So on the Wednesday night, whilst my mother was sleeping in my room I went around the corner to collect some kebabs for her and I, since it was the first time that she would have them. As I was coming inside from the rain in the dark foyer of the Gallia, I was unlocking the door to go up the stairs when I caught in my eye someone that looked familiar. I thought, wow that girl looks famliar, but it’s impossible that I know her since it’s France. So I decided to do a double take and look again, and it turned out to be Susan Ferrel, my music teaching assistant in first year. I screamed out her name and ran to give her a hug in such a confused moment; what’s up with that? She and I caught up really quickly and it turned out that she had been in France for awhile and was just making a stop-over in Strasbourg for the night.

All of a sudden from the corner I heard someone on the phone, and to my utter surprise it wasn’t some dirty form of French that I’d never heard before, but English coming from a male voice. And before my eyes laid someone who I hadn’t seen in a long time, but was somehow made aquaintence with, Markus! We both sort of stood there looking at each other and smiling and then he said my name, and I said his and I asked what the heck he was doing. I had totally forgotten that he mentioned to me, that he had done a study in Frankfurt the summer before, and since he graduated this year he was going on a huge three month European adventure and decided to come to Strasbourg and be with Susan. I was shocked and appuled, and I begged them to come out to where we were going that night, so I gave them directions on how to get to The Living Room, our local classy establishment. It was perfect because Wednesday is Erasmus night and they’d forsure get in!

So I ran upstairs after catching up and whipped my stuff together to go out, and then headed over with the girls later in the evening to Mosquito. Guess who was at Mosquito, but Markus, Susan and their American friend Brian who dated a girl from Mt.A last year. What funny coincidences, so I finally met Brian and then we chatted for awhile. I was on my third or forth Sangria, post a bottle of wine, so things became a bit tipsy, but they agreeded to come to Living Room with us and we set off for there. The music at The Living Room that night added to the amazingness of the evening; it was a mix beteween popular non-jungle music, with classics like Its Raining Men and Copa Cabana! so we all had an amazing time.

I had a special bonding experience with Vanessa as well, the lovely Columbian girl who along with her friends had been teaching me some Spanish phrases. The most important of all was “¡ Vamanos Perras !” and for all those of whom don’t speak Spanish it means “Lets go Bitches” because apparently all of them were my bitches, go team! I speak with a perfect accent after their help, but anyways we had a special moment this night while at Living Room. We were discussing the goodlookingness of all the people around us, when we developed the word seasoned, I shit you not people; we were calling people seasoned. We are awesome, so from this point forward our connecting phrase was “seasoned,” we are the most amazing people ever.

The music got really amazing and the British people mixed with Columbians was getting tired and I had a ton of energy and lot of drunkness so I found Brian, Susan and Markus right next to the bar dancing and I joined in on them. Now if there is one thing that I can say about each person at this moment…
Susan: Was extrordinarily drunk
Brian: Is a boy from Arkansas, and it’s very obvious by the way he is
Markus: Can dance amazingly, nearly as good as I

So joining them was the most amazing idea ever, and the music just kept getting better and better. It got to a point where Markus and I were actually screaming out, and singing with the lyrics whilst dancing. Music became very intimate in a rap sense, and with that came very, very, very dirty dancing. That went on for a good hour, with a lot of pent up energy released but wow was I happy that they were there. For the record, I regret nothing. I went to the bathroom and came back to them dissapeared, so I was sad but it was okay since it was past four in the morning anyways. Susan, Markus, Charlotte and I had made plans to meet early the next morning for breakfast and coffee, so I went home, took mom to the train station in a drunken rage, and went back to meet the girls, plus Markus.

We walked around, and I was still drunk holding it together pretty darned well, and we discussed all of the things that they had done and what they had seen and what their plans would be. Markus had a train in the late morning, and Susan was leaving the following morning for Paris to go home. We helped Markus get his train ticket to Nice via Lyon and then we saw him off in a teary goodbye thanks to his Eurorail pass that he would be using for the next few months. We accompanied Susan back to the Maison de l’Étudiante and wished her well.

