One "Busy" Weekend

I really did not want to get up this morning when my alarm went off. Ever been asleep, and your alarm goes off, and you just know it went off when you were in the wrong part of your REM cycle? That’s what happened to me this morning… Sheila and I got up and watched the new episode of Grey’s Anatomy while we ate breakfast, then we got ready and met up with Kyle for lunch. While getting ready, I exchanged my train tickets for Tours for another weekend. It ended up being about 20 euro more expensive than my original tickets (not counting the 12 euro I lost in the transaction for switching the tickets so close to my travel time), but there wasn’t much I could do about that. Kyle wasn’t feeling Carrefour like our customary plans, so we thought about going to our usual Chinese place instead. I’d mentioned that the Vietnamese/Pho place on the corner smelled really good the other night when I passed by it on my way home, so we thought we’d try it. Sheila and I had Pho, and Kyle had a rice and meat plate (he’d never had Pho before, and meant to try some of ours, but never got around to it). It wasn’t as good as the Pho we’d had when we were with Suzannah a couple weeks ago, but it was still pretty good. We talked a lot about how their mission of making me a bit more laid back (turning me into Laid Back Claire as opposed to Uptight Claire) was turning out to be a success, and joking about how between that and the fact that the way I dress has changed a lot since I’ve been in France, my poor boyfriend won’t recognize me when I get home. This lead to a conversation about how I used to wear a lot of tie-dye (giant collective face-palm from Kyle and Sheila), and how my hair has been both pink and green at different times (bigger face-palm). They both said they wanted to make adjustments to my closet when we get home to make sure I don’t revert back to my old ways. When I gently mentioned that my boyfriend fell in love with what he calls “Hippie Claire,” they said they weren’t sure if they needed to keep working on me, or if they needed to show him what he should find “attractive.” We headed off to the area where one of my ancestors lived in the 14th arrondissement to go visit the Catacombs with Sweet Briar shortly after that…

We got to the area right on time despite having a little argument over what method of transport (RER vs. strictly Metro) would get us there quicker. Once we found Moira, we found out that the Catacombs were actually closed for the day because of a problem with the ventilation system. It’s the middle of November, it’s not like we really needed air-conditioning (which is what the little paper on the door of the Catacombs said), but it had a bit more to do with making sure that we all didn’t breathe in too much… dead people fumes, I guess… We ended up going to the nearby McCafé that Sheila and I had visited a couple days ago with Kyle, Denzel, Max, Rucy, Katie, and a group of other people to get something warm to drink before we all ended up parting ways. Sheila and I went home for a while and got dinner before we met up with Kyle to head over to Joan’s for a sort of “kick-back.” Before that, I got a chance to Skype my boyfriend and break the bad news of all of the style changes that are being “forced” upon me. Much to my surprise (and a little to my horror), he was happy! I guess it really is time for me to grow up and be Sophisticated French Claire who dyes her hair auburn red instead of fire-engine red… We had plans to go back to Joan’s on Saturday for a dinner party (as opposed to going out to eat), so we brought four bottles of wine total with us this time, two red, and two white along with the supplies to make the white wine cocktail that we all like so much. I made that, and we found out that was even better with a little raspberry syrup added to it. I didn’t have too much of it, only three glasses which was maybe a glass or a glass and a half of wine all night. Joan had invited that Alex guy (the French one that got us into that high school party we crashed a while ago), and none of us really like how he treats her. The first thing he said when he got to the party was “can I invite 30 more people?” REALLY?! We had more than enough people there that night… Me, Sheila, Kyle, Rouge, Sharon, Joan, Joel, Alex and his friend, then Rucy, Katie and Caitlin got there later on. That was more than enough…

