The last four days have been a whirlwind for me. While I’m very much blessed to experience all that I have, I swear I expected none of it and I’m not sure if I’d go through some of it again if I had the choice. I’ll catch up on my blogging in the next few days, but I’ll try to at least give an overview today. One thing I will say before I start unloading on here is that when I decided to come on this trip, I was primarily seeking exposure to ways of thinking and problem solving that would expand my realm of possibilities. Although I love studying racial disparities and issues, it never crossed my mind that I could be walking in on a real life social experiment of my own about how blacks are treated in Europe. I’ve been in 3 countries in the last 4 days, and what happened to me Saturday in France is still resounding very loudly in my mind, heart, and spirit. I don’t know if this is really new to me or if the language barriers and inability to go home and destress with people that love me makes it a whole new unbelievable experience…
After lectures, we spent some time in the city centre of Strasbourg. Got invited to a Slavery Abolishment Celebration, then argued with a cohort about the point of the book I’m reading, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, even though she’s never read it but her boyfriend saw the movie and I guess told her enough about it to feel like she could enlighten me, who has seen the movie at least twice and had read a third of the book by then. Had some nasty azz non-fulfilling dinner that makes me wonder where my program fee is going while all the patrons around us ate food that looked amazing and then sought out for some fun. Ended up getting doused with water by some French teens, going to a wack dance club to try to feel better, then being the revolutionary third of the black girl quest to save a group of naive or stupid or a combination thereof girls from a stoned stalker who hates Americans and minorities, which includes women and coloreds, both of which I am proudly. Yes, if it can happen, it definitely will if I’m around, even when I’m a daggum innocent bystander.
Got up early, got packed and ready to go to Baden Baden, Germany, so that I could catch a flight to Rome, Italy. Was irritated by melanin-limited people who want to run everything and a RANDOM unidentified huge guy who locked us out of OUR bathroom. Found that so far, I’m loving Baden Baden the most of all the cities. Missed my mom very very much but found a tiny bit of solace in finding a really nice cafe in downtown Baden Baden and getting an actual ham and cheese croissant and a yellow flower for being a girl and being helped by a waitress who was NICE and wasn’t offended by our limited German. Found out that you have to go for the gold and get in where you fit in to board planes in Europe. After missing trampling by mere inches, got to Rome safely and found that Italian men evidently like my shade of blackness and that some Italian women are extreme haters. Then walked half a kilometer uphill to get to the hotel through the urban set of the beginning of The Wiz (graffitti, random park, and all) b/c someone thought it was a good idea to skip calling a cab… Found the hotel was nice, was happy about that, then became sad once more to find out that real Italian pizza is not my thing… Went to sleep happy I was in Rome though.
Got up, ate free breakfast in the hotel then ventured off for a full day of Rome. Stopped at a souvenir shop close to the Vatican and got a few trinkets and some postcards without realizing I don’t know people’s addresses by heart. I went to the Vatican first and was OVERWHELMED by the awesomeness of the artistry, architecture, history, spirituality, and overall beauty. Had a nasty azz lunch (not doing too well with Italian food so far which is crazy since it’s one of my faves in America) at this side cafe, but got some chicken to replace my disappointing meatballs. Went to the Coliseum and cried the entire circumference (due to personal reasons–I know… The older I get, the less in control of my emotions I am. I’m striving to return to my days of just cutting folks off…) then walked around and saw a monestary and so many other just beautiful structures that are just a part of the city. Then went to the Spanish Steps and sat for awhile. Had a pretty good dinner at an Italian restaurant where I had Sicilian Steak and a capaccino and very very interesting conversation with a couple from England. Ended the night discussing the convo with my cohorts and listening to some good ole Raheem.
Got up early for some more free breakfast, tried to get to the City Centre in time to get our bags checked so that we could venture out for some more sight seeing before our charter bus was to take us to the airport. Ran out of time and just explored the area. Saw some girl who almost won Charm School on MTV (gave her hopefully good directions). Ate a Mickey D’s cheese burger and found that just like in America, they take a super long time if you say no anything. Had a really really smooth and relatively quick trip back to Strasbourg (now that we were ready for the boarding process) and finally ate a good dinner in the city. Saw two of our professors on the way back to the Chateau and started sharing our amazing time in Rome with them, and now I’m sitting here typing on this here blog.
I put more details than usual for an overview so that I would remember to come back and tell each and every good (or bad) story in detail. I swear I’m okay so don’t be out there worrying. Besides not having my hair done now, I’m just as Ranada as Ranada can be. 🙂 I’m smiling in cyberspace and in real life. Oh and be patient with me since I don’t have immediate internet access. Trust and believe I won’t forget any of this before I get to chronicle it. Keep praying for me! One week down, two to go!
6 thoughts on “A Whole New World… Or is it??”
glad you are coming back cuz i have SOO many questions!
i’m in prayer for all your situations (good and bad) that they will continue to mold you into the wonderful person you already are!
Missed you soooooo much this weekend but really excited you’re having a good trip. Continue to enjoy yourself, hun. We’ve got hugs and love waiting for you when you get back!
Soror, we have never met but are kindred spirits. I am very proud of you and thank you for the emails and blog. Stuck behind a desk, I can live vicariously through you. I want to encourage you and let you know that my prayers and thoughts are with you. Keep the faith.
I graduated from Tougaloo in 1990 and had the infamous Dr. Jerry Ward as my English professor. He introduced me to world of literature unlike any other, and I’m sure you are learning that no words can truly explain the priceless Tougaloo experience. The Spook Who Sat by the Door was one of my favorite reads. I have to laugh every time I think of the book. Once I started the book, I didn’t want anything to hinder my reading. So determined to complete it, I took it to my husband’s gig in a backward Alabama town. Only one of two African Americans (the other was my husband) in the sea of “melanin-limited” people, I sat there boldly reading The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Glued to the book, it took me a while to notice that people openly showed their distaste for my selection. I ignored it, but my husband nervously mentioned the looks. I just laughed and told him, “They’ll be okay; I’m almost done.”
All that said, hang in there and continue to be blessed by your experiences. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 KJV).
i agree! these experiences will definitely mold you and make you an even mo’ amazing person! hey, nothing like a good steak after a stressful day, so good to hear you still know how to treat yourself realz nice!
La haine n’a pas de frontières. (Hatred has no boundaries.) Although my world was never as expanded as yours, I read enough to know there is no escape from prejudice and hatred. That is one reason for exposing you to the realities of slavery and Jim Crow. One of the greatest military minds ever, Toussaint L’Ouverture, died in Fort de Joux after his betrayal and imprisonment. His crime was loving Haiti and wanting freedom for his people. When we shed tears over the human condition, we shed them not just for ourselves but for all “people of color” everywhere. Your sadness when it slaps you in the face is understandable; however, I know it will only strengthen your resolve. Soyez forts, une jolie.
Sending hugs your way.
Remember, hatred rears many ugly heads. You have been placed there to tell a story. Find out what it is…
I am proud of you.