16.04.2008 - 20.04.2008 54 °F
Everyone enjoys the Mona Lisa, but opposite it is an even more impressive painting
Our final stage of spring break in France culminated in Paris. In order to keep track of all students as we arrived to a new restaurant, monument, or hotel, each chaperone would round up their students and do a count. I decided to take it a step further and create an unique team cheer. Our particular team cheer involved yelling a popular high school French word combined with a silly expression from a French movie, thus the amazing "Hypercool, je t'ai cassé!" It may not seem that exciting until you hear it in person and watch the reaction of the French with looks of bewilderment.
Tom Hanks jumped from this window as a professor not long ago
No visit to Paris is complete without heading up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Due to time constraints and a scheduled time on a bateau mouche fast approaching, we were faced with a dilemma. As we had reached the first platform and students were at the point to board the escalator for the very top of the tower. With time having already been lost, students had to decide between going to the very top of the Eiffel Tower with me or go back down to ride the bateau mouche up and down the Seine. To my surprise, two-thirds of the students opted to skip the view of Paris at night making everyone behind them line very happy. With those few that remained, we successfully reached the top, but within a mere 15 minutes on top of the site that studied extensively, the entire group was ready to return to the hotel. So down the legs of the tower we ran. I also forced the students to direct us home on the subway. Fortunately, we didn't end up at the Moulin Rouge.
After visiting the wind tunnel known as La Défense a day later, our group did arrive on time for the Musée d'Orsay. Yet true to French daily life, Musée d'Orsay was functioning with half of their staff as they were on strike demanding more time for cheese and wine during their lunch break or the right to bring their chiens to work.
Chateau de Chambourg
The one place that I had never visited during previous visits to Paris, but wanted to stick my head in was a place that contained more dead than living, The Catacombs. Basically, to help prevent further transmission of sickness during the Plague, the French buried their dead hundreds of feet below ground. So myself and 4 other students walked through the long underground tunnels of the Catacombs, but after long walks with our tilted to the side to avoid scraping them, we had yet to see any dead people. So the two male students and I decided to end the monotony. If it had been a New Mexican teacher and students, who knows how they would end the monotony, just ask your local St. Pius student. But the students and I let the two girls continue walking, while we quietly fell way behind, and hid behind a dark corner. Eventually they realized they were alone, so they turned around to come back. And just as they turned the corner, we had the opportunity, really the responsibility, we jumped out and scared them nice and good. They were scared, but not to death, and yelled really loud, but not enough to wake the dead. Soon enough after this, we saw the dead and scores of their femurs and skulls.
On a more serious note, our guide the entire trip was a very knowledgeable, outgoing, and patient young French guide. That is until you put her in a French restaurant with 40 high school students and the crescendo of their dinner voices transforming into "we're-out-of-the-country-without-our-parents" voices. For some reason, Léo couldn't comprehend why they would talk so loud in a restaurant with other people trying to enjoy a peaceful meal of frog legs, American high school-less dinner. I obviously agreed with her that their voices should be at a more respectable volume, but I enjoyed even more her getting all worked up with the entire situation. She would start by peacefully eating at the table with everyone enjoying conversation. Slowly as volume became louder, the agitated look on her face was followed with the swing of her head from side to side glaring at the other tables, until her face finally turned an apple red. At this point her head exploded. Ok, not quite, but it would be exciting. She would stand up and yell, oddly enough adding to the noise level in the restaurant that she was trying to lessen, demanding that everyone be quiet. With looks of horror, they shut up . . . for 2 minutes.
By the time my feet and backpack reached home after 9 days with high school students in France, it couldn't have come any sooner. Yet, spring break is supposed to be a time to relax and recharging of your batteries. Conversely, I came back feeling more tired that before I left.
Next scheduled stop, study abroad in Argentina with Nadine and Sophie for 5 weeks during the months of June and July.