Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lesson # 1 : NEVER carry an "American size" suitcase

Growing up in the south, most of us pick up on the "bigger is better" mentality at a young age. This doesn't work in Europe...especially when it pertains to suitcases.

The night before I left for Vichy, I distinctly remember my mom asking me if I really needed to take all of "that stuff" with me.

"Obviously mom, I'm going to be gone for a month. And yes, I do need a different outfit for everyday...who do you think I am?!"

I could kill myself for saying that.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have absolutely no arm strength, so why I thought I could deal with a big ass suitcase and a giant duffle bag is beyond me. Thankfully I had enough common sense to fly with my friend Travis (who I'd never met before at that point...9 hours on a plane tends to make people BFFs) and he was given the lovely job of helping me deal with my luggage when we got to Paris. We met up with two of the others in our group, Derrick and Lauren, at the airport and then had to take a 40 minute bus ride to La Gare de Lyon.

that suitcase I have....unnecessary.

Now let me tell you why carrying ungodly amounts of luggage sucks. First of all, everyone stares at you because they know only an American would be that stupid. They won't say anything rude, infact they'll probably help you, but secretly they're thinking you're a moron. What OU failed to mention to us was the fact that the aisles on many of the trains are FREAKISHLY TINY.

see the lack of space between the seats? and this a train that had a relatively "big" aisle.
Seriously.. if any of us had been much bigger we wouldn't have fit on that train. So there we all are with our Texas sized suitcases, dragging them sideways down the aisle while cursing to ourselves for being such idiots. I'm sure it was quite entertaining to the spectators who witness this so often. Not so entertaining for us though considering we hadn't slept in almost two days. On top of that, this train didn't have have airconditioning. Some of them do but it's nothing like what we're used to. I was cranky. No one should have to be sleep deprived and not have modern conveniences, it's just rude.

me hating life and wanting a nap

We had a three hour ride south til we got to Vichy. Once we finally got situated in our fancy compartment, (1st class was all that was left) we were delirious and started pretending we were on our way to Hogwarts. We had a grand old time speaking in British accents, taking in the pretty French scenery, and randomly shouting "wingardium leviosa!"  We finally got to our stop and all was well, until we had to get our luggage off that damn train.

Another thing that was failed to be mentioned to us was the fact that, unless you're going TO Paris, the train only stops for two minutes at each place. Why didn't we notice this the past three hours on the train you ask?
A. Sleep deprevation  and  B. Insanity. 

Travis and Lauren somehow managed to get off the train in time. Derrick and I on the other hand, did not. We just stood there staring at each other, and started cursing again, until some hot train conductor came to help us. Another misconception about the French is that they can all speak English. They can't. I tried my best to tell him what happened, but when I haven't slept I'm pretty much worthless. It would have been an easy conversation had I not been insane by that point. By the grace of God I was at least able to at least tell him we needed to go to Vichy to go to school. Hot guy wrote stuff on our tickets and told us we needed to get on another train in Clermont-Ferrand, but that we wouldn't have to pay anything. At least I can still comprehend French when I'm delusional. Derrick and I waited by the door and as soon as it stopped, we hurled those suitcases right out the train and jumped off.

Moral of the story: you might have a different outfit everyday you're there, but you will want to kill yourself at the thought of your journey back home with your big ass suitcase.

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