Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Le Grand Cercle

     Leaving Paris was hard, but something I had to do. I had goals for the summer and one was to sort of follow in my mom's footsteps. So I would understand her better now that she wasn't around to explain herself. But then is there any explaination for what people do? Are? Feel? Unless you had the same experiences.

      So here I was alone on a train, going to where it went, but not really having a destination. So I slept.

     I woke up as the train slowed down coming into Strausbourg near the border with France and Germany. I know I had big plans to just find another train and stay on the train, but I didn't. I left the train station and saw a hotel and got a room for the night. I was tired, like I had just finished a busy time and needed to rest. Not really physically tired but tired from excitement. Funny that I had just had a super relaxing time and now was tired, but I just wanted to be even less busy. I stayed in the "Hotel Bristol" across the street from the  train station. Nice, clean, real hotel and only about 35€. Fifty bucks.

     I woke up in the morning feeling excited that I didn't have anything to do or anyone to coordinate with! I showered and dressed and went out in search of coffee!  Found a McDonalds a block away and considered an act of liberation/vandalism, but was too mellow and went a few block in and found what I was looking for. A little place on a corner with lots of tables on the sidewalk and a canal and tons of people. I felt so free. I had two cafe au'laits and some pastries and sat for like an hour. I decided to stay for the day, and went back to the hotel and booked myself for another night, and then went exploring.

     It was different than Paris and way different than the south! It was more german in feel, more business like and older too, like with midevil looking buildings. It is supposed to be where the europeon parliament is, but I never found it. I wondered around in the university area all day, looking into little shops, and pretending I was looking for a certain book in a big bookstore but really checking out the less nerdy looking intellectual seeming guys. No Hits.    :(     But some real cuties. I think my look is counter intellectual. More cute, young, dumb and looking for a husband. If they only knew what I am thinking sometimes!

     I got totally lost! Somehow I got turned around and then lost the landmarks I had passed and the only direction I knew was up and down. It was an exhilarating feeling, being this one little point of something in the whole universe and like being completely unconnected to anything. It was like I could feel my own presence, but not any location. It could have been scary too, but it wasn't at all. I felt safe. I knew I could find out where I was, but I didn't want to. I wandered till after dusk, always in busy areas, watching people. Finally ate in a little place, I had a little onion and bacon tart and 3 glasses of Gewurztraminer. Then I asked the waiter "où est la gare".  (The Hotel was across from the train station) Life is so simple sometimes. I was no more lost than a few words away from knowing where to go. I didn't stumble back, but was I was feeling pretty good. Stupid I know. Silly American teenage girl alone in some big city almost drunk, walking alone at night. Yea, well, get over it. It felt wonderful.

     The next morning I scrubbed up extra good because I was still determined to do the train thing, just ride and ride and I didn't know when I would have my next bath! I was trying to circle France, but silly me the trains don't just follow the borders! Calais was my destination, but I ended up going back through Paris! And then changing one TGV at one station for another TGV and a station next door. Again the underground connecting tunnels. But it was fun. Seeing all the scenery out the window, fields and hilly areas and then Paris, then fields again.

     Calais is like 35 miles from England but my rail pass was only for france and so I had dinner there, wonderful poached salmon in a sauce with just the slightest hint of lemon and dill, but the full richness of real cream and butter. Only one glass of wine. Some cheese. Some coffee and then back to the train station, no reservations. But still just early evening. Calais was total tourist city, good place to buy a t shirt and catch a ferry or have some sea food and move on.

     I didn't want to go back through Paris again so I pieced it together from Calais to Roeun to Le Mans to Brest. It was like this endurance thing, train, wait in station, train, wait, eat sketch food, train, train. It was like a day and a half. Ok BTGTTS. Been there got the t shirt. It wasn't as romantic as I had thought. And I needed a shower. It was cool though. The "lunea" trains were the night trains and they didn't stop after midnight and until 5:30 in the morning so you could sleep. And they had a guy on the train just to help you out, like planning your trip or waking you up when you asked and stuff. If we had this in the US I would be all over the place.

     I spent the night in Brest, but it was just like for the shower, then I did it for 2 more days! Brest to Nantes to La Rochelle to Bordeaux to Toulouse to Aix-en-Provence then back to where I started in Provence, and Daddy.   :)   It felt so good to see him!!! It felt like it had been longer that a week and a half! I think that I am in love with trains though. People were real nice, and there were kids running around screaming and enjoying their vacations, and old people and young people and it was like most people were in a good mood because it was summer. It was like this big sharred experience with people changing but the moving being constant. No creepo's hit on me. A few guys talked to me and I played on the floor with some little kids. I felt like a kid myself.

     I stayed 3 more days with Daddy and talked ALOT!  :) He's been meditating real well every morning but not like its a worry or duty, but good and fun and he says he writes for at least 45 minutes. I told him my adventures. Mostly everything I wrote about here. He's cool with me being myself and maybe saying things that some people won't like or feel is wrong. Some of my friends are freaked out that I tell him stuff I do sexually. But he's heard it all from other people and probably more interesting stuff than I know about. He just wants me to not get hurt. But the stuff that really hurts is all in my head anyway. I mean if something bad happens its just stuff in my head that hurts, the thought or memory, not the actual thing that happened. The buddhists call it attachment, you think a thing is a certain way, well then it is. If you don't attach stuff to what the thing was, well then it can be a neutral thing. Its hard not to attach stuff to things that are really deep inside, but meditating helps. Not that I don't want to feel stuff! But just be mostly happy and not let the experiences I have in life rule me.  :)

     Daddy wanted to drive me back up to Paris! It would have been cool, but I wanted to go all the way home all on my own, and I did. Trains to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Plane to San Francisco, shuttle from the Airport to home and my comfy room. I feel so grown up and independent. But still playful and eager to have more experiences like a kid.

    Dad's still there for a couple more weeks and then he'll come home and then I don't know what. Yes I have the whole house to myself. No parties. I'm going to clean like Manon and I did so it will be like a new part of our lives when he comes home. Schools started so I'm busy.

     Thats what I did this summer.  


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