Les Semaines Supplémentaires en France

June 12, 2018

How much is too much for an antique pocket watch? I’ve now discovered that €230 is too much no matter how pristine and well-maintained it was. It was jewel encrusted, though… Maybe it would have been worth it. However, despite my best efforts, antiques evaded me throughout my hunt and I returned defeated but somehow having purchased PopRocks to my delight.

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June 13, 2018

The source of previously mysterious bug bites may have been discovered. I somehow managed to spot a single flea in my room. Only one, confirmed by the two and a half hour search I subsequently launched to root out any surviving relatives of my tormentor. In other news, truffade is as great as theory posits. A giant pan of bubbling cheese and potatoes is a hard thing to ruin in my eyes and I was not disappointed. However, the other end of our table was extremely loud to the point that other patrons were leaving the restaurant. Then, when someone on our end laughed, they tried to tell us to be quiet because we were making people angry. We were? No, my dear, that’s you. So far I’ve found I have the most fun when I’m not with everyone else especially not all of them. It’s just too much.

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June 16, 2018

I have officially become the first person descended from the Rossignol line to not only return to Europe but also to visit the town we used to live in. Dr. Bass had been planning on taking me to see it since I mentioned my family was from the area during the application process, so off we went along with Dr. Winston and Dr. Bass’ friend, Jacques, who was visiting from Bordeaux. I can’t say that I was expecting them to have a tourism office, but I was glad they did. In a somewhat creepy turn of events, they even had a projection of Queen Margot (Marguerite de Valois) in the basement that talked about the history of the region and her imprisonment there. It was unsettling but interesting to see. We walked throughout the village, visited the church, looked through the cemetery though I knew none of my ancestors would be buried there. We don’t really do organized mass burial sites because enemy groups tended to do that to us, so a private burial in a pre-chosen special place is the tradition. The village is built on and around a large hill and there’s a statue of Mother Mary on the top to which we climbed. However, on the way back down I managed to slip on the loose dirt (I really shouldn’t be climbing in shoes. I need to be barefoot to get traction.) and land in a cheer split on the side of the hill. Nice.

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June 18-19, 2018

Cheese in a cave. We saw it, I ate it, it was great. For context, as a group, we toured one of the dairy farms from which St. Nectaire cheese comes. We saw the cows (including some 10-day old calves being taken off for slaughter which broke my heart more than a little), a 3D short film including pictures and historical accounts of the area, and toured the caves where they prepare the cheese. Great cheese, 10/10. However, such a great excursion had to be followed by a disaster which came in the form of le Chaîne des Puys. I was originally going to opt out of the trip because I knew my lung wouldn’t handle hiking a volcano as was the first plan. However, when the plan was changed to hiking DOWN the volcano instead, I decided to give it a shot. That was mistake number one. The plan was misconstrued and actually entailed several long bouts of hiking very much upward, climbing three volcanos in le chaîne, and me twisting my knee terribly (because I REALLY shouldn’t be climbing anything in shoes when I can’t get traction) and returning with seemingly permanent discoloration due to volcanic rock opening the skin and ash remaining under it. Gross. Never again.

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June 21-22, 2018

There I was, just enjoying the Fête de la Musique and listening to a guy play what I’m pretty sure was Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend on a ukelele in front of the looming cathedral at like 11:00 at night when Pierre announces his surprise weekend return from Germany to visit his mother who then prompted him to drop in on me. So I, of course, had to march across the city to the bus stop to find him and then the rest of the night was a blur of dive bars I hadn’t seen previously and a confusing muddle of musical instruments ringing in my ears. The next morning, I sent him on his way back to his mother and off we Americans went to the lake. Important info: prior to this fateful trip, I had never been sunburned in my life. I didn’t tan, I didn’t burn, I was just perpetually the same color. This trip changed that. Whilst avoiding the massive herd of French boys clogging the swimming area, we took out paddle boats, had a picnic, conversed, all while I was toasting without my knowledge. 48 hours later and my back was a deep red-purple hue that had me almost worried enough to use my international health insurance. However, that would require time spent at the hospital and my French is likely not good enough to go alone in which case I would be wasting a professor’s time as well. It didn’t seem worth it and it was never really painful at all anyway which I found odd, but I took it as a comfort and finished my trip with a discolored back and questions about why everyone always complains about sunburns.

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