I talked with Charlotte for awhile about Markus’ awesome hiking adventures, and how much I had fun with him and she kept mentioning how much I should go with him. Obviously it was too late and there was no way for me to contact him, so I gave up on the idea and got sad really quickly. I was moping around for the day when I decided that I was going to do something crazy. I went out that next night again and we stayed out late, making it day 5 in a row of being piss drunk with little sleep. The next day I was still moping so in the afternoon I did something really irrational. I got out the phone book and I called every hostel in Nice to try to find Markus, after the 5th one I found where he was, and the lady even went to go get him. I was so afraid that he was going to freak out at me, but he seemed happy to hear from me. I told him that I wanted to meet him there and we agreeded on when; and my mind was put at ease. I was so excited about going to the south, something I didn’t think I’d have a chance to do.

That night I went out and everyone wanted to hear all my exciting plans, and I went home to book the really cheap airfare to Nice from Strasbourg but it was too late. My options were limited because I wanted to go to Nice before he left and I’d have no way to find where he was. So I booked a train ticket to leave in the morning to Marseille, and then to Nice from there. The train ride was going to be about 9 hours total, really long and boring and slightly stressful. Luckily I got on a TGV train for a good price and I was off to find Markus, my hiking adventure. I won’t be able to update until next Friday when I’m in Prague, so I’ll tell you how my irrational romantic hiking adventure goes when I get back!

Getting back to Strasbourg was such a relief, finally being home and not having to worry about where to live and about carrying stuff with me anymore. The only problem that I found was that I would have to commute to Basel for the next two days, which I could live with. I think mom and I needed some space apart anyways because I was getting a bit tired of doing everything due to lack of linguistic backgrounds, and it just became a bit much for me to have to take care of myself, as well as completely someone else. Also I do things at a much faster pace so she was slowing me down, which is fine because I realise she’s older, but like I said it was time for me to go home.

So the night that I got back I called some of my friends to see what was up, and well of course people were going out so I packed the larger suitcase courtesy of aunt Bernice, and then went out for a nice night. We went to Brasseur and then to Salamandre, and it was opressively hot and of course I got excessively drunk so I knew that the next morning was going to be a huge struggle. It was also a surprise to everyone since I came back earlier than expected, but I was sad that when I went to Ginette’s door she wasn’t there and I had missed her leaving by a few hours. Oh well, I tried right?!

I woke up the next morning about as horribly feeling as anyone could feel, but I peeled myself out of bed to head for the train station. Huge fiasco, my ticket wasn’t valid and the conductor got mad, and then I ended up on the wrong train and in Mulhouse, and then I had to take another train heading to Brig coming from Brussels, so all in all it was a panic because the machines wouldn’t let me buy the tickets, but I spent about 20€ more then I should off because of the invalid ticket. I made it to Basel and we went for a walk around to see the city. Wow is there nothing to see. It rained, and we were stuck in this really sketchy industrial area for awhile, and then we managed to make it back to the train station and then we were looking for somewhere to go. We found our way into the old part of Basel which was nice, and since mom wanted to see the university and botanical gardens we went there. The sun was so hot that I was dying and just miserable, but the city hall was really weird looking. One of the weirdest designs for anything that I’ve seen; but it was cool never-the-less. We went back into town and since I had dinner plans with some friends I went back to Strasbourg and mom found some food. I would be back to pick her up in the morning to bring her to Strasbourg to illegially house in my room for the night before her airport bus to Frankfurt.

