After almost 5 months in France you’d think I’d have the train system down, but nay. I used to be super uptight about checking train times and triple checking to make sure I got on the correct train. I think I built up my confidence a little too much because yesterday was the ultimate train struggle 2k11. I was minding my own business, not paying attention or reading the signs and hopped on a train I thought was heading to Basel. I did notice that the time was a little off, we had left a few minutes early, but I was thinking “good for France, they are finally running the trains on time for once.” Everything was fine and good until the conductor came along to check tickets. He looks down at the ticket and back up and down again. I knew something was up when he made a puzzled face and asked
“Where are you headed?”
“Zees train does not go to Basel, it goes to Strasbourg.”
SAY WHAT? He then was quick to demonstrate that Basel was in the complete opposite direction of where this train was headed. We had gotten on the wrong train. Needless to say he thought we were completely incompetent but he was nice about the whole situation. He explained in his broken English, hand gestures included, about how we needed to descender le train (get off the train) in a nearby town and get back on headed back the way we came. Embarrassing? yes. Frustrating? a little. Entertaining? Definitely. Stupid Americans…
Today I was asked what my name was at work by a fellow teacher. Really?? I’ve been here since SEPTEMBER. Then, for the second time, I was told to use the bathroom on the second floor because the bathroom I was trying to use was for teachers. Again, really?? I AM A TEACHER. And apparently an invisible one at that.
Woke up this morning at 8 am, sleeping head to toe with my friend Megan in a village that I do not know the name of. On the floor around us were pretzels we stole from the party downstairs, and our friend Brett curled up in a sleeping bag. We needed to get back to our town but we couldn’t figure out the address of house where we slept so we figured it would be a good idea to walk to the nearby church and call a cab from there. On our way out, we decided to get our money’s worth (we did pay 15 euro for this party) so we grabbed a bottle of coke, pretzels and some crackers. We tried to blend in, as if we were just attending church like the normal Sunday service go-ers. I think our short dresses, snax and alcoholic stench were not helping our cause. It was obviously freezing cold so we were super pumped when the cab finally arrived. That is, until we realized she was making us pay 25 extra euro for her troubles since it was a Sunday morning. You’d think she would be happy to have some business on a Sunday morning. I don’t think too many people are calling at 8am for casual tours of….that village (still trying to figure out the name).
While this is not a personal experience, a dear friend of mine who is saving the world in Burkina Faso just shared this lovely struggle with me that I felt like I had to post:
“I threw up on a duck three weeks ago in my friends village in the middle of bumfuck no where.”
I hope you enjoyed that as much as we did.
Whoever may be reading this (which let’s be honest is probably just us) may be wondering who we are and why we struggle so much. The answers to those questions are a) two really fly ladies and b) we have no idea. We have no idea why life is such a struggle for us, and not just once in a while. I’m talking on the reg. But don’t be confused, we don’t struggle in a real way; it’s not like we’re homeless or starving or dying of some rare incurable disease. No, we pretty much create our own struggles. And like I said, we do it on the reg.
I shall elaborate more on who we are, though it will be a struggle trying to explain such glory. Collectively, we are two American girls in our early twenties who recently graduated from college and are living and working in France. We grew up together and have managed to go years at a time without speaking to or seeing each other and yet we always pick right back up where we left off. Twooo fwaaandz. We currently live in different cities in France but we gchat on the reg and we see each other about every month, sometimes more. We have had many separate and collective struggles and so we decided that instead of just talking to each other about them, why not put them out there for the world to see! We will most likely regret this decision later.
So there you have it. I hope you enjoy reading about our struggles and that it can perhaps brighten your day by either making you feel better about yourself or making you realize that you are not alone.
The struggs life, French style, all began in September but don’t be fooled. The struggles began long before that. After 4 years of college, you’d think I would be capable of functioning as a normal human being, but alas, this is not the case. For those of you who knew me in school, I was always struggling. Now, take all of that struggle, put it in a suitcase, and send me to France and voila! we have a whole new level of the strugs life.
The struggles all began at the RDU airport that fateful September day. Naturally, I overpacked my 2 suitcases. And we aren’t talking slightly overweight. We are talking like 30 pounds overweight. Like this suitcase won’t be allowed on the plane because its so heavy kind of overweight. In a frantic struggle to readjust my bags, I decided to check a third one to balance out this whole weight issue. The lovely woman at American Airlines assured me that I got to check 2 bags for free and would only have to pay a mere (ha!) $60 to check the third. I swallowed my pride (aka my dad swallowed his pride) and paid the $60. I was promised they would be checked through to Basel.
Since my bags were so overweight I had to add a lot to my carry-on and, in particular, to my overly large purse/biggest personal item of all time. While boarding the tiny plane from RDU to JFK one of the straps broke off and my boxes of Kraft Mac n Cheese went flying. Needless to say I got some odd but envious looks. Minor bump in the road.
When I got to JFK (literally one of my least favorite places in this world) I was just bracing myself for what was to come. Nothing ever goes well at JFK. It just doesn’t. So naturally I go to the counter to check in and get my boarding passes for my British Airways flight when they inform me that I owe them approximately $140 in bag charges. Um say what? Apparently with British Airways you only get 1 bag for free, not 2. Clearly I had misunderstood but I was not okay with paying $200 in bag fees. After talking with 2 separate people at the desk and speaking with the manager, I got them to see my side. After that struggle, I treated myself to some Macdo because everyone knows Macdo cures all varieties of struggle.
Long story short, getting to France was a perfect example of strugslife 2k10 but I did arrive in one piece, with all three of my overpriced pieces of luggage. Little did I know that the struggles were just beginning…
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