Today's Basque word of the day is "lasai" : take it easy
Well, I arrived Tuesday night to the hair-curling humidity that I call home. Mom, Dad, Mark, and two of my friends met me at the airport. I am really happy to be home, although I am sure my parents would debate how much time I actually spend at home...since I've been back I've either been riding bikes or hanging out with friends.
PART 1: BILBAO
The last week in Bilbao was nice, I met up for the last time with several people I had come to know in town. I tried a blue cheese flavored ice cream with a girl from Oberlin College and had pintxos (tapas) with a guy from Germany. The people at my office threw me a going away party with tons of Iberian jamon (ham).
The journey to Paris was a bit nerve racking. I had to take the local bus to the border . . . which gave me an hour less to get to my train. Despite this, I was still able to jump off the bus and pick up some sweaters I had left in a town 3 weeks ago. The bus driver stopped to go into the dispatchers office. I hurried across the parking lot . . . dragging my fat, fat, fatty, fat, fat suitcase . . . and met up the very lovely woman who brought me my sweaters. We exchanged double kisses and I then ran back to the bus hollering at the driver to not leave. "Where you on the bus before?" "Yes" "Why did you get down?" "I lost some sweaters." "..." "I can show you my bus ticket. " "What?" "I have my bus ticket." "Just get on the bus."
PART 2: PARIS
Two friends from Rhodes met me at the train station in Paris. One of them, Ben, is in Paris for a year studying philosophy and french. The other, Halley, was in London for a summer program on creative writing and had some to Paris for the weekend. Saturday, Ben and I snuck on Halley's group's guided tour of Paris, we then walked around Notre Dame and explored the Latin Quarter. Sunday we went to Versailles . . . which was overwhelming in people and grandiloquence. That night we went up to Monmartre and looked out at the city. Monday, Halley and I went to the cemetery where Oscar Wilde is buried. That afternoon after not being able to sneak into the Louvre I watched Happy Days in French. That night, Ben and I were at a park near his house and I could hear a trumpet player so I followed the sound to see three guys walking down the street making music and collecting coins tossed down from windows. Tuesday morning I climbed the Eiffel Tower as far as they would let me and went to the Rodin Museum and then met up with Ben to go to the Musee d'Orsay. Wednesday I went to the Louvre and took a nap in the ancient Greek section. Oops. I also went to the Saint Chappelle. I walked up the spiral staircase and it was like walking into a story book. The walls are entirely stained glass and cover the history of Christianity. That afternoon I went to a photography exhibit of Henri Cartier Bresson. Google him. I did a presentation about him in my high school photography class so I was thrilled to see his work. That was my favorite museum in Paris. I then decided it was a good idea to walk the 45 minutes back to the Louvre and run through ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in search of the code of Hammurabi. After I went up in a Ferris wheel in the Tulleries garden and got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle.
PART 3: LONDON
Thursday I took the chunnel to London. I walked around from Westminster to Buckingham Palace and then met Ben at the train station. He, I and Halley then all met up across from the Globe Theatre and set our in search of Harrod's. We got lost a few times but finally found the mini-Las Vegas. It has themed rooms and one of the escalators was was done up like an amusement park version of ancient Egypt. Friday we went to Portobello Road, a market street, and then to the British Museum to see the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles. After a cheap 4 pound indian lunch, Ben and I went to the Tate Modern . . . which was awesome. That night we met up with some other kids from Rhodes who came up from Oxford. Saturday we went to Covent Gardens, a photography exhibit, the Imperial War Museum, had a picnic in the rain, and saw some stand-up comedy. Sunday we went to another market on Brick Lane, and then the National Gallery. I then went with Ben to the train station and we exchanged "see you in 12 months" before he caught his train back to Paris. I went back to the National Gallery and outside was a steel drum band competition and a guy teaching the dance to Thriller. Needless to say I joined in the dancing. Monday I went to Westminster and the Victoria and Albert Museum which had a cool exhibit on modern design inspired by fairy tales. That night I went to Old Vic, a famous theater where Lawrence Oliver performed and Kevin Spacey is now artistic director, and saw Shakespeare's "Winters Tale." Tuesday I went to the airport as cheaply as possible, taking the tube and a 7 pound train and it was smooth sailing back to Kansas City.
PART 4: THE END
I have about 2 weeks at home and then its off to Rhodes . . . and the research paper I have to write for the internship. Eww, gross. This semester will be crazy with that, applying to study abroad in Buenos Aires, 3 intense classes for my major, 2 radio shows, my on-campus job, and my penchant for getting involved in environment and human rights action.
This summer has been very different. I have a hard time believing that I was in Europe. It was totally unreal before, during, and after. Its more like its something that happened to someone I know. Memory is a funny thing that way. Humans just really don't have the capacity to understand distance and time. I was in Europe for nine and a half weeks. My friend Ben will be there for another twelve. I was just half a world away and returned in a day. We are like children in that things happen to us and we are no more prepared for that then they are.