Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Memories of France: Hell Hole High

7 years ago, I participated in a summer study abroad program in Lyon, France. This happened during my fabulous college days at the University of Saint Thomas. I was the ripe age of 24, thought I knew EVERYTHING, of course, because well I did. This trip was a huge undertaking for me, my family, and all those around me. You see I was only 2 years out from being hospital bound from my illness, I still was receiving IV treatments on a regular basis, and every day was a chance I took, a risk of possibly not making a full 24 hours without a relapse. But I knew EVERYTHING, and knew I would be just fine, despite the mini heart attacks I gave my parents and doctors while planning this adventure to leave off on my own and go live in France for the summer. I was DONE letting that stupid disease run my life, and so I jumped in the drivers seat and took off.


The whole group being Welcomed by the Lyon officials

Traveling abroad was a wonderful and enlightening experience for me. I learned so much about other cultures and more importantly about myself. I met some wonderful people, whom otherwise may have not entered my life, had I not taken the chance and jumped on that jet plane to France. I buddied up with a fabulous woman while in France who I will call B. We did not know each other before taking this trip to France, but quickly developed a life long friendship that not only carried us through the trenches of Europe, scared to death about having to spend a night in the park, or getting kicked out of a pub by a seniors group, or getting dumped off at a train station even the Little engine that could would be scared of, but rather a friendship that can outlast marriages, births of children, life accomplishments and Fat Tush's! Yep that is friendship my friends!


Those bushes behind me were briefly going to be my "blanket" for the night, you would think I might not have such a smile on my face right?

Recently I was looking through some memorabilia in hopes of possibly starting that scrapbook from my travels through Europe and France, might i remind you that this was 7 years ago and these goodies are still "waiting" to be scrapped! Ooops. I came across several of the emails that I sent home from France during my stay. The school that we stayed at was a Lycee, and I will define in short form that this means high school age children, students, attending classes here where we early and mid 20's age college folks were staying. French versus American. The tension was fabulous!


Classic pose everyone has if they visit Paris

While looking through memories recently, I cam across this email I sent home to all my friends and family during my stay abroad. I pissed all over myself while reading it. I remembered exactly how I felt when it was going down and then when I took the mtime to share it with my family and friends. I had a sort of go with the flow vibe rocking while living in France. Nothing I planned turned out to be how I thought it would be, or how it would go down. So I stopped planning anything and just went with life as it came at me. This took me on so many adventures in Europe that I might not otherwise have never encountered. Some of it lovely some of it awful, but all of it amazing and an experience I would never change! Enjoy this funny first hand tale of one of my weekends in France, summer of 2003, completely unedited and here in the exact manner my friends and family received!

"so as you know i stayed in Lyon this weekend. well most of the students left, in fact they are still not back today Tuesday because of the strike. trains are not running. 3 of the girls jumped on the back of a train and rode on the outside so they could get back to class. we had no idea where the other students were until today because we are not allowed to use phones or computers over the weekend...which brings me to my story. we were told it was no problem to stay here at the dorms over the weekends. well apparently that was another big fat lie. we went off on a fantastic shopping spree on Saturday like most women would enjoy. after walking up the gigantic hill which i have now learned is a mountain and the wrestling with the automatic gate which is not automatic we finally enter the courtyard of our hell hole high school. all we could think of was the wonderful hard mattress at the top of the 8 flights of stairs and the wonderful no air conditioning. upon arrival we learned that the school decided they wanted to lock all the doors in the building and let us sleep in the stairwell. now you know that went over real well with 3 women who had just returned from a day of shopping and mountain climbing {with our packages of course} boy we were pissed so we did the following"

1. went to the phone booth and promptly called the states looking for the phone number to this hell hole facility because of course the phone numbers were up the 8 flights of stairs lounging in our no air conditioned rooms behind locked doors. that failed

2. went to the bar we frequent and said we need help, tried to speak french that was funny. lady tried to help us by calling information and getting phone numbers of the school, unfortunately we don't know the last names of anyone here. not only that but the school was deserted, who were we going to call we don't even know if phones exist on campus because we are forbidden to use them. stupid Americans cant use anything those fat asses who are always in line first at meals and eat like pigs. oh sorry when there is actually meals and that's a whole other story. again this attempt failed

3. we called an American student we met at a restaurant and left a frantic message on her answering machine telling her we were not freaks but we wanted to invade her home use her free toilet and sleep at her place. we then encountered the problem of not being able to give her a return phone number because us stupid Americans cant have access to the phone or computer. this attempt failed as well

4. ate a block o cheese ( Ah let me please insert here that this was a daily ritual for me while in France)

5. found a nun this attempt worked

the 350 16 year olds have returned today. you see they were not here yesterday and we were grateful. what we did not know was that yesterday was a holiday. the school remained closed no food for us fat Americans. also town was closed. we are still not sure what holiday we just encountered.the hours are bizarre here. you can only eat from 12p to 1p for lunch the stores and restaurants close from 2 to 6, you can only order something to drink until 715pm when the gate opens and dinner starts and runs to 8pm. this is not at the school this is in town. hours never stay the same either. people here just decided when they want to do something at any given point screw everyone else.

so i hope you enjoyed hearing about my weekend! having a blast in France wish you were here! you could join in the journey up the mountain!!!! hahhahahahahahaha"

1 comment:

Tell me something Fabulous...

Blog Widget by LinkWithin