The journey home was nice, and once again we went out and got piss drunk. I said that I wouldn’t do that because I had to get my mom early in the morning, but of course I did like a horrible person and we went to some nice discos that I hadn’t been to. The next morning was rough as ever, and I made it to Basel late, and mom was there waiting and we headed back to Strasbourg with her to house in my room. I talked to a few of my friends and we had decided that we were going to see the new Pirates of the Carribean film that was out, and my mom would tag along since most people wanted to meet her anyways. So we got back and everything was fine and we had kebabs for the first time for her, and the film was alright nothing to special but after that I had to hide my mom inside and she couldn’t leave because of the security dudes. I had told her previously that it was someone’s birthday so I was going out again, and she just went to sleep. I went over to Becky’s room and drank a bit and then went out and boy was it a fiasco; nobody would let some of the girls in because they were too skanky, and then I saw some people that I didn’t see for awhile, all in all when I came home at 4.45 in the morning, it left me 15 minutes to sleep before having to wake up and take mom to the train station for her bus.

I was still very woozy, dizzy and drunk when lugging all the luggage down the stairs. I swear, if it wasn’t for the hand-rail I would have died, abou 7 times. We rushed to the tram which we barely missed and didn’t even have tickets for because I didn’t have enough change. But eventually we got to the stop and then mom was off, as the sun was rising. Note: the new train station in Strasbourg is really nice!

I struggled home and then went out to meet some friends, but the real story was about last night. I will explain in the next post. Mom made it off alright, and I hope that she made her flight okay in Frankfurt with all that luggage! Anyways, less to worry about now, just find some vacation plans for the next little while.

On our last day in the Swiss Riviera we finally realised that we had nothing to do for the Monday to Wednesday before the flight home for mom departing from Frankfurt. I had been bugging mom to choose where we would go next, because finding accomodations would be absolutely horrid. Well it turned out that it wasn’t so difficult, so since she has no idea about Swiss geography, we decided that we would go to Basel, or Bâle for the francophones. It worked out for me since I only live about an hour away from Basel, and I was getting pretty tired of traveling and wanted to go home.

We went to the counter to give them our key and information and to call Basel to book the hostel for her, it was quite reasonable price for a hostel, and then we were off to the train station to get to Basel. Since none of our cards worked in the machines, we bought our tickets from the guichet and then waited awhile after buying sandwhiches and coffees for the journey. Our train arrived, and we departed from Vevey heading for Basel. The train was really nice and we got our places in a nice comfy section of the train where there was lots of leg room and luggage storage.

The train ride was only about three and a half hours so we had magazines to read, and we basically just talked about the family or other things that we hadn’t caught up on. It proved to work because before we knew it we were even halfway there! The funniest part of this entire train ride was the people that sat around us. Mom had absolutely no idea what was going on because she can’t do the multi-tasking thing like I do, and since I’m super-observant. I was watching everything that was going on around us, and I noticed this handsome younger-looking man sitting a row infront of us facing us in one of those four person work areas. Well it was probably the fact that we were laughing, and speaking in English because he found us to be quite amusing and something nice to look at. It was obvious that he was francophone, because of the way he stares (I’ve learned to tell), but he kept smiling at me and was distracted from his own crossword, due to either our rhukus or my amazing good looks (I jest of course )

So when we arrived in Yverdun-les-Bains (what an awesome name eh?), he started to disembark the train, and I couldn’t help but notice the outright and obvious staring that he was doing up until the point that he actually got off the train. Full turnaround look even whilst going down the stairs, so I laughed to myself mom being clueless of everything, obviously. I just thought it was a hillarious thing, since I never seem to attract positive attention, but somebody was clearly interested, funny that! So to that random guy of whom I will name Yves from this point forward, I didn’t get a chance to say hello to you since I was talking with my mom, but hey! Hope that we weren’t too much of an annoyance on the train for your travels! Keep on truckin’, mate. The train departed and for the next hour or so we passed through German-speaking and French-speaking regions, I could tell by the announcements and the electronic information in each train about the stops. When it said “Prochain arrêt” obviously we are in a French town, and when it says “Nästa halt” I knew we were in a German region.