We lost track of time, and Sharon and I left around 1:35 AM to attempt to take the metro home. Everyone else had either left earlier, or in the case of Kyle, Rouge and Sheila, they opted to spend the night on the couches. Sharon and I made it to one of the metros near Joan’s place (not the closest one, but we found a metro, that’s all that really mattered) and it was still running. It was line four, which wasn’t going to get me anywhere near home, so I planned on making a transfer at Châtlet to get to line one. By the time I got to the platform, I realized that line one wasn’t running anymore. The metro itself may close around two AM, but line one really stops running around 1:15. I still needed to get home, so I check the area plan to find the nearest bus stop headed to my area. I had always thought that the nocturnal buses only ran for an hour after the metro closed, but that’s not the case, they run the entire night. Finding the bus stop for N16 wasn’t hard at all… but when I got to it, I realized that it wasn’t headed in the direction that I needed… Normally, in any other part of Paris (or so it seems), the other direction for the same bus line can be conveniently found on the opposite site of the street from wherever you are. This is not the case around Châtlet and the Hôtel de Ville area. When I got a chance to view another area map at the bus stop to find the other direction of N16, I found that it was a street up, and a couple blocks away, so off I went. Despite the fact that it was about 2:15 in the morning by this point, and I was hopelessly alone, I wasn’t at all scared or nervous. This was definitely a more “awake” area of Paris than where I leave, but I felt like I was in control of what I was doing, and I could handle myself for the most part. As I kept walking up Rue de Rivioli trying to find this bus stop, I passed about three “stops” for taxis, and I definitely considered stopping there to call one. My ultimate reason for continuing down the road was the fact that I wasn’t carrying any cash with me and I wasn’t sure if a taxi would take my card, they’re terribly expensive as it is, taking the bus is free, and I knew this was a wonderful opportunity for me to grow up, so I might as well take advantage of it. After walking for about 10 minutes, I found the bus stop, and it happened to also service N11, which is the line that Kyle has to use. N16 doesn’t exactly go to Louise Michel, and I’ve only been by the place I’m supposed to get off of that bus once, but N11 goes to Porte Maillot, and I knew how to get home from there, so I opted to use that line. A couple nice guys at the bus stop that were on hold with a taxi company offered to let me go in the taxi with them when it came, but I declined. I figured the bus would get me home fasted, and it did. I got home at about three in the morning.

Sheila left me a note that said she and Kyle took the morning metro home and made it around 6:45. We ate our breakfast around noon. We met up with Kyle to have a late lunch from Carrefour around two, then we headed to the Monmartre area to meet a friend of Kyle and Joan’s who graduated from their school last year who was visiting. Kristen is currently living and teaching English in Toulouse. We got pretty well lost trying to find Moulin Rouge just to take a picture in front of it, but we found it after walking around for about an hour… we had to take the metro to get to it. It was relatively nice out all the time we were lost, but when we came out of the metro, it was pouring rain!

Kristin didn’t have her umbrella with her, so I loaned her mine. We parted ways for the time being, Kristen went back to her hotel, the rest of us went back to our place so I could give Kyle the Twitter lesson he wanted. On our way home, we stopped by Carrefour again to pick up the supplies I needed for dinner tonight: gluten-free pasta, chicken, and creme fraiche. After we rested at our place for a while, we headed back over to Joan’s for the dinner party. We all met Kristin at the metro stop, and walked to Joan’s from there. Rucy and Caitlin were already there, and they’d brought a friend of Rucy’s from her college. Joan and I got cooking, and after about 30 minutes, we sat down and ate. We had duck with honey sauce (Rucy brought frozen duck fillets, the sauce was the suggested serving method written on the box), the chicken with balsamic vinegar that Mme. Remion made for me back in Tours (everyone said it was pretty good, so it sounded like I got it right), gluten-free pasta, normal pasta with a pesto sauce, and some peas. It was a pretty big success, all in all. We played some King’s Cup after that, then all of us headed home. Rouge’s house was pretty full, so she didn’t want to go back home, and she came home with us instead to spend the night.

Sunday was spent relaxing and doing homework. Sheila and I had breakfast at about 10, then we went back to our rooms to relax and do our own thing. I Facetimed my mom and had to deal with some unforeseen complications with my housing when I go back to my normal college, so I’m hoping I can get things worked out before I got back since I really don’t want to live in the dorms ever again… and I definitely can’t do that with Noah. The worst case scenario I thought of was that I might still be assigned a dorm that I won’t use when I go back, and that’ll go away once I can clear things up in person (there’s a whole process to this at my college), but a couple other people I’ve talked to brought other possible outcomes to my attention. I might be “forced” to actually LIVE in that dormitory for Jan Term, or potentially the entire semester. I suppose that’s one way to make me actually go insane… I managed to get the very basic “sheet” done for my scenic designs, and I’m going to take it to Sweet Briar tomorrow to have multiple copies made so I don’t have to keep doing it over and over again in case I mess up. I kept reading a bit more of Le Malade imaginaire and realized that I could cut out all of the entre-acts, and that I’d forgotten that the play was only three acts long. This assignment (the cutting of scenes and trimming of dialogue) to get the whole show to be about an hour long shouldn’t be all that hard. Madame came home around 6:30, and we had dinner together. She heated up the other two Picard meals that were in the freezer for us and had a little something else for herself since she said she wasn’t very hungry.

I really could use some cheering up… I have to hope everything works out with my housing situation when I get back to America. I’ve been having enough school-related trouble recently, this is just taking the cake. Forcing myself to find a bus stop at 2:30 in the morning in the center of Paris is an exercise in growing up. Being forced to live in a dormitory without your beloved dog, and to eat low-quality cafeteria food that’s been known to give you gluten-bombs in the past (for the record, yes I did try to use my Celiac Disease to get off campus, and I was told my case wasn’t severe enough) isn’t an exercise in growing up, that’s just torture.

Comme nos intérêts, nos sentiments diffèrent. Corneille: La Mort de Pompée

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