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Showing posts with label france. Show all posts
Showing posts with label france. Show all posts

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lost in France #AtoZ

As a child, I was fortunate to attend thirteen years at one of the best public school districts in the country--Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri. This city of predominately wealthy retirees allowed us few young folks to bask in the privileges of their high tax dollars. The school supplied us with pencils and art supplies, we received free swimming lessons at the high school natatorium, and had the opportunity to go on amazing field trips.

When I was in the eighth grade, I took a field trip to Paris, France for a week with seven other students and my poor French teacher. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my childhood, but unfortunately, the last time Ms. Silberg took a class out of the country.

The nightmare began at Notre Dame Cathedral shortly before Easter. My friend Judy picked up a spray of holy leaves that she carried through the paved area in front of the church. A stranger stopped us to ask Judy where she'd gotten her holy weeds. Having only studied French for a year and a half, it took us awhile to translate what exactly the gentleman was saying and figure out how to answer him. By the time we finished talking to the stranger, something one should never do, the class had disappeared. 

We wandered throughout the grounds of Notre Dame looking for our teacher and classmates, but no luck. Not to worry. Knowing we were smart, fearless kids, we'd just jump on the subway and get off at our stop, Bastille. Unfortunately, we did not know that there were two Bastille stops, and of course, we jumped train at the wrong one. So, we were forced to wander the subways shouting, "Parlez vous Anglais?" to any passing stranger.
One woman stopped to tell us, "Yes. I speak English," but she looked totally frazzled when we spat out our predicament in a language that she just thought she spoke. This was surprising because it seemed like many of the French speak English. For example, at another part of the trip, we tried to get off at our subway stop but found ourselves blocked by a rather large passenger. 

We said, "Excuse-moi! Pardon!" but the woman wouldn't budge until Laura said, "Move it, lady!" See! An English speaker.

Anyway, we wandered the Paris subways for two hours and amazingly found our way back with the help of a woman from North Carolina who spoke both languages. By the time we reached our dorm, the teacher's hair shot out in every direction, her nails were chewed off, and she didn't know whether to hug us or slap us. Sorry Miss Silberg!
Oh mon Dieu! by E. Lansky

Tune in tomorrow when I tackle the letter M and my amazingly ridiculous moving situation.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lunar War?

When I heard about two news stories covering papers and televisions this week-end, I wondered if they were somehow related. I'm referring to the enormous size of our moon that is closer than it's been in nineteen years and the Allies striking hard at Gadhafi. Two seemingly unrelated stories, but maybe not.


Last night a bright and enormous moon shown unlike anything observed in the past nineteen years. It was a Bruce Almighty moon without the Hollywood special effects. As I gazed at that moon, I wondered, how many cranky women menstruated a week early? The moon historically has a way of bringing out "lunacy" in the world and creating "lunatics."

Which brings us to the headline news. A disturbing headline, Allies strike hard and a photo of a plane on fire, covered most of the Commercial Appeal's front page. It appears that during the phase of this gigantic full moon French planes attacked ground forces in Libya while Britain and the U.S. fired 112 missiles at air defenses. Albeit, it's clearly Gadhafi's fault as he defied UN orders, but is there lunacy in the start of yet another military offensive?

What causes humans to act like lunatics? So out of curiosity, I googled "1992" + "war." This was the last time our moon shown so bright. Sure enough, the page was covered in historical wars. Early in 1992, civil wars erupted in Bosnia and Georgia; Kabul was at war as was Transnistria; and of course our American Gulf War.

Was all this coincidence or does the moon affect us more than we like to believe? Hmm.