Arrived at Basel in one piece, in the heat of humidty and had no idea of where we were going. The map proved to be useless because we couldn’t figure out what side of the bloody train station we were on. So we got a drink, and then headed to find mom’s hostel after checking SNCF train times. We made it there after about an hour of walking, and noticing that all of Basel was under construction and difficult for pedestrians. It’s a normal city, nothing really to see or do, but it would do for the next few days. We got our key and moved her into her very backpackers room, and transferred all the luggage to me to take with me so that she only had a little bag.

We searched for something to eat before left on my train, but the only place with something reasonable was a Pizzeria, where they didn’t speak any langauge other than Swiss German. Needless to say we had a horrible time ordering and communicating with the Iranian family that owned the resteraunt. We eventually got our drinks and food and then we ate. It was horribly expensive like everything in Switzerland but then I went off to the train sation to begin my next two days of commuting back and forth from Strasbourg.

The machine was being evil to me at the train station, but I made it back to Strasbourg with no problems except for the customs guards who asked me a million questions about where I lived and such, which was really annoying but they let me by!

Oh how my distain for the Prefecture mounts minute-by-minute. I went in today to see if my paper-work was ready; “Nope sorry, we were waiting for you to tell us to start it”. Uhm okay, so now that I did, it’s going to take 5 weeks at minimum to fabricate my carte de séjour, does this mean… I’m not even going to start.

What bothers me even further is the fact that I sat for 1.5 hours waiting as the numbers slowly went by, and every single person around was either moved ahead of the line, illegially given papers, or something of low-merit, because they know someone who works at the Prefecture. So in total I saw 5 French Passports given to non-French nationals; ergo illegial, 3 Carte de séjours for Russian families who have no paperwork, several african-nationals trying to get illegially into the offices, one Russian woman crying because they denied her entry for no reason but the fact that she’s Russian, and then quickly changed and her paperwork given to her to avoid a kaffule; and finally the grand-one of them all… A Chinese girl being helped, moved ahead in line, and then denied any help because she’s “communist” and comes from a radical region of China.

Does this mean that I need to become rascist, and start crying to get some help in this country? If so, then get me out of here, I’m moving to Sweden or Germany where things are 1) efficient, 2) non-rascist, and 3) nicer.

What’s the end story of this? I got my paperwork renewed again for the third time, and I wait still for my perminant residence status. God, it would have just been easier to marry a French national…

I knew that going to Era again would be quite the experience. And the experience it quitely was. We embarked on our journey to Alfred Weiss on Friday at about 21.00 and got there at about half-nine, because it’s so damned far away in the sketchiest part of Strasbourg. Funny enough I found out where the really gross places are, like where all the Eastern-European prostitutes are. And also where the gypsies live; oh Strasbourg how divers thou art.

We got to Era in our normal taxi stuff, and it was jumping, that is to say lots of trashy people that I really didn’t want to deal with. What is the cure for this you ask; 1€ drinks galoore. So I just downed them like crazy in hopes that I would become drunk enough to deal with the grossness of the German-French people. Nope. It was horrible, so we left early and everyone was pretty sober except Ginette, who is poor and got everyone to pay for all her stuff;  no comment.

All in all a night that was just a flop.

Saturday night was better, we went to Salamadre and I spent money on vodka-caramel; you’re my lover. I had an awesome time and met a bunch of really funny Germans. In the process I got Ginette in social problems by calling her on a lie; that’s her problem. She’s afraid of Europeans!

We went to Winterbourg, in Lorraine yesterday for a choir performance in this tiny little protestant church. It was quite lovely and everything; so I had a good time despie the horrible weather. We all carpooled and I spent the whole day with my choir, in other words all French people. They are all really nice, but with difficult names to remember, except Olivier, cause I love that name. Oh and Stéphanie, that’s easy! Anyways, they served us cake and these amazing little fruits from Lorraine’s history which I loved. They were citris prunes or something, but the excess of cake is what killed me. I was exhausted from coming home, and my voice hurt after singing for 1 full hour without break or water. Oh well, I need to train myself; I sang fairly well though! Yay go me.