Sunday, April 09, 2006


Trouble #1:

Trouble #2, monsters after you:

Trouble #3, saying good bye forever:

This coming week of class is my last. I'm starting to feel sad.

Trouble #4, real trouble:
Mike and Kate are here to visit! They arrived in Paris on thursday morning, then took the train to Poligny yesterday. Their day got to a rough start, when a train they were on split at a station - leaving them in a place they didn't want to be, watching the other half of their train continue on to where they wanted to be. It set them back a few hours, but they still arrive in Poligny while it was sunny and beautiful.

You may already be familiar, but on trains in Europe, it's common that the doors do not open automatically - you have to push a button or turn the crank or whatever. I'm used to it by now, but I remember when I first arrived, there was a general feeling of stress whenever I had to exit the train. I mean, half the time, they don't even announce the stop -- if nobody is getting on or off, they don't hang around too long at each place, so it feels like you have to get off NOW or else you're STUCK on the train. Long story short, with the excitement of arriving, the amount of luggage, and the hurry to get off the train, a bag was forgotten. Luckily, we realized it pretty quicky. Also luckily, the train stopped in Lons-le-Saunier, very nearby, and didn't continue on to Lyon, two hours away.

We had an hour of extreme stress. I immediately called the Houvilles for help, but nobody answered. Then I tried to find a phone number for the train station in Lons, but the only one listed (anywhere!) was a recording about buying tickets online. The only thing that kept me calm was knowing how safe everything is here. On the train, a person will leave their purse on a seat when they leave to use the bathroom. A few weeks ago, I saw a baby in a stroller parked on the sidewalk, all alone, while it's mom stopped in the bakery to pick up some bread. There is some pretty crime around here, but apparently serious things like theft and snatching babies isn't high on the list.

Finally, I got in contact with Bernard, who immediately came to pick us up, then drove us to the train station in Lons. The luckiest part in the whole situation was that the chef de station was still at work, at 8 p.m. The second he heard what we were looking for, his eyes lit up and he walked behind the desk to retrieve the bag. We got a bit of a finger-wagging for it, but it didn't dampen the mood. Nothing was touched inside-- quite a relief!

After we picked up that wayward bag, Bernard kicked into his normal tourguide mode. We drove through the old part of Lons and on a small road out of town. Mike and Kate commenced with going apeshit over everything in sight. While I'm contantly in awe of this place around me, I have forgotten that thrill I first felt when I came here and saw so much old shit. Everywhere. We stopped at the house in Menetru, where Bernard said he was just going to 'check in' with Pauline. Of course, she immediately came out and invited us in for a "light" dinner (of duck, salad, pan-fried potatoes, cheese, wine, and dessert). It was a gorgeous and happy evening, thanks mostly due to how generous and wonderful Bernard and Pauline are.

Today, we planned to see Poligny and do some hiking on the trails surrounding the town. I say 'planned' because it just started to rain five minutes ago. It's been common this spring to have it rain in the morning, then clear up afternoon, so I have my fingers crossed that today will be the same. Of course, rain can't keep us from the bakery, or from sitting around my room drinking coffee and exchanging presents.


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