ve
been vacationing we have only a few trusted employees running the company back in LA. In Paris we can tweet and blog, my mother can answer urgent emails, but the majority of work has fallen on the shoulders of a few extremely hardworking people in northeast LA. At Oilcloth International we pride ourselves on quality customer service, we actually have real people answering phones and emails, we miss and love our work.”

The woman, who live in Eagle Rock, just want to get home. In the meantime, 24-year-old Carolyn Molina, who runs the company’s blog and communications, is writing about their extended vacation on Facebook and Twitter. Click on the link below to read Carolyn’s full account of their longer-than-planned Parisian stay in a story titled “An Eastsider in Paris.”

Carolyn Molina, 24.

Communications Director at Oilcloth International, Inc.

An Eastsider in Paris

We departed from LAX in the early morning hours of April 2, 2010. My mother had generously decided to take my twin sister and I to Paris for what we thought would be a two-week vacation. We planned to share an apartment off the Seine river with 4 of our American friends. Over the course of our trip we explored Paris; we made an effort to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Museum d’Orsay, and the Tuileries, all beautiful. We also have friends participating in an exchange program here in Paris at Beaux-arts so we were able to attend local art shows, house parties, bars that remind us of our favorite NELA hangouts and really experience a living and breathing city.

We were scheduled to fly home to Los Angeles via American Airlines on Friday, April 16th, unfortunately our flight ended up being one of the first to be canceled. The night before our scheduled departure, after packing our luggage, in the midst of preparing a farewell dinner, we received an email from a friend referencing a volcano in Iceland. Having been almost totally unaware of the situation we quickly turned on the news, soon after that we received an email from American Airlines informing us that our flight for the next morning had been canceled. Since then our flight has been repeatedly canceled, we’ve had great difficulty reaching AA offices in order to reschedule our return flight. Regardless of our original return date the system places us at the end of the line for a flight back home. We’ve been informed that Air France has taken precedence over American Airline flights leaving CDG. As of today, our return flight is scheduled to leave CDG April 25th, more than a week after our original return date.

We’ve been fortunate enough to prolong our stay in the apartment until April 22nd; however, this still leaves us homeless for almost 4 days- if our flight even departs as scheduled. In the meantime we are thankful for the comfort and familiarity of the apartment, however the Euros are quickly adding up. We are in the process of securing a hotel room or apartment but most are booked and/or have dramatically increased their daily rates. With the cost of lodging, food and transportation we are way over our expected budget. It is hard not to feel like we are stranded in Paris. While some people back home are unable to comprehend our frustration with the situation, “boohoo you’re ‘stuck’ in Paris!” the reality of our circumstances is maddening. We are spending money we did not plan for, miss our friends and family and have absolutely no control over when we can leave. The event is unprecedented, officials are seemingly uninformed and we feel somewhat abandoned.

My mother is the President of Oilcloth International, a wholesale company located in Highland Park. Both my sister and I have worked there for years. We are quickly approaching our busiest season and while we’ve been vacationing we have only a few trusted employees running the company back in LA. In Paris we can tweet and blog, my mother can answer urgent emails, but the majority of work has fallen on the shoulders of a few extremely hardworking people in northeast LA. At Oilcloth International we pride ourselves on quality customer service, we actually have real people answering phones and emails, we miss and love our work.

We have decided to make the most of our time in the city of lights. A picnic in the Luxembourg gardens was our own Coachella, crowds of people lying in the grass, basking in the sun. We took a leisurely walk through the promenade plantee, an elevated garden that runs through the bustling city. Visited La cinematheque francaise, a building designed by Frank Gehry. We continue to eat good food, drink wine and stroll the city streets.

Photo by Carolyn Molina/Twitpic



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