First and foremost, I want to apologize for being so absent lately. This semesters workload (plus the current addition of the fact that I am sick) has given me no free time to breathe let alone post. Sadly, it doesn’t appear as though my schedule will be opening up any time soon, so I am not sure how quickly (if at all) I will be able to get out my study abroad tips and tricks.
I really do feel so horribly bad about it, so today I will be telling you the story of something that happened to me while I was away in the hopes of entertaining both you and myself; because, frankly, I’m going a little crazy over here.
If you are in the same boat as I am–swamped with work and responsibilities–I hope this cheers you up a little bit, or at least makes you laugh 🙂
It’s true that Paris is a beautiful city. Historically, there are countless numbers of monuments, museums, and locations of extreme importance to the country’s past as well as the history of the world. These things are all great.
But what’s not great is travelling the city with someone who, in almost every way, is completely unprepared for life as an adult; even if s/he is age 20. For the sake of a gender-neutral name, we will call this person Jamie.
Now there are a lot of things I could tell you about Jamie that would help you to understand what I should have prepared myself for prior to my trip to Paris. Like the following conversation that occurred while in England:
[Two guys we met from Oklahoma]: Yeah, we’re going to Paris on the weekend for Bastille Day, I think it will be really fun!
[Jamie]: Oh my god, Bastille?! I love them! I didn’t get to see them perform when they were in Detroit, though.
*Long awkward silence*
[One of the two guys]: Um, no, not the band. Bastille Day is France’s national holiday…
Okay, do you get it now? No? Okay. How about I begin by telling you the first thing that happened to Jamie when s/he arrived in Paris. Jamie arrived a couple of days ahead of us and we had agreed to meet up after our arrival (close to midnight on a Tuesday) at our hostel–Rupee and I were travelling together.
So what happened to Jamie when s/he first landed in France? Jamie got in the back of a man’s car. Why? To be completely frank, because he was Arab, and Jamie assumed this meant that 1) he was a taxi driver, and 2) he was, thus, trustworthy. Let me make something completely clear to you: this man was not a taxi driver whatsoever. Jamie literally got in the back of some random man’s car! And then he took him/her places! And by took him/her places, I really mean that he drove around in circles for half an hour and then charged Jamie sixty euros for getting him/her lost.
So this is what happened previous to us meeting up. (I should have taken this story as a sign, but apparently I wasn’t that insightful at two o’clock in the morning.)
The day after our arrival in Paris was the day we had planned to do the majority of our sight-seeing. This meant that there would be a significant amount of walking to typical tourist destinations: The Eiffel Tour, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, etc.
Rupee and I had planned originally to go to Paris on our own, but when Jamie had asked if s/he could tag along, we agreed, not thinking too much about it. We had a meeting before leaving for Europe about exactly what it was we planned to do, showed this idea-sketch to Jamie, and s/he agreed to it. Let me make this clear: we were never once wishy-washy about our intentions; it is not in either of our personalities to be that way. We stated firmly that these were the things we intended to do, and that if Jamie would like to come along, that was fine, but we really had no intention of deviating from this.
We said this countless times. Literally so many times. So many.
Fast forward to Paris. The first half of the first day progressed pretty smoothly. Then it started to rain. We were wet, lost, and profoundly unhappy. Why? Because during the time we weren’t trying to find our way through the water-logged city of Paris, we were arguing with Jamie about precisely what was coming next on our to-do list.
And why were we arguing?
Because Jamie was so flighty s/he couldn’t keep her/his mind on one thing for more than five minutes. The only thing I can compare it to is babysitting a three year old. It’s the age when curiosity is in high gear (and they can walk.) Every six minutes or so you have to circle back, reclaim the kid from whatever “fascinating thing” had caught its attention this time, and steer it back into the direction you are trying to go. Except, instead of a three year old, it was a twenty year old.
I think the majority of our first day was spent simply trying to get Jamie to focus on what was in front of us instead of veering off to “go shopping” (at a place none of us could afford), “look at this building” (why, Jamie? That’s an apartment building), “let’s buy macaroons” (no, we’re buying those on our last day in France so we can take a few back to Rupee’s sister in London)–I don’t know how many times that last one came up.
Maybe you are reading this and thinking that none of what I am explaining sounds annoying to you. For that I take fault in my own writing. I’m pretty out of practice so my descriptions are not doing justice to the situation. It’s also been quite a while since this actually occurred, so some of the finer details have faded from memory. Still, you might have picked up…you know…just a tad…that this whole thing made me, I don’t know, livid.
I’m not a very patient person but, surprisingly, if you met me, you might think the exact opposite. This is because I am very good at masking my impatience. So an issue only truly arises when people begin to see my irritation through this shield of fake-patience.
Which is exactly what began to happen.
I think I may have scared Jamie a bit but, to be frank, that’s fine with me. I was so angry by the end of the trip (though I have to say I really enjoyed my time in Paris as far as the city is concerned) that I’m pretty sure you could see steam coming out of my ears. At one point during these many rounds of babysitting I was ready to simply take off with Rupee and leave Jamie behind. That’s when I was scolded by Rupee that it is rude to abandon people in foreign European cities.
Still, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have done it if Rupee hadn’t of been there.
So, really, what do you do when stranded on an island with an idiot?
I would like to advise you to swim away. But the best answer, and what we probably should have realized from the start, is that it’s best not to go to an island with an idiot in the first place.