Everywhere I’ve been, my people be hustlin!!! I love my people, for real. At the Tour Eiffel, you will find several people, mostly hued people, selling 1 euro Eiffel Tower keychains and other souvenirs, and in Strasbourg, I saw people of color in the plaza selling umbrellas you put on your head. AND today in the plaza of the Louvre, a guy was “fishing” coins out of the wish pool with a magnet. Please understand that I am not at all hating. The only people who got on my nerves were the ones who were preying on English-speaking people by begging with a postcard with words in English. Man, get you a hustle! They are BALLING selling those keychains!
Today was an awesome day. Started off very very very very slow (I hate being inside late), but we ended up going to le cathedral Notre Dame, which was even extra cool because we got there when mass started. And a black priest was leading the service. I prayed, prayed, and prayed in there. Then we went to the Musee Louvre and got info on when to come back. We plan on going tomorrow evening when it’s tres cheap. 🙂 Then we went and saw l’Arc de Triumphe. There’s SO much to see here. Never a boring moment. I love it here. Truly. I can’t believe I’ll be home in 3 days! Well, I’m very drowsy and I still need to get directions for our plans tomorrow. So… A bientot!
Last night after a very turbulent day, we took the Metro to Tour Eiffel and saw it in its lit up and sparkly essence. It was an amazing experience. I never really expected to see the Eiffel Tower in person. I must say I’m a smidge jealous of Europeans because they get educational experiences that they can take for granted. I would love to just randomly know history facts and jog around the Eiffel Tower as if it’s the MLK Center or something. The historical monuments are the absolute best–the architecture is AMAZING and so symmetrical here, and it’s normal for them. It’s normal for people to know more than 1 or 2 or maybe even 3 languages. I wish philosophy and the classics were more included in our education. Even when I was watching The Great Debaters, I was wishing some of those concepts were still “normal” parts of our education. What’s going on with America? We’re okay with not having common knowledge about stuff? We’re okay with letting people stop at Algebra II in their education. We’re okay with people only knowing “American history,” if ou can call the rendition we get in high school accurate. We’re okay with people not being exposed to ideas of thought. If I weren’t inquisitive on my own, even with 3.5 degrees, I’d be even more behind than I feel I am.
Yesterday, I bought two books, and I can’t wait to read them. Both were published by UNESCO. One examines poverty as a human rights issue and the other examines the transition from slavery to general bondage. UNESCO was an amazing place to me, as was the U.S. Mission to the EU and the European Parliament and the European Commission. The way the EU works is so interesting to me because although it works similarly to the US way of doing things, it’s so different all at the same time. It’s very unique how these countries who have been at war off and on forever and ever work together for peace, even sometimes taking national economic hits to make it work. On the EU councils and even at the European Central Bank, the powers that be are prevented from serving their national interests but are charged to make decisions for the good of the entire union. They realize that long term gains come from taking short term risks and even losses. It’s so amazing. There are so many parties here, and there are 3 huge ones. I’m going to research those three when I get back. It’s crazy to me that they can get stuff done even though at least 5 languages may be spoken at a meeting so there’s a lag in communication at times. But they make it happen. I’m very very intrigued, if you can’t tell. I’m unfortunately missing the lecture today, which is about how France views the EU. But hopefully, one of my professors will fill me in. Maybe I’ll go check out Notre Dame though. Tomorrow I’m hoping to either visit the Louvre or Versailles. 4 more days and I’ll be hoooooome. I’m actually ready to get home. Honestly, my patience is wearing thin with these strangers. But overall, I must say this trip was definitely worthwhile. I thank God for the opportunity. Ok, I’m out for now.
One thing I’ve pondered from conversation and observation with this group is that everyone wants to be liked in some capacity. No matter if you live somewhere where you park in a parking lot or if you live in Europe where people park on the sidewalk, no matter what kind of hair you have, no matter what language you speak, chances are you spend a lot of your time trying to be included. Besides love, acceptance is a concept that translates in all languages.
Including me. I just want to be loved, like Jill said. I find myself not saying what I want to say or playing nice much more often or trying not to be so literal so that I can figure out what others may mean or think I may mean. I spent so much of my life being a-okay with being a loner and the older I get, the more I crave companionship. I used to enjoy taking myself places (still do but not nearly as much), like dinner, the movies, even concerts every now and then. I’ve even gone on trips and just worried about meeting people when I got there. But now I want someone to share memories with, I want a group of stationary friends, I want to have a definite number to call (besides my mom, who I’m sure I call much more now) when I have a thought to verbalize. Who knew? It’s a quite odd feeling, and I’m not sure if I like being so vulnerable… I remember wondering why I was so weird when I was growing up. There was nothing like a day where I could sit under the tree in our yard or even in my closet and get away and read. And now it seems like I can’t get away from those moments. Is it time or is it just growth or is it just general change? Was there anything wrong with the way I was? Hmm… I don’t think so. It’s definitely much safer.
I would love to move to Europe for a stint. I’m telling you all, Paris is absolutely breathtaking. And between Brussels (the unofficial capitol of the European Union) and Paris, there are so many organizations here that are so relevant to my dreams that I didn’t know about until this adventure. There was a time where I would just make it happen. Find a job, make the plans, and execute. Without regard for any traveling companions. Without wondering who I would talk to when I got here. Now? I kinda think I would want someone to come with me. Preferable a boo, lol, but my mom would be fine too. But she wouldn’t want to leave my brothers, I don’t think. So… I’ll still be on the lookout for a position :), but I won’t be moving abruptly for sure. We’ll see how the wind blows, or where the river takes me, as my new friend BLee would say.
I have other reflections that I’ve written manually since I was away from the computer. I’ll decide if I’ll share. I’ll definitely be back soon for more travel stories though. 🙂