Life's our oyster and we're gonna suck that bitch down with a champagne chaser.

  • Behavioral Therapist
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part IX - Garden of Felony
So it turns out that the toils of academia tend to interfere with the upkeep of everyone's favorite blog (humor me). This, I should've learned maybe a few years ago when I first experienced barrages of midterms and papers. But I'm stupid. So I didn't. And if any of you are burning to comment on any of my posts, please save your thoughts as my Enetations seem to be in the process of sucking at the moment. I feed off your comments for sustenance...kinda creepy, I know.

'Twas the eve of our final class at the Catholic School. The old, decrepit, unairconditioned facilities which had served as home to our makeshift education would soon be a distant memory.

We felt like we had to spend our last weekend in France by visiting somewhere extra special. Some chose to go to Brussels. Some went to Versailles. Others stayed in Paris. We decided to venture to Giverny, home to Monet's Garden. The trip preparation consisted, of course, of buying train tickets. However, as we would learn later on, the train drops you off in the middle of nowhere and you must then take a bus, taxi or bike to said garden. Since we all know how successful I am on bicycles, and how we are fairly frugal students, it was the bus we depended on. After waiting for about 40 minutes, picnic baskets and hotel sheets in hand (how romantic), sweat on brow, we began to question the existence of this bus. But, it did eventually come rattling around the corner with an elderly French gentleman behind the wheel. And of course, two of our compatriots decided to go rogue and take the bicycle up to the gardens. They naturally arrived before our clanky bus so guess who had to run after them when the bus arrived telling them where we were having our picnic, man-purse slung over one shoulder. Eventually, we all reunited in a particularly illegal spot to have a picnic just adjacent to Monet's House and Garden. The signs surrounding the area which, roughly translated, read, "PICNICKING ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN!" What can I say. We're outlaws.

After disposing (cramming) our 10 or so odd bottles of wine (we're totally sober) in tiny Monet garbage cans and stuffing our makeshift picnic baskets (supermarket bags) on top of those bottles, we headed out for the gardens. Since we took our sweet time getting to Giverny and with our illegal picnic, we had about an hour to get through the gardens and the house. Plenty of time for dumb American students.

Standing there watching the famous waterlilies and bridge which Monet painted....years...ago, was an ethereal experience. Some may say that a garden is just a garden. But this garden, with his house overlooking from the front, was much more than a bunch of plants. I can only say that you could sit on a bench watching the lake and garden all day, without a care in the world...until they kicked you out. Monet's Lake is also the final resting place of my Guess aviator sunglasses, thanks to my friend and her unfortunate elbow. We would ask, against my advice, unsuspecting passing German tourists, who were apparently either in the middle of having a fight or telling each other how much they loved one-another, to take cheesy group pictures of us.

And of course, our illegal activities would continue on the way to the house when two of our over-zealous female compadres would jump over the chain separating the lake and the path to pick flowers. It doesn't take a rocket psychologist (they exist) to tell you that this is a bad idea. Too late though, as two armed (with sticks) French security guards charged at the girls, and we briskly ran away from them, acting as if we had never met these crazy American females.

We had four minutes to have a Monet's House digest and about twenty minutes to catch the last bus to the train from nowhere. It was more than enough. Monet's garden was much more thrilling when compared to Monet's dining table, oven and bed. Although it was eerily interesting to see where the man lived, to see what inspired his painting was far superior. We would get one more picture out of the house and gardens, by one of the guards who had scolded our thieving friends earlier....we made sure they weren't with us when asking for the picture.

Clearly, the guard thought it would be best if he took the picture from 300 meters away....he was wrong. We said farewell to Monet's Garden...we had to since they were kicking us out, bought the obligatory postcards and made our way back to the Shitadines and our final week in Paris.

Coming up in the Conclusion of the Parisian Chronicles: The Big Soccer Showdown, Last Classes and the Final Farewells to Paris

P.S. With all this Paris nonsense, you've seen very few pop culture plugs and references often found on this website. Well, I have a small reason... ok a large reason for many of you to have a geek-gasm. Enjoy.

