[Originally written on the 22nd of February, 2018]
I would like to begin in the present: I’m wrapped up like a cinnamon bun in fluffy white sheets in Switzerland. This marks night two of my first official solo trip. Well, to some extent my entire college life has been filled with solo trips, but I’ve never quite done a transnational overnight one before. I was excited, I love being alone. I observe and explore better that way.
I am meeting up with friends soon, fortunately. Not to say that’s this hasn’t been an interesting experience, it certainly has. But not devoid of the usual bizarre and crazy things that I always seem to stumble upon. A Swiss mad hatter, a menorah, two potatoes and a bottle of Prosecco. In a 500 year old apartment in Bern, where the ceilings are just barely above my head, The Bee Gees and the soundtrack to Broken Flowers dribble out of a broken record player. Compared to fall break, this is off to a weirder start. Bern was like Ljubljana, but at the very least, slightly less ominous and fishy.
I have actually been finding that this semester is off to a very different start than last. I’ll rewind a bit. Last semester, what I will satirically call a priori, I was begrudgingly devoted to schoolwork that I only marginally understood. If anything could make French academia more complicated, it’s the fact that they love to hop around languages, specifically in the way they throw Latin all over the place just for shiggles. But anyway, I don’t think I was as spontaneous because of schoolwork, well maybe I was. But it wasn’t all for naught, folks, because I just found out I passed all my classes! Setting the bar low but hey, I’m proud of this.
So fast forward to what I will humbly call a posteriori. Why? Well, I would like to point out that the events that occurred in the a priori period of my year have had a near direct effect on where I’m at now. Yes, that includes being wrapped in a cinnamon bun of fluffy covers. For example, the class-that-shall-not-be-named was emotionally trying, but that experience was ripe not only for comedic material but also — and who woulda thought — for interview material! Being on a timer now, I’m trying to develop this spontaneity thing, and I’ve been better off for it. Last Monday, my class got cancelled so my friend and I last minute booked a trip to Chartres (in English pronounced a bit like Shart, my apologies but this is educational). Basically it was rainy and really fricken cold BUT we got some good laughs. Specifically: breaking into a church under construction to find a stained glass window that said, “Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours, Priez pour nous”. Now ordinarily this wouldn’t be funny but with nihilist humor and a flair for memes this was gold. Along the same lines we also got a little too close to some castle perhaps because even though it was a Monday (basically everything in france is closed on sundays and mondays for literally no reason at all) I refused to leave without seeing a castle.
And now I’m in Switzerland. I came here before my winter break begins because there is an exhibition of recovered art stolen by the Nazis that I’ve been itching to see, and it did not disappoint. I know very little about expressionism and bauhaus but I am IN LOVE. But anyway, signing off for now. Just a quick little reflection, hope you enjoyed. I'm hoping that someone – anyone – who took that class is reading this and is laughing, because that's the most important.