Posts tagged strasbourg
Recently my web guy emailed me. He was worried that there was something wrong with my website because when he logged on, it said there had been no updates since August. Um … wait. Is it FEBRUARY already? Well, hey! How have you all been?
Okay. I’m lame. But I’m also in France, which has been my go-to excuse all year. My other go-to excuse, “I have a book manuscript due,” is temporarily on hold, however, since I handed it in last week. And I have been updating my Instagram feed frequently . . . no, constantly . . . no, obsessively . . . so please check out my pictures. If readers check out my Instagram feed, then taking pictures on my iPhone and playing with filters counts as “work,” at least on an emotional level.
So! Here we are.
Though perhaps not as awkward as doing a presentation to international middle school students and realizing halfway through that about half of them probably don’t speak English.
Questions? Any questions??
Okay, I’ll talk to myself. After all, that’s pretty much what writing is, anyway.
Q. What is it like living in Paris?
A. I don’t know. I live in Strasbourg.
Q. Wait — you’re in Germany? I thought you were in France.
A. Strasbourg is in France. But it is right next to Germany. And it has been under German control many times throughout history, which means there are huge German influences in everything from the food to the architecture.
Q. So, how’s your French?
A. When I arrived, I spoke bad French. Five months later, I speak bad French with a slight German accent.
Q. Will you show me some of the pictures you have taken?
A. Sure! I’ll post some here! Plus you should check my Instagram feed!
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Are you sure it’s not in Germany?
A: I’m positive.
Q: You know, it really is lame that you haven’t posted anything on your website for five months.
A: It’s actually been five and a half. And that wasn’t a question.
Q: How often can we expect web posts from you from now on?
A: I DON’T KNOW! Don’t you understand? I AM A CREATIVE PERSON!!! I cannot live by rules and schedules and, and . . . all that other stuff that matters to you left-brained, in-the-box people!
A: I’m shooting for a couple of times a week. But once a week at the very least.
Q: So, just between you and I —
A: You and me.
Q: Between us, is your entire writing career just something you do in the hopes of gaining more Instagram followers?
A: You’re on to me.
In the spring of 1986, my college roommate Kim and I boarded a ferry from England, where we were both spending our junior years, and headed for the continent. We had rail passes, a copy of LET’S GO: EUROPE, some travelers checks, a few clothes, and . . . that was pretty much it. We didn’t bother plotting out an itinerary because that would have been, like, unspontaneous. And also, it would have required effort.
First stop: Bruges, Belgium. Two thumbs up!!! Next stop: Luxembourg. Two thumbs down. And then came Strasbourg, France. When we came out of the station, it was raining. A hobo accosted us, and we quickened our pace. We found a payphone and inserted the required number of francs. (Yes, this was olden times.) I dialed the number for a pension recommended by LET’S GO, all set to launch into my stilted French, but the number was disconnected.
That did it. Strasbourg was out! We headed back to the train station and jumped on a train just departing for Munich (which, as it turned out, was due to arrive at midnight, so we kept going to Vienna).
Fast forward to now. My husband, son, and I have been given the opportunity to spend a year in, yes, Strasbourg. If I’d had Google image search back in the eighties, I would have braved the rain and the hobo and pushed forward to what appears to be a kind of fairytale city.
We fly out in two weeks. It still seems a little unreal. But my son is enrolled in school and we’ve got an apartment waiting for us with our names on the mailbox, so I guess it’s really happening.
Stay tuned for details. I, for one, can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say.