2:47 AM


Thursday, November 02, 2006  
The Parisian Chronicles: Part VIII - Birthday Bloish
I think I speak for everyone, and by everyone I mean my 3 readers, that these chronicles are getting ridiculously drawn out and have to be wrapped up soon. I mean it's been over 3 months already. Get with the program, me. So I'm going to attempt to wrap this tome of chronicles by Part X in due time.

When I found out I would be going to the quite towns of Blois and Chambord for my 21st birthday weekend, I was thrilled, as anyone in their right minds would be. The only problem was I didn't know what the hell Blois and Chambord were. It basically entailed what a lot of the organized field trips in the program were: long bus rides followed by forced education, mindless wandering and another long bus ride back. We always made it more interesting than it was originally intended. Since soccer fever had hit everywhere in the world except the U.S., it was decided that there would be a soccer match of the language program vs. the global studies program (pansies) near the end of our program. And our first practice would be at picturesque Blois.

I don't know if it was because I was ethnic looking or because I was talking about how awesome the World Cup was but one of the TAs thought I was a soccer star of some sort and made me a team captain. A somewhat foolish choice on his part since I had never actually played soccer in my entire life, unless you count kicking rocks on the sidewalk. No matter, I would pick my team and we a the middle of Blois, France.

It was a motivator for me, however, that one of our professors was playing on the other team in practice and since she had decided to give us a French-load of homework that weekend, I thought maybe a few accidental shin kicks were in order.

My thirst for vengeance was short-lived since I somehow ended up pretty far away from the ball. And when I did get any sort of action in the game, I was fouling someone...

....CAUSE THAT'S HOW I ROLL! In any case, after the wildly successful practice, since I was so embarassingly out of shape, I needed a nap. And I would have to rest up because that night, there would be much excitement to be the light & sound spectacular at Blois Castle. Hang onto your knickers, ladies, cause it can get pretty rowdy at the light & sound spectacle. No flash photography, no talking, no drinking, no eating, no breathing, no sensing, no perceiving, no existing. Wild, raunchy stuff. I won't post pictures of the spectacle so as to not overexcite my audience who may or may not suffer from respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, but trust me, it's highly recommended.

That night, on the eve of my 21st, it was apparently in order that I become unbelievably drunk. Since the bible declares, "Thou shalt not acquire Cirrhosis of the Liver for risk of Jesus throwing a hissy fit," and since I'm a devout Chr-athol-rotestan-ethodis-ologist, I must abide. So when a compadre of mine wanted to "chug beers" with me, I would take a healthy sip then take a break, she would yell at me for stopping, then start talking to someone else, I would switch the cans (hers being nearly empty since she was apparently so well-read in chugging) and we would continue. Wash, rinse and repeat... I hope she's not reading this. I'm pretty sure she's still hungover anyway. Yeah, I'm a pussy. So's yo momma. What I could not avoid was a shot straight from the devil himself. I'll give you a hint, it rhymes with shmequila. Not recommended to anyone who wants to experience sensations ever again. As a result, the next morning I woke up with a smiling headache to greet me.

Lucky for me, I would not be taking part in the bike ride to Chambord since I hadn't ridden a bicycle ever without either falling or dying. So I took the bus, like any self-respecting wimp would. We did stop to see the sunflowers though.

For my birthday in Chambord, we would decide to celebrate more of my inadequacies (if you're keeping track that's three so far: soccer, drinking and bike riding) with the addition of rowing to the list. How charming it would be to take a rowboat around the castle in Chambord. How picturesque. How romantic....

 embarrassing. Who knew it was so hard to move two paddles simulataneously at an even pace. It took me at least 45 minutes to get out of the damn dock thing they had there. And then there was the wall I kind of crashed into....

...and the shrubbery...

...and the pirate ship....

...but no matter. Like much of the trip, it was a learning experience. My seat actually could be used as a flotation device.

Suffice it to say, I could never have predicted how my birthday weekend would come to pass, but a weekend in the countryside of France wasn't half bad. Humiliation builds character, after all. Tequila, on the other hand, does not.

Coming up in Part IX: Mishaps in Monet's Garden

1:04 AM


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